Many stores offer perk-filled credit cards, but GameStop Corp. (GME) was the first in the gaming-only niche to do so. The initial reaction from the intended customer base was mixed. The original advertising that "everyone is approved" made some in the gaming community fear that GameStop was trying to lure kids into a debt trap, and the relatively high annual percentage rates (APR) also drew complaints. Fortunately, standard credit norms apply and only those age 18 or over receive lines of credit. The APR range is high compared to regular bank-issued cards but remains on par with comparable store cards. Frequent customers may benefit nicely from the rewards program.
How Does It Work
The GameStop credit card is an extension of the retailer's PowerUp Rewards program. Only members of the program may apply for the credit card, and the card may only be used at physical GameStop stores or the GameStop website. The credit line extended depends on each applicant's credit history and typically ranges from $250 to $3,000. It is possible to request a higher limit by calling customer service and speaking to a supervisor for manual approval. The customer may pay off the balance in full each month or make smaller payments over time, which will result in interest charges to the balance.
Rewards and Benefits
The credit card rewards depend on which version of the GameStop PowerUp Rewards program the customer belongs to. The program comes in two versions: Basic and Pro. Basic membership is free and works by accruing points for purchases at a rate of 10 points per dollar spent. These points can be used to get gaming gear, exclusive collectibles, discounts and more from the rewards catalog. Pro membership costs $14.99 but gives double points for purchases, discounts on certain merchandise, exclusive offers and a monthly magazine subscription.
Basic members receive a 5,000 point bonus when opening a GameStop credit card. Pro members receive 15,000 points. In addition, cardholders receive an additional 5,000 points per $250 spent during the calendar year. The company also promises exclusive offers for cardholders.
Who Benefits From This Card?
Frequent GameStop customers benefit the most from the card since they can accumulate points much more rapidly. For example, a Basic member spending $250 normally only receives 2,500 points. Using the GameStop credit card, he can receive the 2,500 points plus an additional 5,000 points for the same purchase. Add the 5,000 sign-up bonus, and the total comes in at 12,500 points instead of 2,500 points.
Other traditional stores providing gaming products, such as Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY), typically offer a rewards percentage and/or cost-free financing plans for using their own store card when making purchases. Best Buy offers 5% back or 12-month financing, for example. Cards from these retailers are usually Visa or MasterCard-affiliated, meaning they can be used anywhere rather than just at that specific store or website. Online merchants, such as Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), offer comparable credit cards with similar rewards programs.
The Fine Print
As of July 2016, the purchase APR is 27.74%. GameStop was initially criticized by the gaming community for its "extortionate interest rates," but they are, in fact within the normal range for retail store cards. A 2015 CreditCards.com survey of the top 100 retail cards revealed that the average APR for this category is 23.43%. Regular cards issued by banks and financial institutions typically fall around 15% for customers with good credit.
The $250 threshold for the 5,000 point-bonus is cumulative and may be accrued over several months but must be completed before the end of the calendar year.
The GameStop credit card advertises a zero annual fee, but it also has a clause stating that "minimum interest charge is $2.00 per credit plan."