REI Co-op has added new benefits to its World Elite Mastercard, according to a company press release. Beyond receiving 5% back on REI purchases, cardholders will now earn 2% cash back when they use their card in a mobile wallet. Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay and LG Pay are supported. Users will earn 1% back on all other purchases.
Cardholders receive their percent back annually, along with their member dividend, which is typically 10% back on qualifying purchases. Cardmembers will earn rewards on outdoor gear, equipment rentals, REI day programs and adventure travel, per the release.
In addition, REI will donate 10 cents to the National Forest Foundation (NFF) each time a cardholder makes a purchase, up to $1 million. REI has partnered with the NFF since 2017.
REI is expanding its credit card benefits at a time when some retailers are moving away from the store card model. Macy's, Target and Nordstrom have all launched loyalty reward programs that don't require a credit card, although the top benefits still go to cardholders. Meanwhile, other retailers are opening up payment options beyond credit cards. Payment by app or mobile wallets has quickly become the norm at many retailers, with still others allowing online shoppers to pay via installments.
The flexibility of many cash back and rewards credit cards has led many consumers to turn away from store card offers. About three-quarters of Americans have had a store card, and almost half of them regret it, according to a 2018 survey by CompareCards.com. But, another report from that site noted that nearly three in 10 Americans applied for a store card during the 2018 holiday season, with younger millennials aged 22 to 29 the largest demographic to apply.
REI has 155 stores in 35 states and Washington, D.C., and the co-op has more than 18 million members. The company announced in April that it would expand its gear rental program this year, along with investing in used gear and gear trade-in programs.