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Top 7 store credit cards worth adding to your wallet

Enjoy the perks — but be smart with how you use them.

Cynthia Bowman

Contributing Writer at Tally

January 28, 2020

If you regularly spend at certain retailers, it may be worth adding a few department store credit cards to your wallet. Unlike a regular credit card, a store credit card gives you insider access to perks and rewards at your favorite retailer. 

Here’s a roundup of some of the best store credit cards, focusing on popular retailers and excellent loyalty rewards. But first, make sure you know how these cards work and how to use them the right way.

A few tips on department store credit cards

Before you get started on your search for the right store credit card, keep these tips in mind:

Closed- or open-loop credit cards

Check and see if the card you have your eye on is closed-loop or open-loop. The bulk of store credit cards are closed-loop and can only be used for purchases at the retailer, limiting your chance to earn rewards. A small handful of cards are open-loop, giving you the flexibility to pay with your store card anywhere credit cards are accepted.

Watch the fees

Department store credit cards often come with higher interest rates and fees for late payments and returned checks than a standard rewards credit card. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, as long as you pay your card balance in full each month. You can use a tool like Tally to stay on top of your store credit card payments.

Weigh the perks

There are plenty of retailers offering their version of a store card, but not all the offers are worthwhile. Read the terms and conditions and make sure the offer adds up to something you’d actually benefit from. For example, a store card offering you a 1% cash-back reward on store purchases may not be worth having. You may get a better deal using a general purpose cash-back rewards credit card offering 3-5% cash back on all purchases.

1. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Type of card: Open-loop

Annual fee: None, although a $119 annual Amazon Prime membership is needed

Credit score requirement: Good score or higher

You have to be an Amazon Prime member to get the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card issued by Chase, but if you are, you can earn rewards for all your Amazon and Whole Foods purchases as well as on everyday charges elsewhere. 

This sleek metal Visa card gives you an unlimited 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. Spend money at restaurants, drug stores, and gas stations, and you’ll get 2% back. Plus, get 1% back on everything else. 

If you spend as much as the average Amazon shopper, your cash-back rewards add up fast. Redeem them by:

  • Applying them toward Amazon purchases at checkout

  • Requesting cash back

  • Cashing out as gift cards

  • Spending on travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal

2. Bloomingdale’s American Express

Type of card: Open-loop

Annual fee: None

Credit score requirement: Good score or higher

Use the Bloomingdale’s American Express everywhere to earn rewards and discounts for your Bloomingdale’s purchases. You’ll get one of the highest rewards program rates around: 

  • 6 points per dollar spent on cosmetics, fragrances, and shoes at Bloomingdale’s online and in-store

  • 4 points per dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants

  • 3 points per dollar spent on other purchases at the department store’s retail locations or website

Card members have access to perks and discounts like 25% off store purchases the first two days after getting approved, free standard shipping, the chance to choose your own Triple Points Days to earn more and a free entree and non-alcoholic drink when you spend $100 through the Dining Club.

3. Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard

Type of card: Open-loop

Annual fee: None

Credit score requirement: Average score or higher

The Capital One® Walmart Rewards Mastercard provides regular Walmart shoppers the chance to take another 5% off Walmart’s prices on store purchases for the first year. Purchases must be made through the Walmart Pay digital wallet, which is easy to download and install on your smartphone.

After the first year, the rewards rate drops to 2%, although you can still get 5% back on shopping through Can’t wait for your products to ship? Buy online to max out your rewards rate and request an in-store pickup.

With this open-loop card, you can also earn 2% back on dining and travel purchases made elsewhere. As for the rest of the times you charge your card, you’ll earn 1% back. Backed by Capital One, the credit card issuer extends travel perks like no foreign transaction fees and access to the Capital One travel booking portal

Here’s how you can redeem rewards:

  • Apply them to pay off your credit card statement balance.

  • Order gift cards.

  • Use your rewards balance toward an in-store or online purchase.

  • Use your rewards for travel bookings through Capital One’s portal.

4. Gap Visa Credit Card

Type of card: Open-loop

Annual fee: None

Credit score requirement: Average score or higher

You can use the Gap Visa Credit Card anywhere and redeem your rewards at all the Gap brands, including the Gap Store and Gap Factory, Banana Republic, Athleta and Old Navy. The high rewards rate and loyalty benefits may place this card at the top for treating customers like VIPs.

Here’s how you earn rewards:

  • 5 points per dollar spent online and in-store for all Gap brands

  • 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else

  • $5 reward for every 500 points you earn

  • An extra 10% off when you shop at the Gap and Gap Factory stores

Gap cardholders that spend big will get upgraded to silver status. Earning more than 5,000 points in a year also gets you:

  • Quarterly bonus rewards of 20% on all the rewards earned for the quarter

  • Free alterations on clothes bought at Banana Republic

  • Free 3-5-day shipping

  • One “choose-your-own-sale” day per year

They’ll also send you a $10 reward card with your bank statement for every 1,000 points you’ve earned that you can use for purchases at all Gap brands.

5. Lowe's Advantage Card

Type of card: Closed-loop

Annual fee: None

Credit score requirement: Good score or higher

The Lowe's Advantage Card will please DIYers and home improvement fans. You can earn an unlimited 5% discount at checkout on all in-store or online purchases. 

Lowe’s will sometimes offer a special financing deal instead, which could be a better choice if you plan on making large purchases and want to pay them off over time. Before you decide to take the offer, weigh your financing options. Compare the card’s regular annual percentage rate (APR) to the promotional interest rate offered. Unless it’s lower, you’re better off taking the 5% discount and letting Tally manage your monthly payments so you don’t miss one.

6. Target REDcard Credit Card

Type of card: Closed-loop, although the Mastercard version is open-loop

Annual fee: None

Credit score requirement: Good score or higher

If you’re a fan of Target, adding the Target REDcard to your wallet could be smart. It’ll be the first one you reach toward to cover their Target purchases — even those in-store Starbucks lattes. Although the card is closed-loop and can’t be used at other stores, it’s worth having for frequent shoppers who can snag perks like 5% cash back on eligible purchases, free two-day shipping, and an extra 30-day return time on top of Target’s standard return time.

You can always upgrade to the open-loop Target Mastercard, which often comes with a higher credit limit, to earn rewards on your shopping outside of Target, too. Both cards reward your loyalty with a 10% discount coupon on your card anniversary every year.

To redeem your rewards, apply your rewards balance at checkout in-store or online, or use your earned points towards your statement balances due.

7. Victoria’s Secret Angel Card

Type of card: Closed-loop

Annual fee: None

Credit score requirement: Fair score or higher

The Victoria’s Secret Angel Card can be used online and in-store at Victoria’s Secret and PINK locations. It’s a good starter card if you have a limited credit history since you’re likely to get approved with a less than perfect credit score. What makes this one of the best store credit cards is its loyalty perks. The more you spend, the higher your rewards are.

All customers start with the Angel Card to earn: 

  • 3 points per dollar spent on bra purchases

  • 1 point per dollar spent on everything else

  • Free shipping

  • A $15 discount off your first purchase

  • An annual $10 birthday treat

Once you spend $250, you’ll be upgraded to the Angel VIP card, adding a 15% anniversary discount. After $500 spent, you’ll join the Angel Forever level, earning $15 bonuses on your birthday and half-birthday plus a 20% off card anniversary certificate.

Are department store credit cards right for you?

If you mainly shop at a favorite retailer, having the brand’s rewards credit card can be worth it. You’ll get extra perks like free shipping and discounts not available to all shoppers.

But remember to stay on top of your payments and pay your card off as quickly as possible. Forget a payment, and the late fee or interest charges may offset the rewards you’ve earned.