Co-branded credit cards are credit cards that are issued by a financial institution in partnership with a retail company, airline, hotel, or other organization. These cards bear both the logo of the financial institution and the logo of the partner company. Co-branded credit cards offer rewards and benefits that are specific to the partner company, in addition to the benefits of a standard credit card.
The concept of co-branded credit cards began in the 1980s, when airlines and hotels began offering their own branded credit cards in partnership with major credit card companies. Today, co-branded credit cards are available for a wide range of companies, including major retailers, gas stations, and even sports teams.
How do co-branded credit cards work?
Co-branded credit cards work in much the same way as standard credit cards. Cardholders can use their co-branded credit card to make purchases at any merchant that accepts the card network (e.g. Visa or Mastercard). However, co-branded credit cards offer additional rewards and benefits for purchases made at the partner company.
For example, a co-branded credit card with an airline might offer extra frequent flyer miles for every dollar spent on airline tickets, or free checked bags when flying with that airline. A co-branded credit card with a retailer might offer cash back or discounts for purchases made at that retailer, or special financing options for big-ticket purchases.
Co-branded credit cards may also come with an annual fee, which covers the cost of the extra rewards and benefits offered by the card. Some co-branded credit cards may also have higher interest rates than standard credit cards, so it is important to carefully read the terms and conditions before applying.
How to get a co-branded credit card
Getting a co-branded credit card is similar to getting a standard credit card. The first step is to choose the co-branded credit card that is best for you based on your spending habits and the rewards and benefits offered by the partner company.
Once you have selected a co-branded credit card, you can typically apply for the card online or in-person at a branch of the issuing store. The application process is similar to that of a standard credit card, and will typically require a credit check and proof of income.
If you are approved for the co-branded credit card, you will receive the card in the mail and can begin using it to make purchases.
Are co-branded credit cards worth it?
Whether or not a co-branded credit card is worth it depends on your spending habits and the rewards and benefits offered by the partner company. If you frequently shop at the partner company, or travel frequently with the partner airline or stay at partner hotels, a co-branded credit card can be a great way to maximize your return and earn extra rewards and benefits.
However, if you do not frequent the partner company, a co-branded credit card may not be the best option for you. Additionally, some co-branded credit cards may come with higher annual fees or interest rates than standard credit cards, so it is important to carefully read the terms and conditions before applying.
Popular co-branded credit cards
There are many different co-branded credit cards available, each offering unique rewards and benefits. Here are some popular co-branded credit cards and the rewards and benefits they offer:
Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®
The Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard is a co-branded credit card that offers rewards on purchases made at Walmart and elsewhere. Cardholders can earn 5% cash back on purchases made at Walmart.com, including grocery pickup and delivery, and on purchases made through the Walmart app. They can also earn 2% cash back on purchases made at Walmart stores and at Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations, as well as 1% cash back on all other purchases. The Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard has no annual fee.
To apply for the Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard, you typically need a good credit score of 670 or higher.
Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card
The Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card offers one of the top rewards rates for frequent Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market shoppers. Cardholders can earn 3% cash back on purchases made at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2% cash back on purchases made at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The card also has no annual fee.
For those who are approved for the card with an eligible Amazon Prime membership, the introductory bonus is a $100 Amazon.com gift card instead of the usual $60.
To apply for the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, you typically need a credit score of 670 or higher. The card has a variable APR of 18.49% to 26.49%.
Target REDcard™ Credit Card
The Target REDcard Credit Card offers 5% back on purchases made at Target stores and Target.com, free shipping on most items purchased at Target.com, and an extra 30 days for returns. Cardholders also receive exclusive access to promotions and deals throughout the year.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is a co-branded credit card designed for members of the popular warehouse club, Costco. The card is issued by Citibank and offers several benefits to Costco members. One of the most notable features of the card is that there is no annual fee with your paid Costco membership.
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi offers a generous rewards program that allows cardholders to earn cash back on purchases made at Costco and other eligible locations. The rewards program includes:
- 4% on eligible gas and EV charging worldwide, including gas and EV charging at Costco, for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter
- 3% on restaurants and eligible travel purchases worldwide
- 2% on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
- 1% on all other purchases
- It is important to note that rewards are earned as cash back, not Costco Cash Rewards, and can be redeemed for statement credits or redeemed for merchandise or travel rewards.
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi does not charge foreign transaction fees, and it also offers damage & theft purchase, which may cover cardholders for repairs or a refund if purchases made with their Citi card are damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase (90 days for New York residents), making it a good option for those who frequently travel abroad.
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is a great option for frequent Costco shoppers who want to earn cash back on their purchases. The card’s generous rewards program, lack of an annual fee (with a paid Costco membership), and lack of foreign transaction fees make it an attractive option for those who frequently shop at Costco or travel abroad. Additionally, the Damage & Theft Purchase Protection can provide added peace of mind for cardholders.
Lowe’s Advantage Card
Lowe’s Advantage Card is a co-branded credit card that offers exclusive benefits and rewards for customers of Lowe’s, the popular home improvement store. Here are some important details about the Lowe’s Advantage Card:
- The Lowe’s Advantage Card does not charge an annual fee, making it a cost-effective way to finance home improvement purchases.
- The card offers a fixed APR of 26.99% on purchases, which is relatively high compared to other credit cards. However, customers who pay their balance in full each month can avoid interest charges altogether.
- The Lowe’s Advantage Card does not charge a foreign transaction fee, making it a good option for customers who frequently shop at Lowe’s stores located outside the United States.
- Cardholders can get an additional 5% off every eligible purchase or order made with their Lowe’s Advantage Card. This discount can be combined with other Lowe’s promotions and coupons to save even more money.
- Customers can enjoy 6 months special financing on purchases of $299 or more made with their Lowe’s Advantage Card. Alternatively, they can take advantage of 84 fixed monthly payments at 7.99% APR financing when they use their card on purchases of $2,000 or more.
Overall, the Lowe’s Advantage Card is a good option for customers who frequently shop at Lowe’s and are looking to save money on their purchases. The additional 5% discount, special financing options, and no annual or foreign transaction fees make it an attractive choice for many customers. However, the high fixed APR on purchases means that customers who carry a balance on their card may end up paying a significant amount of interest over time.