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New Amazon Prime card makes shopping more tempting

Kelly Dilworth

The new Amazon Prime credit card could make one-click impulse buys even harder to resist – and that’s not necessarily a good thing for a family like mine that’s trying to avoid overspending.

The new metal Chase Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card, which launched in January 2017, offers

  • 5 percent cash back on Amazon purchases.
  • 2 percent at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores.
  • 1 percent on everything else.

There is no annual fee, but to get the card, you need to be an Amazon Prime member, which costs $99 a year. New cardholders get a $70 Amazon gift card at approval.

The older – and still available – no annual fee plastic Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card offers 3 percent cash back at Amazon.com; 2 percent at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; and 1 percent on all other purchases. New cardholders get a $50 Amazon gift card.

As longtime Amazon Prime members, my husband and I are looking forward to earning more rewards on our Amazon spending. but as a frequent Amazon impulse shopper, I’m also wary: I’ve been overspending so much on Amazon lately that the last thing I need is another incentive to press “buy now with 1-click” when I see a product that appeals to me.

A great savings tool – for some
For cardholders who do a lot of shopping online and are disciplined enough to avoid overspending, the new Amazon Prime card is a great tool for eking out more savings from online purchases. If you spend $2,000 on Amazon.com purchases, for example, you’ll earn $100 back.

If you’re an especially heavy spender and use Amazon for everything from clothes to books to everyday supplies, you could take home substantially more. As our review notes, though, several cash back cards offer a better return without the $99 Amazon Prime membership fee.

The Amazon Rewards Visa card has definitely been a boon for my family. Since having a baby two years ago, my husband and I have relied heavily on our Amazon Prime membership to save money on everyday purchases. We’ve used credit card points from my husband’s Amazon Rewards Visa to buy diapers and other baby supplies on deep discount.

I’ve also taken to purchasing more supplies than I need thanks to the sharp discounts that I’ve been able to find online.

We also have saved time and gas money by buying home and family supplies online rather than trekking to a brick-and-mortar retailer that’s at least a 20-minute drive away. The streaming TV we receive through Amazon Prime also has helped us avoid a monthly cable bill since there’s more than enough content for us to watch online.

But my frequent use of Amazon has also fueled my tendency to impulse shop online – particularly when I’m feeling overwhelmed or bored and need a quick emotional pick-me-up. With its one-click shopping feature (which I’ve yet to get around to turning off), Amazon has made it all too easy to spend with minimal effort.

Often, when I’m feeling concerned or curious about something, I’ll browse through the Kindle store and impulsively buy a Kindle book with just a quick split-second click. Occasionally, I’ll even buy multiple e-books at a time, without fully processing how much I’m really spending.

More cash back, more spending?
Now, with more cash back on my Amazon purchases (my husband’s Amazon Rewards Visa was automatically upgraded to the new Prime card, so we are already receiving 5 percent cash back on our Amazon purchases), I’ll be tempted to shift even more of my spending to the online retail giant. And that’s exactly what Amazon was hoping for when it teamed up with Chase on a card for Prime users.

Amazon has catered to shoppers’ desire for instant gratification for years, and it has built its business model around effortless shopping. And with new innovations such as Prime Now – a free two-hour delivery of select items and free one-hour delivery from popular restaurant – Amazon is continuing to make it even easier to overspend.

If – like me – you prefer to shop online for household supplies, you could save a lot with the new Amazon Prime Rewards card. But beware. If you have a tendency to impulsively overspend, shopping on Amazon with a card that’s linked to your account can seem dangerously hassle-free – until your credit card bill arrives.

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