Imprint Launches Credit Cards from H-E-B and Central Market
The FinTech Imprint is partnering with the popular Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B for a pair of new rewards credit cards. This week saw the launch of the H-E-B Visa Signature Credit Card as well as the Central Market Visa Signature Credit Card. With these two (nearly identical) options, customers will be able to earn rewards on groceries and beyond.
First, both versions of the card earn up to 5% back on select purchases at H-E-B, Central Market, Joe V’s Smart Shop, and Mi Tienda stores. Interestingly, in order to earn 5%, customers must purchase items that are part of the H-E-B family of brands. These include H-E-B, Central Market, Hill Country Fare, Field & Future, Kodi, Cocinaware, GTC, and more.
However, the card also earns 5% cashback on all Favor Delivery orders with no specifications about the items eligible. Meanwhile, all other purchases — including those made at H-E-B stores but for non-H-E-B brand products — will earn 1.5% cashback. Earned cashback can then be redeemed as a statement credit, a physical check, or a deposit to a linked bank account.
Although neither card seems to be offering a welcome bonus, H-E-B is enticing customers with a different limited-time perk. According to their press release, the first 20,000 applicants approved for an H-E-B Visa Credit Card will be able to claim a special edition metal card. Similarly, the first 10,000 applicants approved for the Central Market card will be eligible for a different metal card design.
Of note, at this time, applications for the new card are not available in stores. Instead, prospective cardholders can submit an application online or via the Imprint app. Once approved, a virtual card will be immediately available for use while the physical card is shipped. Neither the H-E-B Visa Signature card nor the Central Market Visa Signature card carries an annual fee.
Overall, there are some interesting aspects of the H-E-B Visa Signature Card — although not all of them are interesting in a good way. Starting with the upside, having a 1.5% cashback base is nice considering that most credit cards have a 1% floor. Plus, seeing as the card is a Visa, there are plenty of places where customers will be able to use the card. The fact that the card earns real cashback rather than store-specific rewards is also a benefit.
As for the drawbacks, the 5% category not only being limited to H-E-B Grocery Company stores but also to specific items seems incredibly strange and restrictive. Moreover, it’s unclear how exactly transactions that contain a mix of items will work or how the credit card is able to discern that eligible items were purchased. Granted, given the variety of H-E-B brand products that are available, this might be fairly moot, but it’s still a major question worth considering.
Also, making the credit card even less viable is the fact that H-E-B recently introduced a rewards debit card as well. That offering features the same 5% back on H-E-B brand products, but does drop the 1.5% everywhere else perk. Still, for most people, using the debit card for H-E-B purchasing and using a 2% flat rate card elsewhere is likely a better strategy than adding either one of these new credit card picks to your wallet.