Aside from everyday deals and coupons, one of the best ways to save on all your purchases is to choose the correct payment method for your spending habits. Credit and debit cards often extend big signup and cash back offers, but high annual fees and misleading promo terms may offset any potential savings if you’re not careful.
While you probably get solicited on a weekly basis from American Express, Chase, Discover and others, Amazon’s lesser known Prime Store Card is a viable (and potentially more lucrative) option you should consider before jumping into bed with one of the big players…
Before we take a look at what sets the Amazon Store Card apart from its competitors, it’s important to remember that applying for and using a new card will affect your credit score. That’s important to keep in mind especially if you’re planning a large purchase like a new home or vehicle in the near future. We’re not financial advisors, only deal seekers with a passion for saving our readers money, so just use our recommendations as a guide to make your own decisions.
You’re probably already familiar with the no annual fee Amazon Visa Card. It offers 3% back on Amazon purchases and 1 or 2% back on all other purchases. You can use your earned points to pay for anything Amazon sells. And right now you can get a free $50 Amazon gift card upon approval. That’s a really solid choice for many people, but hardcore Amazon shoppers should probably read on.
The Amazon Prime Store Card (issued by Synchrony Bank) is a dream for shoppers who order everything from their groceries and grass seed to big HDTVS and home decor from the online mega retailer. The first thing you need to know is that only Prime members are eligible for the Amazon Prime Store Card. But the people who’ll get the most out of this card are most likely already Prime members, so it’s not really that big of a hurdle. Also, it only works at Amazon so you’ll need an additional credit or debit card for all other purchases.
There are two huge benefits and a small signup bonus (currently $10) to the Amazon Prime Store Card. First, you’ll earn 5% back as a statement credit for nearly all purchases made from Amazon. There are only a few exceptions: Prime Memberships, digital newspaper and magazine subscriptions, or games and software downloads at Amazon.com. That’s 2% more than the Amazon Visa Card, which can really add up fast. Other credit cards offer similar cash back bonuses, but usually only for a very limited time (3-months or so). The other notable feature is access to no interest special financing offers (requires minimum monthly payments):
- 6-month special financing on any purchase totaling $149 or more
- 12-month special financing on any purchase totaling $599 or more
- 24-month special financing on items
- 12-month Equal Pay offer on select Amazon-sold items
These payment options provide flexibility if you need to make a large purchase, but don’t have enough cash on-hand to pay for it right away. But you have to pay the balance in full within the promo period or you’ll be charged interest from the original purchase date (ouch!). This is a very convenient benefit, but make sure you use it responsibly. The other downside is that you don’t receive 5% back on purchases made with the promo financing.
Non-Prime members can get the standard Amazon Store Card, which only includes the special financing options and not the 5% cash back bonus.
Again, the Amazon Prime Store card doesn’t have an annual fee, but it’s worth noting that its interest rate of about 26% (variable) is pretty damn high. That means it’s not a smart choice for anyone who tends to carry a monthly balance.
If you’re a Prime member who frequently shops at Amazon and has no problem paying your bills each month, the Amazon Prime Store Card can be a great way to save even more on purchases you’re already making.
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