The Ultimate Best Buy Credit Card Review 2015

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IMPORTANT: Before you apply for a Best Buy credit card, you need to know the truth about this card--updated for 2015!

Card Review: Best Buy Credit Card
CardSight Rating: 2.3/5.0 stars ★★★★★

A store-specific credit card can be useful if you shop often at that store, or if you want to take advantage of a particular offer. Best Buy (BBY) fits this mold well; its credit cards, provided through a partnership with Capital One, provide the opportunity for interest-free financing during specials and rewards points that can be used toward Best Buy merchandise. However, its everyday terms don’t measure up to the best general credit cards on the market.

Note: CardSight Recommendation: There are much better credit cards available on our site than the Best Buy Credit Card. We strongly suggest the Discover® it Card (or Discover® it for Students) which has far greater benefits!

The Basics

Best Buy offers two cards: the Reward Zone credit card and the Reward Zone Platinum MasterCard. The former can be used only for Best Buy purchases, while the latter can be applied to everyday purchases as well. Both are linked to the store’s Reward Zone Program, which awards points for Best Buy purchases.

Reward Zone Credit Card

The Reward Zone credit card comes with a standard APR of 25.24% or 27.99%, based on creditworthiness. Its site states that an introductory rate of 11.99% “may be available for qualified purchases” during the first 48 months. The possible penalty rate for a late payment is 29.99%, which may apply indefinitely. The card carries no annual fee, a late payment fee up to $35, and a returned payment fee up to $25.

Reward Zone Platinum MasterCard

Best Buy’s better-qualified customers may instead receive the Platinum MasterCard, with an APR of 17.99% on purchases, which may be made at Best Buy or elsewhere. Cash advances carry a 25.99% APR, and the penalty rate is again 29.99%. The introductory rate and associated fees are the same as the Reward Zone credit card.

Cardholders may complete balance transfers from other cards for the greater of $15 or 5% of the amount transferred, plus 17.99% APR on the transferred amount. Cash advances are available for the greater of 5% of the amount advanced or $10. For money orders and traveler’s checks, the card charges the greater of $20 or 5%.

The Good

For disciplined consumers, these cards provide boons in the form of reward points and promotional financing. For example, at different times Best Buy offers interest-free financing based on the amount spent in the store. A major appliance or electronics purchase can be spread out over six to 24 months without accumulating any interest. As long as you pay off your balance every month, this lets you make major purchases without paying more over time.

Points accumulate at double the standard rate. While Reward Zone membership is available regardless of cardholder status, the accumulation jumps from one to two points per dollar. The program provides a $5 reward certificate for every 250 points, at a reward level of 4% for cardholders versus 2% for everyone else.

The Bad

Best Buy does not allow promotional purchases and bonus reward points to occur simultaneously. In other words, any no-interest financing removes the accumulation of higher points. Any free financing opportunities through another card, such as one with a 0% introductory rate through another bank, would be just as beneficial—likely with a lower interest rate after the introductory period. And while the rewards are good, they’re no more generous than other rewards programs with broader use beyond Best Buy purchases.

Plus, the interest rates on these cards are nothing special. The APR remains much higher than the best general-use cards, which may be as low as 9.99% or less. If a cardholder qualifies for a Best Buy Platinum MasterCard, they could very have obtained a superior card elsewhere. And the Best Buy Reward Zone credit card carries very high rates, almost punitive for the cardholder who cannot pay off the balance each month.

Final Analysis

A Best Buy credit card may be tempting, and for the judicious cardholder, it can provide some good benefits. However, achieving the maximum benefit requires two things: paying off the balance every month on regular store purchases, and keeping an eye out for special financing opportunities that allow you to make the biggest, most important purchases and spread out payments without accumulating interest.

As with any store credit card, overuse or failing to pay off the balance can result in huge interest charges. If you don’t usually pay off your balances every month, this card will cost much more money than the extra reward points can ever offset.

Ultimately, carrying a Best Buy credit card, whether it’s the MasterCard or the store-specific card, only makes sense for those who watch vigilantly for special financing opportunities, those who shop at Best Buy often enough for points to make a major difference, and those who pay their balances diligently. For anyone else, it makes more sense to carry a highly rated card without a store brand partnership.

Overall, we give the Best Buy credit card a rating of 2.3 out of 5 stars

The Bottom Line: In our opinion, a much better credit card choice is the Discover® it Card (or the Discover® it for Students Card) which provides superior rewards and terms.

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