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How Sam's Club Card Changes Affect Business Users

Sam's Club is currently replacing the Sam's Club Discover card with a new Sam's Club MasterCard. If you activate the Sam's Club MasterCard, your Sam's Club Discover card will be deactivated. (All Sam's Club Discover cards will be phased out after Feb. 28, 2015.) Sam's Club originally introduced the Sam's Club Discover cards for businesses and consumers in 2005. At the time, Sam's Club announced that Plus members would get up to 2 percent cash back on every purchase made, anywhere Discover cards were accepted; for Advantage and Business members, there was 1 percent cash back.

The new Sam's Club MasterCard, which comes with no annual fee, can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted. It comes with extended warranty coverage for consumers and extended warranty insurance for businesses.

Whether you continue to use your Sam's Club Discover or switch immediately to the Sam's Club MasterCard, you will earn cash back on purchases posted to your account under a new "5-3-1" program. In some categories of purchases, the cash back is more than the 1.5 percent you are seeking. Sam's Club announced in early June that members will be able to earn 5 percent cash back on fuel, 3 percent cash back on dining and travel and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases, up to $5,000 annually.

As of June 12, all Sam's Plus members were automatically enrolled in the new Plus-only Cash Rewards program. They will receive $10 in Cash Rewards for every $500 spent on qualifying pretax Sam's Club purchases, regardless of the type of payment used. They will be able to earn up to $500 annually, in addition to the $5,000 cash back in the 5-3-1 program. If you are a Sam's Plus member, you can get cash, redeem the money for purchases in the club or on SamsClub.com, or to cover annual membership fees.

I should point out that Discover is more widely accepted than you may think. In 2010, the company said it had a 90 percent acceptance rate at merchants that also accept Visa and MasterCard.

However, if Discover isn't accepted at merchants you patronize, then that's a real inconvenience. That gives you a good reason to switch over early to MasterCard, which says it is the most widely accepted card in the world.

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