How to Qualify for the ExxonMobil Smart Card & Analyzing Its Benefits

FT Contributor  | 

If you own a vehicle, then you know that fuel can be a significant expense in your monthly budget. Carrying a gas card to pay for your fuel purchases and earning rewards that reduce how much you spend at the pump is a smart financial move, but only if you fully understand the terms and conditions and how the rewards program works.

One popular gas card is the ExxonMobil Smart Card. With more than 11,000 gas stations across America, the ExxonMobil chain is one of the largest in the U.S., and it’s typically fairly easy to find one of these stations wherever you happen to be.

You may use the ExxonMobil Smart Card at ExxonMobil gas stations to purchase fuel, food, and other supplies. The card also allows cash advances from ATM machines. It’s a convenient way to manage and track your fuel expenses, but before you apply, you should be aware of all the benefits, drawbacks, and complexities of earning and using the rewards.

Benefits of the ExxonMobil Smart Card

The primary benefit of carrying the ExxonMobil Smart Card is the per gallon discount on fuel purchases. Currently, cardholders save 12 cents per gallon on the brand’s Synergy fuel (equivalent to premium fuel) for the first two months they have the card, and 6 cents per gallon on all other gas purchases as long as they use the card. If you purchase about 60 gallons per month, you’ll save an average of $3.60 to $7.20.

For a bigger introductory bonus, consider applying for the card via the Exxon Mobil Rewards+ app. Doing so will score you a 50 cent discount on every gallon of Synergy gas in the first month you have the card. All these discounts are applied as a credit to your monthly bill, so you’ll pay the posted per gallon price at the pump, and see the discount on your statement.

The credit card offers a few additional perks as well. You may use it both at the pump and inside attached convenience stores to purchase snacks, drinks, and other items. You can also get a cash advance from the card from any Cirrus branded ATM.

Because the card is issued by Citibank, you can use Citi Identity Theft Solutions if you’re a victim of identity theft, and you have $0 fraud liability on the card. To help you manage your fuel budget, your online account also provides tools to itemize and track spending for every card and user on your account.

Much like other store credit cards, the ExxonMobil Smart Card has a comparatively high interest rate. Currently, Citibank charges a variable 27.99% APR on purchases, and a 29.99% APR on cash advances. Getting a cash advance will also cost the greater of an additional $10 or 5% of the cash advance amount. If you’re charged interest, the minimum interest charge is $2, which can effectively negate any savings at the pump if you do not pay your balance in full every month.

Although the ExxonMobil SmartCard does not have an annual fee, you’ll be charged a fee of up to $40 if your payment is late.

The ExxonMobile Smart Card and Exxon Mobil Rewards+

Although the ExxonMobil Smart Card doesn’t offer any rewards beyond the discount on fuel, when you connect the card to your ExxonMobil Rewards+ account, you can earn some additional discounts.

The ExxonMobil Rewards+ program is a free rewards program that anyone is able to use, regardless of whether you carry the company’s credit card. When you join the program and swipe your rewards card at the pump, you earn three points per gallon of fuel and two points per dollar spent in convenience stores.

When you pay for your purchases using the Rewards+ app (this requires linking a credit or debit card) you earn even more points, up to 10 cents per gallon depending on the type of fuel you purchase. Every 100 points equal $1 off a future fuel purchase. You can save your rewards for a bigger discount, up to a $50 discount at the pump.

Using the ExxonMobil Smart Card along with the rewards program allows you to “stack” your discounts for greater savings. Again, though, for the greatest savings you need to pay your balance in full to avoid interest charges.

ExxonMobil Smart Card Minimum Credit Score

In general, Citibank requires you to have a good credit score to qualify for the ExxonMobil Smart Card. A good credit score is 690 or above. Since the average American’s credit score is in the 700 range, the chances of approval for this card are fairly good for most applicants.

ExxonMobil Smart Card Credit Limit

As with any credit card, your spending limit depends on your income, credit score, and how much debt you already carry. According to the card terms and conditions, your initial credit limit may be as low as $200. If you use the card responsibly, you may be granted automatic credit line increases or be able to request a higher limit.

How to Apply for the ExxonMobil Smart Card

To apply for an ExxonMobil Smart Card, visit the company website and select the Personal Card application. You’ll have to supply information about your employment and income, as well as your Social Security number.

For the bonus discount during your first month as a cardholder, apply for the card via the app. Download the Exxon Mobil Rewards + app, and click the link to apply. You might also find paper applications you can mail in at ExxonMobil locations.

Keep in mind that applying for the ExxonMobil Smart Card will affect your credit score, causing a deduction of a few points. That deduction is temporary, though, and will be offset by your responsible use of the card.

Using the ExxonMobil Smart Card in Your Credit Strategy

Using the ExxonMobil Smart Card to save money on fuel may help you manage your monthly expenditures, but the card could also be beneficial to your overall credit strategy when used appropriately.

Because of the relatively low credit score requirements, it may be helpful for those who want to establish credit or improve a tarnished credit history. The simple fact that it can only be used at specific locations and has a comparatively low limit (as opposed to more general credit cards) means you’re unlikely to run up a large balance that can affect your credit score.

To get the most from the card, then, keep the following in mind:

  • Pay your balance in full every month to prevent finance charges from adding up and making your gas purchases more expensive.
  • Avoid getting cash advances on the card, which can be expensive and drive up your balance.
  • Pay on time every month to avoid late fees and lost points on your credit score.
  • Combine the card with the Rewards+ app to maximize your discounts and save more on your fuel.
  • Before applying, confirm that it will be convenient to use the card. If you have to drive out of your way to an ExxonMobil station, the extra gas you will reduce your savings.

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This post was updated January 23, 2020. It was originally published January 23, 2020.