Sam’s Club recently announced a credit card cash back program that gives members the opportunity to earn up to $5,000 annually. Marking one of the biggest changes in membership in more than a decade, the club operator in one fell swoop boosted its appeal to loyal Sam's Club members and close the gap between Sam's Club and its chief rival, Costco.
The news comes off of a first-quarter performance that Sam's Club president and CEO Rosalind Brewer characterized as “one of our more difficult quarters.” While the club operator was negatively impacted by weather and a reduction in public assistance, Costco emerged under the same conditions with a positive same-store sales comp figure.
So the card is more about adding value to Sam's Club membership. “We’re always looking for ways to find time and money-saving solutions for our members," Brewer stated in a release. "The 5-3-1 Sam’s Club program and co-branded MasterCard mean industry-leading savings and security innovation for today’s consumer.”
But adding value isn't the only accomplishment of the newly introduced, cutting-edge card. The innovation referenced by Brewer, and the news hook that grabbed the overall attention of the media, guards against credit card fraud. Each credit card has an embedded chip that makes the card more difficult to duplicate. Following Target's and Neiman Marcus' recent challenges with credit card security, the issue has become a top concern among today’s shoppers. And Sam’s Club is the first mass retailer to actively implement chip-enabled technology.
According to reports, the United States has been slow to adopt the chip-enabled technology, chiefly because of the cost associated with replacing member cards and the POS terminals that can read the cards.