If you’re a fan of electronics, Best Buy is a store you probably visit often. However, buying all the latest gadgets can get expensive. All around the store, the Best Buy Visa card is advertised as a way to finance your pricey purchases and a way to earn rewards. While that seems like a dream come true, is it what it says it is, or are there hidden factors making this card not as advertised. Below we have reviewed the card and compared it to some other popular cards so you can make an informed decision.
What is the Best Buy Credit Card?
The Best Buy credit card is a store-branded credit card that offers financing and a 5% rewards rate for purchases at the store.
The Best Buy Visa gives you the choice between earning 5% back on Best Buy purchases and potentially avoiding interest for six to 24 months with a promotional 0% financing offer. There is no annual fee for this card, but you have to be a brand-loyal customer for this card to make sense. This is not only because you aren’t guaranteed the ability to use it anywhere else, but also because rewards are in the form of Best Buy gift certificates with expiration dates. This means that all the reward points you earned can only be used towards buying things from Best Buy. To those who frequently shop at Best Buy, this may not be a problem,' but to those wanting more flexibility, this is a hard stop.
The Best Buy Visa offers fantastic rewards rates on in-store purchases and good returns on dining and grocery purchases. Cardholders are awarded 2.5 points for every $1 they spend at an affiliated store, and 1 point per $1 on net purchases made at restaurants, bars, and grocery stores.
Each point earned through the Best Buy credit cards is worth $0.02 towards a reward certificate. Best Buy states that 1,250 points can be turned into a $25 rewards certificate, which translates into $25 / 1,250 = $0.02. If you convert the points into rewards certificates, you can explicitly state the card’s rewards rate as falling between 1% and 5% (or 6% for Elite Plus members).
New card members will receive 10% back in rewards on their first purchase. So if you have a big purchase planned that you would like to put onto this credit card (without financing), the amount of money you will save will be proportional to your purchase price.
An unlimited 5% reward credit card may be scarce. However, you don't have to open a new line of credit to earn rewards with Best Buy. Their My Best Buy rewards program is free to sign-up, and earns users 1 point per $1 on all purchases, which translates to a 2% rewards rate. This option can be good for individuals with very low FICO scores, or who want to avoid opening new credit accounts.
Best Buy credit card allows you to finance certain purchases with 0% APR over a period of time. Depending on the purchase amount, you may qualify for different financing periods. 6 months for purchases over $199, 12 months for purchases over $399, 18 months for purchases over $599 and 24 months for purchases over $799.
However, choosing to finance a purchase with the Best Buy Visa card forfeits any reward points you may have earned from the purchase. Financing with this card also means that if you miss a payment or have a balance when the promotional period ends, interest charges can be applied to the entire original purchase starting from the date of the purchase, because of a feature this card has called deferred interest. So if you really want something from Best Buy that you can’t afford for another year, you should save your money for it, and get it later. That way you are far less likely to run into financial trouble with this card.
Things To Consider
5% Back On Best Buy Purchases
- You will earn 2.5 points for every $1 in Best Buy purchases charged to your card and receive a $5 reward certificate after accumulating 250 points that can only be used for more Best Buy buying.
- You earn an extra 5% back on your first purchase after account approval, as long as you make it within 14 days.
- Neither the 5% regular earning rate nor the 10% first-purchase bonus is compatible with promotional financing offers. You have to pick one or the other: rewards or promotional financing.
Up To 2% Back Elsewhere With The Best Buy Visa Card
- You will be able to earn Best Buy rewards while buying items from other merchants.
- You’ll get a 1% base rate (1 point per $2 spent) that jumps to 2% (1 point per $1 spent) for purchases made at restaurants, bars, grocery stores and gas stations and at 3% (1.5 points per $1 spent) for purchases made at membership clubs (sports, recreation, athletic), golf courses, and sporting goods stores.
Likelihood Of No Annual Fee
- The lack of a fixed cost allows you to use the Best Buy visa Card to supplement everyday rewards or 0% credit card.
- It is a good choice for cost-effective credit building.
5% Balance Transfer Fee
- The Best Buy visa card is structured to encourage new purchases more than it is to help the customer save money.
- It has a 5% balance transfer fee that acts as a deterrent to using the card to pay off an existing balance accumulated with a different credit card.
High Regular APR
The Best Buy visa card has a 26.99% (V) regular APR. That’s well above the market average for credit cards for people with good credit (19.51%) and fair credit (22.34%), which are the respective approval requirements for the card.
Confusing APR Structure
The terms state that there is a 26.99% (V) APR, but there is a footnote that indicates, that’s just the 90-day average. If this rate changes in accordance with the Prime Rate, the terms say you will be provided with information about the rates used in the previous 30 days.
Best Buy’s online credit card application includes a note at the bottom of the page that draws a distinction between variable and non-variable rates, and references other card offers without providing any necessary context. It reads, “As of the last 30 days, My Best Buy, Magnolia & Pacific Sales Credit Card Purchase APRs: variable 23.74%–28.49%, non-variable 9.00%–24.34%; My Best Buy Visa Card Purchase APRs: variable 12.49%–28.49%, non-variable 9.99%–20.24%.”
This is one of the most confusing interest rate disclosures, and you shouldn’t put yourself in a position to learn what the real rate is through experience.
Confusing Approval Process
Best Buy has 2 types of credit cards; the store card and the Visa card. Each of those cards has two variations. There’s a standard store card and a preferred store card as well as a Visa Platinum card and a Visa Gold card.You’ll first be considered for the Visa Platinum version, and if you don’t qualify, you’ll then be evaluated for the preferred store card, the standard store card, and the Visa Gold card, in that order
The visa card being the last consideration is because it has a $59 annual fee.
My Best Buy Elite Plus Members Get Added Perks
My Best Buy Elite Plus status can be achieved by spending at least $3,500 on your card in a calendar year at Best Buy and bestbuy.com. The purchases that you make after achieving this status will give you an extra 0.5 point per $1, which is the equivalent of 1% back in Best Buy’s rewards program.
Elite Plus status also gives you an extra 15 days to return or exchange items, plus free expedited shipping.
Rewards Given As Best Buy Gift Certificates
- Rewards are given in the form of points, redeemable for Best Buy gift certificates at a rate of $5 per 250 points.
- Redeeming your points is restricted to Best Buy’s products, and it makes the points susceptible to devaluation and expiration.
- After 12 months of account inactivity, you will receive $5 certificates for every 250 points you’ve earned, with any leftover amount being lost.
- The certificates expire and have a use-by date is listed on each one.
- You might have to show ID if redeeming in a store.
Card holders automatically receive free shipping on BestBuy.com purchases of at least $35.
How it Compares to other Credit Cards
We picked a couple of similar credit cards available on the market to see how they compare.
Amazon.com Credit Card
Citi® Double Cash Card
Sallie Mae Mastercard
Best Buy® Visa Card
Rewards Bonus: 10% back in rewards 3 stars
Rewards Rate: 0.5 - 2.5 points per $1 3 stars
Annual Fee: $0 $
Regular APR: 26.99% (V) 1 star
- 10% back on your first Best Buy purchase
- 5% back on all other Best Buy purchases
- No annual fee in most cases
- Deferred interest promotional financing
- Confusing application process & APR structure
- 5% balance transfer fee
Amazon.com Credit Card
The Amazon credit card is great for anyone who does a lot of online shopping. Its points are like cash because you earn at least 3% cash back on purchases, you’ll receive at least $50 as soon as you are approved for the card, and it does not charge an annual fee.
Rewards Bonus: $50 (or $70 if you’re a prime member) 4 stars
Rewards Rate: 1-3 points per dollar 3 stars
Annual fee: $0 $
Regular APR: 15.99% - 23.99% (V) 3 stars
- $50 Amazon.com gift card upon account approval
- 3% back on Amazon.com purchases
- 2% back at gas stations, restaurants and drug stores
- No annual fee
- 1% back on all other purchase categories
- Doesn't offer 0% financing
- Prime membership isn't complimentary
Citi Double Cash Card
The Citi Double cash card rewards its users with 1% cash back at the time of a purchase, and then another 1% when they pay that purchase off. It matches or beats all the rewards on the My Best Buy Visa Card. It also gives its users statement credit, which can be used to pay down any purchase on your credit card bill.
Rewards Bonus: None 0 stars
Reward Rate: 2% cash back on purchases 3 stars
Annual Fee: $0 $
Regular APR: 15.24% - 25.24%* (V) 4 stars
- Offers 1% cash back on purchases and 1% cash back on bill payments
- No annual fee
- Multiple redemption options
- No initial rewards bonus
- 3% foreign transaction fee
- Must have at least $25 in rewards to redeem
Sallie Mae Mastercard
The Sallie Mae Mastercard gives its users 5% cash back on a number of different categories including Amazon.com purchases (up to $750 each month). The Sallie Mae credit card also gives rewards in the form of statement credit.
Reward Bonus: $25 2 stars
Rewards Rate: 5% cash back on purchases 4 stars
Annual Fee: $0 $
Regular APR: 13.99% - 22.99% (V) 3 stars
- Rewards can be applied directly towards the repayment of Sallie Mae loans.
- 0% APR for first 12 months
- World MasterCard benefits
- Excellent credit score needed
- Foreign transaction fee of 3%
- 5% cash back categories have low ceilings
The Best Buy Visa Card offers great rewards with no annual fee and a generous bonus. However, the card doesn’t offer much when it comes to how you can spend your rewards, and it has a high APR (25.24%) which makes this card useful for a select few individuals. It’s good for someone who shops at Best Buy frequently, that has fair credit, and is looking for good rewards but not so appealing to people who want flexible rewards or anyone who doesn't pay their credit card bill in full each month. Taking that into consideration the Best Buy Visa gets 2 stars from us. The rewards are useful but only to people loyal to Best Buy, and that restricts the customer pool.