- User Rating: OK
Pros:Can use at Sam's Club or Walmart; quick-moving customer service
Cons:High interest, Poor communication
The Bottom Line: This card is okay if you want to use a credit card in order to pay at Sam's Club, but it comes at a high rate.
One day, when we were at Sam's Club, a lady walking around with a clipboard asked if I wanted to apply for a Sam's Club credit card. Since Sam's Club does not accept Visa or Mastercard credit cards, my husband and I decided it wouldn't hurt to have a credit card available for purchases there. I signed her little application and she told me I would find out in a couple of weeks if I was approved or not.
Some Basics About the Card
The Sam's Club credit card is easy to apply for, and you can do so in the store or on their website. Since it is a charge card, it can only be used at Sam's Club and Walmart (since they have the same owners). Your membership card for Sam's Club also serves as your credit card, so it gives you the convenience of having one less card to carry around in your wallet. Since your picture is on your membership/credit card, fraud is pretty unlikely. The card has no annual fee, but Sam's Club will bill your membership fee to the card.
...The Rest of My Story
Well, I never received any notification from Sam's Club saying I was approved or disapproved, and I wasn't concerned about it, because I always had enough money in my checking account to cover my purchases there. Fast forward a few years to my husband and I refinancing our house, and I found my score had dropped 100 points. Apparently, I had a delinquent notification with a collection from Sam's Club for $35. I didn't even know I had a Sam's Club card!
So, here's what happened...I was automatically approved for the card but never told. I never received a card in the mail because your membership card also serves as your credit card. I later moved and, while I changed my address with Sam's Club and received all their correspondence, I did not receive mail from the credit card, since it is managed by another company, Monogram Credit. When it was time to renew my Sam's Club membership, Sam's automatically billed the renewal fee to my credit card. Since I never received a statement, I never paid it. Although the card never appeared on my credit report in that time period, once I didn't pay my bill, they promptly reported the delinquency to the credit bureaus.
While I completely disagree with the way the card was issued to me without my knowledge, I have to compliment Monogram Credit Card Bank on their customer service. They explained what happened to me and apologized. They also immediately sent me a letter explaining that the delinquency was reported in error and that the account was closed, which I forwarded to the three credit reporting agencies, and my credit was fixed within 40 days. I am impressed by the efficiency with which the situation was handled, and by the fact that they did not make me jump through hoops to remedy the situation.
The circumstances of my situation only succeeded in showing me how poor the communication is in regards to the Sam's Club Credit Card. At some point I should have received a letter of some sort notifying me that I was approved for the card and what my limit was. I also should have been told at the time of applying that my membership card would double as my credit card, and that my membership fee would be billed to the card.
While my situation was (hopefully) a rare occurrence, I am hesitant to recommend the card for other reasons. Last I checked, the interest rate was around 19%. That is a rate I can only justify having on a card if you will be able to pay off the balance every month. And if you can pay the balance in full, why not just use your debit card? If you really need a credit card for purchases there, you can probably get a better rate at Discover, the only major credit card accepted at Sam's Club.
Overall, the Sam's Club Credit Card can be convenient for people who shop there, but the poor communication and high rate lead me to believe it is not the best option. As such, I don't recommend it.
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