The Best Department Store Credit Cards

Advertiser Disclosure

Closed-loop store cards aren’t always your best option when making purchases at retailers. That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t plenty of great retail credit cards from major brands – including open-loop cards. Here are four of our favorite department store credit cards:

At a Glance

The Best Credit Cards to Use at Department Stores

These cards can be used pretty much anywhere, but they give extra bonuses and rewards when you maximize use at certain stores:

U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card
Excellent-Good
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Excellent / Good
Visa Processing Network
$0 for the first year; $95 thereafter Annual Fee

U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

  • 19.74% to 29.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Regular Purchase APR
  • 19.74% to 29.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Balance Transfer APR
  • 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rateq Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

The US Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card provides cardholders with the power of 24 store cards in one for a $95 annual fee. The card earns 6% cash back at two retailers of the cardholder’s choice, with brands including Apple, Kohl’s, Target, Amazon, and more.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Earn up to 6% cash back at your favorite stores
  • Earn 3% cash back on your first $1,500 in eligible purchases on your choice of one everyday category
  • Earn 1.5% back on all eligible purchases
  • No annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Regular Purchase APR: 19.74% to 29.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 19.74% to 29.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rateq
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either 5% of the amount of each advance or $10 minimum, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year; $95 thereafter
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41
  • You spend heavily with several retail brands
  • You don’t want multiple store cards to keep track of
  • You can justify the card’s $95 annual fee and get plenty of value out of it
U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

Terms & Conditions

The list of great department store credit cards must start with the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card. U.S. Bank’s latest retail credit card, the Shopper Cash Rewards prioritizes rewards with merchants instead of relying on bonus categories like gas, travel, or dining.

As a cardholder, you’ll earn up to 6% cash back at 24 leading brands, 3% cash back on your first $1,500 in eligible purchases on your choice of one everyday category (like wholesale clubs, gas and E.V. charging stations, bills and utilities), and 1.5% back on all other purchases. It’s that 6% category that is most intriguing for department store lovers, as you can see below:

Ace Hardware Home Depot QVC
Amazon.com IKEA Restoration Hardware
Anthropologie Kohl’s Target
Apple Lowe’s Walmart
Bed, Bath, & Beyond Lululemon Wayfair.com
Best Buy Macy’s Williams Sonoma
Chewy.com Menards Pottery Barn
Crate & Barrel Nordstrom Disney

Bear in mind that the Shopper Cash Rewards charges an annual fee of $95. While that price point is fair – given the huge rewards the card provides – it may deter some applicants who are looking for cash back without the annual fee instead.

Simon® American Express® Credit Card

Simon® American Express® Credit Card
Excellent-Good
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Excellent / Good
American Express Processing Network
None Annual Fee

Simon® American Express® Credit Card

  • 21.24% to 31.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Regular Purchase APR

At a Glance

The Simon® American Express® Credit Card is a unique retail credit card that lets you maximize your rewards at the mall and anywhere else Amex is accepted. The card, from digital-first fintech Cardless, earns up to 5% cash back on all Simon Mall purchases – all for no annual fee.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn 5% at any Simon Mall, Mills, or Premium Outlet in the U.S.
  • Earn 1% on all your other card purchases
  • Regular Purchase APR: 21.24% to 31.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • You love to shop – either in-person or online – for a wide variety of products
  • You’re brand-loyal to the type of stores you find in the mall
  • You prefer card rewards in the form of statement credits
  • You do’t want to pay an annual fee
Simon® American Express® Credit Card

Simon® American Express® Credit Card

Terms & Conditions

The Simon® American Express® credit card is another great department store pick. Issued by digital-first fintech Cardless, the Simon Amex is a co-branded card with Simon Property Group – which operates several very popular shopping malls around the country. It goes without saying that each mall already gives you hundreds of options to shop at, but in addition you’ll earn 5% at participating merchants as a cardholder, including:

Aeropostale Brooks Brothers Eddie Bauer Forever 21
Reebok JCPenney Nautica Lucky Brand

You’ll also earn 3% back on in-store purchases at other retailers found at Simon malls and 1.5% back on mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and others. For anyone who prefers to shop in person, the card is a no-brainer – whether you’ve got a whole shopping list or are just browsing.

Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card

Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card
Excellent-Good
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Excellent / Good
Mastercard Processing Network
None Annual Fee

Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card

  • 17.99% or 29.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Regular Purchase APR
  • 17.99% or 29.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Balance Transfer APR
  • 29.74% variable based on the Prime Rate Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

Capital One has partnered with one of the world’s top retailers to bring shoppers the Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card. Boasting up to 5% back on Walmart purchases (including those from the online site, the Walmart app, Walmart delivery services, and Walmart gas stations) shoppers can enjoy additional savings on already low prices and redeem their earnings towards future purchases, statement credits, gift cards, or travel.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Unlimited 5% back at Walmart.com including Grocery Pickup and Delivery
  • Unlimited 2% back at Walmart stores and at Walmart and Murphy USA Fuel Stations
  • Unlimited 2% back at restaurants and on travel
  • Unlimited 1% back everywhere else Mastercard® is accepted
  • Points never expire
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Regular Purchase APR: 17.99% or 29.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 17.99% or 29.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: 3% of each transfer at the promotional APR. None for balances transferred at the regular transfer APR
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.74% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $39
  • You primarily shop at Walmart for your groceries or household items
  • You shop frequently, but not enough to warrant a wholesale club membership
  • You want rewards for travel and dining
  • You have a good or excellent credit score
  • You prefer a Walmart credit card to a store card or a Walmart MoneyCard debit card
  • You want a card with no annual fee
Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card

Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card

Terms & Conditions

There are few department store credit cards as useful as the Walmart Rewards Card from Capital One. Its versatility is in many ways due to that of the Walmart brand itself. Walmart Superstores offer almost anything a shopper could want – from hunting accessories to groceries, to clothing, and everything in between.

The Capital One Walmart Rewards Card maximizes this versatility by offering impressive cash back in the form of 5% on purchases at Walmart.com (including grocery pickup and delivery) and 2% back when shopping in-store. Plus, Murphy USA or Walmart Fuel Stations also earn 2% back – extra useful if you tend to fill up on grocery runs. Lastly, customers earn 1% back on purchases almost everywhere else Mastercard is accepted. And, as an extra sweetener, cash back earning is unlimited and never expires.

Other card features include no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and the usual Mastercard protections and benefits.

Sam’s Club® Mastercard®

Sam's Club® Mastercard®
Excellent-Good-Fair
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Excellent / Good / Fair
Mastercard Processing Network
None Annual Fee

Sam’s Club® Mastercard®

  • 20.9% or 28.9% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Regular Purchase APR
  • 20.9% or 28.65% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Balance Transfer APR
  • 25.90% or 31.65% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

The Sam’s Club® Mastercard® offers Sam’s Club members everywhere up to 5% cash back on gas purchases, 3% back on dining, and more – all for no annual fee. From Synchrony Bank, the card also features no foreign transaction fees, Mastercard’s near-global acceptance, and special savings when shopping at Sam’s locations nationwide.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Earn 5% cash back on gas anywhere Mastercard is accepted (on first $6,000 per year, then 1%)
  • Earn 3% cash back on Sam’s Club purchases for Plus members. Club members earn 1% cash back
  • Earn 3% cash back on dining and takeout
  • Earn 1% cash back on other purchases at Sam’s Club and wherever Mastercard is accepted
  • No annual fee
  • Regular Purchase APR: 20.9% or 28.9% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 20.9% or 28.65% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 4% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.90% or 31.65% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • You’re a current Sam’s Club or Sam’s Club Plus member
  • You frequently purchase gasoline with a credit card
  • You do’t want to pay an annual fee or foreign transaction fee
  • You spend heavily on dining each month

While not entirely a department store, Sam’s Club is a one-stop shop where you can buy many of the clothing, health, food, and home items found at the biggest department stores – and usually at lower prices. The Sam’s Club® Mastercard®
offers a great way to get everything you want at Sam’s (whose parent company is Walmart) while earning valuable cash back rewards.

The card earns 5% cash back on gas purchases anywhere Mastercard is accepted (on first $6,000 spent per year, then 1%), 3% on Sam’s Club purchases for Plus members (Club members earn 1% cash back), 3% back on dining and takeout orders, and 1% on all other purchases. Cash back rewards are redeemable as a rewards certificate.

Even better, this Visa card also serves as your Sam’s Club membership card, so you save space in your wallet as you earn big rewards on each visit.

Why Choose a Department Store or Retail Credit Card?

Department store credit cards are a subset of retail credit cards. Sometimes erroneously called a store card, retail credit cards differ by using a major payment network, like Amex, Mastercard, or Visa. These networks provide near-global acceptance versus a traditional store card that only works at select brands and those brands’ websites. In other words, you can use co-branded store cards at the retailer on the card, as well as hundreds of other places.

While retail cards tend to have store-centric rewards, some co-branded offerings provide a level of value typically seen with no-annual-fee cash back rewards credit cards. The Shopper Cash Rewards™ card from U.S. Bank, for example, lets you shop at two dozen different brands across several categories, meaning you can earn 6% cash back on a large number of your everyday purchases from places like Walmart, Target, Apple, and more.

If you are responsible with your credit, a retail credit card can provide an opportunity to establish or improve your credit history. Consistently paying your bills on time and keeping your credit utilization low can positively affect your credit score. Retail cards often tend to have greater approval rates – although they are a little stricter with approvals than closed-loop store cards – meaning they may provide an avenue to building credit with a secured credit card.

Other Key Features of Co-Branded Retail Credit Cards

Here are some of the other key elements to consider when weighing options for your next store or retail credit card:

Important Things to Look for:
Discounts It’s common for a retail employee to offer you their store’s credit card at checkout. It’s also familiar for said employee to pitch a signup incentive in exchange for opening an account, such as an extra discount on what you’re about to purchase. If you practice your timing wisely, you could earn that bonus discount in conjunction with other sales the store is promoting, thereby saving big bucks on something you were already planning to buy.
Rewards The meat and potatoes of a store credit card, a rewards program is the primary vehicle for maximizing your consumer experience at a retailer. Whereas a merchant might have a “lite” rewards program in place that allows customers to freely earn points, having a retail credit card account often lets you earn points at a faster rate as well as receive additional promotions and coupons.
Sales access As a store cardholder, you may receive access to exclusive members-only sales that either include items not otherwise available to the public or deeper discounts than what the average consumer would find. Alternatively, you may be able to shop for new collections before they reach the masses.
Customer service Some retail cards provide customers with customer service lines to assist them in finding items, completing orders, or receiving other assistance.
Promo APR Another big selling is the option to finance certain purchases. Some store credit cards offer 0% interest for set periods, allowing you to pay off large purchases over time.

Drawbacks of Retail Credit Cards

While there are plenty of excellent reasons to consider adding a retail credit card to your wallet, there are factors that may not make it your best bet. These reasons include the following:

Potential Drawbacks of Retail Credit Cards:
Higher APR Retail credit cards typically have higher interest rates compared to traditional credit cards. If you carry a balance from month to month, the interest charges can quickly accumulate, offsetting any rewards or discounts you may have earned.
Lower Credit Limits Retail credit cards often come with lower credit limits compared to other credit cards. This can restrict your purchasing power, especially if you plan to make significant purchases or have a high credit utilization ratio.
Potential Credit Impact If you miss payments or carry high balances on your retail credit card, it can negatively impact your credit score. Late payments and high credit utilization can result in penalties, increased interest rates, and damage to your credit history.

Maximizing Value with a Retail Credit Card

Now that you know: 1) some of the best retail credit cards to consider, and 2) the pros and cons of applying for a store card, how can you maximize your rewards once you successfully apply and get your new card?

Here are a few ways to boost your savings, cash back, points, or anything else:

Select the Right Card for You

Before applying for a retail credit card, research different options and select one that aligns with your shopping habits and preferences. Look for cards that offer rewards and benefits that you will actually use – and award options you will actually want. Don’t go out of your way and sign up for a card at a store you barely shop at just because it’s tempting you with a juicy one-time discount or bonus.

Pay Your Statement In Full

To avoid interest charges, you should always aim to pay your card balance in full every month. Carrying a balance means you are paying interest on top of the purchase price of anything you bought.

What’s more, by carrying a balance you are effectively reducing the rewards value of your credit card. To avoid this, always try to pay in full. This will maximize the value of the rewards you earn and help you avoid unnecessary debt.

Take Advantage of Special Promotions

Always keep a close eye out for rewards, discounts, and exclusive promotions offered by your store card’s brand or the card issuer. Plan your purchases around these perks to enhance your rewards and get the most out of your card.

With cards like the Amazon Visa from Chase, for example, you can turn your attention to shopping during the popular Prime Day, using Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods for groceries, and checking for special members-only deals that provide rewards of up to 10% cash back or more.

Always ensure you carefully read the terms and conditions of your credit card to understand the limitations of your rewards. Some cards cap rewards after you reach a set level, like the Discover It or Chase Freedom Flex ($1,500 in cash back in the rotating 5% back categories). Stay informed with the fine print so you never miss out on your maximum points or shopping at the “wrong” time.

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Retail Credit Cards

Featured photo by MichaelGaida / Pixabay

Editorial Disclosure – The opinions expressed on BestCards.com's reviews, articles, and all other content on or relating to the website are solely those of the content’s author(s). These opinions do not reflect those of any card issuer or financial institution, and editorial content on our site has not been reviewed or approved by these entities unless noted otherwise. Further, BestCards.com lists credit card offers that are frequently updated with information believed to be accurate to the best of our team's knowledge. However, please review the information provided directly by the credit card issuer or related financial institution for full details.

About: Cory Santos
Cory Santos

Cory is the senior credit card editor at BestCards, specializing in everything credit card-related. He’s worked extensively with credit cards and other personal finance topics, including nearly five years at BestCards. Cory’s extensive knowledge is an essential part of the BestCards experience, helping readers to live their best financial lives with up-to-date insights and comprehensive coverage of all facets of the credit card space, including market trends, rewards guides, credit advice, and comprehensive credit card reviews.

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