Sam's Club Credit Card Review
For members, the Sam's Club credit card provides incentives to make you shop more. Learn more to decide whether it's worth it.
Store credit cards traditionally have lower entry requirements than other types of credit cards, a feature that makes them perfect entry points for people that want to build their credit.
Sam's Club allows people to upgrade from the store card to the Sam's Club MasterCard. Although the rates can be high, the rewards make up for it if you use the card correctly.
Before you sign up, make sure you can make efficient use of the card; unless you tend to buy a lot of gas or dine out often, the rewards scheme might not be the best fit for you.
We've sat down and scoured through all the information we could about the Sam's Club Credit Cards to provide you with the best possible overview of whether this card works for you.
History of Sam's Club
Sam's Club was formed in 1983 as a way of bring wholesale prices to everyday consumers. The company is a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. With a total of 659 clubs across the United States and Puerto Rico, Sam's Club is one of the most popular wholesale clubs in the world.
The membership restriction allows Sam's Club to retain affordable prices that other companies cannot keep up with. This also allows the company to offer premium-quality brands that are only available to members.
Sam's Club Credit Cards
Sam's Club offers both consumer and business cards.
Sam's Club MasterCard
The Sam's Club MasterCard is a traditional type of credit card that is accepted anywhere MasterCard is accepted. As an added bonus, it provides rewards for gas, travel, and dining. The card yields 3% on dining and travel and 5% cash back on gas without any annual fee. That said, it only yields 1% cash back at Sam's Club. There is also no welcome bonus, so if you're looking for an immediate return, you won't find it here.
The value yield from this card is high, but the redemption method can be inconvenient. You can only redeem your points once per year at a Sam's Club store, meaning those that want to take advantage of the cash rewards right away will not be able to.
Sam's Club Credit Card
The Sam's Club Credit Card is the company's version of a store card. It can be used at any of the Sam's Club locations or at more than 4,600 Wal-Mart's across the country, but it doesn't yield rewards. If you're looking for a no-frills store card, this gets the job done. It doubles as proof of membership so you don't have to carry around any extra cards in your wallet.
There is no annual fee to use this card, unless you count the Sam's Club membership fee. This fee is $45 for the Sam's Savings (the most basic) membership, or $100 for the Sam's Plus membership. One of the benefits of this card is that most store cards tend to have lower credit requirements than rewards cards.
Sam's Club Business MasterCard
The Sam's Club Business MasterCard is identical to the consumer version of the card in almost all aspects, except that it's aimed at users who would use it more for business expenses than everyday purchases. It also comes with MasterCard ID Theft Protection services to help protect you when using the card online or in other instances.
Sam's Club Business Credit Card
Again, the Sam's Club Business Credit Card is almost identical to the consumer version of the card except that it is accompanied by the benefits specific to the business credit cards. These benefits include fraud liability protection, enhanced security, and advanced online account management tools. There is also no annual fee associated with the card.
The ideal customer for a Sam's Card is someone who shops at the store often, usually people with families and children that are shopping for an entire household. A college student trying to stock their dorm wouldn't get much benefit from buying in bulk at a wholesale market, but their parents might opt for Sam's Club as the place to find dorm-ready furniture.
The card is designed in such a way that a parent who drives their kids around would benefit most. The highest rewards come from gas expenses, with the second highest rewards coming from dining and travel. The 1% cash back is for all other purchases.
The Sam's Card is issued through Synchrony Bank.
Rates and Fees
One of the main benefits to owning a Sam's Card is the lack of an annual fee. Of course, this is a bit of a misnomer; the annual fee is built into the privilege of owning the card, since Sam's itself requires a membership. There is a foreign transaction fee of 3% on the Sam's Club MasterCard.
Aside from that, the regular APR is anywhere from 15.4% to 23.4%. There is no transfer APR, as balance transfers are not allowed. Late fees can be as high as $38, and you have up to 23 days after the close of each billing cycle to make your payment before being charged interest. If you make a cash advance, the APR is 23.40%.
Sam's Card Credit Limit
Although there isn't an official limit to the Sam's Club Credit Card, multiple users report that it is somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000. Your personal limit will be based on a variety of factors, including your credit score, past payment history, debt to income ratio, and several others.
Increasing Your Limit
If your credit limit isn't quite what you want it to be, there are several things you can do to increase your credit. The first is to improve your overall credit score; this will have a ripple effect throughout all of the credit cards you may hold. Improving your limit makes you more likely to see an increase in your credit limit through no additional effort of your own. However, if you have decent credit and you haven't seen a credit increase after six months of on-time payments, you can call your card's customer service department and request an increase.
That said, if your request is denied, take that as an opportunity to find out why. If there is something marring your credit report, it's a good idea to address it as soon as possible instead of letting it fester.
Perks of Owning a Card
While you may not think of the Sam's Club MasterCard as a rewards card, it does offer quite a few rewards that are worth your time. Just take a look at its rewards scheme:
- 5% cash back on gas
- 3% cash back on travel and dining
- 1% cash back on everything else
On top of these benefits, while there isn't exactly an introductory offer, you can save $45 if you open a Sam's Club Credit Card and make a $100 purchase on the same day. Cash back rewards cap at $5,000 per year. The card also doubles as your membership card. While this isn't a huge benefit, it at least removes the need for you to carry yet another piece of plastic around in your wallet.
How to Apply
To apply for a Sam's Club credit card, you must first be a member of Sam's Club. You can apply in the store or you can apply online through the Sam's Club membership portal. You can also apply through Synchrony Bank if you're a member.
The Sam's Club MasterCard eligibility requirements are higher than those of the Sam's Club Credit Card. The first requirement is, naturally, that you're a member of Sam's Club itself with either a Sam's Savings or a Sam's Plus membership. The next requirement is a propercredit score.
The Sam's Club MasterCard is a rewards card, which means you need Excellent credit in order to qualify. The Sam's Club Credit Card has a lower credit score requirement; many times, a Good credit score will be sufficient. While there is no official number, multiple applicants have reported that 669 is the 'sweet spot' for eligibility.
Managing Your Account
The first step to managing your online account is to log in. Once you do this, you can easily access important information relevant to your account, including:
- Payment and account information
- Update personal information
- Sign up for text alerts
- Pay for prescriptions online
It's far easier to manage your account online that it is to make a phone call or go into the store to request changes.
From Application to Arrival
Once you're approved for your Sam's Club MasterCard or Credit Card, you can usually expect it to arrive within two weeks. While the card can take as long as a month to arrive, it usually takes far less time—multiple customers report receiving their card in as little as a week.
If you need to check the status of your application, you can contact the customer service department using the reference number you are given when you apply. They will be able to provide you with more information about your application.
You've been approved. Great! Now for the fun part: paying it off. Because the Sam's Club card carries a high APR, you want to ensure you have as little balance as possible. Ideally you'll have no balance at all. The first and easiest way to pay your card is on the website.
Visit the Sam's Club website and log in to your account. From there, you can see your card and its balance. Just select it and choose what bank account you want to use to pay it off.
The second option is to pay in-store. This can be useful if you're close to your payment deadline, as in-store payments are posted to your account on the same day. Just go into your nearest Sam's Club and find the service desk.
The third option is to pay over the phone. Just find the number on the back of your credit card and call it, then select the options from the audio menu.
The minimum payment varies depending on your balance and a number of other factors. Taken from the terms and service page:
Your total minimum payment is calculated as follows. The greater of:
1. $27, or $38 (which includes any past due amounts) if you have failed to pay at least the total minimum payment due by the due date in any one or more of the prior six billing cycles.
2. The a. b.c. d. E.
Special Promotional Financing Offer Information.
At times, we may offer you special financing promotions for certain transactions (special promotions). The terms of the agreement apply to any special promotions. However, any special promotional terms that are different than the terms in the agreement will be explained on special promotional advertising or other disclosures provided to you. Below is a description of certain special promotions that may be offered: sum of: any past due amounts; PLUS 1% of your new balance (excluding any balance in connection with a special promotional purchase with a unique payment calculation) shown on your billing statement; PLUS any late payment fees charged to your account in the current billing cycle; PLUS all interest charged to your account in the current billing cycle; PLUS any payment due in connection with a special promotional purchase with a unique payment calculation.
We round up to the next highest whole dollar in figuring your total minimum payment. Your total minimum payment will never be more than your new balance.
If you fail to make your payment by 5 PM EST on the day your payment is due, you will have to pay $27 or $38. You pay $27 if this is your first late payment in six months, or $38 if you have missed a payment at some point in the past six months. You will also be charged interest for any outstanding balance amounts.
Benefits of Each Card
Here are a few of the benefits of owning a Sam's Club Mastercard:
- It doubles as your membership card.
- The MasterCard yields high rewards on gas, dining, and travel, with a lower base amount for all other purchases.
- There's no annual fee.
Downsides to Each Card
Here are the ways the Sam's Club MasterCard falls short:
- The card has a high APR.
- The lack of an annual fee is offset by the requirement to be a Sam's Club member.
- The rewards can only be redeemed once per year, in-store.
Here is what other customers have said about the Sam's Club Credit Card:
"Applied in store in Feb went in to get a new membership and saw a sign for $40 off purchase if approved... Was approved for $500 just got a [credit limit increase] this month for an additional $500. I set up bill pay through my personal bank but I do pay in store sometimes as it is right up the street from my house. You must know your balance if paying in store as they only take the payment they have no way of knowing your info with Synchrony. My payments do post same day when I pay in store."
- steelgergurl1 (Credit Karma)
"I opened this card for the rewards/cash back. The first month I used it and paid off the statement balance in full (approximately $300). I used the card quite a bit the next month in order to get the rewards. I wanted to pay the full statement balance of approximately $2200. I called the number on the card to find out what the policy was for payments posting. I was told it was 48 hours unless the payment was made in store and then it was immediate. I was going to the store anyway, so decided to just make the payment in person. At the store, I was told that since checks are electronic and treated as cash, they credit the same as cash. Much to my surprise when I learned that my payment still had not credited after 48 hours, that it would not credit for 19 DAYS. I spoke to 4 different people. The system flagged it as "out of pattern" because my last balance was much lower. Even though I was PAYING IN FULL. They stated that even after my payment CLEARED THE BANK, the funds still would not be released for 19 days because of the amount and that I wrote a check. I asked to see this policy in writing and she said it was not in writing, but it was "flagged by the system" due to the amount and it would not be undone for 19 days, EVEN after the check has cleared."
- bdggdg (Credit Karma)
Most Common Complaints
The number one complaint about this credit card had less to do with the card itself and far more to do with Synchrony Bank, the issuer of the Sam's Club Credit Card. Customers reported terrible experiences with customer service on multiple occasions, particularly when trying to address fraud cases. The company doesn't have a great track record of handling stolen cards, and this makes many customers wary of using any card by them.
Another complaint dealt with the interest rates. Because one of the lowest offered APRs is still 23%, customers with high credit scores that are used to receiving more favorable interest rates are not happy with the rates this card provides.
These are the most frequently asked questions about the Sam's Club Credit Card.
How much is the membership?
The Sam's Club membership is $45 for the Sam's Savings plan and $100 for the Sam's Plus plan.
How can I cancel my card?
To cancel your card, you'll need to bring your license or photo ID to a Sam's Club along with your card and your membership agreement. You can go to the member services desk and cancel there.
What can I use my Sam's Club credit card for?
The Sam's Club credit card can be used at all Sam's Clubs and Wal-Marts throughout the US and Puerto Rico, but the Sam's Club MasterCard functions exactly like a normal MasterCard would.
Where and what stores can I use my Sam's Club credit card?
If you own a Sam's Club credit card, it can only be used in Sam's Club stores and Wal-Marts. However, a Sam's Club MasterCard can be used anywhere.
How long does it take Sam's Club to refund my credit card?
While Sam's Club has not released an official statement on the length of time a refund takes, it is usually around ten days.
How can I check my Sam's Club credit card balance?
You can check your Sam's Club credit card balance by logging into your account on the website or calling the number on the card.
Can I, if so, how do I withdraw money from Sam's Club credit card?
You can get a cash advance when you purchase an item at a Sam's Club or Wal-Mart.
Can I get cash advance and are there any related fees?
When you purchase an item from a Sam's Club or Wal-Mart, you can request a cash advance of $20, $40, $60, $80, or $100 increments.
Can I pay for my Sam's Club credit card with a gift, a different credit card? Or PayPal?
You must pay off your credit card through a linked bank account.
Can I use my Sam's Club credit card without the card?
It depends. In some instances, you may be able to provide the card number, particularly when shopping online. However, in person, you will likely need the card with you.
How to add an authorized user to Sam's Club credit card?
Go into your account management page and select the "additional cardholders" link. From there, select "Add Complimentary Cardholder." Once you've entered the relevant information, click "Save" in the bottom right corner to update the information on your account.
Are there any upgrades on Sam's Club credit card?
If you own a Sam's Club store card, you may be offered the opportunity to upgrade to a Sam's Club MasterCard.
How soon can I use my Sam's Club credit card once I receive it?
You can begin using the card as soon as you receive it, after you've activated it.
How to contact Sam's Club credit card services?
There is a number on the back of your Sam's Club credit card. Calling this number will connect you to the relevant service department.
How to report stolen Sam's Club credit card?
You can either call card services or go in-store to the member services department to report a stolen card.
Can someone co-sign for a Sam's Club credit card?
No. Very few credit card issues will allow for someone to cosign for the card.
Can I use my card online? Will I be charged for shipping if I use my card online?
You an use your card online, but you will still be charged for shipping. However, in certain instances members will be given a discounted rate for bulk orders.
What credit score do I need to get approval for a visa card?
The Sam's Club credit card is a MasterCard, not a Visa.
What credit score do I have to maintain so my account is not closed?
Your account will not be closed regardless of your credit score as long as you make your payments on time.
Will my credit score drop when my account gets closed?
If your account is closed for nonpayment, your credit score will be affected. However, a number of factors determine whether closing an account will affect your credit score; it is difficult to say without knowing your situation.
Which credit bureaus does Sam's Club credit card report to?
Sam's Club reports to all three bureaus because the card is issued through Synchrony Bank.
Can I build my credit with the Sam's Club credit card?
Yes. Making regular, on-time payments and carrying a low balance will help you build your credit.
Is there an expiry date on the card?
Yes. Like all regular credit cards, your Sam's Club MasterCard will have an expiration date.
Is there a credit insurance program and how will it cover me if I lose my job?
There is no credit insurance program. If you lose your job, you are still responsible for making payments.
Can I have two credit cards from Sam's Club at the same time?
Yes. You can own both a store card and a Sam's Club MasterCard.
Can I transfer money from my Sam's Club credit card to another?
Balance transfers are not allowed.
Is it hard to get a Sam's Club's credit card?
Obtaining a Sam's Club credit card is not difficult if you meet the eligibility requirements.
How long does it take to receive the card once I have been approved for it?
The card will usually arrive within two weeks.
How do I get more rewards points?
If you optimize your spending and shop at places that yield higher returns, such as gas stations, you will receive more reward points for the same amount spent.
What can you use Sam's Club points for?
Sam's Club yields $10 cash back for every $500 spent with their Sam's Club Plus program. If you own a Sam's Club MasterCard, you will receive 5% cash back on gas purchases, 3% cash back on dining and travel, and 1% cash back on everything else.
What type of credit cards does Sam's Club accept?
Sam's Club accepts American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and Walmart Credit as payment options.
How much does a Sam's club membership cost?
The Sam's Club membership is $45 for the Sam's Savings plan and $100 for the Sam's Plus plan.
Do I need a membership to shop at Sam's Club?
Yes. You cannot shop at a Sam's Club without a membership, nor can you view the prices on their website.