In some cases, store credit cards are not a good deal. Sure, you might get a small discount off of your first purchase after being approved, but you often end up with a card that has inferior rewards and a higher interest rate compared to conventional credit cards. However, these cards are some of the easiest credit cards to get, which make them attractive if you’re trying to build or rebuild credit. (You can get your credit scores for free on Credit.com to see where you stand.)
Fortunately, there are some store cards that do make sense. These are the cards that can offer impressive discounts, competitive rewards, or both.
- Kohl’s Charge Card
This department store offers a 20 percent discount on a customer’s next order when they open an account, which is above average for such offers. In addition, a 15 percent-off coupon will also arrive in the mail with the new card, plus 12 more discounts of 30 percent, 20 percent or 15 percent every year. Furthermore, those who spend $600 a year or more at Kohl’s stores will become a Most Valued Customer (MVC) and receive at least 18 discounts a year. So even though it doesn’t offer rewards points for each purchase, it offers plenty of more valuable coupons, which can even be combined with other offers. There is no annual fee for this card.
- Best Buy Reward Zone MasterCard
This electronics retailer offers a choice of either 5 percent back in the form of rewards points or a choice of one of their strong promotional financing offers. Cardholders can receive six months of deferred financing on purchases of $149 or more, 18 months on purchases of $429, or even 24 months on all HDTV, home theater and Geek Squad home theater installation purchases of $799 or more. Finally, customers also receive free shipping on orders of $35 or more, and access to exclusive discounts, special sales and member-only shopping events. There is no annual fee for this card.
- Lowe’s Consumer Credit Card
Like the Best Buy card, this card offers 5 percent off of all purchases or special financing options. One option is for six months of interest-free financing on purchases of $300 or more, so long as cardholders pay off their entire purchase within that time. The other is for 84 months — that is seven years — of financing of purchases of $3,500 or more at 5.99 percent APR. Unfortunately, these offers can not be combined with other coupons or discounts. There is no annual fee for this card.
- Victoria’s Secret Credit Card
This card offers rewards worth 4 percent of spending for those who receive “Angel VIP” status by spending $250 a year or more. Those shoppers will also receive double rewards points on bra purchases. There is no annual fee for this card.
- Walmart Credit Card
This card offers no rewards and little in the way of discounts (just five cents per gallon off of gasoline purchases). Yet this card is great for those who are trying to build or rebuild their credit, as it is one of the easiest store charge cards to be approved for. Cardholders receive a free monthly FICO score when they opt to receive electronic statements online. Another valuable feature is the ability to withdraw up to $100 cash at stores each day when making a purchase. Unlike most credit card cash advances, these cash withdrawals only count as a purchase, so they have no fees and no interest charges if the statement balance is paid in full by the due date. There is no annual fee for this card.
In order to get the most out of the discounts and rewards that come with these cards, it’s ideal to charge only what you can pay in full each month and avoid the interest charges. Paying in full, or keeping the balance to 10% or less of your credit limit will also benefit your credit score. If you do carry a balance, it’s good to have a plan to pay it off, and this calculator can help you determine how long it will take.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.