Home Personal Finance WealthyUpdates’s Best Store Credit Cards of 2021

WealthyUpdates’s Best Store Credit Cards of 2021

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If you tend to spend at one particular place more than anywhere else, a store-branded credit card could benefit you more than a general-purpose card might.

Even with so-so credit, you can often get approved for store-branded cards from major retailers, and many such products have improved in recent years, offering better rewards and becoming more useful for everyday spending.

Make sure you know the difference between “closed-loop” cards and “open-loop” cards. Many store cards are “closed-loop” cards, meaning you can use them only at the issuing store, or perhaps at a group of stores under one company’s umbrella. If you want a card you can use anywhere, look for one with a Visa or Mastercard label on the front. These are known as “open-loop” cards.

WealthyUpdates surveyed store credit cards from large outlets to find the most valuable picks. We also surveyed general-purpose bank credit cards that offered big rewards at department stores and other retailers. These offers topped our list.

BEST STORE CARDS

Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®

Earn 5% back on Walmart.com and Walmart app purchases; 5% back in the first year on in-store purchases made using Walmart Pay (2% back after that); plus other rewards. $0 annual fee.

Benefits of the Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®

  • 5% back on Walmart.com and Walmart app purchases.

  • 2% back on in-store purchases at Walmart (including Murphy USA and Walmart fuel stations).

  • 2% back on travel and restaurants.

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

  • Open-loop card, which means you can use it anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

Drawbacks of the Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®

  • Limited in-store rewards.

The $0-annual-fee Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard® can offer even more value when you shop at the big-box behemoth, where items are often already heavily discounted. During the first 12 months, the card offers 5% back on in-store purchases made through the Walmart Pay digital wallet. The rewards rate drops to 2% after that, making online shopping the best way to continue earning 5% (via Walmart’s app or website). You can maximize rewards by buying online and picking up in-store. Terms apply.

You’ll also earn 2% back on non-store purchases such as dining and travel. All other purchases earn 1% back. Rewards are more flexible than those you’d earn with some other store cards. You can redeem for a statement credit or toward a purchase; apply points during checkout at Walmart.com; get gift cards; or use rewards for travel bookings via the Capital One portal.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Earn an unlimited 5% back on Amazon.com purchases, plus other rewards. Annual fee of $0, but requires Amazon Prime membership.

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Benefits of the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

  • 5% back on all Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases.

  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores.

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

  • Open-loop card, which means you can use it anywhere Visa or Mastercard is accepted.

Drawbacks of the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

  • Available only to Amazon Prime members.

If you shop heavily at Amazon.com and/or Whole Foods, and carry a $119-per-year Prime subscription, you might find that the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card offers more value than general credit cards. With your Prime membership, you can already buy just about anything at a low price with free two-day shipping on Amazon.com. But with this card — which is made of metal — you can also earn an unlimited 5% back on those purchases, plus an unlimited 5% back on purchases made at Whole Foods. (Most general credit cards that offer 5% rewards have quarterly spending caps.) You’ll also earn extra rewards in a handful of other popular everyday categories when using your card at other merchants. Rewards are redeemable toward Amazon purchases, as well as for cash back, gift cards and travel.

The card’s versatility and robust rewards make it a strong pick for loyal Amazon Prime customers and those who regularly spend a fair amount at Whole Foods. But if you hardly use your Prime subscription, you might be better off with another card.

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Get 5% off purchases, plus 30 extra days for returns and free shipping on most items at Target.com. $0 annual fee

Target REDcard™ Credit Card
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Benefits of the Target REDcard™ Credit Card

  • 5% discount on all eligible Target purchases.

  • 10% discount coupon each year on your card anniversary.

  • 30 extra days for returns.

  • Free shipping on most items at Target.com.

Drawbacks of the Target REDcard™ Credit Card

  • Closed-loop card; can be used only at Target and Target.com. Consider the open-loop Mastercard version if you want a card you can also use elsewhere.

The Target REDcard™ Credit Card lets you save on your purchases upfront, without offering a complicated redemption program. If you’re a frugal spender and do most of your shopping — clothes, food, furniture — at Target, this card’s 5% discount could add up to hundreds of dollars in savings per year. Most general credit cards don’t offer bonus rewards for shopping at discount outlets like Target. Cardholders also get free shipping on Target.com purchases and extra time for returns, valuable loyalty perks.

This card doesn’t offer 0% financing and has high ongoing interest, so it’s not a good deal if you’re planning to carry a balance.

Gap Visa® Credit Card

Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at Gap brands, in store or online, and 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere. $0 annual fee.

Synchrony Bank Gap Inc Visa Card Credit Card
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Benefits of the Gap Visa® Credit Card

  • 5 points for every $1 spent at Gap brands, in store or online.

  • 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere.

  • Points are worth 1 cent each and can be redeemed for credit at Gap brands such as Athleta, Old Navy and Banana Republic.

  • Save 20% and enjoy free shipping on your first purchase with the Gap Visa® Credit Card.

  • Extra 10% off every time you shop at Gap and Gap Factory stores, plus opportunities to earn more loyalty benefits.

  • Cardholders can return purchases without receipts.

  • Open-loop Visa, which means you can use it anywhere Visa is accepted (although the store card version is closed-loop and can only be used at Gap brand stores).

Drawbacks of the Gap Visa® Credit Card

  • Points are only worth credit toward purchases within the Gap family of brands.

  • High ongoing interest rate.

If you do all of your wardrobe shopping at Gap and its sister stores, the high rewards rate and cardholder benefits on the Gap Visa® Credit Card could save you money. It also offers excellent loyalty benefits. For instance, if you earn over 5,000 points in a calendar year, you’ll achieve Gap Silver status, which snags you perks like free basic alterations on Banana Republic purchases.

As with most store cards, the Gap Visa® Credit Card lacks redemption flexibility. A general credit card can also offer elevated rewards in a much wider range of places or categories, not just Gap and its partner stores.

Lowe’s Advantage Card

5% off, or promotional financing. $0 annual fee.

Lowe's Advantage Card
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Benefits of the Lowe’s Advantage Card

$0 annual fee. Offers either:

Drawbacks of the Lowe’s Advantage Card

  • Closed-loop card; can only be used at Lowe’s.

  • High ongoing interest rate.

The Lowe’s Advantage Card has better rewards than most home improvement credit cards. Offering an unlimited 5% off all purchases, or special financing on larger purchases, this card earns a higher rewards rate on home improvement purchases than even most general credit cards. And because the rewards come as a 5% discount, instead of points to cash in on later, you’ll get your savings upfront. If you opt for the promotional financing offer instead, you could save a small fortune on interest charges, assuming the balance is paid down on time.

This card is an outstanding pick if you frequently shop at Lowe’s and want to earn more rewards on your purchases. If you’re looking for a one-time discount and don’t shop for home-improvement supplies often, though, you might be better off with another card.

TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard®

Earn elevated rewards at T.J. Maxx family of stores. $0 annual fee.

Benefits of the TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard®

  • Unlimited 5 points per dollar spent at T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, Sierra Trading Post and Homesense.

  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

  • Points worth 1 cent each when redeemed as a certificate at T.J. Maxx and partner stores.

  • 10% off your first online or in-store T.J. Maxx purchase made with the card.

  • Open-loop card; can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

Drawbacks of the TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard®

  • High ongoing interest rate.

  • You can redeem points only for merchandise in store or online.

The TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard® can get you more rewards than a general credit card might, whether you’re shopping for gifts, clothing, home decor or cookware. It offers an unlimited 5 points per dollar spent in T.J. Maxx and partner stores, and 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere — generous rewards, compared with other discount store credit cards. Keep in mind that most general credit cards don’t offer bonus rewards for shopping at discount outlets.

But if you’re looking for flexible rewards, you’d be better off with a different card.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Earn cash back on all purchases. Annual fee of $0, but requires Costco membership.

Citibank Costco-Anywhere Visa Card Credit Card
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Benefits of the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

  • 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases, on up to $7,000 in spending annually, then 1%.

  • 3% cash back on restaurants and travel.

  • 2% cash back on all Costco purchases.

  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

  • Open-loop card; can be used anywhere Visa is accepted.

Drawbacks of the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

  • Requires Costco membership, which is at least $60 a year.

  • Requires excellent credit.

  • Cash-back rewards are paid only once a year at the end of the February billing cycle and must be redeemed at Costco.

If you’re already a Costco and Costco.com shopper, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is an excellent card. The rewards rate on gas is among the highest around. You’ll exceed the $7,000 cap on bonus rewards in that category only if you spend at least $135 a week on gas. You’ll also be rewarded well for spending on restaurants and travel.

Redemption, though, can be a pain. Cash back comes in the form of a reward certificate, mailed to you each year with your February statement. You redeem it at a Costco store for cash or merchandise.

Verizon Visa® Card

Earn 4% back on groceries and gas, 3% back at restaurants, 2% back on Verizon purchases and 1% back on all other purchases. $0 annual fee.

Verizon Visa® Card
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Benefits of the Verizon Visa® Card

  • 4% back on grocery store purchases.

  • 3% back on dining purchases, including takeout and delivery.

  • 2% back on Verizon purchases.

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

  • New cardholders only: Use your card to pay your Verizon bill every month, and you’ll earn up to $100 in credit over the first 24 months ($4.17 per month).

  • Two free TravelPass days per calendar year (up to a $20 value).

  • First-time enrollees: Get a discount of up to $10 a month per eligible Verizon account or line (on up to 10 lines maximum) when you sign up for autopay and paperless billing.

  • Open-loop Visa, which means you can use it anywhere Visa is accepted.

Drawbacks of the Verizon Visa® Card

  • The Verizon Visa® Card is available only to Verizon wireless customers.

  • Rewards only redeemable with Verizon.

  • High ongoing interest rate.

The Verizon Visa® Card offers excellent reward rates on everyday spending that goes beyond Verizon store purchases. Though rewards can be redeemed only with Verizon, this sleek metal card can save you money on eligible Verizon purchases and free up your budget to do more.

Rewards, known as Verizon Dollars, don’t expire as long as you’re a Verizon customer and you earn or redeem them at least once every 24 months. That’s enough time to save up for a new phone, if that’s your preference, or you can cash in rewards sooner to offset the cost of your phone or Fios internet bill. You’ll save even more by signing up for autopay and paperless billing, up to $10 a month per account or per line, depending on the plan.

EXCELLENT GENERAL-PURPOSE CARDS FOR SHOPPING

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Earn 5% cash back on rotating rewards categories on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases (activation required); 5% back on travel purchased through Chase; 3% back on dining at restaurants; 3% back at drugstores; 1% back on bonus category spending above $1,500 and any other spending. Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. The annual fee is $0

Requires good credit (score of 690+).

Chase Freedom Flex
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Benefits of the Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • 5% cash back on rotating rewards categories on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases (activation required).

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase.

  • 1% back on bonus category spending above $1,500 and any other spending.

  • Open-loop card; can be used wherever Visa is accepted.

  • Access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, where you can earn extra rewards with major retailers.

  • Solid sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

  • Introductory APR of 0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.99% – 23.74% Variable APR; Chase doesn’t charge deferred interest on the balance if you’re still paying it off after the promotional period ends.

Drawbacks of the Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • Must opt in to the 5% bonus categories every quarter to earn bonus rewards, which can be a hassle; here’s how it works.

  • Comes with a $1,500 quarterly spending limit on 5% bonus rewards (you’ll earn 1% in these categories after hitting that limit).

  • No store loyalty benefits, like the kind you might get with a store credit card.

  • Keeping track of all rewards categories may get complicated.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ isn’t a store card, but its store-specific bonus rewards make it worth considering. Historically, the card has featured big-name retailers in the rotating 5% bonus categories, including Walmart and Amazon.com. Other 5% categories have included restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations. When you shop at major online retailers through Chase’s bonus mall, you can also rack up additional rewards.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ doesn’t come with some of the loyalty benefits that many store-branded cards offer, such as free shipping on online purchases or unlimited 5% rewards. But compared with other store cards, its rewards are much more versatile.

Discover it® Cash Back

Earn 5% cash back on rotating rewards categories on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases (must opt in), and 1% cash back on all other purchases. New cardmember bonus. The annual fee is $0. Introductory APR of 0% intro APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 11.99% – 22.99% Variable APR.

Requires good credit (score of 690+). 

Discover it® Cash Back
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Benefits of the Discover it® Cash Back

  • 5% cash back on rotating rewards categories on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases (must opt in).

  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

  • Strong sign-up bonus: INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300..

  • Solid 0% APR promotion: 0% intro APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 11.99% – 22.99% Variable APR; if you still have a balance after the 0% APR period ends, Discover won’t charge you deferred interest.

  • Open-loop card; can be used wherever Discover is accepted.

Drawbacks of the Discover it® Cash Back

  • Must opt in to the bonus categories every quarter to earn 5% rewards; categories may not always align with your spending.

  • No store loyalty benefits, unlike some store cards.

Like the Chase Freedom Flex℠, the Discover it® Cash Back also offers 5% cash back on rotating categories, on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter (opt-in required; all other purchases earn 1% back). In the past, these bonus categories have included gas and ground transportation, home improvement stores, department stores and Amazon.com.

If you want other loyalty benefits, like free online shipping or exclusive sales, you may be better off with another offer.

Information related to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected by WealthyUpdates and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

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