Amazon has offered its own credit card for a while.
We’ve all seen the credit-card offer pop up in the Amazon checkout process. “Your total could be $0!” as the bolded text promises a gift card large enough to pay for all of your books, live plants or sundry items when you apply for the card.
But with so many points-laden, benefit-rich credit cards on the market right now, it was easy to ignore Amazon’s offer and stick with whatever payment method you’d been using.
The new Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is so tempting, it might get you to abandon all other shopping methods — as if you shopped anywhere else at this point.
What’s So Special About Amazon’s New Credit Card?
Amazon’s new credit card promises as much as 5% back on purchases made with the card.
Instead of getting a credit toward your balance, the reward comes back in the form of points you can redeem on future Amazon purchases.
Prime members get 5% back on Amazon.com purchases, along with 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drug stores. All other purchases get 1% back.
Every 100 points you earn converts to $1 toward future Amazon purchases. When you choose your Amazon Prime credit card as your payment method, you have the option to use a portion or all of your points toward the total.
You also receive a $70 Amazon gift card once your application is approved.
Hello, This Thing is a Trap
Amazon’s new credit card is sure to entice superfans to apply. But there’s a dark side to the rewards.
This credit card has an APR of 14.74% to 22.74%, depending on your credit health. If you’re the type to carry a balance on your credit cards, do not pass go, do not collect anything. It’s not worth the long-term risk to get these rewards.
The interest rate isn’t even the biggest red flag for this credit card. The scarier thing is that it exists at all.
Amazon has cornered us, simultaneously figuring out what we want to consume and figuring out how to make us dependent on its methods of getting those goods to us.
The retail giant does media, online storage, grocery delivery, just-about-everything-else delivery — and it’s done all that while conditioning us to expect to receive online orders in two business days or less.
I love shopping on Amazon because I love expending as little energy as possible when I shop. But I’m fully aware of how much I spend on the website, primarily due to convenience.
Would it be great to have those points to spend on future purchases? Sure, I love a bargain.
But I’m not sure I want Amazon’s hooks in me any deeper.
Your Turn: Will you apply for Amazon’s new credit card?
Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder. Yes, she has bought live plants from Amazon.