Sam’s mastercard rewards

MasterCard credit cards to be accepted at Sam's Club

MasterCard-branded credit cards will soon become another form of accepted payment at Sam's Club, following an expected announcement shortly from the chain of warehouse-style discount stores. The first-ever acceptance of MasterCard credit card payments by Sam's Club will come at the exclusion of Visa credit cards.

Sam's mastercard rewardsThat decision marks a victory for MasterCard in its ongoing struggle with Visa, as the two credit card associations compete for market share. Visa is gearing up to become a publicly traded company, after MasterCard's stock went public this year.

Meanwhile, the announcement by Sam's Club also would represent a major change for the unit of Wal-Mart Stores, with the 589 Sam's Club stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada previously only taking credit card payments from Discover Card and its own in-house cards.

Sam's Club takes Visa and MasterCard credit cards for gasoline and online purchases. Customers can also make purchases at Sam's Club locations with cash, checks and both Visa and MasterCard debit cards. American Express credit cards are not accepted.

The decision by Sam's Club to accept MasterCard but not Visa credit card payments is rare since retailers generally do not choose between the two dominant credit card associations. Those stores that want to limit their credit card brand acceptance normally group Visa and MasterCard together, and consider them as a unit against American Express, with its strong reputation but higher merchant fees, and Discover Card, with its narrower acceptance.

The addition of MasterCard may help Sam's Club to draw customers who want to pay by credit card but do not carry Discover Card, at a time when U.S. consumers are paying with plastic more frequently. Sam's Club noted that customers have been requesting that it offer more credit card payment choices.

Additionally, allowing its 47 million customers, who pay annual dues of $35, to pay with a MasterCard could give Sam's Club a much-needed lift as the retailer is losing ground domestically to rival Costco Wholesale. To begin catching up, Sam's Club needs bigger sales, with another payment option likely to support that effort.


How the Sam's Credit Card Works: Benefits and Rewards (WMT)

Sam's mastercard rewards

Sam's mastercard rewards

Sam’s Club is a membership-only retail warehouse club that is a division of Walmart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT). The first store opened in Oklahoma in 1983, and as of March 2016, there were 653 clubs across the United States and Puerto Rico. There are three types of Sam's Club membership programs available to the public: the Sam’s Savings, Sam’s Business and Sam’s Plus.

How a Sam’s Club Credit Card Works

Sam’s Club offers four different credit cards to its members. The Sam’s Club Credit Card can be used for in-club purchases and is offered to both individual and business members. It can be used at any Sam’s Club or Walmart location, and can be accessed online at www.samsclub.com/credit. There is no annual fee, and the card can also be used as a membership card.

Sam’s Club also offers both an individual and business MasterCard credit card. This card has the same benefits as the in-club credit card, but can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted. The card also gives its users price protection up to 60 days and identity theft resolution services. The MasterCard credit cards are managed and serviced by Synchrony Financial (NYSE: SYF).

Signing up for any of these credit cards requires a Sam’s Club membership. There are three types of membership options. The most basic option is the Sam’s Savings for a fee of $45. Businesses can join using the Sam’s Business card, which allows up to eight cards for employees. The Sam’s Plus card has the most benefits available to members and can be purchased by individuals or businesses for $100.

Once membership is attained, applicants can apply for a credit card in-store or online. Personal information is required, and approval is dependent on a credit check.

Sam’s Club Rewards and Benefits

When applicants apply for the non-business consumer credit card options and make a $100 purchase on the same day, they are eligible for a $40 statement credit, valid through Dec. 31, 2016.

Other than the $40 statement credit, the in-club credit cards do not offer any benefits or rewards when used. The Sam’s Club MasterCard credit cards offer the 5-3-1 deal. Cardholders can get up to 5% back from gas purchases made at Sam’s Club for up to $6,000 spent, then 1% after. There is also 3% cash back on dining and travel and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Cardholders can get additional rewards and benefits by upgrading their membership to the Sam’s Plus for an additional $55. Sam’s Plus members get access to early shopping hours, the Extra Value Drug List, Optical Plus member benefits, add-on memberships and an extra protection service plan. However, the biggest benefit is the cash rewards program, which gives members $10 for every $500 spent in qualifying purchases, up to $500 annually. These rewards can be used toward purchases, membership fees, or be redeemed for cash.

Who Benefits the Most From a Sam’s Club Card?

Any Sam’s Club member looking for a credit card to use within the store would benefit from using one of the Sam’s Club credit cards. However, members would benefit more by specifically applying to one of the Sam’s Club MasterCard credit cards. The benefits on gas, dining and travel, as well as all other purchases, could result in a fair amount of cash back to the member when used. To maximize all available benefits, members should get both the Sam’s Club MasterCard and the Sam’s Plus membership.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) is the largest competitor to Sam’s Club. Costco offers its own credit card to its members, called the Costco Anywhere Visa Card. The card gives members 4% cash back on gas, 3% cash back on restaurants and travel, 2% cash back on all Costco purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Another wholesale club chain is BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc., which also offers credit cards to its members. The BJ’s Perks Elite card gives its members savings of 10 cents on BJ’s gas, 5% back on most in-club purchases, 2% back on dining out and non-BJ’s gas, and 1% on all other purchases.

The Sam’s Club credit card has an APR of 23.15%, and the Sam’s Club MasterCard has an APR of either 15.15% or 23.15%, depending on the applicant’s credit worthiness.

Upon approval, applicants may get the $40 statement credit if a single-receipt purchase of $100 is made the same day. Cash advances, gift card sales, alcohol, tobacco and pharmacy purchases are excluded as part of the $100 total purchase. The $40 credit appears within one to two billing cycles.


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