Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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In the U.S., there are thousands of department stores. Even though that number is decreasing every year with the advent of e-commerce, department stores are one of the main ways consumers can physically walk into a store to try on clothing.
It’s impossible to tell how department stores will fare long-term. But one thing is for sure — department stores will likely never go totally extinct. Instead, the traditional retail shopping experience may evolve over time to a more experiential business model.
Whenever you go shopping at a department store, you’ll want to make sure you’re using the best credit cards for your needs. And with tons of different store credit cards out there, it’s hard to figure out what the best choices are.
That’s why we’ll be walking you through what you should be looking for in a credit card for department store shopping. We’ll also show you the best personal credit cards for department stores, followed by the best business credit cards for department stores.
Let’s get started!
Department store credit cards or store credit cards, like those issued by Comenity Bank and Synchrony Bank, are an incredibly siloed bucket of financial products. In most cases, store credit cards are operated under a closed-loop system, which basically means you can’t use the card outside of the store.
For example, the Kohl’s Charge Card can only be used at Kohl’s locations — it can’t be used to pay for other transactions like dinner at a restaurant or gas at a local station.
Also, most department store credit cards offer egregiously high-interest rates that make opening one up a very risky endeavor.
And lastly, department store credit cards usually have terrible rewards and sign-up bonuses. For example, you might only get a 1-time $10 off discount for your store purchase, which pales in comparison to $1,000+ welcome bonuses on the top rewards credit cards out there.
That’s why we have, for the most part, totally avoided store credit cards in this guide. Instead, we’re focusing on the top credit cards that offer the best rewards on department store purchases in general.
Now that we’ve explained our logic, let’s get into the best personal credit cards for department stores.
|Card||Welcome Bonus and Annual Fee||Department Store Purchase Benefits|
|U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card||
|Citi® Double Cash Card||
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||
This card was made for those looking to maximize and rotate their cash-back rewards across a large range of regular expenses.
The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card is a great card for those looking to maximize their cash-back rewards by earning up to 5% back from a variety of expense categories.
The cardholder gets to choose 2 categories every quarter. It’s also the best cash-back card to use for utility bills, a tricky expense to get solid rewards back for.
The best credit card for department store purchases is also one of the most surprising ones, at least in the landscape of points and rewards.
With the U.S. Bank Cash+ Signature card, you will earn 5% cash-back on 2 categories you choose for the first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter, 2% cash-back on 1 everyday category, and 1% cash-back elsewhere. You’ll also enjoy a nice welcome bonus and some basic perks.
And while the list of 5% cash-back categories can change a bit over time, they are generally pretty consistent:
There’s a $25 minimum for statement credits and deposits. There’s also a $10 minimum for Real-Time Rewards.
The biggest benefit is that you can earn 5% cash-back at all department stores — no need to stick to a single chain of stores like Bloomingdale’s or Macy’s.
Great card for the average spender with no specific focus category; worry-free cash-back earning on everything!
The Citi® Double Cash Card has long been one of the top cash-back credit cards on the market, and the card now has the ability to earn Citi ThankYou Points!
This means that cardholders of the Double Cash card will now earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Cash back is earned in the form of ThankYou Points. This means each billing cycle, you will earn 1 ThankYou point per $1 spent on purchases and an additional ThankYou point for every $1 paid on your purchase balance as long as there is a corresponding balance in your Purchase Tracker.
Citi has turned the Double Cash card into a top choice for those who are looking for an everyday, no-fuss credit card.
The Double Cash card is one of our favorite credit cards because of its ability to earn 2% cash-back (1% back when you buy and 1% back when you pay). Earning 2% cash-back is tracked as ThankYou Points — that’s a 3.2% return on spend!
Normally, earning 2% cash-back is nothing out of the ordinary, but the Double Cash card’s ThankYou Points can be transferred to limited travel partners, which can drastically increase the return on spending that you’d get.
The main drawback of this credit card is that it doesn’t usually offer a welcome bonus — you will, however, find an introductory 0% APR benefit.
This card offers flexible pay dates, zero liability for unauthorized purchases, fraud protection, a 1-time late fee pass, and access to Citi Private Pass for event tickets.
With no annual fee, it’s easy to see why this card is incredibly appealing. But what we haven’t talked about in great detail is what happens when you transfer your points.
If you hold the Double Cash card by itself, the ways you can use your Citi ThankYou Points are incredibly limited.
This all-purpose cash-back card offers great bonus categories, including bonus points for every purchase you make!
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is easily one of the best cash-back credit cards on the market. There aren’t many no-annual-fee credit cards that offer multiple great bonus categories like 5% back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% back on all other purchases.
When paired with other Chase cards in the Ultimate Rewards family, you can transfer that cash back into points if you wish – making it one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet.
Don’t forget too, there’s 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
The Freedom Unlimited card is actually our #1 recommended personal credit card for everyday purchases.
That’s because the ability to earn at least 1.5% cash-back on all purchases is noteworthy.
The card will earn you up to 5% cash-back in the following earning structure:
The story gets even better here because if you have an Ultimate Rewards credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you can convert your cash-back into Ultimate Rewards points.
You’ll convert your cash-back to Ultimate Rewards points at a 1%-to-1x ratio. That means your 5%, 3%, and 1.5% cash-back can be converted to 5x, 3x, and 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points — doubling your return on spending for department stores to 3%!
Currently, this credit card comes with a great welcome bonus in the form of additional cash-back to add to your rewards. Also, there’s a 0% introductory APR period that you might find useful in reducing your interest payments.
The other benefits of the Freedom Unlimited card include secondary auto rental collision damage coverage, purchase protection, extended warranty, zero liability protection, fraud protection, and more.
With the Freedom Unlimited card alone, you can’t redeem your rewards for outsized value. You can get cash-back, gift cards, and book travel via the Chase travel portal. You can also redeem your rewards for Shop at Amazon.
But once you have an Ultimate Rewards credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you can convert your cash-back to Ultimate Rewards points that can then be transferred to the Chase transfer partners for luxury business and first class travel.
Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!
As a frequent traveler with excellent credit, you’re always on the lookout for a credit card that comes with all the bells and whistles. And the easier it is to understand, the better!
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the most popular rewards cards on the market. It’s perfect for anyone in search of a great sign-up bonus, high rewards rates, and flexible redemption options.
The Capital One Venture card is one of the best rewards credit cards for everyday purchases out there.
Capital One is famous for offering intuitive cash-back rewards. But the bank has also expanded to offer transferable rewards, which is great news for those interested in booking luxury travel.
With a huge welcome bonus to start, you’ll also notice that the Capital One Venture card earns an unlimited 2x Capital One miles on all purchases, regardless of bonus categories.
Whether you’re shopping at Dillard’s, Neiman Marcus, or McDonald’s, you’ll get 2x Capital One miles.
The Capital One Venture card comes with an up to $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit, in addition to other travel perks like lost luggage insurance, roadside dispatch, and travel assistance services.
This credit card also has purchase security, extended warranty, no foreign transaction fees, and access to the Capital One Miles landscape.
Capital One Miles is the name of Capital One’s transferable rewards program, and the miles you redeem are called Capital One miles.
In the past, you could only redeem Capital One miles on travel booked via Capital One Travel or for statement credits, gift cards, experiences, or merchandise.
Today, however, Capital One has expanded the ways you can redeem Capital One miles. Now, you can get exceptional value from Capital One miles by transferring your miles to travel partners to book flights like Singapore Airlines first class and Qatar Airways QSuites.
Your transfer ratios will typically be 1:1, though you might see a ratio of 2:1.5 or 2:1 on a few transfer partners.
Your 2x Capital One miles earned from the Capital One Venture card, which we equate to a 3.6% return on spending.
This cash-back card offers a capped 3% at U.S. supermarkets, 3% at U.S. gas stations, and 3% on U.S. online retail purchases!
When it comes to cash-back credit cards, there are dozens of options to choose from. So what sets the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express apart from the rest?
This card is excellent at earning cash-back on your everyday purchases at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and on U.S. online retail purchases. So if you regularly spend money on everyday purchases, this could be the perfect card to add to your wallet.
Our last choice is a cash-back card that’s a little different because it earns rewards at department stores but only when you’re shopping online. The Amex Blue Cash Everyday card earns 3% cash-back at U.S. online retailerson up to $6,000 in purchases each year.
Since so many of us do a lot of our shopping online these days, using this card is an easy way to earn some extra cash-back when making purchases from a department store’s website.
Other benefits of this card include:
Every business is built differently. If you routinely make trips to department stores for business purposes, such as shopping for client gifts, then you’ll want to make sure that you have the best business credit card available.
So in this next section, we’ll walk you through our favorite business credit cards for department store purchases.
|Card||Welcome Bonus and Annual Fee||Department Store Purchase Benefits|
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express||
||Earn 2x Membership Rewards points on everyday purchases on the first $50,000 every calendar year, 1x after that|
|Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card||
||Unlimited 1.5% cash-back on every purchase made for your business|
|Capital One Spark Miles for Business||
||Unlimited 2x miles per dollar on every purchase|
|The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card||
||2% cash-back on up to $50,000 in spending, 1% after that|
Earn Membership Rewards for your business spending the easy way: get 2x points for the first $50,000 in purchases per year.
As a business owner, getting a credit card that maximizes each dollar you spend does not have to be complicated or expensive. Especially when you opt for The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express.
With the Amex Blue Business Plus card, you’ll earn 2x Membership Rewards points on everyday business purchases throughout the year (up to $50,000; 1x thereafter) and receive purchase protections and no-additional-charge employee cards all for no annual fee (see rates and fees).
The simple and straightforward earning structure makes it a great fit for those looking to earn flexible rewards, without having to fixate on which purchases earn the most points.
Let’s take look at all that the Amex Blue Business Plus card has to offer.
The Amex Blue Business Plus card is the best business credit card for department store purchases. With this card, you can earn plenty of transferable rewards without shelling out an annual fee. In a world of premium credit cards, this is getting increasingly rare, so don’t take it for granted!
Earn 2x Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on the first $50,000 spent every calendar year on everyday business purchases. After that, the Amex Blue Business Plus card earns 1x Membership Rewards points.
You’ll notice that there’s a 0% introductory APR benefit on purchases.
Amex Membership Rewards points are the most valuable transferable points available, and the Amex Blue Business Plus card offers the ability to earn these points without an annual fee.
Earning 2x Amex points is equivalent to an approximate return on spend of 4.4%!
Sure, you can use Amex points for statement credits, gift cards, travel booked via Amex Travel, and on Amazon purchases, but these redemptions yield some pretty lackluster value.
The Ink Business Unlimited card is a stellar option for business owners looking for a no-fuss uncapped 1.5% cash-back card without an annual fee.
As a business owner, you likely keep pretty busy and probably prefer a credit card that just keeps things simple.
If so, the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card might be just the card for you. From zero annual fee to a flat cash-back rate, the card is a no-frills option that you don’t have to think twice about.
Don’t forget too, 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; variable 18.49% - 24.49% thereafter
The Ink Business Unlimited card is the runner-up in our best business credit cards for department store spending. This credit card earns a flat 1.5% cash-back on your business purchases without any caps.
Also, the card boasts a 0% introductory APR benefit, no-fee employee cards, zero liability fraud protection, purchase protection, extended warranty, and even primary rental car coverage!
The Ink Business Unlimited card doesn’t earn transferable points by itself — however, if you have an Ultimate Rewards card like the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you can convert your 1.5% cash-back to 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points.
That would net you a return on spend of 3%, which is awesome!
The Capital One Spark Miles card is a low-annual-fee business card that earns 2x transferable miles on every $1 you spend. (Information collected independently. Not reviewed by Capital One.)
The Capital One Spark Miles for Business is a great option for business owners looking for an uncomplicated rewards card that earns double miles on every purchase they make and offers access to transfer partners, all for a low annual fee.
The Capital One Spark Miles card is Capital One’s premium business credit card. Earning an unlimited 2x Capital One miles on every purchase, this card draws plenty of comparisons to the Capital One Venture card.
This card offers a welcome bonus, as well as the ability to earn 5x Capital One miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel.
So your return on spending with 5x or 2x miles would either be ~6.75% or ~2.7% — for department store spending, you’ll earn a 2.7% return.
With this card, you can get a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit, as well as employee cards for no additional fee, roadside assistance, purchase protection, extended warranty, zero fraud liability, and no foreign transaction fees.
Take control of your cash-back with the Amex Blue Business Cash card, and earn 2% cash-back on up to $50,000 in purchases each year.
Looking for a way to keep tabs on your office supply costs and business travel expenses while earning cash-back? Then The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card could be a good fit.
This card offers expense management solutions that are designed to give companies more control, along with a much clearer picture of their business spending. In doing so, the more you spend, the more cash-back you can earn.
Our last business credit card option for department store spending is the Amex Blue Business Cash card. This card will help you earn cash-back rewards on your business purchases, department stores included.
To be specific, the Amex Blue Business Cash card earns 2% cash-back on all eligible purchases of up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1% thereafter.
All of your cash-back gets credited automatically to your balance on every billing statement, so this card offers a headache-free way to earn cash-back for your business!
When it comes to picking the best credit cards for your department store spending, you have a lot of options.
The list of store credit cards is dizzying — but luckily, most of the credit cards associated with a specific store like Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Belk aren’t worthwhile credit cards to hold in the long run.
Between the mediocre rewards, high purchase APRs, lack of customer service, and restrictiveness of closed-loop credit card systems, it’s easy to see why we don’t recommend most store credit cards.
Instead, our favorite personal credit cards for department store purchases include the U.S. Bank Cash+ Signature card, Double Cash card, Freedom Unlimited card, Capital One Venture card, Amex Blue Cash Everyday card.
Conversely, our favorite business credit cards for department store purchases include the Amex Blue Business Plus card, the Ink Business Unlimited card, the Capital One Spark Miles card, and the Amex Blue Business Cash card.
For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.
The information regarding Kohl’s Charge Card, Target RedCard™, Walmart Rewards™ Card, Fingerhut Credit Account, and the Amazon Prime Store Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
Information regarding the Capital One Spark Miles for Business was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, click here.
There are tons of department store credit cards. While you might think cards from stores like JCPenney and Bealls might be worthwhile, the reality is that these cards don’t offer great rewards. Plus, their interest rates are extremely high.
Instead, check out some of our favorite card picks like the U.S. Bank Cash+ Signature card, the Citi Double Cash card, the Freedom Unlimited card, the Capital One Venture card, and the Amex Blue Cash Everyday card.
If you make a lot of business purchases at department stores, you’ll find the Amex Blue Business Plus card, Ink Business Unlimited card, Capital One Spark Miles card, and the Amex Blue Business Cash cards to be incredibly rewarding, especially compared to store credit cards.
When you first apply for them, yes. You’ll see a small drop of around 3 to 5 points. However, after a few months of using the card and making on-time payments, your score will increase. This is true of almost all credit cards.
In general, department store credit cards are easy to get because they tend to offer very low credit limits and are closed-loop, meaning you can only use that credit card in the specific department store.
Some of the easiest cards to get include the Target RedCard™, Walmart Rewards™ Card, Kohl’s Charge Card, Fingerhut Credit Account, and the Amazon Prime Store Card.
You need to have a Social Security number (SSN) or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). You must also fill out an application to get approved.
Many of the easiest credit cards for bad credit are issued by Comenity Bank and Synchrony Bank, so it’s a good idea to start there.
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