If you’re looking to build your credit history and positively impact your score, you might consider applying for store credit cards. Here’s a rundown on store credit cards, how they might help you build credit, and credit card options you can consider.
What Are Store Credit Cards?
Store credit cards can refer to two types of credit cards. The first is a store-specific card. It lets you buy with credit only at that specific store. A common example of this is department store credit cards, which really just provide you with a line of credit for shopping at that store.
The other type of store credit card is a store-branded Visa, MasterCard or other major credit cards. Typically, you can use these cards anywhere credit cards are accepted. However, when you shop at the store in question, you may earn additional rewards such as cash back or points towards future purchases.
The following nine store credit cards include both types of cards.
How Can Store Credit Cards Help Build Your Credit?
A store credit card can help you build credit by establishing a history of timely payments and responsible credit management. It helps you positively impact four of the factors that contribute to your credit score:
- Payment history. This is one of the biggest factors in your score. It indicates that you pay your bills on time and as agreed. Paying your store credit card bill every month on time or early can help you establish a positive payment history.
- Credit utilization. This is another big factor for your credit score. It’s the ratio of how much of your total credit limits you’re using. A new store credit card account without a large balance on it helps you decrease your credit utilization ratio, which can be good for your score.
- Credit age. How long you’ve had credit and the average age of your open accounts is important, too. A new store credit card will bring down that average age, but getting an account now and holding on to it for the future can eventually increase your age of credit.
- Credit mix. Lenders like to see you can handle a variety of credit accounts responsibly, which is why credit mix is important to your credit score. Having both installment loan accounts and credit card accounts can be good, so getting a store credit card might be one way you can add to your credit mix.
One of the great things about a store credit card is that you can build credit by spending on things you might already be buying. That way, you can easily pay the balance down, so you’re not running up debt or spending money you didn’t already have budgeted.
Nothing guarantees you a better credit score, though. It takes time to build credit and a store credit card only helps if you:
- Pay any statements on time.
- Don’t run your balance up and carry it long-term.
- The credit card company reports to the credit bureaus, which is not always the case, so always read the fine print.
9 Store Credit Cards to Consider
Here are some store credit cards you might want to consider. Choose a card for a store you shop at regularly and remember to review all the information when you apply so you know what type of interest you might end up paying or if there are costs such as annual fees.
1. Amazon Credit Card
The Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card is a card you can use anywhere Visa is accepted. You get between 1 and 5% cashback and build rewards you can use on Amazon. Because it’s an Amazon-branded card, the highest tier of rewards comes when you shop at Amazon properties, which includes the online ecommerce store and Whole Foods. There’s no annual fee and you may qualify for a sign-up bonus such as a $150 Amazon gift card.
2. Target REDcard
Target offers a store REDcard, which is only good for shopping at Target, as well as a Target REDcard Mastercard, which you can use anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Either way, you can get a 5% discount when shopping at Target or Target.com, though some items such as prescriptions and gift cards don’t apply.
3. Best Buy Credit Card
Best Buy offers a few options for financing in-store purchases, including the My Best Buy Credit Card. This card can only be used when shopping at the store or its online website and lets you take advantage of special financing offers, including introductory APR. That means if you purchase an item within a certain amount of time from opening the card, you have several months to a year or more to pay it off before interest starts to accrue.
Best Buy also offers a branded Visa that can be used anywhere Visa is accepted. This card lets you earn rewards that can be redeemed for goods at Best Buy or other perks.
4. Lowe’s Credit Card
Lowe’s offers both personal and business credit cards for purchases in the store and online. As a cardholder, you get perks such as 5% off qualified products or 6 months of special financing (which can save you interest if you need to pay a balance off over time).
5. Shell Gas Card
For the person who travels a lot via car or has a long commute, a Shell fuel rewards credit card might be a good idea. This is a Mastercard, so you can use it at other locations, and you can earn rebates of up to 10% on qualified purchases. Sign-up bonuses usually include significant savings on fuel purchases you make when you first get the card, such as 30 cents per gallon off for the first 20 gallons.
6. Home Depot Credit Card
Home Depot also offers a consumer credit card. You can apply for a revolving credit card account that lets you shop in the store or a Home Depot-branded Mastercard that lets you shop anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Either way, you can benefit from perks such as 0% interest financing for up to 24 months depending on promotional periods and an extended return period.
7. Kohl’s Credit Card
The Kohl’s charge card lets you shop in the store on credit and benefit from monthly savings deals for cardholders. Is Kohl’s not your store of choice when it comes to fashion? Most department stores have charge cards, so ask at checkout if that’s an option for you. Many stores offer extra savings if you apply for a credit card and get approved while you’re checking out.
8. Staples Credit Card
Staples offers business and personal credit card accounts. They let you shop with credit in stores and online and earn 5% back in rewards. You can also usually qualify for a sign-on bonus, such as a $50 statement credit if you spend $150 with your card in the first 45 days after you open the account.
9. Capital One Walmart Rewards Credit Card
Walmart teams up with Capital One to offer its branded Mastercard. You can use it anywhere Mastercard is accepted, but you earn the most cash back — 5% — when you shop at Walmart.com. That’s true even if you have the items delivered to the store for on-site pickup. You earn 2% when shopping in Walmart stores and using Walmart fuel stations as well as when you spend at qualifying restaurants and on travel. Everywhere else, you earn 1% cashback.
Other Options for Buying on Credit: Personal Loans
If you need to purchase something on credit that you can’t buy in one of these stores — or your credit isn’t good enough to get approved for a store credit card — you might consider a personal loan.
Wise Loan offers instant funding and you don’t need great credit to get approved. Apply today for a Wise Loan installment loan.