Beware: The Barnes and Noble MasterCard Isn't Worth Your Time or Money
Now that Borders has gone under, Barnes and Noble remains the only major bookstore chain in the United States. If you're a bookworm, this doesn't mean you should necessarily sign up for their credit card, though. Here's what you NEED to know before you apply.
5% back at B&N. The Barnes and Noble Mastercard, issued by Barclays Bank Delaware, has one major advantage: 5% cash back for spending at Barnes and Noble stores and online at bn.com -- including Nook downloads. Your 5% back is issued as a statement credit for the ultimate convenience.
$25 gift card bonus. You'll get a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card once your application is approved. While this bonus can't really be called great, it's certainly better than nothing and it's better than you find with most retail cards.
1% back elsewhere. The card also earns 1% cash back everywhere else, which is just average, but also better than nothing. Unlike the statement credit on Barnes and Noble spending, the 1% back is in the form of points. When you reach 2,500 points, you'll get a $25 B&N card.
No annual fee. To top it off, the card has no annual fee, so it might be a good option for you if you shop at Barnes and Noble frequently and want to take advantage of that 5% back. You can always choose to use another credit card for other purchases, after all.
0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers. This is definitely a nice perk if you've been wanting to transfer a balance to save money, although make sure your balance is paid off before the introductory period ends; your APR with the card could be as high as 24.99%!
All spending outside of Barnes and Noble stores and online earns you a flat 1%. While this is certainly not bad, it's always nice to have the opportunity to earn higher rebates in other categories than a single retailer. If you use the Barnes and Noble card for most of your purchases, that 5% won't give you very much when you average it out. Plus, consider the fact that spending everywhere else earns you reward points, which are automatically redeemed for a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card every time you reach 2,500 points. This is definitely restrictive, although you probably wouldn't be signing up for a B&N credit card if you didn't want Barnes and Noble rewards.
There's also an odd downside to the card: they have only two tiers for interest rates: a reasonable 13.99% and a very high 24.99% with no in-between. Most cards have at least three tiers of interest rates so consumers who would fall into the middle don't get stuck with an outrageous interest rate so keep this in mind if your credit isn't excellent.
This card just isn't worth your time. You'll earn more rewards by choosing a good all-around rewards credit card.
Skip the Barnes and Noble Mastercard and try the Discover it card instead. The Discover it is one of the best rewards cards on the market with no annual fee, no overlimit fees, no foreign transaction fees, no late fees on your first late payment and absolutely no penalty APR -- ever.
With the Discover it card, you'll earn 5% cash back in rotating categories on your first $1,500 annually (per category) and 1% back on everything else.