Aamco Credit Card: Think it’s worth your time?

by Last updated in Jun of 2022Credit Cards

AAMCO is an American car repair franchise that specializes in transmissions. It also provides many other car-related services. The company offers services all the way from cleaning to major repairs.

We all know how expensive car repairs can be, the spare parts alone can cost a fortune and not everyone has the money sitting ready in their banking account ready for an unexpected car repair. So, AAMCO created its own credit card to help with this issue. Now, you can split the cost over multiple installments.

[Note that this is essentially the AAMCO synchrony car care credit card, since it’s just a co-brand offering of Synchrony’s car care credit card. Synchrony is a lending partner for many auto-related businesses and offers their co-branded car care credit card for many of them, even though it is essentially the same card, just with a different merchant’s name on the front of the card.]

Let’s take a look at the AAMCO credit card and find out if it’s right for you.

So, let’s dive straight in ⏩  ⏩

    Benefits of the AAMCO Credit Card

    There are many features that you can get when you become a AAMCO credit card holder. Some of these features include:

    List of the AAMCO credit card's features and benefits

    Most important feature to consider

    The AAMCO card comes with some limited features. Some of the features you might have access to as an AAMCO credit card holder are:

    ✅   6-month promotional financing on purchases over $199

    Additional features to consider

    ✅   Pre-qualification available

    ✅   No security deposit

    ✅   No annual fee

    ✅   Accepted at over 500,000 participating auto parts and car services businesses

    ✅   You can also use the card for gas station purchases – works at 250,000 gas stations, including most major gas brands

    ✅   This card can also make your life easier by showing you the locations of trusted auto-shops.

    ✅   Can request credit limit increases (good for people building or re-building credit)

    Straightforward application process

    One of the worst parts of getting a new credit card can sometimes be the application process. It can sometimes take a few weeks to receive a response. The AAMCO card, however, is designed for people in a pinch, so they promise to give a fast response, often on the same day. Of course, they do not guarantee this, though, and it can take longer in some cases.

    The application process is fairly quick and you can apply from your phone. You may get an immediate response to your application.

    Can be low cost

    Another benefit of this card is that you don’t have to pay a security deposit. This means you can apply for your card and start using it straight away once approved. Unlike some other credit cards of this type, the AAMCO Synchrony Car Care Credit Card doesn’t charge an annual fee.

    You can use the card in participating AAMCO franchises all over the US. You can also use the car to pay for gas at participating gas stations.

    The credit card is accepted in over 200,000 different car-related businesses (if you include gas stations). AAMCO provides you with an online car business locator to make finding them easier.

    Payment plan

    AAMCO’s credit card aims to help people who need to pay for a car repair expense, but can’t afford it right now. It offers a payment plan so you can spread out the expense over multiple months.

    This plan allows you to split up the expense of the repair over 6 months, with no added interest

    Of course, if you don’t make the minimum payments and then payoff the full balance before the end of the 6 months, the interest will be extremely high and you will end up paying substantially more for your car repair expense. This is something to watch out for carefully!

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    Drawbacks of the AAMCO Credit Card

    AAMCO credit card drawbacks

    🚨   Extremely high APR of ~30%, well above the national average credit card APR of ~16-18%

    🚨   Only works at participating auto repair location and gas stations, won’t work at other merchants

    🚨   No rewards system, which means no points and no cashback

    🚨   Applications are subject to credit approval – credit approval is not guaranteed. So obtaining this card may not be possible for people with little or no credit

    🚨   Minimum monthly payments required, you will not be able to make no payments during the promotional financing period. Make sure you’re at least hitting these minimum monthly payments, otherwise the interest, late fees, and penalties will quickly make your purchase much more expensive than it originally was

    High interest-rate

    One of the most important factors to consider when applying for a credit card is the APR. The Annual Percentage Rate is the amount of interest you can accrue.

    With an APR of about 29.99%, the AAMCO credit card has one of the highest interest rates. Other cards like the Chase Freedom Flex and Citi Double card have a more reasonable APR average of around ~20%. This is an extremely high interest rate to watch out for once the promotional financing period runs out

    Limited merchant coverage

    While you do get access to 200K businesses, the AAMCO card is still limited. Not all AAMCO locations necessarily participate in the credit card system. So, depending on your location, you might not be able to use the card at all.

    No rewards for spending

    Moreover, you don’t get any rewards for using the card. There’s no point system where you can get benefits each time you make a purchase. These days most people with reasonably good credit can easily get cards with rewards.

    May require a good credit score

    While AAMCO does not publish its required credit approval metrics, we estimate you need a reasonably good credit score. We suspect AAMCO will require a minimum credit score of 620-670, but they will take into account all of the information in your application.

    Uncertain card acceptance

    Even though AAMCO offers this card for car repairs, it doesn’t guarantee it will approve anyone. Depending on your financial situation, you may not get a loan.

    Still interested? –> How to apply for the AAMCO Credit Card

    Before you apply for the AAMCO credit card, it’s a good idea to see if you pre-qualify. To do that, go to the AAMCO pre-qualify page and enter your social security number (SSN). If you pass, you’re now ready to apply for the card.

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    Who Might Benefit From the AAMCO Credit Card

    AAMCO credit card who should get

    The AAMCO credit card has a few benefits that can be useful to people in a specific set of circumstances, namely people who can’t afford a large repair expense right now but can afford to pay it back over the next 6 months, before the very high interest rate kicks in. While the card is subject to credit approval, like all cards, this may be a good card for people with little or no credit, since it’s appears credit approval is easier than many other cards.

    People on a tight budget

    One of the main benefits is that you can essentially create a payment plan for yourself with this card. If you’re on a tight budget, this is crucial. Instead of having to pay for a major car repair upfront, you can break it down into small manageable payments. That can ensure that you don’t break the bank on one repair job.

    This card is can also be useful for car maintenance. Instead of waiting for something to go wrong with your car, it’s a good idea to go in for regular check-ups. With the AAMCO card, you don’t have to worry about the check-up charge hitting all at once. Since you can pay it in installments, the monthly expense may be more manageable.

    People that can stay in the promotional period

    The AAMCO card is most beneficial to people that can stick to repaying the full promotional balance within the promotional period. During a promotional period, you don’t accumulate interest. However, as soon as the period is over, you have to pay the high APR and late fees. It’s critical that you’re able to make the minimum monthly payments as well, otherwise interest and fees will start to add up quickly.

    Credit score benefit

    This credit card, like others, can help boost your credit score. The increase in score may not be immediate. Still, if you continue to make your payments on time, you should get a boost.

    Why the AAMCO Credit Card May Not Be for You

    Here are a few points that might be deal-breakers for some people:

    May not be suitable for people with very low credit scores

    The biggest issue with getting an AAMCO card is the credit score. You may need a good score to be accepted of at least 620-670.

    Limited merchant partners

    Moreover, you have to be close to many AAMCO partners to get the most out of this card. Even though AAMCO has many lenders or lending partners, they’re spread out all over the country.

    This means that there are a few areas with little to no partners. In rare cases, you may not be able to use the card at all. So, you have to make sure there are AAMCO parents near your location before you apply.

    No rewards system

    Another reason why people don’t like the AAMCO card is there are no rewards. The card only gives you access to payment plans, but you don’t get any rewards for using the card. You don’t even get a sign-up bonus.

    This makes many of its competitors, like PenFed Platinum Rewards, more appealing.

    High APR and no cash-back

    AAMCO also has an incredibly high APR. For this reason, if you can’t pay during the promotional period, this card may not be for you. You might find yourself accruing more interest than you can pay off.

    In addition, the high APR makes it risky to use the card for large purchases. If you stumble on one of the payments, it may be hard to catch up.

    On top of all that, there’s no cash-back option with the AAMCO credit card. So, once you’ve made a purchase, you can only exchange it for another AAMCO service.

    Additional Card Details and Explanations

    Does a car repair company really issue a credit card?

    Not really, actually. This is an example of a private label credit card offered through a third party lender. AAMCO simply partners with it’s lender or lending partner, Synchrony offers this service fort their Car Care Credit Card. It’s essentially the same card for all of their major gas brands and auto repair shops. Synchrony Financial in this case, to put their brand name on a credit card and offer it to their customers. You can kind of think of it as the AAMCO Synchrony Car Care Credit Card.

    Who is Synchrony Financial?

    Fortunately, Synchrony Financial is a large and trustworthy financial institution, they are a lending partner to many retailers. They offer hundreds of other credit cards besides the AAMCO Synchrony Car Care credit card and have many other other lending partners. The fact that their the true credit card issuer and service provider should give you some confidence.

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    Conclusion on the AAMCO Credit Card

    Signing up for an AAMCO credit card comes with some limited and specific benefits. You can pay for car repairs in installments and fuel up your car.

    With up to a 6-month promotional period, you can enjoy an interest-free period.

    Still, if you pass the promotional month, you will accrue a lot of interest and end up paying significantly more than the original expense.

    Editor's Note:

    At Personal Finance Guru, we want to help you maximize your lifestyle through personal finance. You can trust the integrity of our independent financial advice. Our opinions our own and have not been provided, review, approved, or endorsed by any advertiser or financial product provider. To support and grow the site, however, we may receive compensation from the issuers of some products.