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Pooches and payments: A card for the dog lover

Tina Orem

June 11, 2014

There are cat people, and there are dog people. And then there are “little dog” people.

You know the type. Their dogs weigh nothing and have names like “Tinkerbell.” The owners buy outfits for their dogs, throw lavish “weddings” for their dogs, and buy weird dog strollers to cart them around town.

Say what you want about them, but they spend a heck of a lot of money on those tiny outfits, as well as vet visits, tips to the groomer, dog accessories and dog food. In more ways than one, they're a force to be reckoned with, and they're only a portion of the 56.7 million households in America that own a dog.

That's a good reason for the American Kennel Club to launch its own Visa reward card on May 20. The card is a powered-up version of earlier cards the association has offered.

Founded in 1884, the American Kennel Club is legendary in dog circles. It operates a famous dog registry, hosts breed events and promotes canine well-being. (Translation for cat people: They run the dog show that airs after the Super Bowl.)Click to email me

But even if you can't tell a Schnauzer from a Shiba Inu, this new card could help you out. You'll get three reward points for every dollar you spend at pet stores and vet offices, as well as virtually anything you buy from the American Kennel Club's website, booths or events.

Driving to dog shows and canine wedding planners isn't cheap, so it's nice that the card also offers two points per dollar spent on gas and groceries, as well as one point per dollar spent on anything else. There's no max on how many points you can accumulate, but the points take up to 45 days to hit your account and expire 36 months after you earn them.

One of the fun features of this puppy payment tool is that you can put your dog's photo on the card. Owners of ugly dogs can select a photo from the “breed photo gallery.”

The AKC actually launched a Visa card through First USA in 1996. In May 2004, the card relaunched with Bank One. That time, it only offered one point per dollar in rewards, and it only paid out rewards after cardmembers had earned 2,500 points. This newer card kicks the rewards up a few notches.

Balance transfers and cash advances will cost you 24.99 percent. The AKC Visa has no annual fee, but the card's APR ranges from 12.98 percent to 22.99 percent based on the prime rate and your creditworthiness. That's a common rate on the high end, but not a very attractive one (check out CreditCards.com's Credit Card Rate Report to get an idea of what the going rates are). Of course, if you can score the lower 12.98 percent rate, you might just bark for joy.