Amazon Visa Card Warning

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Amazon Visa Card Warning

Postby CreditCardGuru » Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:39 pm

Is the Amazon Visa card the best choice for rewards? This review will show you the good, the bad, and the ugly for 2014. Read before you apply.

mailing received for my Amazon Visa account
Offer Overview For December 2013:

The Good? 3x points (equal to 3% rebate) for purchases.
The Bad? Only 1x point (equal to 1%) for non-category spending.
The Ugly? For what seems like eternity, the signup bonus has only been a measly $30.

Can You Do Better? Probably. Unless you're using it exclusively for their website purchases, you may be missing out since the average you earn (across all your spending) will be closer to 1%. Furthermore, if you're going to apply for a new card you should expect more than a $30 bonus.

Depending on your spending patterns, either of these will probably net you a higher rebate overall, especially the one from Barclays since it earns the equivalent of 2.2% on everything (2 miles/dollar base, plus 10% of your miles to re-use again after redemption = 2.2% total).

That being said, I am not belittling the Chase Amazon Visa. Since each point equals a penny, it's a very transparent rewards program. They don’t screw around with the point value and there’s no minimum for redemption (an improvement over the $25 minimum previously imposed by Chase). Now the points can be cashed out – in any increment – during checkout for a discount/rebate when shopping on their site.

It’s all gravy, right? Not so fast…

You need to be aware of the fact that while it's true this card has a straightforward redemption for rewards, you’re not going to be earning the most bang for your buck.

Part One: Amazon Purchases
For they give 3 points per dollar spent. You don’t have to be a math wiz to figure out that’s a 3% rebate, which is pretty good.

However, the crazy thing is that it’s not the best Visa card for Amazon purchases!

There is a a little-known strategy you can employ to earn 5x points (or 5%) when you shop on their website thanks to a different Visa card that exists. How is that even possible? By getting a 5% rebate when you buy Amazon gift cards. Here's how you can use this trick to earn 5%.

Part Two: Gas, Restaurants, and Drugstores
There’s no doubt that earning 2 points per dollar on these categories is a nice touch. But how does the Amazon Visa rewards card measure up against what else is out there? Let's review...

  • Gas – There are gas cards that give up to 3% cash back year round. Some even give 5% for part of the year. Conclusion? The Amazon card isn't the best, but it’s still better than plain ol’ 1%.
  • Restaurants – Not many cards give extra rewards on dining. The Sapphire gives 2x points at restaurants. But these points have the ability to be worth more than 2%, because with the Preferred version you can for travel that's worth more.
  • Drugstores – Years ago this was a popular category on credit cards but not so much these days. I think it’s because people realize only a tiny percentage of their spending was at drugstores. But if you spend a lot at them, then the 2x points with the Visa Amazon is about as good as you can do (I’m excluding cards that give 5% on rotating categories, since those don’t include drugstores year ‘round).
Part Three: Everything else
The 1 point per dollar on everything else is fair. After all, earning 1% is pretty typical these days.

But if you want to do better, you certainly can. This card earns travel rewards worth 2% on all purchases, making it the best choice for your non-Amazon and non-category purchases.

Part Four: The Signup Bonus
What about the statement credit for new accounts? I applied for the Amazon Visa card nearly 8 years ago (in 2005) and guess what I got? A measly $30 statement credit.

Guess what they’re still offering in 2013? A $30 statement credit!

This thirty dollar promo for new accounts has been around for as long as I can remember. Since they've been doing it for so many years, there's certainly no rush to apply for it. And if you're waiting for a better off from them, that's unlikely to given that it's been stuck at $30 for 8 years running.

On the other hand, these signup promotions worth up to $400 and higher won’t stick around forever.

Part Five: The interest rates
As you are well aware, interest rates are always subject to change, but while I was writing this I took a look on their site to see what they were (all are Variable APRs).

  • Purchases: 19.24% or 22.24% (which one you get depends on your credit) for the Platinum and 14.24% for the Signature. The latter isn't horrendous, but the first two are.
  • Balance Transfers: same as above
  • Cash Advances: If the account has the 22.24% APR, then the cash advance rate is 23.24%. For others, the rate is 19.24%.
  • Default APR: up to 29.99%
What have I liked and disliked about the Amazon Chase Visa?
Since I’ve had it for several years, I’m definitely the appropriate person to be writing an Amazon Visa card review. When I first got it, I loved the 3 points. But now that better offers have came along, eventually I just stopped using the card regularly.

Should you get the card?
Although I still have the card, for me personally it doesn’t make sense to use anymore. The rewards on Amazon purchases are actually good, but surprisingly not the top payout. And since less than 3-4% of my total annual spending is on their site, it doesn’t make sense for me to use the Amazon Rewards Visa as my everyday card since the payouts on the other categories aren’t top dollar.

What’s the lesson here? Be warned… a store loyalty card doesn’t always give you the best rewards at its own store!
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Beware Amazon visa charges for services you don't ask for

Postby JenC » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:42 am

When I received my first Amazon Visa Card statement I found a charge for their Amazon Prime Service, which I did not request nor do I need! When I called about this unauthorized charge, they had prerecorded information on how to cancel in the info leading up to getting a agent.

When I got a rep on the phone they touted it as a "BENEFIT" of having the Amazon card. IT IS NOT A "BENEFIT" IF I AM PAYING FOR IT AND CHARGED WITHOUT CONSENT! HOW IS THIS LEGAL??? If anyone else would have charged my card without my consent, it would be fraud. They reversed the charge but how many people just didn't look at their statement and were charged without their knowledge????

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Postby Bksuper » Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:58 pm

The Citi Forward card (for college students only, now discontinued to new applicants) categorizes Amazon Kindle Services/Digital Services and Purchases as a book store (and maybe amazon prime renewals but im not sure, havent tested). However, it only gives 1 point per dollar towards amazon marketplace (where it is being sold on behalf of a 3rd party) orders that are not books, and I suspect Amazon Prime Renewals. The Amazon card gives you 3% across the board, so why not have both if you're a college student? The Forward can be used for kindle purchases and orders sold and fulfilled by amazon, along with entertainment, other music/book stores, and restaurants, while the Amazon card can be used for Prime Renewal and Amazon Marketplace orders. Another thing to keep in mind is that even when it is a book store on the forward, 5 TY Points != 5% CB. It will range from 3-5% CB in value and require redemption for non-cash rewards in large intervals of points. The delta won't be so high.

Update: The Forward card no longer has 5x points categories. Now it only gives 1 point per dollar.
Sole Ownership Cards:
1st Financial Bank Platinum Student Visa, $500 CL, Open Since 3/2012
Citi Forward Student Visa, $6k CL, Open Since 10/2012
Costco TrueEarnings Amex, $6k CL, Backdates to 1/2012
SallieMae Rewards Barclay Mastercard, $2.5k CL, Open Since 4/2013
Jointly Owned Cards (co-owner with mom, not AU, used and paid only by me):
Chase Amazon Rewards Visa Signature, $2k CL, Open Since 8/2012
US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature, $13.5k CL, Open Since 10/2012
Authorized User (Parents Pay/Use)
Costco TrueEarnings Amex $29.4k CL, AU since 11/2012

Money card
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Postby Money card » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:11 pm

This is not my favorite card to suggest to anybody. between 2 cards I would rather have Barnes and nobles than this card.

I know I don't have any of the 2 but I'm just saying.

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What a mess

Postby bradleydad » Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:14 pm

It would seem Chase makes it difficult or impossible to make initial payment so they may collect late fees.

I was dumb enough to sign up for the $30 reward. It took me from April until June to learn what my account number is and to make a payment. They never sent a statement. They wouldn't provide support without a card number, which I hadn't received yet. This mess took endless calls to resolve. :mad:

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