Unless someone has been living beneath a sizeable pile of rocks for the past decade, they’ve probably heard of Amazon Prime.
Prime started out as the expedited shipping service for the warehouse-to-the-world that is Amazon.com. These days, Prime member benefits have expanded to include access to video content, streaming music service, photo storage and a Kindle lending library, to name a few.
Never one to miss out on a good deal, Bezos-the-omnipotent hath now created a credit card. What could be more lucrative for a place that counts its money with a scale than compound interest? Is this new Amazon deal actually worth it for the average consumer?
Here’s what people need to know about the Prime credit card.
Primed for Amazon
The Amazon Prime credit card is a Visa available to all Prime users. Amazon has enlisted the help of Chase Bank to be the proprietor of the card.
Since being an Amazon Prime member costs $119 per year, there’s no enrollment fee to get it. It also offers a $70 Amazon gift card for people who are approved. That makes it tempting to just open one and never use it.
Of course, the card’s features are designed to encourage it to be used on Amazon properties. Like many popular credit cards, the Prime card delivers cash back in the form of points.
The value of points from a given purchase can change depending on where the card is used, with the highest point value being 5% cash back, earned at Amazon.com or a Whole Foods Market.
Cardholders still get 2% cash back when they use it at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, and there is 1% back on all other purchases.
Also, there are no foreign transaction fees — so if someone is in a pinch for a card they can use abroad, Prime will do the job. There are, however, more travel-focused cards out there.
APR interest is a variable of 16.49% to 24.49%, and the rate on cash advances is 27.24%. Those are not anything to write home about, so this card is not ideal for those that keep large debts for a long time.
Making the Points Work
The way to maximize the benefits of this card are pretty obvious: People must shop at Amazon and Whole Foods.
For some, this card represents a good value. Getting 5% of a purchase back each time someone buys on Amazon or at Whole Foods would earn them $50 of free stuff for every $,1000 spent. The average Prime user spends around $1300 per year, which makes the card a bit of a wash.
If someone has another card they prefer, putting Amazon purchases there is probably every bit as defensible as having the Prime card.
However, it’s quite possible for someone to spend several thousands of dollars on Amazon and has a Whole Foods close by. In that case, the card could save them some money. It is possible that the price of food at a “regular” market as compared to Whole Foods would more than make up for the money back. There are high-quality goods, though, so if someone prefers this, using the card makes sense.
It is possible that the price of food at a “regular” market as compared to Whole Foods would more than make up for the money back. There are high-quality goods, though, so if someone prefers this, using the card makes sense.
Ultimately, the Amazon Prime card won’t be the next Chase Sapphire.
It’s not a go-to type of card, but it can deliver benefits no other company can if someone spends a great deal of money at Amazon or Whole Foods.
If this card fits someone’s lifestyle, then it’s a good option. For the majority of people, however, it’s not a card they necessarily need in their wallet.