NerdWallet’s Best Store Credit Cards – 2015
Store credit cards are rarely a good idea. Their rewards rates are almost always restricted to the stores themselves, and the introductory perks are often lackluster. At times, they lose out even at their own stores! Take the Gap Credit Card, for example. It gives you 3% at Gap stores. But the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express gives you 3% at several department stores, with 6% on groceries up to $6,000 spent per year (then 1%) and 3% on gas besides. Read on, and you’ll see why these unaffiliated shopping cards are often a better deal.
NerdWallet’s Top Store Credit Cards
Discover it®-New! Double Cash Back your first year
The Discover it®-New! Double Cash Back your first year offers 5% cash back on rotating categories, plus whatever discounts you get through Discover Deals. It has additional features as well: Some people sign up for store credit cards for financing options. This is usually a mistake. Store cards rarely have good APRs and often employ retroactive interest rates. If you want rewards and financing, check out the Discover it®-New! Double Cash Back your first year. It offers 0% on purchases for 12 months and 0% on balance transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 10.99% - 22.99% Variable. Plus, there’s no late fee on your first late payment, no foreign transaction fee and no penalty APR.
- 0% on purchases for 12 months and 0% on balance transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 10.99% - 22.99% Variable
- 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories
- Annual fee: $0
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
on American Express's
on American Express's
If you’re creative, when you’re at the grocery store, you can get back 3% on stores whose gift cards you find in the aisle, from iTunes to Amazon. It even comes with a signup bonus: Get $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $100 back in the form of a statement credit.
There’s also a higher-reward version of the card, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which carries a $75 annual fee. This charge, however, is easy to earn back. Spend as little as $25 at eligible supermarkets every week, and you’ll knock out the fee by year’s end. It’s no surprise that the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of our favorites. The rewards are simple, and if you work the spending categories right, you can earn maximum points.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- Cash rewards
- 6% back on groceries up to $6,000 spent per year (then 1%)
- 3% at department stores and gas stations
- Annual fee: $75
- Signup bonus: Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
Here’s the bonus category list for 2015:
- Q1 (January 1 – March 31): Grocery stores, movie theaters and Starbucks stores
- Q2 (April 1 – June 30): Restaurants, Bed Bath & Beyond, H&M and Overstock.com
- Q3 (July 1 – September 30): Gas stations and Kohl’s
- Q4 (October 1 – December 31): Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Audible.com and Diapers.com
All other purchases outside the bonus categories earn 1% back, and this card comes with a $0 annual fee. One of the main reasons the Chase Freedom® makes an excellent shopping card is cardholder access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall–an online shopping mall on which cardholders earn 1-10% extra. The Mall contains a wide selection of retailers, from American Eagle to Zales and beyond. Now, remind me, why do you want a store-branded card?
- Cash back rewards
- 5% rewards on rotating bonus categories
- Rewards cap: $1,500 in bonus spending per quarter
- Annual fee: $0
- Signup bonus: Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
For discounts and coupons at thousands of retailers, check out NerdWallet’s online coupons tool!