Amazon continues to get into the credit card game with its newly launched card, the Amazon Store Card Credit Builder. The new card is directed at those who are either trying to rebuild damaged credit or those who are completely new to credit and trying to establish their credit score for the very first time. While most cards in this area tend to charge annual fees and are very lacking in the rewards that they offer, if they offer them at all, Amazon's new card takes some interesting new steps in both of these areas.
As a straight secured credit card, the Amazon Store Card Credit Builder lines up pretty well compared to other cards in its class. The card does not charge anyone an annual fee, which is a nice gift as it can be easy for banks and credit card companies to justify the yearly charge due to the risk of lending to those currently building their credit. Bring a secured card, your limit is dependent on the amount you put down as a security deposit (from $100 to $1000). This is a common practice as, like before, companies need to mitigate their risk. Security deposits are always returned to the cardholder once the card is closed (without a balance owed of course) and the cardholder moves up to a non-secured card. Amazon is offering such an upgrade to their regular Amazon Store Card in as little as 7 months if you maintain good standing with Synchrony Bank, Amazon's partner in offering the card. Managing the entire process is also easy as Amazon is providing cardholders with access to TransUnion® CreditView to track scores and run simulations to find out how to build credit even faster.
While those things alone make this a solid secured credit card, there is a whole other side to this card that takes secured credit further. Amazon is offering the same kind of rewards that its non-secured cardholders enjoy, like promotional financing from 6, 12, to 24 months on special categories, and 5% back on purchases for those with an eligible Prime membership. Actually, those with Prime will be automatically upgraded to the Amazon Prime Store Card Credit Builder so those cardholders can start earning immediately. This is not only one of the best rewards program for a secured credit card on the market but also opens Amazon up to even more potential shoppers. Amazon is also throwing in a $10 gift card (to Amazon, of course) for everyone who is approved for the card once they submit their security deposit.
The big thing to keep in mind here is that this card, being an Amazon Store Card, can only be used for purchases at Amazon.com. Most secured credit cards tend to be offered by banks and major credit card companies meaning that they can be used anywhere to help build your credit. Amazon's offering, while arguably boasting better features, can only be used at Amazon, which is limiting for those who are trying to establish or repair credit. Perhaps having a credit card that can only be used in one place is a smart move for some, but for others, it could slow down the credit building process. It's definitely something to keep in mind when making a decision on what secured card will be best for you.
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