The Amazon Credit Builder card is a secured retail card that offers eligible borrowers cash back. It could be attractive for people looking to build or rebuild their credit, but cardholders must watch out for some potential pitfalls.
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Amazon’s new secured store credit card may help consumers with bad or thin credit improve their scores, but its unique structure makes it risky.
The Amazon Credit Builder card will feature most of the same benefits as the Amazon Store Card, such as no annual fee and access to promotional financing. But as a secured card, any new cardholder will be required to make a refundable security deposit of $100 to $1,000 that will determine the card’s credit limit.
Ted Rossman, industry analyst at CreditCards.com, noted the card’s uncommon structure.
“I’ve looked at hundreds of retail cards, and I can’t recall ever seeing a secured retail card,” Rossman said.
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Amazon secured card’s features
The Amazon Credit Builder card will deliver 5 percent cash back on Amazon.com purchases to eligible Amazon Prime members. In addition, new cardholders will receive a $10 gift card.
Consumers will also gain access to 0 percent APR financing offers on large purchases, but the card’s 28.24 percent APR is higher than the average interest rate for a retail store card.
See related: How to maximize your cash back on Amazon.com
Credit building opportunities – and a very high APR
Rossman said the new Amazon card is a solid option for people who are new to credit or rebuilding their credit after prior missteps, but there are some risks to be aware of.
It’s always important to pay your credit card bills in full, and that’s especially true with this card, Rossman added.
“The interest rate is very high – 28.24 percent – and if you fail to pay a 0 percent promotional offer in full by the time the term expires, you’ll be charged retroactive interest on the average daily balance going back all the way to the original purchase date,” he said.
But Rossman also noted that because this is a secured card, you’re by definition putting down a deposit that equals your credit line, which limits the risk to the consumer and the card issuer.
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“As long as you, the cardholder, have enough additional funds to pay your card bills in full, you should be able to improve your credit score, get your deposit back and upgrade to an unsecured card in as little as seven months,” Rossman said.
And that makes this card attractive for people looking to build or rebuild their credit.
Rossman said it’s a unique card thanks to its secured nature, the 5 percent cash back offer and the two different flavors of 0 percent interest (either 12 months of equal payments or 6-, 12- or 24- month 0 percent periods for select purchases).
“If used properly, this card can help you improve your credit while saving on interest or pocketing an attractive cash back return on items you would (hopefully) buy anyway,” Rossman pointed out.
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