The Best Store Credit Cards of 2019

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Store credit cards don’t get a lot of love compared with other rewards credit cards. But if you frequently shop at a specific retailer, that brand’s credit card may give you the best value every time you visit. 

To find the best store credit cards on the market, we looked at how much value you can get in various categories, including clothes, electronics, furniture and home improvement. In addition to rewards, we also looked for cards that excel in other areas, such as promotional financing offers, discounts, and more. Here are our top choices.

Editors' Picks

Best Overall

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Our Rating Among Store Credit Cards Cards
4.6
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.24% - 24.24% variable
Annual Fee $0, Prime Membership Required
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods market with an eligible prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.

Why We Chose This Card

Whether you’re shopping for clothes, electronics, furniture, or just about anything else, this card does it all. You need to be an Amazon Prime member to be approved, but you’ll earn a high rewards rate at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market stores, plus bonus rewards on other everyday purchases. The card has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and a handful of travel insurance perks that are rare among cash-back cards

Best Ongoing Discount

Gap Visa Card

Our Rating Among Store Credit Cards Cards
4.1
Gap Visa Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 28.24% variable
Annual Fee No Annual Fee
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at their brands, in-stores and online. Earn 1 points for every dollar spent where Visa is accepted.

Why We Chose This Card

You’ll not only earn rewards on every purchase you make—including bonus points on Gap purchases—but you’ll also get a 10% discount every time you use it at Gap and Gap Factory stores. Plus, the card offers a 20% discount and free shipping on your first purchase, access to special events, no-receipt returns, a birthday gift, and more. We also like that this is a Visa card so you can use it anywhere you shop.

Best for Home Improvement

The Home Depot® Consumer Credit Card

Our Rating Among Store Credit Cards Cards
2.8
The Home Depot® Consumer Credit Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.99% - 26.99% variable
Annual Fee No Annual Fee

Why We Chose This Card

If you’re planning a DIY project, you can take advantage of this card’s promotional financing deals, which last up to 24 months, depending on what you’re buying and how much it costs. (Just note that if you don't pay off the balance before the end of the promotional financing period, the card charges interest retroactively You also get a decent discount on your first purchase, based on how much you spend.

Find Your Credit Card Match

We believe it's most important to consider annual fee, interest rate, and rewards when you choose a credit card for everyday use, but we know you might have different priorities. See what suits you best.
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    Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
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What Are Store Credit Cards & How Do They Work?

Store credit cards are issued by a bank and co-branded with a retailer. They typically offer rewards, discounts, and other benefits to loyal shoppers who use them. For example, you may receive a one-time discount as an incentive to sign up for the card, then gain access to ongoing rewards and perks.  


Store credit cards
typically offer lower credit limits and charge higher interest rates than traditional credit cards. Some also only let you use them in that store. And if you get a 0% financing offer, it may be a deferred-interest promotion, where you have to pay interest retroactively if you don’t clear the balance by the promotion’s end, instead of a true 0% APR promotion.

While a store credit card has the name of the retailer on it, the account is typically issued and serviced by a financial institution. You can usually apply for a store credit card at the cash register of your favorite retailer, or online. 

What Are the Different Types of Store Credit Cards?

  • Closed-loop cards: These store credit cards can typically only be used for purchases with the store and its partners. It doesn’t run on a payment network like Visa or Mastercard, so you can’t use it for any other purchases. 
  • Open-loop cards: These cards run on a major payment network, such as Visa or Mastercard, and allow you to use the card for purchases wherever that payment network is accepted. At the same time, you’ll likely also get bonus rewards and special perks with the retailer, just as you would with a closed-loop card. 

How Cash-Back Rewards Work

As the name suggests, cash-back credit cards give cardholders cash back when they use their card to make purchases. But not all cash-back rewards programs are created equal. Here are a few ways your card’s program can be structured:

  • Flat-rate rewards: Every purchase nets the same amount of cash back. For example, you may receive 1%, 1.5% or 2% cash back on every transaction.
  • Tiered rewards: Some spending categories qualify for higher rewards rates, but these categories don’t change over time. For example, you may receive 3% cash back on gas, 2% back on groceries and 1% back on everything else. Some tiered-rewards cards put a cap on how much you can earn on certain bonus categories.
  • Rotating rewards: You’ll earn a higher rewards rate on certain categories, but they change over time. For example, you may receive 5% cash back on groceries from January through March, then that same rate at restaurants from March through April. There’s usually a cap on the amount you can earn in bonus rewards, and you’ll typically earn 1% back on non-bonus spending.

Pros & Cons of Store Cards

There are both benefits and drawbacks to having a store credit card. Knowing both sides can help you make a better decision for your situation.

What We Like

  • You can get special discounts and offers from your favorite retailers

  • You may be able to qualify with limited or bad credit

  • It can help you establish or build a credit history

What We Don't Like

  • You'll pay a high interest rate if you carry a balance from month to month

  • You may have few options for where you can use the card

  • A low credit limit could make it easier to rack up a high credit utilization ratio—your balance divided by your credit limit—which can hurt your credit score

How to Choose a Store Card

If you’ve considered both the benefits and drawbacks of store credit cards and still think having one is right for you, take some time to think about which card might be the best fit. 

There’s no single best store credit card out there for everyone, so it’s important to know your preferences and shopping habits.

In general, it’s best to choose a card that’s co-branded with a retailer you shop at regularly, especially if it’s a closed-loop card you can only use at that store. If you choose an open-loop card, however, you’ll have the flexibility of using the card just about anywhere. 

Getting an open-loop card isn’t absolutely necessary, though. If you spend a significant amount of money at one retailer and its card is closed-loop, gaining the benefits that card offers can make up for the limited use.

If you shop regularly at more than one retailer, compare the rewards and other perks each store card offers and choose the one that will provide you the most value. It may make sense to pair a store card with another credit card that will reward you for other types of purchases.

How to Redeem Rewards

How you can redeem your rewards can vary by card. But in general, here are some options you may get with your store credit card:

  • Reward certificate good for use with the retailer 
  • Points that you can use at checkout to pay for online or in-store purchases
  • Gift cards
  • Cash back as a statement credit or direct deposit

The best store credit cards give you multiple options when redeeming your points or cash back.

Can I Get a Store Card With Bad Credit?

Yes, it is possible to get a store credit card with bad credit. In fact, a store credit card could be an excellent alternative to a secured credit card if you’re looking to build your credit history but don’t have the cash on hand to put up the security deposit usually required for a secured card. 

That said, not all store credit cards are created equal, and some may require good or excellent credit to get approved. So it may be wise to check with the card’s issuer before you apply to make sure your approval odds are good. The best store credit card for you is one you can qualify for.

Methodology

At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.

Note

Our reviews are always impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive.

The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:

  1. How much does it cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees. 
  2. What are the rewards worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns. 
  3. Does it make your life easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges. 

For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.