Most of the time, we would try to steer you away from store credit cards, because while they may get you some discounts on your purchases, they often come with very high APRs and their introductory perks can end quickly, leaving you with nothing but a piece of plastic that you can use in only one place.
Fortunately, we do have some better suggestions for you! Here are a few ways that you can save more, get better cash rewards and points, and spend money wherever you want—without having to be especially loyal to any one store. Shop where you get the best deals!
Consistently rated among the top credit cards when it comes to annual fee and rewards benefits, the Discover it® offers 1% cash back on all purchases, with 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories. Because the categories are usually ones that are quite popular (e.g., groceries, gas, dining, shopping categories), cardholders can accumulate great rewards all year long.
When you add in the ShopDiscover online portal, the deals are outstanding and you really get your money’s worth out of any purchase. Forget about using a store credit card for financing, use the Discover it, get cash back and, if you make your purchases within the first 14 months, pay no interest whatsoever. This is a better financing plan than most store credit cards can offer.
Apply Now: Discover it®
Another great cash back credit card that beats most store cards is the Chase Freedom. Also with no annual fee, it offers 1% cash back on all purchases, with rotating categories earning 5% cash back, up to $1500 in spending per quarter. For example, the current quarterly categories are Zappos.com, Amazon.com, and select department stores.
Also, enjoy getting great bargains at the Chase Ultimate Rewards online shopping portal, where you can often redeem your points for terrific deals at greater than face value! Add in the bonus of getting $100 cash back after spending $500 in the first three months, and this card definitely beats any store card, hands down!
American Express Blue Cash
This is a pretty special card with tons of great perks, and amazing ways to earn lots of points. For all department store spending, you earn 2% cash back. This beats most department store credit cards, right off the bat. Add in the fact that you can earn 3% on groceries and 2% on gas, neither of which are options for most store credit cards, and the contest is over, in our minds.
Sure, there is a $6,000 cap on grocery spending, but there is no cap on the gas allowance. If you really want to see how generous the rewards are, then pay attention when you get a $50 statement credit after spending $1000 in the first three months. Get a free subscription for one year to Amazon Prime ($79-99 value) when you meet that spending minimum.
All of those benefits are available for no annual fee. If you want even more, you can sign up for the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card, and pay a $75 annual fee. In exchange for this fee, you will earn even more rewards (such as 6% on groceries, 3% at gas stations and department stores), and earn a sign up bonus of $150 after spending $1000 in the first three months. There is no cap to the rewards that you can earn, and it’s pretty likely that you will be able to make up for the annual fee easily.
Are There Any Decent Store Credit Cards?
Most of us have, or have had at some time in the past, store credit cards to our favorite retailers. Not all of them are terrible! You can get some great coupons and special deals, but, we still think that a regular cash back card is going to do better over time.
Some of the best ones may be the Gap credit card, which offers 5% back on in-store purchases; American Eagle Visa, which offers 4% cash back and a 20% birthday coupon; Kohl’s Charge Card, which offers 20% cash back—this is one of the better deals if you shop at this store; and Target, which offers 5% cash back on in-store purchases.
Generally, these store credit cards offer the best deals for in-store shopping. Some still love this way of doing business, but if you are more of an online shopper, or prefer to shop around for great deals from different retailers, you will not see huge benefits from any store credit cards.
In conclusion, it should seem clear that we definitely lean toward using cash back rewards cards from credit card companies like Discover, Chase and American Express, and would encourage you to explore your options beyond the immediate checkout lure of signing up for a store credit card. You will thank yourself in the long run, when you are enjoying the great cash back rewards that you can use any way you wish, not just as an in-store coupon.