Does the Walmart Credit Card Approve Bad Credit?

Does the Walmart Credit Card Approve Bad Credit?
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Adam West
By: Adam West
Posted: May 13, 2019
Our popular “How-To” series is for those who seek to improve their subprime credit rating. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines.

Walmart is the place where millions of American consumers shop when they want to save money. As the largest retailer in the country by a wide margin, Walmart has the volume and scale to offer consistently low prices on just about everything we need. But how well does this retail behemoth do when it comes to credit cards?

Consumers can choose between two Walmart-branded cards; a Walmart Mastercard® that can be used anywhere that accepts the Mastercard logo, and a Walmart Credit Card that can only be used at Walmart stores, Sam’s Club stores, online at Walmart.com, and at Murphy USA gas stations.

Each card has different approval criteria, and one will accept applicants with less-than-perfect credit scores.

Walmart Credit Card | Walmart Mastercard | Alternatives | FAQs

There are 2 Walmart Cards, But Only 1 Approves Bad Credit

While the cards differ in where they can be used, they both have similar features and benefits.

Each offers cash back rewards and no annual fee. The cash back rewards are a little sparse, and the highest bonuses only apply to purchases made online at Walmart.com. Late fees and interest rates tend to be on the high side compared to similar cards.

Still, if you’re a regular shopper at Walmart, one of these cards may make sense to carry.

If you regularly shop online at Walmart.com, the 3% cash back you get from either card can be a decent incentive. But if your credit score resides in the range of poor to fair, there’s really only one option for you.

Walmart Credit Card: Bad Credit OK

Store credit cards traditionally have lower barriers to approval, and the Walmart Credit Card is no different.

Walmart Credit CardThis card has flexible minimum requirements and is intended for consumers with subprime credit scores who don’t meet the approval criteria for the Walmart Mastercard.

Here are some of the features and restrictions for this card:

  • Can only be used in Walmart or Sam’s Club stores, online at Walmart.com, or at Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations
  • Walmart’s 3.2.1 Save Rewards cash back program offers 3% on purchases from Walmart.com, 2% on gas at Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations, and 1% on in-store purchases
  • All cash back rewards are in the form of a credit on your next month’s statement.
  • Receive a one-time $25 statement credit when you open a new account and spend $75 the same day
  • Purchase APR of 25.15%
  • No annual fee

The meager 1% cash back on in-store purchases makes this card a relatively poor choice unless you have no other card option. In addition, the initial credit limit can be very low — especially for individuals with bad credit.

Walmart Mastercard®: 650+ Credit Score Needed

The Walmart-branded Mastercard is a true credit card that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted worldwide. A credit score in the ‘good’ range — at least 650 — is required for this card.

Walmart Mastercard®There is only one Walmart credit application, so if you apply and are not approved for a Walmart Mastercard, you may be offered a Walmart Credit Card instead. You will need to decide if that card meets your needs, as it can only be used for Walmart-related purchases.

Here are the primary features of the Walmart Mastercard:

  • Can be used for purchases anywhere Mastercard is accepted
  • Cash back rewards of 3% on purchases from Walmart.com, 2% on gas at Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations, and 1% on all other purchases
  • All cash back rewards are in the form of a credit on your next month’s statement
  • Receive a one-time $25 statement credit when you open a new account and spend $75 the same day
  • Purchase APR of 19.15%, 22.15%, or 25.15% depending on creditworthiness. Up to 28.15% for a cash advance.
  • No annual fee

The Walmart Mastercard is issued by Synchrony Financial, which has a customer service reputation that is dubious at best. Negative reviews of this card online are a reflection of this poor record. Combine this with the meager 1% cash back for in-store purchases, and we think there are better credit card options out there to consider.

10 Better Cards for Bad Credit

If you’re looking for a versatile credit card, even if you have bad credit, plenty of other options are available. Credit cards from Visa, Mastercard, and Discover are accepted just about anywhere, including at Walmart. And, many of these cards have rewards and incentive programs that are, quite frankly, superior to those offered by Walmart.

Here are some we recommend for consumers with bad credit.

  • Checking account required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • A genuine Visa card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • If approved, simply pay a program fee to open your account and access your available credit
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 Minutes See terms Yes 8.5/10

Credit cards for people with bad credit aren’t the cheapest or most flexible cards around, but they do offer an easy application and fast approval process. The Total Visa® Card is a prime example of this. You will need to have a checking account and are required to pay a program fee upon approval, as well as an annual fee of $75 the first year and $48 a year after that.

But since your payments will be reported to the credit bureaus, you have the opportunity to raise your credit score and qualify for a credit card with better features down the road. And, since this is a Visa-branded card, it can be used at Walmart or anywhere that accepts Visa.

2. Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Issued by one of the largest and most reputable credit card companies in the U.S., the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is a great choice for someone with bad credit.

Capital One® Secured Mastercard

  • No annual fee
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Helps build credit when used responsibly

This secured card offers an initial minimum credit line of $200, and a maximum approved line of $1,000. The minimum security deposit is either $49, $99, or $200, based on credit history and financial information you provide. And since this card bears the Mastercard logo, you can use it at Walmart or any other place that accepts Mastercard.

  • Easy application! Get a credit decision in seconds.
  • Build your credit history – Fingerhut reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • Use your line of credit to shop thousands of items from great brands like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
  • Not an access card
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 Minutes See issuer website Yes 9.0/10

Most people know Fingerhut as a mail-order catalog selling a wide variety of products. Well, today’s Fingerhut is a popular online retailer with thousands of products at very competitive prices. The Fingerhut Credit Account is a card that works just like a credit card for making purchases from the extensive online list of products.

A Fingerhut card is also a great way to help you establish or rebuild your credit, as payments are reported to all three credit bureaus. Although this card can’t be used at Walmart, it can help you lift your score enough to qualify for a traditional credit card. The APR for purchases is rather high, so it’s best not to carry a balance on this card.

  • Get the security and convenience of a full-feature, unsecured Visa® Credit Card – accepted at millions of merchant and ATM locations nationwide and online
  • Reporting monthly to all three major credit reporting agencies
  • Perfect credit not required for approval; we may approve you when others won’t
  • Easy and secure online application
  • If approved, pay a Program Fee and you can access the $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 Minutes See Terms Yes 8.0/10

The First Access® Solid Black Visa® Credit Card is an option for those with poor credit that provides all the benefits of the Visa network, meaning you can use it anywhere. It reports monthly to all three credit reporting agencies, so it can help you rebuild credit, and it accepts even those with really bad scores.

On the downside, it comes with a high APR and some pretty substantial fees, including a one-time program fee of $89, an annual fee of $75 the first year, and $48 a year after that, and finally, a monthly servicing fee of $6.25 that kicks in after the first year. The upside is that you can use this card for Walmart purchases or anything else, and it can help you build credit if you use it responsibly.

  • All credit types welcome to apply
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Use your card at locations everywhere that Mastercard® is accepted
  • Free online account access 24/7
  • Checking Account Required
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 Minutes See terms Yes 8.5/10

The Surge Mastercard® welcomes individuals of all credit types to apply for this card. This card is advertised as one designed to help build, rebuild, or reestablish credit for people who make monthly on-time payments and maintain balances below the credit limit.

The card is unsecured, but if your credit score is really poor, approval may be contingent upon a $50, $100, $150, or $500 refundable security deposit. This is known as a partially secured card. The Surge Mastercard comes with a high APR, an annual fee, and monthly maintenance fees, so we don’t recommend holding on to this card for long. When your credit begins to improve, move on to a card with fewer fees.

  • Applying is quick and easy with a fast decision process
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • 24/7 access to your account information, even on mobile
  • Card designs to fit your personality at no extra charge
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.2

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 24.9% Yes 9.0/10

As an unsecured credit card — meaning no deposit is required to get approved — the Milestone® Mastercard® is well worth considering if you have poor credit. You can prequalify for this card online quickly with no impact to your credit score, and receive an instant decision on your approval.

Initially, your credit line is limited to $300 and comes with an annual fee of $35, $59, or $75, depending on your creditworthiness. Still, this credit-building card can be used anywhere that accepts Mastercard — including Walmart — and may be just what you need to help you get your credit score back on track.

  • Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
  • All credit histories considered
  • Online servicing available 24/7 at no additional cost
  • Unsecured credit card, no security deposit required
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.2

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 Minutes 24.9% Yes 8.0/10

This card approves those with bad credit or even a bankruptcy in their credit history. For someone seeking a full-featured credit card backed by the Mastercard network, the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® is a good choice. You could pay a $0 annual fee, $59, or $75, depending on your creditworthiness. Subsequent annual fees can be as high as $99, and the APR is also on the higher side.

Still, if you want a card that will help you establish better credit and you don’t need more than the $300 credit line to start with, this may be a good card for you. It also offers custom card designs you can choose at no extra charge, and you can pre-qualify with no hit to your credit score.

8. Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa®

Like the idea of carrying around a platinum card, but think you lack the credit score? Well, the Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa® could be the right card for you. With no minimum credit score requirement, even those with the worst credit scores can qualify.

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa®

  • 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases
  • Free online access to your Experian credit score
  • Automatic account reviews for credit line increases
  • Customizable account notifications

You do need to have a verifiable income, but, if approved, you’ll have access to at least the minimum $300 credit line. This card comes with an annual fee of $0 to $75 the first year and $0 to $99 each year thereafter depending on your creditworthiness, in addition to monthly account fees.

9. Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

When you have bad credit, your main objective should be to focus on the process of rebuilding it. The Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® for Rebuilding Credit is exactly what it sounds like — a card that lets you work on rebuilding your credit score while giving you all the benefits of a full-featured Visa credit card.

Credit One Bank®Unsecured Visa®

  • 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases
  • Free online access to your Experian credit score
  • Automatic account reviews for credit line increases
  • Customizable account notifications

The biggest benefit of this credit-rebuilding card is that you can check your Experian credit score online and access your credit report summary. This lets you track your progress and see just where you stand. You do need to pay close attention to credit utilization, though, as you can quickly reach the initial limit of $300.

10. Discover it® Secured

If you’re still unable to obtain a credit card due to your poor credit history, there’s an alternative to consider. The Discover it® Secured card is one of the best examples of a low-fee and full-featured credit card.

Discover it® Secured

  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter
  • Can be used anywhere Discover is accepted
  • No annual fee

This card requires a minimum $200 security deposit that is fully refundable, and you get to choose the deposit amount you want up to the credit line amount you’re approved for. Plus, Discover will automatically match all the cash back rewards you earn in your first year. You can also view your FICO® Score for free online or on your mobile device.

How Long Does it Take to Get Approved for a Walmart Card?

If you do decide to apply for a Walmart Mastercard or store card, you have a number of ways you can do it.

If you’re already at the register with your purchases, you can apply right there — provided you don’t mind the glares you get from the customers behind you in line. It takes just a few minutes and is even faster if you have another credit card available the clerk can scan for your initial information.

Screenshot from the Synchrony Bank websiteA second way to apply is at a Walmart jewelry counter, where they’re set up to take applications and process them on the spot. This way will give you more time, and probably less stress, than at the checkout register. Either way, you will need a valid photo ID. In most cases, the decision will be made in seconds.

Remember, there is only one application for a Walmart card, and if you’re not approved for the Mastercard, you may be offered a Walmart store card instead.

In some instances, you may be asked to call an approval line if not enough information is available regarding your credit history or personal information.

If you do apply in-store and are approved, you’ll be given a temporary shopping pass that is good for 24 hours only at the store where you applied. A current promotion offers new card recipients a $25 credit when they spend at least $75 within the first 24 hours of approval.

You can also apply for a Walmart card online or via the Walmart mobile app. Once approved, you’ll receive a code that will act as your temporary shopping pass. You can expect to receive your physical card within seven to 10 business days.

How Do I Find Out if My Card Application was Approved?

In many cases, the approval process for getting a Walmart card takes just a few seconds, but instant approval is not guaranteed. If you have good to excellent credit and meet or exceed the requirements for approval, you’ll know on the spot. However, if Synchrony Bank (the card issuer) needs more time to verify your application, it could take up to a week to hear back from them.

To check whether your application has been approved, you can call Walmart Credit Services at 1-877-969-3668. You’ll need to provide some personal information to verify you are the applicant.

If approval is delayed, it may be because you don’t meet one or more of the instant-approval requirements. The basic requirements are that you are at least 18 years of age, have a U.S. mailing address, and possess a valid Social Security number.

Other reasons you may not be instantly approved include:

  • Having a credit score below the minimum required — usually around the low- to mid-600s for the Walmart store card and nearing 700+ for the Walmart Mastercard.
  • Entries on your credit report that indicate a pattern of missed payments, especially recently. Collection accounts and charge-offs are also likely grounds for denying approval. Check your credit report for errors and dispute any entries that aren’t valid or don’t belong to you.
  • If your credit history is too recent or shows too little information to verify your past payment history or creditworthiness, this could also cause a delay or denial of your application.

If denied, it is generally advised to wait at least six months before reapplying.

Where is the Walmart Card Accepted?

Both the Walmart Credit Card and the Walmart Mastercard are accepted at any Walmart or Sam’s Club stores, Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations, and online at Walmart.com. But those are the only places you can use the Walmart Credit Card, which is essentially a store card.

Logos of places the Walmart Credit Card is accepted

The Walmart Mastercard, on the other hand, can be used anywhere that accepts cards with the Mastercard logo. This includes businesses and retail locations throughout the U.S. and in more than 200 countries around the world. That’s because the Walmart Mastercard is a true credit card with all the advantages that carries.

Other benefits of a Mastercard-branded credit card include things like purchase protection, theft and loss coverage, travel insurance, available rental car insurance, security and privacy protections, and a lot more.

While the Walmart store card does have benefits, such as getting 3% cash back on Walmart.com orders and 2% cash back on gas at Walmart or Murphy USA stations, the Walmart Mastercard is simply more flexible overall.

One way to make your Walmart Credit Card work better for you is to use it for purchases you make online, and then simply go to your local Walmart store for pickup. This works for groceries and any in-stock merchandise purchased on the Walmart website.

This way, you can take advantage of the 3% cash back for online purchases using your Walmart card, while still enjoying the convenience of immediate pickup.

The Bottom Line: Known for Deals, but Not its Credit Cards

Walmart shoppers tend to fall into a wide range of financial situations and credit types. Saving money on everyday items is a good thing no matter what your credit score looks like, right? As the largest retailer in the world, Walmart has a lot to offer value-conscious consumers.

But when it comes to credit cards, we think you have better choices out there. With just 1% cash back rewards on most purchases, the value just doesn’t carry over to the company’s credit offerings. And even qualifying for the Walmart Credit Card isn’t guaranteed for someone with questionable credit.

With a little searching for the best credit card recommendations for bad credit, even the most challenged consumer can find better offers. Many cards will also help you focus on rebuilding your credit so you can gain access to some of the premium cards out there.

While you can generally find a Walmart store nearly anywhere in the U.S. and in 27 countries around the world, you can find better credit cards elsewhere. Let the retail juggernaut offer low prices, while you focus on the best credit card deals.