2017 RANKING & REVIEWS
TOP RANKING BEST RETAIL CREDIT CARDS
Finding the Best Retail Credit Cards
When searching for the best retail store credit cards, it is necessary to consider each card and retail store holistically. The best retail stores with credit cards will be relative depending on each applicant’s shopping habits, finances, and need.
This review will include many important factors but will focus mainly on the rewards programs, rates, and limitations of each retail store that offers credit cards.
Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Retail Credit Cards
Retail stores with credit cards offer frequent customers the chance to earn rewards and build credit simply by making their usual purchases.
They may offer good opportunities, but it is important to weigh each card carefully to ensure that it offers enough benefits to be worth holding. It is also crucial to commit to responsible credit card use, particularly as many retail stores with credit cards offer higher than average rates.
AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Retail Credit Cards
List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the credit card names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that credit card):
- Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card
- Costco Anywhere Visa® Card
- Gap Visa® Card
- JCPenney Credit Card
- Target REDcard™
- Walmart® MasterCard®
Top 6 Best Retail Credit Cards | Brief Comparison & Ranking
Credit Card Names
Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card
3% for Amazon.com purchases
2% at restaurants, gas stations, drugstores
1% for other Visa purchases
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card
4% on gas
3% on restaurant and travel
2% on Costco and Costco.com items
1% on all other
Gap Visa® Card
5 points for every dollar at Gap
1 point for every other dollar spent
JCPenney Credit Card
5% off of qualifying Target purchases
3% through Walmart.com
2% back fuel from Walmart or Murphy USA
1% back all other purchases
How to Use Retail Cards for Bad Credit
At times, people find themselves with bad credit. No matter how it happened, the only thing to do when you find yourself with a low score is to start rebuilding. Retail cards for bad credit, when properly used, can help repair a low score.
To repair your score, it is important to make card payments on time, repay more than just the minimum balance each month, and be sure to charge only when you can realistically afford to pay off. Failure to abide by these rules can result in a damaged credit score or a build up of interest that might be hard to pay down.
Retail store credit cards for bad credit can help customers earn rewards and build credit on purchases that they already make regularly.
What Is APR?
APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate, and it plays a huge role in determining which are the best retail store credit cards. APR is the total amount of interest that will be charged to a customer on a yearly basis.
It accounts for any and all fees and charges that customers will be expected to pay and breaks them down into a yearly percentage. The best retail store credit cards will have lower APRs and result in lower monthly payments because of the lower interest rate.
What Is the Difference Between Closed and Open Loop Retail Credit Cards?
Retail stores that offer credit cards often employ either an open or closed loop system. An open loop system means that the card can be used for general charges and not just charges made at the issuing retail store.
A closed loop system limits how cardholders can use their retail credit cards and keeps them from using the card to make outside purchases. This is an important factor to consider, especially when choosing a retail store credit card for bad credit, because it limits a customer’s ability to earn rewards and use their card.
AdvisoryHQ’s Selection Methodology
What methodology does AdvisoryHQ use in selecting and finalizing the credit cards, financial products, firms, services, and products that are ranked on its various top rated lists?
Please click here “AdvisoryHQ’s Ranking Methodologies” for a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top rated credit cards, financial accounts, firms, products, and services.
Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Retail Credit Cards
There are so many retail stores that offer credit cards. Just as each store is different, each card will have unique advantages and drawbacks. Below are detailed reviews of a number of retail store credit cards for bad credit and good credit. AdvisoryHQ has included a wide range of cards to help each reader find the one that best suits their lifestyle.
Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card Review
This card is an online retail credit card that offer customers an APR of 14.49% to 22.49%, depending on each applicant’s creditworthiness. There is no annual fee for this retail credit card, and it currently offers a $50 signing bonus for approved applicants.
Image from Amazon
As one of the best retail credit cards, it offers an attractive rewards program. Customers can earn points that accrue with every qualifying purchase and can redeem their savings instantly when they shop at Amazon.com. There are no limits to the reward bonuses that can be earned with this retail card, and points can be redeemed for cash, gift cards, and travel.
Rewards for this retail credit card are earned in the form of points. The % Back program awards customers extra points when customers use their retail credit card to make purchases from certain kinds of locations. For eligible purchases, customers will be able to earn:
- 3% back on all Amazon.com purchases
- 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores
- 1% back on all other Visa purchases
These retail credit cards have an open loop system. This means that cardholders are able to make purchases outside of the provider, in this case, Amazon.com. The flexibility offered by an open loop system is better for customers looking for a retail credit card for bad credit.
Cardholders have the opportunity to use this card to improve their credit because they have more freedom to make everyday purchases with the retail card. This is one of the best retail credit card options for customers who shop through Amazon.com frequently. However, the rewards for shopping off of the site are not very impressive when compared to more traditional rewards programs.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card Review
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card is one of the best retail store credit cards because of its low APR, attractive rewards program, and open loop system. This retail card offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 7 months.
Image from Costco
After the introductory period has passed, a variable APR of 15.49% will begin. As one of the best retail credit cards, this one can be used at any location that accepts Visa.
This retail store credit card offers cash back that can be redeemed annually, every February, and can be exchanged for cash or for U.S. Costco merchandise. It is common for retail stores with credit cards to limit how the card can be used or where rewards can be earned. However, with this program, customers can earn:
- 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases up to $7,000
- 3% cash back on eligible restaurant and travel purchases
- 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
Even the best retail store credit cards have some disadvantages, and with this program, customers are limited because they are required to maintain a Costco membership. This might not be an issue for customers who already do a significant amount of shopping at Costco. The rewards program for this retail card could save customers significant money in Costco merchandise.
Customers seeking retail credit cards for bad credit might want to consider this program. Cardholders looking to improve their credit score could benefit from the low APR and rewards options. This card offers flexibility in how it can be used and could be substituted for a primary card.
Gap Visa® Card Review
The Gap Visa® Card is one of the best retail store credit cards, specifically for customers looking to save on apparel. Gap is one of many retail stores with credit cards, but this card offers customers security with chip technology and zero fraud liability. Customers with concerns about security might consider this as one of the best retail store credit card options.
As far as the best retail credit cards are concerned, this card has a high variable APR set at 25.24%. However, it does offer the benefit of no annual fee. Gap also offers customers 15% off of their first purchase when they sign up.
These retail credit cards offer customers the chance to earn 5 points for every dollar spent on Gap brands either in-store or online. Customers can also earn one point for every dollar spent on all other purchases. For every 500 points, customers are rewarded with $5.
Reward points can be redeemed for credit at Gap and Gap afiliated stores. These retail credit cards offer customers the chance to increase their rewards through a leveled program. When customers in good standing earn 5,000 reward points, they are upgraded and given a bonus of 20% more reward points per quarter.
This might be one of the best retail store credit cards for customers who spend a significant amount of money at Gap and Gap affiliated stores, though the high APR and limited options for redeeming rewards might be a drawback to many customers. However, these retail credit cards do operate with an open loop system, which gives customers looking to retail credit cards for bad credit, more opportunities to use the card for everyday purchases.
JCPenney Credit Card Review
The JCPenney Credit Card is the best retail store credit card for customers who want exclusive savings specifically on JC Penney merchandise. This retail store credit card has a very high APR, clocking in at 26.99%, but also requires no annual fee. Customers should exercise caution with dealing with retail stores with credit cards with such high rates, as purchases could easily accrue large interest costs.
Image from JC Penney
JC Penney is currently offering an introductory bonus of 15% off of the first retail store credit card purchase on select items. Cardholders can also enjoy special benefits like birthday gifts and exclusive coupons. Card members are also offered special financing options for large items like furniture and mattresses.
Like many retail stores with credit cards, JC Penney’s credit card can only be used to make purchases from JC Penney or Sephora. Rewards are also exclusively redeemable toward JC Penney or affiliated purchases.
Customers can check their retail store credit card points, purchase history, and rewards through their own online profile or at in-store customer service stations. 1 point is awarded for every $1 spent of qualifying JCPenney or jcp.com purchases. Customers can also receive $10 in rewards for every 200 points earned.
This card is not a great option for customers looking for retail credit cards for bad credit because it is so limited in how it can be used. Because JC Penney sells mostly home goods and clothes, it might not be practical for most customers to have a dedicated store credit card. Also, the high APR means that customers could end up paying much more than they intended for their purchases.
Target REDcard™ Review
The Target REDcard™ is one of the best retail store credit cards, particularly for customers looking to rack up saving of Target purchases. This card has a high variable APR of 23.15%, but it offers the benefit of no annual fee requirement. Target is a retail store that offers credit cards with good rewards programs and chip technology for added security.
Image from Target
This is one of the easiest retail cards to get, even for applicants with relatively bad credit. According to Finance Globe, a FICO credit score of 615 is recommended to give applicants the best odds of approval. 75% of reported applicants were approved to the Target REDcardÔ, making is a good options for customers looking for retail cards for bad credit.
This is a good retail credit card for bad credit and offers every customer the chance to earn savings on everyday purchases. Cardholders are rewarded with 5% off of qualifying Target purchases, extended returns deadlines on most purchases, and free shipping for all items bought through Target.com.
This card is one of the best retail credit cards because it is straightforward and simple to use. Rewards do not need to accumulate, which means customers can start saving right away. This also takes away some temptation to overspend because there are no points to build up or worry about expiring, which makes it easy to use this as a retail credit card for bad credit repair.
The card is one of the best retail store credit cards because it makes up for its high APR with straightforward rewards and easy-to-use guidelines. Customers who already do a lot of their shopping at Target have an opportunity to save a lot of money each year if used responsibly. This card’s low requirements make this a good options for retail credit cards for bad credit. This card is only usable at Target or through Target.com, but they do offer a wide range of everyday products, including clothes, groceries, and toiletries, which gives this the versatility expected of the best retail store credit cards.
Walmart® MasterCard® Review
The Walmart® MasterCard® is broken down into a few different account types with different rates. The first account type offers an APR of 17.15%, the second type has an APR of 20.15%, and the third type has an APR of 23.15%. These rates are determined based on a number of factors including creditworthiness.
Image from Walmart
This is one of the easiest retail credit cards to get and is a good option for applicants with low credit. Ask Mr. Credit Card reported that the average credit score for accepted applicants was 548. This card also employs an open loop system and can be used anywhere that MasterCard is accepted.
Walmart is a very large retail store with credit cards and offers an attractive rewards program. Though this is different with some retail stores with credit cards, these rewards never expire. Rewards for this card are paid as statement credits and are applied to each monthly statement covering the rewards earned on purchases posted for that month. The rewards program breaks down as follows:
- 3% back on purchases paid through Walmart.com
- 2% back for fuel purchases at participating Walmart of Murphy USA gas stations
- 1% back on all other purchases
One of the biggest selling points for this card is that it is one of the easiest retail credit cards to get. It offers customers the opportunity to improve their credit score and provides free FICO credit scores on electronic statements. Walmart is an accessible retail store with credit cards and makes it easy to spend and save responsibly.
Conclusion- Top 6 Best Retail Credit Cards
Because so many retail stores with credit cards exist, choosing the best retail credit card can feel like a huge task. This review has focused on a few particular factors to consider for each card, but it is important to consider them as they relate to your own needs.
AdvisoryHQ’s carefully developed list of the best retail credit cards can help you gather all of the most important information.
Some of our larger points can help you narrow down your search:
- Open loop cards give cardholders more freedom
- Some rewards can only be redeemed through the issuing retail store
- Lower APRs often result in lower monthly bills
- Retail credit cards work best when you already shop regularly at the issuing store
- Bad credit does not mean there are no retail card options for you
The old saying asserts that power and knowledge go hand in hand. Knowledge of your own finances can help you better control them.
Our review can provide the necessary knowledge to give you the power to find the best retail card for your life. With the best information, finding the best card can be painless and easy.
AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer:
Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.
Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.