The Petco credit cards are designed to help pet parents earn rewards on their furry friends’ expenses. Cardholders can even customize their cards with a favorite picture of their beloved pet pal (and get an annual birthday gift to boot).
But even dedicated pet owners who spend a lot on pet products at Petco might want to avoid these store-branded credit cards and instead opt for a general-purpose card with more flexible rewards.
Here are five things to know about the Petco Pay credit cards.
1. There are two versions of the Petco Pay credit card
Petco offers two credit cards, both issued by Comenity Bank. Neither has an annual fee, and both can earn rewards:
Petco Pay Credit Card: This card can be used only at Petco stores, known as a “closed-loop” credit card.
Petco Pay Mastercard Credit Card: This version can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Store cards that can be used more broadly are known as “open-loop” cards.
You must first be a member of Petco’s free loyalty program, Pals Rewards, to apply for these cards. Once you’re signed in to your account, you’ll fill out a single application for both cards.
If you’re just interested in the store-only, closed-loop credit card, you can mark that on your application. Otherwise, you’ll first be considered for the Mastercard. If you’re not approved, you might still qualify for the store-only credit card.
Nerdy tip: Every time you make a transaction with your card, Petco will donate 25 cents to the Petco Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports animal welfare.
2. The earning rate is decent …
Cardholders of either card version earn 8% back on Petco purchases.
The Petco Mastercard version also earns:
2% back on grocery store purchases.
1% back on all other purchases.
The 8% back is not as generous as it sounds, though. That’s because all Pals Rewards members will earn 5% on each Petco purchase, regardless of whether they hold the card. With the Petco credit card, you’ll earn an additional 3% back on Petco purchases, for a total of 8%. Not bad, but probably not enough for this card to make sense for the average Petco shopper.
If you joined the Pal Rewards program and put your Petco purchases on a credit card with 2% back on everything, you’d still get a total of 7% back on store purchases. That’s slightly lower, but your credit card rewards will be much more flexible.
3. … But the rewards are confusing
Even though rewards are advertised as percentages, you’ll actually earn rewards in the form of Pals Rewards points, which you can use only at Petco.
For each Petco purchase, you’ll receive 1.6 points. Shoppers with the Mastercard version will also earn 0.4 points on groceries and 0.2 points on everything else. (Yes, we’re talking fractions of points here.)
That means a $100 purchase earns you 160 points to spend at Petco rather than the $8 you might expect from the 8% rewards-earning rate.
100 Petco points are equal to $5 in Petco rewards.
4. Your points won’t have nine lives
On top of confusing earnings rates, Petco rewards are fairly restrictive:
You can’t stockpile rewards. Once you reach 100 points, you’ll automatically receive a $5 credit that you have to use on your next purchase.
Rewards expire one year after you earn them.
If you return a purchase and the points you earned are removed from your account after you already used the rewards, you could end up with a negative point balance. Any new rewards will first go toward bringing this balance to zero before you start accruing points again. And if you return something you used rewards toward, you won’t get those rewards back.
Nerdy tip: When you get approved for the Petco credit cards, you’ll get 20% off your next purchase. But you’re eligible to receive this discount only if you use the offer the same day you apply for the card.
5. Financing options are available
Certain purchases can qualify for a financing plan, but if you choose a plan, you won’t earn any rewards on that purchase.
The terms available to you will depend on how much you spend on a given transaction. You can qualify for:
6-month financing on transactions with a minimum purchase of $299.
9-month financing on transactions with a minimum purchase of $399.
12-month financing on transactions with a minimum purchase of $499.
This option could be useful for pet parents who use Petco vets, but not all services will qualify.
You could qualify for either waived interest or deferred interest. You’ll want to pay attention to which one you’d get, especially if you won’t be able to pay off the balance before the terms end.
Having the option to finance a purchase is a nice perk to have on a credit card, but this isn’t unique to the Petco credit cards. If you shop around, you might be able to get a better deal elsewhere. For instance, you may want to use a credit card with a 0% introductory APR period or a payment plan through some card issuers, like AmEx’s options of Pay It® and Plan It® or Chase’s option called My Chase Plan.