Although Ibis Consultants receives compensation from some credit card issuers as advertisers, this does not influence our choice of cards or the order that cards appear on the page. We have attempted to determine the best cards in this category, regardless of our advertising relationship with issuers.
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Store-branded cards are always best suited to consumers who are already particularly fond of the brand. Because of their high interest rates, they are also best suited to consumers who do not make a habit of carrying a balance from month to month.
Store cards typically also come with lower than average spending limits, making them easier for consumers with average or lower credit scores to obtain, compared with traditional rewards credit cards. This makes them viable options for consumers looking to build or rebuild a healthy credit file.
The Target REDcard is my favorite store-branded card for the simple reason that it can be attached to your bank account and used as a debit card. No interest charged, no bill to pay. Cardholders get 5% off every Target purchase. An ongoing discount at this level is rare. Since Target is now in the grocery business, the discount easily adds up to significant savings on food and other everyday purchases for the household. Cardholders also get free shipping on Target.com, which effectively brings low prices and discounts right to the home or office.
This card has no annual fee nor any maintenance fee, making it an excellent choice for cost-conscious consumers seeking an everyday credit or debit card with benefits. The REDcard can only be used at Target stores and on Target.com. Cardholders who opt for the credit, not debit, card pay an interest rate of 22.9%.
The Kohl’s card is a must-have for regular Kohl’s shoppers. Kohl’s offers affordable fashion, housewares and other department store products at more than 1,100 stores across North America, including Canada and Alaska, and is famous for offering layered discounts. Shoppers can use all applicable discounts on any purchase, including sale items. Credit card holders receive a multitude of discount coupons throughout the year worth between 15% and 30%; all of them may be used on sale merchandise, and all of them may also be layered with Kohl’s Cash (gift certificates awarded to shoppers who make eligible purchases) and other promotions. Cardholders who meet the relatively low spending threshold of $600 per year receive extra discounts and incentives. Savvy shoppers can achieve unbelievably deep discounts.
The Kohl’s credit card has no annual fee. The interest is 23.99%, so cardholders who carry a balance quickly negate any savings. Also, Kohl’s pushes hard to get shoppers in the store. Smart shoppers must be vigilant to avoid buying more than they want or need simply because it looks like a great deal. The card is issued by Capital One but cannot be used anywhere but Kohl’s.
For People with
- Annual Fee: $0
- Interest Rate: 24.99% (Variable)
Quick Card Facts
- 15% Discount: Arrives in the mail with your new card.
- 12 Special Discounts: Of 30%, 20% or 15% every year.
- Savings: Combine your Kohl's Charge discounts with sale prices and special offers, like Kohl's Cash®.
- Most Valued Customer (MVC): Spend $600 in 12 months and receive MVC status, which offers 18 exclusive discounts annually.
The Amazon Rewards Visa card from Chase isn’t a store card, per se, but it deserves honorable mention on this list because of its retail versatility and rewards program. Cardholders earn points for every purchase made with the card: 3 points per dollar spent on Amazon, 2 points per dollar spent on gas, restaurants and drugstores, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
The rewards program is similar to other major rewards programs (100 points are worth $1). The points never expire and there is no limit to the number of points a cardholder can earn. Amazon, which used to be primarily for books and music, now sells such a vast array of brands and products, including household goods, groceries, clothing, shoes and toys, it’s easy to see that points can rack up quickly. Redemption options are also good, including instant dollars off an Amazon purchase, cash back, gift cards and travel.
This card has no annual fee. The interest rate is between 14.24% and 22.24%, depending on creditworthiness. Important to note is Chase’s penalty rate of 29.99%, which will apply to your account indefinitely if your payment on any Chase account is late or returned. If you sometimes space out your payment, Chase is not the card issuer for you.
The information for Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by Ibis Consultants. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Choosing The Best Store Card
Before signing up for any store-branded card, carefully consider the cost and your own shopping history. Obviously, store cards are for people who already make a habit of shopping the brand. If you’re a frequent customer, a store-branded credit card is a smart way to get rewards .
Before signing up for any credit card, and in particular a retail store card, look for red flags in the terms and conditions, especially in the context of a promotional introductory interest rate or other special discount. Many credit card promotions include deferred interest. That means if you don’t pay your balance off by the end of the promotional period, you’ll be charged interest all the way back to the date of purchase, including on the portion of the balance that you’ve already paid off. Lowe’s and Home Depot charge accounts are famous for this expensive trap.