Earlier this month, Walmart, the world's largest retailer, announced it's changing the rewards on its Walmart Credit Card and Walmart MoneyCard credit card program, in what seems to be an effort to compete with other retailer card programs, particularly the new Costco Visa that's coming later this year.
Walmart's old credit card rewards program gave you $5 back when you spent $500--a 1% cash back bonus--and five cents off every gallon of gas purchased at Walmart gas stations.
Now the retailer's new rewards program follows a tiered rewards plan. Called the 3-2-1 Save cash back program, Walmart hopes to have simplified it enough so that it's more attractive to its cardholders. The numbers refer to the percentage back that cardholders will receive.
The top tier of rewards incentivizes cardholders to shop through the company's website, as purchases made on Walmart.com, including Site to Store orders, earn three percent cash back. If a cardholder purchases fuel at Walmart or Murphy USA gas stations, that will earn them two percent back. Finally, cardholders earn one percent back on purchases made at Walmart stores and everywhere the Walmart credit card or Walmart MasterCard is accepted. Holders of the Walmart MoneyCard will only be able to earn this one percent bonus on purchases made at Walmart.
Rewards are unlimited for those who have a Walmart credit card. Holders of Walmart MoneyCard, which is a reloadable prepaid MasterCard or Visa, will only be able to ear $75 a year in cashback rewards. Cardholders must have a MoneyCard account for 12 months before they'll be able to tap into their rewards. Walmart will apply cash rewards as a statement credit.
"We’re always looking for ways we can create and change products and services to make them even better for our customers,” said Daniel Eckert, senior vice president, services, Walmart U.S., in a statement. "The Walmart MoneyCard and Walmart Credit Card have proven to be valuable tools in our customers’ wallets, helping them manage their money for less. The new 3-2-1 Save program simplifies and strengthens the card proposition for more than 10 million cardholders and helps add even more value to their Walmart purchases no matter how they choose to shop with us."
Walmart's credit card program has been around since 1999. It's partnered with Synchrony Financial to issue the credit card and Green Dot to issue the prepaid card.
"We work closely with Walmart to meet the evolving needs of their customers, including differentiated channel rewards with expanded opportunities to save, along with special financing options for larger ticket purchases. The new 3-2-1 Save program aligns with Walmart’s mission for consumers to save money and live better,” said Tom Quindlen, executive vice president and CEO, Retail Cards, Synchrony Financial, in a statement. "We are excited about this program as it also recognizes the increasing shift toward online and mobile shopping and is the first credit card program designed to offer Walmart cardholders even greater savings on their online purchases."
Qualifying cardholders in the United States and Puerto Rico were automatically enrolled in the program at the beginning of April. New cardholders can receive special introductory financing rates on large purchases and a 10% savings on the day they open their account. This savings is good on purchases made up to $250 and is issued as a statement credit. These purchase wouldn't qualify for additional 3-2-1 rewards.
The Walmart MasterCard has three levels of interest rates, based on a cardholder's creditworthiness: 17.15%, 20.15% and 23.15%. For cash advances, the interest rate is three percentage points higher per level of creditworthiness. The Walmart Credit Card has a 23.15% variable APR and does not offer a cash advance option. Customers who receive electronic statements will also get a free monthly FICO score along with the two reasons that affect the score the most.
The Walmart MoneyCard prepaid card costs $1 and has a $5 monthly fee that can be waived if you load $1,000 or more on the card in the previous month. Other fees include a $2.50 fee for withdrawing money from an ATM or at a bank teller. ATM balance inquiries are 50 cents each. Loading money via swipe onto the card at a Walmart store will cost $3.00 and up to $4.95 at other retailers. This fee is waived if you reload with Walmart check cashing.