The 11 Best Credit Cards for Shopping at Target [2021]

Target pickup

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Target is one of the most recognizable companies in the U.S. Dubbed as the 11th-best retail brand by Brand Finance in 20201 , it’s no wonder lots of Americans find their way back to Target time and time again.

As one of the largest retailers in the U.S., Target also enjoys tremendously high customer satisfaction and NPS scores (how likely a customer is to recommend Target to a friend or colleague), akin to what you’d see at Costco.

Its locations around the U.S. have home improvement goods, pharmaceutical products, and some even have grocery sections! Whatever your needs, Target is likely to stock the items you are looking for.

But before you make a Target run, take a minute to figure out what the best credit cards are for shopping at Target. In this guide, we’ll show you the exact steps to figure out which credit card is best for your needs.

If you follow our guide’s detailed explanations, including key tips on how your purchases at your favorite Target location code, you’ll be massively rewarded with lots of points.

Let’s get started!

What To Look for in a Credit Card for Shopping at Target

Whenever you make a purchase using your credit card, numerous things are going on behind the scenes. One of these things that happens is that your purchase gets categorized depending on what the merchant category code (MCC) is.

And your merchant category code can vary depending on which exact merchant location you shop at. In the case of Target, your in-store purchases will count as 1 of the following 2 categories:

  • 5310 — Discount stores/warehouse/wholesale
  • 5411 — Grocery stores/supermarkets/bakeries

So why is this important? Well, if the Target location you routinely shop at is coded as 5411, then you can actually get bonus points as you would with other grocery stores and supermarkets.

On the flip side, if your local Target location is coded as 5310, you may want to use a different credit card.

So how do you figure out what merchant category code your Target location falls under? The easiest way to figure this out is to use the Visa Supplier Locator Tool. Just enter your local area and type in Target. Perform the search, and you’ll see a list that looks like this:

Target locations LA
Some Target locations code as discount stores, while others code as grocery stores/supermarkets. Image Credit: Visa

Sadly, Amex specifically excludes Target as a supermarket, even if it initially codes as a supermarket, so this would generally only work on non-Amex cards. We’ll have to look for cards that offer bonus categories at supermarkets that aren’t Amex cards.

As a last general rule of thumb, you should strive to shop at a Target that codes as a supermarket, as long as it’s not too far out of the way. In the next section, we’ll be showing you our recommendations for the best personal credit cards for shopping at Target.

Best Personal Credit Cards for Shopping at Target

Target personal shopping
Image Credit: Sundry Photography via Shutterstock

1. Citi Premier® Card

Our favorite credit card for Target purchases is the Citi Premier card. In our experience, Mastercard is very generous about categorizing Target locations as grocery stores and supermarkets, which is a huge boon.

To begin, this credit card offers an awesome bonus that is worth several years of the annual fee alone.

But you’ll find that this card is incredibly rewarding for numerous bonus categories:

  • 3x ThankYou Points on supermarkets
  • 3x ThankYou Points on restaurants
  • 3x ThankYou Points on gas stations
  • 3x ThankYou Points on air travel and hotels
  • 1x ThankYou Points on all other purchases

In addition to these immense bonus categories, you’ll get an annual hotel savings benefit of $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) through once per calendar year, World Elite Mastercard benefits, purchase protection, extended warranty coverage, and access to the Citi Concierge and Citi Entertainment.

There are also no foreign transaction fees with this contactless card. The annual fee is $95 with no fees for authorized users.

Why We Like Earning Citi ThankYou Rewards Points

As we mentioned, the Citi Premier card earns ThankYou Points — moreover, this card has the ability to transfer points to a large list of travel partners.

But having the ability to earn 3x Citi ThankYou Points on a huge laundry list of useful bonus categories with a modest annual fee is incredible — Citi ThankYou Points are worth around 1.6 cents each, according to our valuations, which means that your 3x points are equivalent to a 4.8% return on spending.

You can easily increase the value you get by transferring your points to travel partners and booking luxury flights like Emirates first class or Cathay Pacific business class.

2. Target RedCard™

The Target RedCard is one of the best credit cards for big spenders at Target. And although you won’t get a return on spend that is higher than the card choices above, you will get the opportunity to earn a 5% discount on Target purchases, regardless of how different locations may have varying merchant category codes.

You will save 5% on most Target and purchases with the Target RedCard. It’ll also get you free 2-day delivery on most purchases, as well as an extended return policy.

Some exclusions of the 5% savings include:

  • Alcohol purchases in Indiana
  • Gift wrapping services
  • Prescriptions, over-the-counter items located behind the pharmacy counter, and clinic services at Target
  • Previous purchases
  • Shipt membership fees
  • Target credit account payments, Target RedCard™ Debit cash-back and cash advances on the Target RedCard™ Mastercard, Target gift cards and prepaid cards, Game On, Gift of College, and lottery gift cards
  • Target Optical eye exams and protection plans (Target Optical products, such as glasses and contact lenses, do receive the 5% discount)
  • Taxes, shipping, delivery, handling, and all other fees or charges
  • Wireless protection program purchases and deposits required by mobile carrier
  • Where otherwise prohibited by law

There’s no annual fee for this card, and the Target RedCard applies the discount automatically at the time of purchase, instead of rewarding points or cash-back after your purchase.

However, this card has very high interest rates, doesn’t offer any travel benefits, and is strictly only usable at Target locations and (unless you are upgraded to the Target RedCard™ Mastercard that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted).

3. Citi® Double Cash Card

Our next choice is the Double Cash card, which is actually one of the most potent rewards credit cards out there.

On the surface level, you might not think there’s anything particularly special about this card. You might think that the 2% cash-back you’d earn (1% at purchase and another 1% when you pay) might not be anything to write home about, but this card is special for a few reasons.

First of all, the rewards you earn on the Double Cash card can be converted to transferable rewards points — 2% cash-back converts to 2x ThankYou Points! And if you have a ThankYou Rewards credit card like the Citi Premier Card or the Citi Prestige® Card, you can tap into the full list of Citi’s airline transfer partners.

Earning 2x transferable points on all purchases (with no caps!) is unmatched for a no-annual-fee credit card.

The Double Cash card offers a superb introductory 0% APR benefit, fraud alerts, zero liability for unauthorized purchases, and much more.

4. Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card

The Freedom Unlimited card is one of our favorite credit cards for everyday purchases. Why? Because you can earn a minimum of 1.5% cash-back on all purchases, regardless of the bonus category.

You can also convert your rewards to Ultimate Rewards points, which is one of the most valuable currencies in the world.

With the Freedom Unlimited card, you’ll earn:

This credit card offers a decent welcome bonus, as well as a 0% introductory APR benefit and ancillary benefits like secondary car rental insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty, zero liability protection, fraud protection, and more.

But the most valuable benefit is that with an Ultimate Rewards credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you can convert your cash-back to Ultimate Rewards points at a 1%-to-1x ratio.

That means your 5%, 3%, and 1.5% cash-back earned would be equivalent to 5x, 3x, and 1.5x points, respectively, meaning you’d get a minimum of a 3% return on spend, according to our points and miles valuations.

Why We Like Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

We love Chase Ultimate Rewards points because of how easy they are to earn and how versatile they are.

The best way to redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points is to transfer them to airline and hotel partners for business and first class flights and luxury hotels.

You can also redeem your Chase points for cash-back, Amazon purchases, gift cards, merchandise, and travel booked through the Chase travel portal. But the value you’d get with these redemptions is limited compared to the value you’d get with transfer partners.

5. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card

The CapOne Venture card is the last personal credit card option we’ll be discussing. Known for offering excellent, straightforward rewards with the ability to transfer to travel partners, this card is continuing to grow in popularity.

This card offers an unlimited 2x Capital One miles on all your purchases. You’ll also get a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

You’ll find great travel protections and benefits like secondary rental car coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage coverage, roadside dispatch, travel assistance services, and key credit card benefits like purchase protection, return protection, and zero fraud liability.

The CapOne Venture card comes with a low annual fee of $95 and no foreign transaction fees.

Why We Like Earning Capital One Miles

We are big fans of Capital One Miles. Although the miles aren’t quite as valuable at 1.4 cents each, they are still very valuable as one of the transferable rewards programs.

You can redeem Capital One miles for statement credits, travel purchases, experiences, gift cards, and more.

But without a doubt, the best way to use Capital One miles is to transfer them to partners for flights like Lufthansa first class. You’ll transfer your points at a 2:1.5 ratio mostly and sometimes a 2:1 ratio, depending on the partner. It’s not as impressive as the 1:1 transfer ratios from Chase, Amex, or Citi, but still a worthwhile option.

Hot Tip: The best cards to use at Target may not be the best ones to use at other big-box stores. See our helpful guides on the best credit cards for shopping at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, and home improvement stores.

6. American Express® Gold Card

The Amex Gold card is one of the best cards you can have for daily spending, particularly for dining and supermarkets around the world. However, even though the Amex Gold card offers superb rewards, an awesome welcome bonus, and fantastic benefits overall, Target is specifically excluded as a bonus category, which means you’ll earn 1x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on Target purchases.

To start off, this card offers an excellent welcome bonus of up to 60,000 Membership Rewards points to accelerate the number of points you’ll earn in a flash.

But beyond that, the Amex Gold card earns:

  • 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants
  • 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; after that, earn 1x)
  • 3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with the airline, as well as airfare booked through American Express Travel
  • 1x Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Beyond that, the Amex Gold card offers up to $120 in dining statement credits per year (up to $10 per month) at participating restaurants, including GrubHub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and participating Shake Shack locations.

You’ll also get access to premium travel benefits like The Hotel Collection, which is a benefit program offering elevated travel perks when booking a 2-night stay at included properties, like a room upgrade at check-in (if available) and a $100 hotel credit.

Also, the Amex Gold card offers amazing benefits and protections, like the lowest hotel rate guarantee (for rates booked with Amex Travel), secondary car rental loss and damage insurance, baggage insurance, access to Amex Offers, a complimentary ShopRunner membership, purchase protection, extended warranty, and even access to the American Express Auto Purchasing Program.

The annual fee is $250.

Why We Like Earning Amex Membership Rewards Points

We love earning Amex Membership Rewards points because they’re the most valuable transferable currency out there.

Worth around 2.2 cents each, Amex Membership Rewards points can be used for cash-back, gift cards, travel bookings via Amex Travel, charitable donations, merchandise shopping, and more.

But if you look closely, the best way to get phenomenal value with your Amex points is to book luxury flights and hotels using transfer partners.

Best Business Credit Cards for Shopping at Target

Target shopping cart
Image Credit: ZikG via Shutterstock

What if you happen to shop at Target or a lot for your business? You’ll want to make sure you’re separating your business transactions from your personal purchases, so that’s when a business credit card can come in handy.

Let’s talk about our favorite business credit cards for shopping at Target.

1. The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Our top business credit card choice for shopping at Target is the Amex Blue Business Plus card.

Offering 2x Membership Rewards points on everyday business purchases (up to $50,000 per calendar year), this is the most rewarding business credit card for Target purchases. After that, you’ll earn 1x points.

You will find a 0% introductory APR on purchases (as shown in the table above) that will help your business temporarily avoid interest payments on purchases.

This credit card is one of the only Amex cards that offers access to Membership Rewards with no annual fee. And with free employee cards, purchase protection, extended warranty, and access to Amex Offers, this card is a no-brainer to have (see rates and fees).

2. Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

The Ink Business Unlimited card is one of our favorite business credit cards because, in addition to the huge welcome bonus, you’ll find top-notch earning potential across all business purchases.

With this card, you will earn 1.5% cash-back on your business purchases with no caps. You’ll also get a 0% introductory APR benefit for the first 12 months of card membership.

This card is one of the few no-annual fee cards that provide primary rental car insurance! Other benefits include free employee cards, zero liability fraud protection, purchase protection, extended warranty, and more.

1.5% cash-back isn’t necessarily fantastic by itself, but this credit card’s rewards can be converted to Ultimate Rewards points if you have an Ultimate Rewards credit card like the Ink Business Preferred card at a 1%-to-1x ratio.

That means your 1.5% cash-back can be converted to 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points, which is worth a 3% return on spend.

3. Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

The CapOne Spark Miles card is one of our favorite Capital One credit cards out there because it offers streamlined rewards with the ability to transfer to Capital One Miles.

With the CapOne Spark Miles card, you will earn an unlimited 2x miles per $1 spent on every purchase with no blackouts, seat restrictions, or minimum to redeem. Furthermore, you’ll earn 5x miles on hotel and rental car bookings made through Capital One Travel.

You’ll usually also find a great welcome bonus, in addition to the earning categories.

The card also offers a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit, employee cards for no additional fee, roadside assistance, zero fraud liability, purchase protection, extended warranty, and no foreign transaction fees.

4. American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

The Amex Blue Business Cash card is an impressive straightforward business credit card with an emphasis on cash-back rewards. So if you find yourself needing cash-back for your business purchases made at Target, this card is a great fit for you.

There isn’t any need to pay attention to bonus categories because you’ll earn 2% cash-back on all eligible purchases (up to $50,000 per calendar year). After that, you’ll earn 1% cash-back.

One of the biggest benefits of this credit card is that the rewards are totally automated — all cash-back earned is credited onto each statement so that you don’t need to worry about redeeming your cash-back.

Also, the Amex Blue Business Cash card has purchase protection, extended warranty, secondary car rental coverage, baggage insurance, and travel accident insurance.

5. U.S. Bank Business Leverage® Visa Signature® Card

Our very last credit card is the U.S. Bank Business Leverage card, which comes with the ability to earn 2% cash-back in the top 2 categories where you spend the most each month.

These rewards are automatic, so they’re adjusted based on your spending habits, which can change from month to month. 

The bonus earnings are uncapped, and there are a total of 48 categories, including discount stores and wholesale clubs and grocery stores and supermarkets.

Both merchant category codes 5411 and 5310 are covered under the definitions in the bolded categories above, which means that all of your Target purchases should earn 2x points.

Other benefits include free employee cards and no foreign transaction fees.

Final Thoughts

Target is one of those retailers that could be thought of as a wholesale club or a grocery store, depending on how you look at it. But in the eyes of credit card processing companies, they will almost always be categorized under 1 of 2 merchant category codes (which varies by location):

  • 5310 — discount stores, wholesale clubs, and warehouses
  • 5411 — grocery stores, supermarkets, and bakeries

If your local Target falls under MCC 5411, you can use a card like the Citi Premier card.

However, if your Target falls under MCC 5310, you’ll want to use a solid everyday spending card like the Double Cash card, Freedom Unlimited card, or CapOne Venture card.

If you’re strictly looking for discounts at Target and no other benefits, the Target RedCard might work for you.

For business credit cards, we’d recommend the Amex Blue Business Plus card, the Ink Business Unlimited card, the CapOne Spark Miles card, the Amex Blue Business Cash card, or the U.S. Bank Business Leverage card.

Whatever the case, there are numerous credit cards that will help you accumulate lots of rewards, whether you’re looking for points or cash-back.

The information regarding the Citi Premier℠ Card, Target RedCard™, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, and U.S. Bank Business Leverage® Visa Signature® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, 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.

Frequently asked questions

Does Target accept American Express?

Yes! Target accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Diner’s Club International, debit cards, EBT cards, Target RedCard, Target GiftCard, third-party gift cards, Affirm, and PayPal.

Does Target accept Discover?

Yes. In addition to Discover, Target accepts all third-party credit cards, gift cards, gift certificates, mobile payments, Alipay (in select stores), Target RedCard, cash, debit/ATM cards, and EBT cards.

What credit cards does Target accept?

Target stores accept cash, Target RedCard, third-party credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, JCB, Diner’s Club International), debit/ATM cards, EBT cards, contactless pay, gift cards, gift certificates, merchandise vouchers, multiple payment methods sales, personal checks, rebate checks, WIC program, mobile payments, Alipay (in select locations), and Campus Cash (in select locations).

On the website and Target app, you can pay using the Target RedCard, third-party credit cards, third-party debit cards, Target GiftCard, third-party gift cards from American Express, Discover, Visa, and Mastercard, Affirm, and PayPal.

Can you get cash-back with a Target credit card?

No. The 5% discount isn’t in the form of cash-back. It’s a 5% discount that is taken off of your purchase at the time of purchase (e.g. at the register or check-out kiosk).

What are the best credit cards for shopping at Target?

The best personal credit cards for shopping at Target are the Citi Premier card, the Target RedCard, the Double Cash card, the Freedom Unlimited card, and the CapOne Venture card.

What are the best business credit cards for shopping at Target?

The best business credit cards for shopping at Target are the Amex Blue Business Plus card, the Ink Business Unlimited card, the CapOne Spark Miles card, the Amex Blue Business Cash card, and the U.S. Bank Business Leverage card.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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