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 — you get 3% at Gap stores, but the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express gives you 3% on all department stores, with 6% on groceries 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®-Double Cash Back your first year
The Discover it®-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®-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.
- Cash rewards
- 6% back on groceries
- 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.
The Chase Freedom®
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
- Q3 (July 1 – September 30): Gas stations
- Q4 (October 1 – December 31): Amazon.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!