Best Credit Cards for Department Stores

Using the right credit card at your favorite retailer can snag you rewards, not to mention other money-saving perks.
Jaime Hanson
Melissa Lambarena
By Melissa Lambarena and  Jaime Hanson 
Updated

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Whether you’re shopping for a last-minute gift, treating yourself to something nice or hunting for bargains, a trip to a department store doesn’t have to strain your wallet.

The right credit card can put some money back in your pocket in the form of rewards. This way, you can splurge or save a little more — your choice.

Here are some of NerdWallet’s favorite credit cards that offer rewards for department store purchases.

🤓Nerdy Tip

A credit card that offers rewards at department stores may have different terms for online and in-store purchases. Review the card’s terms to understand your rewards. If you’re more of an online department store shopper, take a look at NerdWallet’s best credit cards for online shopping.

Top credit cards for department stores

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

Our pick for: Maximum flexibility

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 5% cash back on two categories of your choice from a list of several options, on up to $2,000 spent per quarter on combined purchases. See the full list of bonus categories below.

  • 2% cash back on an everyday category of your choice, such as gas, groceries or restaurants.

  • 1% cash back on other purchases.

  • Fast food.

  • Home utilities.

  • TV, internet and streaming.

  • Department stores.

  • Cell phone providers.

  • Electronics stores.

  • Sporting goods stores.

  • Movie theaters.

  • Gyms/fitness centers.

  • Furniture stores.

  • Ground transportation.

  • Select clothing stores.

Sign-up bonus: $200 bonus after spending $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 19.49%-29.74% Variable APR.

BENEFITS

The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card lets you choose from several 5% categories (see above), and among the choices are select department stores. When you’re not shopping at department stores, you can change your categories within U.S. Bank’s quarterly window. The 0% introductory APR can also offer a nice interest-free break, which is especially useful if you spend big at department stores.

DRAWBACKS

Not all department stores qualify. Spending at Walmart and Target isn't eligible to earn the top 5% cash-back rate. Plus, you have to remember to opt in to bonus categories every quarter and keep spending caps in mind to qualify for that high rewards rate. Otherwise, you’ll earn 1%.

Citi Double Cash® Card

Our pick for: Simplicity

Citi® Double Cash Card
NerdWallet rating 

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 2% back on all purchases: 1% when you buy them and 1% when you pay them off.

Sign-up bonus: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 19.24%-29.24% Variable APR.

BENEFITS

The Citi Double Cash® Card is a low-maintenance card that doesn’t require opting in, remembering categories or staying on top of spending caps. You don't have to keep track of the department stores that qualify for the rewards rate because all purchases are eligible for the same amount. And since you can collect rewards everywhere, the cash back can add up quickly.

DRAWBACKS

This card's standard offer doesn't include a sign-up bonus. There's also no 0% introductory APR for purchases.

U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

Our pick for: Strategic shoppers

U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card  - NerdWallet Exclusive
NerdWallet rating 

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 6% cash back on your first $1,500 in combined eligible purchases each quarter at two retailers you choose (from a list of 24 options, including Kohl's, Macy's and Nordstrom). See full list below.

  • 3% cash back on your first $1,500 in eligible purchases each quarter in your choice of one everyday category.

  • 1.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

  • 5.5% cash back on prepaid car and hotel reservations booked directly in the Rewards Center.

  • Ace Hardware.

  • Apple.

  • Amazon.com.

  • Anthropologie.

  • Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

  • Best Buy.

  • Chewy.com.

  • Crate & Barrel.

  • Disney.

  • Home Depot.

  • Ikea.

  • Kohl's.

  • Lowe's.

  • Lululemon.

  • Macy's.

  • Menards.

  • Nordstrom.

  • Pottery Barn.

  • QVC.

  • Restoration Hardware.

  • Target.

  • Walmart.

  • Wayfair.com.

  • Williams Sonoma.

Sign-up bonus: Get a $250 bonus after you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95

APR: The ongoing APR is 19.74%-29.74% Variable APR

BENEFITS

The potential to earn 6% back at specific department stores makes this the most potentially lucrative card on our list, at least for brand loyalists.

DRAWBACKS

There's an annual fee, uncommon among cash-back credit cards. Plus, only a few specific department stores qualify for that sky-high 6% rate, and rewards are capped at $1,500 in combined spending per quarter at the two 6% retailers you choose. That may limit the earnings of heavy department store spenders.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Our pick for: Online shopping

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
NerdWallet rating 

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 3% back on U.S. online retail purchases on up to $6,000 spent per year.

  • 3% back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 spent per year.

  • 3% back at U.S. gas stations on up to $6,000 spent per year.

  • 1% back on other purchases.

  • Terms apply; see rates and fees.

Welcome offer: Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. Terms Apply.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 19.24%-29.99% Variable APR.

BENEFITS

If you're OK with virtual shopping at your favorite department stores, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers triple cash-back rewards on U.S. online retail purchases up to $6,000 spent per year. So you can shop around for the best deals without having to opt in or keep track of which stores qualify. The card also offers several other useful categories, not to mention a welcome bonus that could help offset your haul. Terms apply.

DRAWBACKS

This card is ideal for online department store shoppers. If you prefer to shop in physical stores, the same savings won't apply. There's also an annual rewards cap to be aware of. Terms apply.

Simon® American Express® Credit Card from Cardless

Our pick for: Mall walkers

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 5% back inside all U.S.-based Simon properties, including Simon Malls, Premium Outlets and The Mills (up to $10,000 spent per year; 1% thereafter).

  • 5% back on online purchases at select retailers, including JCPenney, Reebok and Eddie Bauer.

  • Up to 10% back on gift cards at select retailers when purchased through the Cardless app.

Welcome offer: None.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: The ongoing APR is 21.24%-31.24% Variable APR (as of November 2023)

BENEFITS

For dedicated mall-goers who frequent any of Simon’s nearly 200 U.S.-based properties, the Simon Credit Card from Cardless is an enticing pick. It offers 5% cash back on up to $10,000 spent annually inside U.S.-based Simon Malls, Mills, and Premium Outlets, which feature popular department stores like Macy’s, JCPenney, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, Belk and more. Certain retailers (including JCPenney) extend that 5% back to online purchases. Plus, cardholders earn up to 10% back on gift cards for retailers when purchased through the Cardless app.

DRAWBACKS

The card does come with a few strings attached. You’ll need to make five transactions on the card each billing cycle to earn any rewards, which could be a hiccup for the more sporadic shopper. Further, the 5% rate is capped at $10,000 yearly (1% thereafter), and, being an American Express card, it's limited to retailers that accept AmEx.

Other credit cards to consider

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
NerdWallet rating 

A lot of the merchandise you might find in department stores is also available through other retailers. Some of them may even offer co-branded credit cards that grant you discounts, rewards or perks.

Amazon, for example, sells a variety of clothing, furniture, accessories and nearly anything else you can think of. If you're already an Amazon Prime member, the Prime Visa offers a high 5% rewards rate when you spend at Amazon, not to mention at Whole Foods. The annual fee is $0, but you'll still owe your annual Amazon Prime membership fee, which currently is $139 a year.

And don’t dismiss a one-stop-shop warehouse like Costco if you prefer gas, groceries and department store-type merchandise in bulk. You can find pretty much everything you need there, and as a Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi cardholder, you can earn cash back on those purchases, as well as on travel expenses. The annual fee is $0, but to get the card you must be a Costco member, which requires a yearly fee. Currently, the membership fee starts at $60 per year, but if you already do lot of shopping at Costco, this card could be quite useful.

Citibank Costco-Anywhere Visa Card Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

Or if you're not into paying an annual membership fee, a big-box store like Target sells much of what you would find in a typical department store. And if you have the Target REDcard™ Credit Card, you'll snag a 5% discount on almost all of your purchases — no yearly membership required.

For new additions to your wardrobe, consider credit cards with fashion-forward retailers. The following are examples of co-branded cards that feature perks and discounts aimed at store loyalists:

These cards aren't ideal for every shopper, but you may be missing out on value if you already spend a lot at your favorite store or pay an annual membership fee.


To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, see this page.

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