Getting rewards back just for spending like you usually would is a dream come true for many people. If you’re a frequent patron of Walmart stores, the Walmart Rewards Mastercard lets you get a taste of what earning rewards is like without making it too hard for you to redeem your rewards or use them on things you will actually enjoy. It’s an excellent starter rewards card that many people overlook due to its name, but a closer look should convince you of its merits.
What This Card Is Like
The Walmart Rewards Mastercard is a card meant exclusively for Walmart customers and run by their own corporate bank. As you spend with it, it allows you to accrue a form of cash back known as reward dollars, currency that you can only spend in Walmart stores. Like cash back systems, the amount you’ll get is calculated as a percentage of your spending. You’ll earn 1% back on all purchases you make at any retailer that is not Walmart, but if you do choose to shop there instead, you’ll get 1.25% back as an extra treat. The base rate is approximately what you would expect to get from a card like this, and although the boosted rate is a little low in comparison to the competition, the much higher incidence of chances to earn it will make up for that. We’ll get into more details on why this is the case further below. The standard interest rates apply and there are no real benefits bundled with this card, though, so there isn’t much else you need to know in terms of understanding its structure.
Reward Dollars as Good as Cash
As we stated above, these rewards are awarded in Walmart reward dollars, points which function like cash but are only valid in-store. Some people might be turned off by the fact that you can only use these rewards at Walmart stores, but this is much less of a problem than they think it is. Think about all the different types of products that Walmart offers in even their smallest stores. A whole family could feasibly do all of their shopping there – from food and clothes to books and stationery – if they didn’t mind being somewhat restricted in how many options they were able to choose from in each product category. The larger Supercentre stores are even more expansive and can be counted on to have just about anything you need as soon as you go to look for it, even during times of extremely heavy activity like the Christmas season. That level of reliability is very impressive now that many retailers do their best to keep their stock as low as possible for efficiency’s sake while still serving their customers at a satisfactory level. Shortages are to be expected, but they are still inconveniences that are best avoided if that’s at all possible. Walmart won’t let you down in any way when it comes to getting what you need, and it will usually be at very good prices too.
Because of this immense range of utility in their product line, this retailer is perhaps the perfect choice for a retailer-specific credit card. Getting reward dollars that you can only use at Walmart is almost as good as getting cash because you could potentially buy just about anything you want or need with it. Whether you’d like to extend your grocery budget a little further, brighten up your kitchen with some new accessories, paint the hallway a brand new colour or bring home that new video game you’ve had your eye on, you could potentially do any of these things with your reward dollars. You couldn’t say the same for a card tied to an old-fashioned department store, or even something a little more modern like Canadian Tire. Walmart is pretty much the only store chain with that level of versatility, and that makes having the rewards tied to it much more bearable than it would otherwise be.
Walmart’s incredible range as a retailer also gives the Walmart Rewards Mastercard an advantage in terms of its reward points accumulation rate. It’s very easy to shop there for most of the things you need on a daily basis, giving you plenty of opportunities to enjoy that boosted rewards rate. This means that you should only rarely be earning rewards at the lower rate as long as you are careful about it. The boosted rate isn’t the best around, as we’ve discussed, but it’s more than some cards will get you and can be applied near-constantly instead of only in certain specific situations. That means that the rewards that it provides could potentially add up to be more than what competitors can offer, even with its initially mediocre-looking rates. This is one reason why you should always take a closer look at what kind of spending is being rewarded and how much of that spending you actually do in a typical month before you choose any credit card for the accelerated reward categories alone!
A Great Card For Students and Beginners
The Walmart Rewards Mastercard is obviously a store-specific credit card, and despite the noted potential drawbacks of that status, that type of credit card is famous for being extremely easy to get. This one follows that pattern perfectly. You need very little income in order to be approved for it – as little as $1,000 a month will do – and you may not even need any kind of credit history depending on the circumstances. People with borderline low or middling credit can also usually get this card without too much trouble since the credit requirement is also very modest. With these two factors acting together, it’s fairly rare to be turned down for it if you’ve bothered to apply.
Generally speaking, that will only happen if your credit is so low that you would have trouble getting approved for any mass-market credit card, or if your income is too hard to verify properly (for example, if you’re self-employed). In those cases, you’ll probably need specialty products to solve your dilemma, such as a credit card intended specifically for people with bad credit or a secured card that backs up your promise to repay with a security deposit that you hand over first. That’s unfortunate, but it’s likely a temporary situation that you won’t have to deal with forever, and you can always try again for this card at a later date. For virtually anyone else, though, the Walmart Rewards Mastercard is a pretty safe bet.
Another thing that makes it very beginner-friendly is the fact that it is a free card with no annual fee attached to it, and that it costs nothing to add additional cards to your account either. This way, you and trusted friends, significant others or family members can all tap into the same line of credit as needed without having to pay any extra money just for accessing it. Interest fees still apply of course, so you’ll need to be careful about what you do with your card once you’ve got it – letting interest accrue on any purchases you make will still be costly.
Sweeten the Deal With a Small Welcome Bonus
Many credit cards come with a welcome bonus these days, and this one is no exception. This time, it’s only a small bonus, but it’s still one you’ll want to make sure you get if you do end up with this card in your wallet. You can claim up to $25 in reward dollars in total, provided that you perform certain actions first. The total amount is split into two separate payments: one of $15 that you can get for making a purchase with your card both in-store and online (you have to do one of each), and another of $10 for switching to paperless billing after your first 2 months of having the card. While these rewards aren’t massive, there isn’t much that is required of you in order to get them, so it’s hard to complain too much. It’s just a little something extra that you’ll get for choosing this card over any others you might have been considering, and it’s substantial enough that you can put it to good use right away. As credit card bonuses go, that’s decent value.
Cash Out Walmart Rewards Quickly and Easily Right In the Store
Sometimes it’s too easy to forget about your credit card rewards for months, even when you might have had a good use for them if you’d remembered you had them. While that’s not a bad thing when it helps you to build up large amounts of points and cash in for some of the better prizes eventually, it usually makes more sense to use your rewards as you go so you know you’re getting good use out of them. The only trouble is that even if you remember to look into using them, things may not be so simple as just deciding that you want to do that. Many rewards systems have very few redemption options available for low amounts of points, which effectively means that you have to wait until you have more even if you would rather get something right away. In addition to this issue, it’s also often difficult or time-consuming to redeem your points. You will usually have to log into an online portal and choose a specific reward at the very least, and on top of that, you will then usually have to wait until the processing time runs out on your request. This could be as long as 3 to 4 weeks, a frustrating amount of time to have to wait to get something that you’ve earned through your loyalty to your credit card provider. By the time that waiting period is over, you may well have forgotten about the whole thing all over again!
The Walmart Rewards Mastercard does things differently, though. As long as you have at least $5 in rewards saved up, you can cash them in at any time as you’re checking out at a Walmart store. The feature is embedded in your card and can be used at staff-manned cashier stations and self-checkout stations alike. You can apply it to anything you’ve purchased inside the store itself, although not to anything you might buy at any of the partner retailers located in the same building but in their own side establishments (think about how McDonalds locations are often tucked into a corner in a Walmart – you couldn’t use your reward dollars to buy yourself a Big Mac). That still leaves you with a lot of leeway as to how you want to use these funds, and you can do that at pretty much any time you please. This is great for those shopping runs where you suddenly remember you have reward dollars piling up in your account and think that maybe you ought to use them soon; no need to worry about remembering to do it when you get home, you can do it right there in the checkout lane.
You’ll Know If the Walmart Rewards Mastercard Is Right For You
The Walmart Rewards Mastercard is nothing extravagant, but that’s not what it’s trying to be. It’s supposed to be a very basic, simple card to help people who wouldn’t usually qualify for much in terms of credit get access to a card in the first place. It’s more than accessible enough for that purpose, and its rewards are second only to pure cash in their versatility. Low-income users and devoted Walmart shoppers in particular will want to check this card out, but it’s almost not worth recommending this card to any specific groups. If you’ve read up on it and feel compelled to apply, you know what to expect from it and will almost certainly enjoy the value and utility it provides for you.