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Sam's Club, GE Consumer Finance Jointly Launch New Credit Cards

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart and Stamford, Conn.-based credit services provider GE Consumer Finance said yesterday they were introducing two new credit cards on the Discover Network, one for business members of Sam's Club and one for the chain's consumer customers.

The consumer card is available now in all 552 Sam’s Club's stores, while the business card, which is the first card of its kind ever offered on the Discover Network, will be available next month, Sam's Club spokeswoman Jolanda Stewart told Progressive Grocer.

"The new Sam's Club Discover allows our Plus Members the opportunity to earn up to 2 percent cash back on every purchase, everywhere Discover Network cards are accepted," said said Sam's Club v.p. of membership Cara Kinzey in a statement. "With this offering, members do not have to revolve a balance or buy at specific locations to earn their cash back. We believe this revolutionary credit card is the best offering available in the marketplace and are very excited to give members more ways to save."

According to Wal-Mart and GE Consumer Finance, the Sam's Club Discover cards offer additional value to business members through competitive interest rates and flexible payment options. There are no credit card fees and item exclusions, and the cards feature a $1 million spending cap.

The cards provide up to 2 percent cash back for Plus members every time and everywhere Discover Network cards are accepted -- up to 1 percent for Advantage and Business members, according to the companies, which added that consumers will also have convenient no-fee cash access at the register in amounts of $20, $40, or $60 when they use their card at any of the club's U.S. locations.

Sam's Club's Stewart explained that the aim of the two cards was to help businesspeople and consumers meet their respective goals, which, though similar, have points of difference. While for entrepreneurs, convenience relates to being able to buy things easily for their businesses, and savings are reflected in their bottom lines, consumers living in a "microwave society" are interested in products that make their lives simpler and buying "great brands at great values."

According to Stewart, Sam's club is employing multiple channels to get the word out about its new credit card program, including direct mail, e-mail, and in-club events. Members can either apply at their local Sam's Club or online, she added.

Other features of the Sam's Club Discover cards include:
--One-card convenience: The cards serve as both a membership card and integrated credit card;
--Choice of payment due date: Members can select to pay their balance at the beginning, middle, or end of the month;
--Everyday financing promotions;
--Up to eight authorized buyers for Business Members per account (16 for Sam's Club Plus Members).
--Multiple ways to pay, either in Sam's Club or Wal-Mart stores across the country, or online.
--Itemized billing statements for purchases at Sam's Club and Wal-Mart, to allow business members to track expenses with purchase order details.
Cards are secured with the member's photo and $0 fraud liability.
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