Banks all over America are attracting customers with the allure of rewards credit cards.
Such cards offer exclusive perks to those who use them, with every swipe promising something in return. This takes the form of points (dollars) that can add up over time and be cashed out or go toward purchases.
The rewards card culture has fostered a mutually beneficial relationship between banks and consumers. Banks gain a competitive edge because they are offering shopping perks many of their competitors are not. For customers, they bargain that – since they have to buy gas, groceries and other goods anyway – they might as well use a payment method that keeps giving back.
But are eCommerce cards all they're cracked up to be?
Amazon believes it has recognized the power of rewards cards, partnering with Chase and Synchrony Bank. This Amazon credit card review examines some of the pros and cons.
Amazon credit card benefits and more
Amazon has four credit card options available. No. 3, the Amazon store card, is lumped into one section but offers an option for Prime and non-Prime members. For all cards, customer service is available 24 hours a day by calling the Amazon credit card phone number.
1. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Eligible Prime membership only applies to Amazon.com accounts (and not accounts on any other affiliated websites outside the U.S.) and may include, in Amazon's sole discretion:
- Annual and monthly Amazon Prime subscriptions and members of their Amazon Household (excluding Amazon Prime video subscriptions)
- Members who share Prime benefits via an Amazon Household
- Amazon Prime Fresh
- Amazon Family
- Amazon Prime Student
- Trial memberships of annual and monthly Amazon Prime subscriptions, AmazonFresh, and Amazon Prime Student (excluding Amazon Prime video subscriptions)
Interest rate: 16.49% - 24.49%*
Pros: Cardholders enjoy 5% ($0.05 per dollar) back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market. They also receive 2% ($0.02 per dollar) back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores. All other purchases receive 1% ($0.01 per dollar) back, so no purchase leaves a shopper empty-handed.
Cons: Although there are no annual or foreign transaction fees, a person must be an Amazon Prime member to qualify for this card. Therefore, they would have to invest $119 per year to meet the requirements. Because a Prime membership offers many other perks – such as free two-day shipping – this would not be considered a con to some.
Another down-side is that points earned must add up to $20 before they can be redeemed for cash value. Otherwise, the points must be used on qualifying Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.
2. Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card
Not a Prime member? No problem! There is still a place for the non-Prime sector to become an Amazon signature credit card-holder.'s Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card is all-inclusive (pending personal creditworthiness).
Interest rate: 16.49% - 24.24%*
Pros: In addition to no annual fee, this card does not require a person to spend $119 per year on an Amazon Prime membership. Those who obtain the card also receive a $60 Amazon gift card.
Cons: Spenders receive only 3% back for purchases made at Amazon.com and Whole Foods (2% less than the Prime-specific Visa). However, they still receive 2% back for purchases made at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases.
3. Amazon.com Store Card
Catering to Prime and non-Prime members alike, this Synchrony Bank card option may only be used to shop at Amazon.com. However, Prime members do receive the perk of getting 5% back on purchases.
Interest rate: 27.99%*
Pros: The interest rate of this card is steep compared to the rewards cards. Still, there is no annual fee attached to it, and a $60 Amazon gift card comes with opening a new account.
This card is most useful for those looking to make sizeable purchases that they are confident they will be able to pay off fast. That's because when $149 or more is spent, no interest is charged if paid in full within six months of the purchase date. When $599 or more is spent, buyers have 12 months to pay the money back without interest. Additionally, select Amazon purchases offer a generous 24-month deadline.
Cons: Those who are looking to take advantage of the 0% interest offers must be sure to keep an eye on the end date. If the money is not paid back by that date, all of the interest that would have incurred during the time period will be added to the overall card balance. This is called deferred interest.
Additionally, Prime members who opt for larger no-interest purchases can not simultaneously benefit from the 5% back benefit.
*All interest rates listed above may vary.
Amazon credit card credit score
In the fine print, Amazon makes all card-seekers aware that they are not a money-lending institution (hence why Chase and Synchrony Bank are involved in the mix). All applicants are subject to credit approval, and a person's credit score is a factor in determining how low of an interest rate they will receive.
As with any credit card, failure to pay a balance back will impact a person's credit score. An account holder must make their minimum monthly payments on time to avoid taking a negative hit on their credit.
Interest rates are also something to be wary of. Experimenting with different scenarios using an online interest rate calculator can help credit card prospects determine exactly how much interest they would end up paying over a period of time.
eBay is undoubtedly a top contender of Amazon's. They, too, have jumped on the credit card train.
The eBay Extras MasterCard offers an APR of 21.99%-25.99%, which can vary depending on the market. It offers a 2.5% rewards rate for gas station and restaurant purchases, which is .5% higher than the Amazon credit cards.
However, everyday purchases only get 0.83% back, and eBay and PayPal purchases only earn 1.67% back. One online review discusses the annual rewards cap, stating:
Furthermore, cardholders are limited to 50,000 rewards points per year, meaning that the most cash back you can earn in one year is $400.
Spenders can also find abundant rewards on cards that are not affiliated with ecommerce sites at all. The Citi® Double Cash Card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card are popular examples. With options like these, retailers on the Magento ecommerce platform may not feel like they are missing much when it comes to branded credit cards.
There are also a variety of credit card options that offer a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for a specific time period. And, unlike Amazon's Store Cards, some creditors let customers off scot-free if they do not pay a debt in full by the time the no-interest period ends. This means that interest does not begin accumulating until after the promotional period is over (rather than just being deferred).
Credit cards and the future of ecommerce
Moving forward, Amazon and other ecommerce sites must find ways to offer appealing deals without overly compromising profits. This balancing act could prove to be more of a challenge as time goes on.
Today's buyer knows they have options when it comes to choosing a credit card provider, and the final decision often comes down to one question: "What's in it for me?"
Are Amazon credit cards worth it for customers? Ultimately, future cardholders are the only ones who can make that call, and research is key. Learn everything there is to know about the pros and cons of Amazon credit cards before making a decision.