A Look At Store Credit Cards

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When walking into a large store chain, chances are you will be bombarded with ads for their credit card. Many times these cards have little to no sign-up bonus, but offer other perks such as 5% cash back on all purchases, special “members only” events, or 0% APR for a certain amount of time. There are many store credit cards available, but are they worth it? Let’s take a look…

Store CardBase Reward PercentageStore PercentageOther Perks
Kohl's0%Varies15%, 20%, and 30% discounts throughout the year.
Home Depot0%0%0% APR for 6 months + special financing deals throughout the year.
Best Buy1%5%Elite Plus members get 6%.
Free shipping with orders over $35
Member-only events.
American Eagle1%5%15% off first purchase.
20% off on birthday.
Member-only events.
Gap1%5%30% off first purchase.
15% off coupon once a year.
Silver status after spending $800+
Target0%5%Free shipping on Target.com.
30 extra days for returns.
Walmart1%1%$0.15 off per gallon at Walmart.
Free FICO score.
$25 statement credit after spending $75.
Meijer0%0%10% off first purchase.
$0.05 off per gallon at Meijer.
15% off general merchandise and 5% off Grocery for every $1500 spent.
Member-only savings events
Amazon1%3%2% back at gas stations, restaurants, and drug stores.
$40 Amazon credit sign-up bonus

Sign-Up Bonuses
Sign-up bonuses…what sign-up bonuses? The only cards that have a sign-up bonus in the list above are Walmart and Amazon. Even those bonuses are very low. $40? C’mon… Most of the “sign-up” bonuses for these cards, are basically coupons. The idea is to lure you in with, “Do you want to save XX% on your purchase today?” Commonly, this actually works.

Annual Fees
Store credit cards do not charge annual fees. I know some people are wary of any credit card with an annual fee (even ones with $400+ sign-up bonuses), so this is a plus.

Store Reward Percentages
Most store credit cards offer 5% cash back/rewards when used at their store. This can be very beneficial if you shop with them often, however, you need to be very loyal for it to be worth it. The only store I shop at enough to justify a store card, is Amazon. I did get that card a long time ago, but I don’t use it very often. Instead, I buy Amazon gift cards at Staples with my Ink Bold and get 5X UR points on my Amazon purchases.

Member Only Savings
This is the only place store rewards really shine. They will commonly have these member only savings events where you can get a great deal if you have a store card. For example, when Meijer still counted Amazon Kindle gift cards as general merchandise, you could get 15% off on those cards by having a Meijer card during those sales. Sadly, Meijer caught on and changed this – RIP :(.

Another example would be Kohl’s. They have Kohl’s cash deals quite often, where you can get $10 in Kohl’s cash (basically gift cards) per $50 spent. During these sales, they sometimes give cardholders 30% off on top of that. So, if you shopped through a 10% cash back portal (Discover) during this sale you would save $24, make $8, and get $10 Kohl’s cash per $80 of merchandise. That’s a decent deal!

My Opinion
I have a hard time signing up for store credit cards. As I mentioned above, the only one I have is Amazon. I don’t shop at any one store enough to justify the savings. I also don’t like wasting credit inquiries on cards without sign-up bonuses. On the other hand, if you shop at a certain store frequently, it might be worth signing up for their card. It’s important to look at your own situation and decide whether a store card is worth it in the long run.

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