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Best Credit Cards for Department Stores

Sept. 20, 2019
Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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Whether you’re shopping for a last-minute gift, treating yourself to something nice or hunting for in-house bargains, your 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 big rewards for department store purchases.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best retail store credit cards

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Our pick for: Maximum flexibility

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Apply Now on US Bank's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • Bonus cash back categories
    • No annual fee
    • Intro APR period on Balance Transfers

    Cons

    • Complex rewards require maintenance
    • Foreign transaction fee

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 15.74% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.74%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    $150 bonus after spending $500 in eligible net purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

    Intro APR

    • 0% Intro APR* on purchases and balance transfers for 12 billing cycles
  • Additional Information
    • Earn up to $550 cash back in the first year.
    • $150 bonus after spending $500 in eligible net purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
    • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases ($100 per quarter) on two categories you choose. That adds up to $400 cash back!
    • 2% cash back on your choice of one everyday category, like gas stations or grocery stores.
    • 1% cash back on all other eligible net purchases.
    • 0% Intro APR* on purchases and balance transfers for 12 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 15.74% - 25.24%.
    • No limit on total cash back earned.
    • No annual fee*
    • Great Offer from U.S. Bank, a 2019 World's Most Ethical Company® - Ethisphere Institute, February 2019
    • View Rates and Fees

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).
  • 2% cash back on an everyday category of your choice, such as gas, groceries or restaurants.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Sign-up bonus: $150 bonus after spending $500 in eligible net purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 15.74% - 25.24% Variable APR.

BENEFITS

The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card lets you choose from several 5% categories, and among the choices as of September 2019 were 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. Neither Walmart nor Target is 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 only 1%.

» MORE: Full review of the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Our pick for: Simplicity

Citi<sup>®</sup> Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Apply Now on Citibank's secure application
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • No annual fee
    • Intro APR period on Balance Transfers

    Cons

    • No sign-up bonus
    • No 0% APR for purchases
    • $25 minimum redemption

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 15.99% - 25.99% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    None

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months
  • Additional Information
    • Earn cash back TWICE. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
    • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time
    • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.99% – 25.99% based on your creditworthiness.
    • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases
    • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
    • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% – 25.99% based on your creditworthiness.*

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

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

Sign-up bonus: None.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.99% - 25.99% Variable APR.

BENEFITS

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer 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 which department stores 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 doesn’t offer much in the way of introductory incentives, such as a sign-up bonus or 0% introductory APR for purchases.

» MORE: Full review of the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Our pick for: Everyday rewards

(All information about the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is no longer available through NerdWallet.)

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 spent per year, then 1%).
  • 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Terms apply.

BENEFITS

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express earns rewards in everyday categories such as groceries and gas, making it easy to collect cash back along the way. For those who frequently spend at department stores, it also offers a solid 2% rewards rate. Also noteworthy is the lack of annual fee, and the lengthy interest-free period it offers compared with some other cards. Terms apply.

DRAWBACKS

Even though the rewards rate at department stores is good, only some U.S. department stores qualify. Unless you’re taking full advantage of the card’s other rewards categories, you may be better off with a flat-rate credit card that earns the same amount of rewards wherever you shop.

» MORE: Full review of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard®

Our pick for: Stein Mart loyalists

Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard®

Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard®

Apply Now on Synchrony Bank's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee

    Cons

    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • Purchase: 29.24%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 28.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    None

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Spend $500 per year and get upgraded to ELITE status
    • Earn 1 reward point for every $1 spent in-store and online at Stein Mart
    • Earn 1 reward point for every $1 spent everywhere else Mastercard® is accepted
    • Exclusive Extra Savings Events at least 10 days every year

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 1 point per $1 spent in-store and online at Stein Mart.
  • 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: The ongoing APR is 29.24% Variable.

BENEFITS

The Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard® earns rewards at the retailer online, in-store and everywhere that Mastercard is accepted. It also offers some introductory incentives for new cardholders: 10% off the first online purchase and a $10 Stein Mart reward certificate. Terms apply. This card also offers a chance to enroll in the Stein Mart Elite Rewards Program automatically after you spend $500 or more in purchases per calendar year. With this new status, you’re eligible for more perks and rewards.

DRAWBACKS

The introductory incentives for new cardholders fall short compared with those offered by general rewards credit cards. Redemptions also have limitations. Rewards redeem only for Stein Mart reward certificates that can only be used at the retailer’s locations.

» MORE: Review of the Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard®

Other credit cards to consider

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 make you eligible for discounts, rewards or perks.

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

And don’t dismiss a one-stop-shop warehouse like Costco if you prefer gas, groceries and department store-type merchandise in bulk. As a Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi cardholder, you can earn cash back on those purchases, and even on travel expenses. The annual fee is $0, but you must be a Costco member, which does require a yearly fee.

Or if you’re just 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. Some — like the Old Navy Visa® Credit Card and the TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard® — offer perks and discounts that could be valuable to store loyalists.

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

» MORE: Before you get a retail credit card, consider your options

Information related to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.