If you’re a big-box store enthusiast, you’ll want to hear this. As of Feb. 1, 2016, Sam’s Club began to accept Visa credit cards as payment for in-store purchases.
Previously, the bulk retailer accepted Visa debit for in-store shopping, but not Visa credit cards. Over the years, this created a problem for shoppers who were unaware of the policy and perhaps left the “right” card at home.
This is great news for consumers who prefer to use a credit card to earn cash back or travel rewards, take advantage of certain credit-provided consumer protections, or pay off their purchases over time. And if your favorite rewards card is a Visa, it’s good to know you can now shop at Sam’s Club without signing up for a new card or relying on another form of payment.
Other Ways You Can Pay at Sam’s Club
As part of the Walmart family of stores, Sam’s Club now actually offers more ways to pay than most big-box stores. According to the retailer, consumers can use the following forms of payment for in-store purchases:
- Sam’s Club credit
- Walmart and Sam’s Club shopping cards
- Cash or check
- American Express
- Walmart credit
This new wave of options makes it easier for consumers to stick to their regular spending habits while also stocking up. Also remember, however, that an annual membership to Sam’s Club costs $45. For an enhanced membership that includes a rewards program and more benefits, the annual cost is $100.
A History of Credit Cards at Warehouse Stores
Sam’s Club isn’t the only warehouse store that has tried to dissuade customers from using certain credit cards. When sales margins are slim — as they tend to be at bulk warehouse outlets (that’s the whole point, right?) — a 2% or 3% credit card surcharge can make a big dent in profits. Some retailers are able to negotiate lower rates through exclusive partnerships, however.
For years, Sam’s Club rival Costco only accepted Discover cards – then American Express. And if you’ll remember, Costco made a bold move earlier in 2016, scrapping its longstanding exclusive relationship with American Express to enter a cozy new partnership with Visa instead. Now Costco offers a store-branded Visa credit card that works similarly to its old American Express version. Many expect this to be a boon to the retailer and its credit program since fewer retailers accept American Express and consumers tend to be shy about signing up. However, only time will tell.
How to Use This Change to Your Advantage
If you’ve shopped at Sam’s Club in the past, you know there’s value to be had in purchasing staples and supplies in bulk. Obviously, you can get even more value if you use a rewards credit card for all of your purchases, then pay it off right away.
Now that Sam’s Club accepts Visa for in-store purchases, you have a broader number of ways to earn rewards at your disposal. If you’re considering a new Visa card, the best option at the moment is probably the Chase Freedom®. With this card, you’ll get 1% cash back on all purchases, plus 5% back on your first $1,500 spent in bonus categories that rotate every quarter.
For the final stretch of 2016, October through December, the 5% category includes department stores, wholesale clubs, and drug stores. Obviously, the wholesale clubs component includes stores like Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club. Best of all, this card doesn’t charge an annual fee.
- Related: Chase Freedom® Review
Obviously, there are plenty of other rewards credit cards that would work well at big retailers like Sam’s Club. As you look forward to this change, make sure to research the top Visa credit cards and how they might benefit you.
When it comes to what benefits consumers, having more options is always better. Sam’s Club’s move to accept Visa credit cards for in-store purchases may not be Earth-shattering, but it does expand options for shoppers who want to buy in bulk with as few restrictions as possible. That’s a win for sure.
Which credit card do you use at bulk retailers? What is your favorite wholesale club?
- Best Credit Cards for 2016
- Opportunity Cost – or Why Costco and Sam’s Club Aren’t Always a Bargain
- 15 Items That Are Always Worth Buying in Bulk
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