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Best store credit cards of 2021

We've broken down which store cards are worth your attention this year.

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Our pick for a store card: Sam's Club® Mastercard®

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When it comes to store credit cards, the “best” one can often depend on where you spend the most time and money. Ultimately, a store credit card isn’t any good if you can never use it.

Given this, we picked cards for our list based on which products were most effective for their respective retailers. We placed heavy value on the highest rewards rates. When appropriate, we considered cards with standout benefits.

  • Why trust us? Unlike our competitors, Finder’s credit card experts research and write about all credit cards, including those from providers who aren’t partners on our site. Our trustworthy, unbiased evaluations are solely meant to help you choose the best credit card for your financial needs.

Best super-store credit card

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

This card is very similar to the Amazon credit card, offering an excellent 5% off eligible purchases at Target and Target.com. One major difference: Amazon's card requires a Prime membership, while Target's doesn't require any subscription. You'll also receive free two-day shipping on eligible items at Target.com, which gives you an incentive to shop there rather than Amazon. Remember: as a closed-loop card, it's valid only in the Target network.

Best store card for online shopping

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

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Terms apply, see rates & fees
You'll need an eligible Amazon Prime membership to apply for this card. But for the price, you'll earn a stellar 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods. Considering you can find countless items on Amazon.com — many that fall outside the categorization of typical rewards cards — this is a terrific opportunity for earning back on a wide range of products. If that wasn't enticing enough, you'll also earn a solid 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores.
The information about Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by Finder and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.

Best store card for travel

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Finder rating 3.4 / 5 ★★★★★

This card offers 2% cash back at Costco and Costco.com, which isn't spectacular. But a big part of the card's value is in its travel rewards. You'll find excellent rewards on gas, restaurant and eligible travel purchases. And you can boost those travel purchases even further with Executive Membership, for a total of 5% back — comparable to what you'd find on dedicated travel cards.

Best store card for flexible spending

My Best Buy® Visa® Card

With the My Best Buy® Visa® Card, you can choose between 5% back in rewards at Best Buy or deferred interest on eligible purchases at the retailer. The card is also surprisingly good for everyday purchases, offering 2% back on dining and grocery purchases and 3% back on gas for a limited time. The card has no annual fee. But depending on your credit, you may receive the Gold version, which comes with a $59 annual fee. Take care: with a credit score lower than 670, you might receive the My Best Buy® Visa® Card, which is a closed-loop card.
The information about My Best Buy® Visa® Card has been collected independently by Finder and and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.

Best store card for everyday purchases

Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®

This Capital One offering comes in two versions: The Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard® and the closed-loop Walmart Rewards card. The Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard® is an open-loop product, valid in all stores, not just Walmart and Walmart-associated retailers. With that said, you'll find your biggest rewards value when shopping at Walmart.com or in-store during the 12-month introductory period, a hearty 5% back on purchases. In-store purchases revert to 2% after the intro period. You'll also earn a decent 2% back on restaurants and travel and 1% back everywhere else.

What’s changed in 2021

The strongest cards from last year only got stronger, though Walmart’s revamped offering joined the list this year, rivaling the value of the Target REDCard.

Compare all store credit cards

Browse more store credit card to earn rewards and get store benefits.

How to choose the best store credit cards

There are countless retailers, and many of them offer their own store cards. Choosing one comes down to a few key factors:
  • Review which stores you shop at most. This is probably the easiest place to start. If you don’t normally shop at a given store, you won’t find much value in the corresponding store card.
  • Look at the rewards. Check the rewards rate you’ll earn on store purchases. If the card is open-loop, you may earn bonus rewards for other categories too.
  • Consider the store perks. A store card can sometimes be worth picking up just because of its benefits. You might want access to free shipping, for example, or invitations to exclusive events. Carefully check a card’s benefits page to see if there are any can’t-miss features.
  • How easy is the card to use? Store credit cards can sometimes have more restrictions than general credit cards. You may, for example, need a store membership in order to apply for a card. And you’ll want to check whether a card is open-loop or closed-loop. With store cards, you often earn a rewards certificate only after you reach a certain number of points. Check what this threshold might be, and consider how easily you can reach it.
  • What is the APR? Store cards tend to have very high interest rates. Check the APR before signing up.

How do store credit cards work?

Store cards work like any other card where you use it at the store to make purchases and get some benefits in the for of rewards, free shipping or deferred interest. But unlike other cards, store cards have two versions: closed-loop and open-loop.

Closed-loop means you can use the card only with the issuing store or its designated partners. Open-loop means you can use the card anywhere that accepts its card network. For example, you might see a Visa logo on the card, meaning the card is valid anywhere Visa is accepted.

Pros and cons of using store credit cards

Like any other product, there are advantages and disadvantages of store credit cards.

Pros

  • Rewards. Store credit cards reward you with points you can use to shave a few dollars off your next purchase.
  • Bonuses. Some store credit cards have sweeteners like gift certificates or bonus points on signup.
  • Shopping benefits. You may be eligible for exclusive extras such as special financing or free shipping.
  • Deferred interest. This feature is offered with some store credit cards, and it’s a double-edged sword. If used correctly, it can be an incredibly useful feature.

Cons

  • High interest. Store credit card debts generally accrue interest at a higher rate than other credit cards. They may also come with higher fees than you’d find on a non-store card.
  • Limitations. You may earn fewer points per dollar spent when you shop at a retailer not affiliated with the store card provider, or may be restricted in where you can redeem your rewards.
  • Many are closed loop. Many store cards are closed loop, meaning you can only use them for purchases within the affiliated store. This drastically cuts down on the overall utility of the card.
  • Lower credit limits on average. Since store cards tend to have more forgiving credit requirements than other kinds of cards, they tend to offer smaller maximum credit limits compared to a standard rewards card.

When is a store card card worth it?

Because of its features such as rewards, deferred interest, store-exclusive benefits and discounts, store cards are often worth it.

  • Get a store card if you often shop at the store and you always pay your balance on time.
  • Don’t get a store card if you tend to carry your balance and the card doesn’t offer a deferred interest or an interest-free period.

You asked, we listened: Top 3 common questions

  1. Where else can I use a store credit card? This depends on whether the card is closed-loop or open-loop. If it’s closed-loop, you can use it only within the issuing store network. If it’s open-loop — meaning it has a card network on it, such as Visa or Mastercard — you can use it anywhere the network is accepted.
  2. How do I transfer my credit card balance to a store credit card? Store credit cards often don’t allow balance transfers. You might not be able to make these transactions even with an open-loop card. However, some cards do allow them. If you’re unsure whether your card allows balance transfers, check its terms and conditions. Alternatively, call your provider and ask to speak with a representative.
  3. What credit score do I need to apply for a store credit card? Unfortunately, there’s no hard-and-fast rule, but many applicants have luck applying with fair credit scores. Of course, you’ll have better odds with a good to excellent credit score.

How are store cards different than traditional credit cards?

The difference between traditional and store credit cards largely depends on the latter. If the store card is Visa or Mastercard, it’s often the same as a traditional credit card. The difference comes with a close-loop store card.

Store card

  • Close-loop. Close-loop cards can only be used at the store or at partner stores and nowhere else. This makes it a poor choice if you want to use it for purchases at other retailers.
  • Deferred interest. Store cards may offer a deferred interest. This means you can make a purchase at the store and pay it off in many months without paying interest. However, if you fail to pay it off by the time the deferred interest period is up, you’ll pay interest accrued from the moment you made your purchase.
  • Limited redemption options. Store cards rarely allow you to redeem your rewards for travel purchases, gift cards or anything other than credit to use at the store.
  • Poor signup bonus. Store cards rarely offer a signup bonus that rivals standard credit cards. This is typically a discount or a gift card you can use at the store up to $50.

Traditional credit cards

  • Open-loop. You can use your credit card wherever cards are an accepted payment method in the US and abroad.
  • Intro APR period. Unlike deferred interest, a 0% intro APR period doesn’t charge interest retroactively if you fail to pay off your balance by the time the interest period is up. You only start to accrue interest once the intro APR period is over and on any remaining unpaid balance.
  • Various redemption options. You can often redeem your rewards for statement credit, cash deposit into your account, on travel purchases, gift cards, merchandise, to pay for Amazon.com purchases and more.
  • Generous signup bonus. Depending on the card, you can earn up to $400 in redemption value as a signup bonus all without paying an annual fee. If you pay an annual fee, you can earn a value of up to $4,000.

What’s the customer service like on these cards?

Any customer service you require when it comes to your store credit card is handled by the card’s provider, not the store itself. That means if you’re having problems with your My Best Buy® Visa® Card, no one at Best Buy is going to be able to help you with your problem. Instead, you’ll get in touch with either American Express, Mastercard, Visa, or Discover to handle your service request.

Calling the number listed on the back of your store credit card will connect you with the proper customer service rep that can help.

Bottom line

The best store card depends on where you like to shop. If our top picks don’t include your favorite store, compare more store cards to find the one that’s right for you.

Credit card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

Our team evaluates credit cards to determine their value against similar cards on the market.

We rank card types — travel, cash back, business — on a set of factors that are most relevant to that type of card. We create these rankings to help you narrow down a credit card that best suits your spending and budget.

Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

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