12 Best Department Store Credit Cards for Bad Credit

If you have bad credit, getting approved for a credit card can be a huge challenge. And the credit cards you can get approved for typically won’t have the most favorable terms and rates. Many of these credit cards offer no sign-up bonuses and have high APRs.


One option you can consider is building your credit with a department store credit card. Of course, most store credit cards have high APRs and low credit limits, but the approval process tends to be easier. And if you get a store credit card at a store you regularly shop at, you can earn in-store discounts.

12 Best Store Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Now that you know the advantages of department store credit cards, the next step is choosing the credit card that’s right for you. Listed below are twelve department store cards you might consider.

1. Dillard’s

If you have at least fair credit, you have a good chance of being approved for a Dillard’s card. However, you still may have a chance of approval even with poor credit.

With this credit card, you earn two reward points for every dollar spent at Dillard’s. Once you reach 1,500 points, you can choose between a 10% off coupon or a $10 off coupon.

If you spend more than $2,000 a year at Dillard’s, you’ll qualify for the Elite Status card. This will earn you additional perks like free shipping, free in-store gift wrapping, and invitations to private shopping events.

Overview of the Dillard’s card:

  • Intro APR: 0% APR for 12–24 months
  • Regular APR: 25.24%-27.24% APR
  • Annual Fee: None

2. The Gap

When you’re approved for a Gap credit card issued by Synchrony Bank, you’ll save 20% and earn free shipping on your first purchase using the credit card. With the Gap card, you can use it and earn points at Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta. However, you can only redeem the rewards at Gap stores.

For every dollar you spend online or in-store, you’ll earn five rewards points. Once you reach 500 points, you’ll earn a $5 reward. You’ll also earn an additional 10% off at all Gap stores for shopping with your Gap card.

Overview of the Gap card:

  • Intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 28.24% APR
  • Annual Fee: None

3. Costco

The biggest advantage of choosing the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is that you’re not just limited to shopping at Costco. You can use the credit card anywhere that Visa is accepted. And with this card, you’ll even start earning the following cash back rewards:

  • 4% on gas for the first $7,000 spent, 1% thereafter
  • 3% on restaurants and travel
  • 2% on all Costco purchases
  • 1% everywhere else

Overview of the Costco anywhere card:

  • Intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 17.24% APR
  • Annual Fee: None

4. Nordstrom

There are two different versions of the credit card offered by Nordstrom. One can only be used at Nordstrom, and the other can be used anywhere. However, if you have bad credit, you’ll most likely have to start with the more limited Nordstrom store credit card.

On the day you sign up, you’ll receive a $40 rebate on a purchase of $100 or more. And for every dollar you spend, you’ll earn three rewards points. For example, once you reach 2,000 points, you’ll receive a $20 off coupon. You’ll also receive early access to Nordstrom sales.

Overview of the Nordstrom store card:

  • Intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: Depends on creditworthiness but could be as high as 25.15% APR
  • Annual Fee: None

5. Kohl’s

Once you’re approved for a Kohl’s credit card, you can take an additional 35% off your first purchase using the card. Plus, you’ll receive an additional coupon for 15% off once your credit card arrives in the mail.

However, there are no purchase rewards with the Kohl’s card. Instead, you’re invited to 12 “special offers” each year. However, these special offers are pretty good because you’ll earn additional discounts between 15% and 30%.

Overview of the Kohl’s credit card:

  • Intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 27.24%
  • Annual Fee: None

6. Macy’s

When you open a Macy’s store credit card, you’ll earn 20% off either the day of or the following day. This is a pretty good discount, but the savings are limited to $100 total.

Macy’s uses a tiered rewards program for its cardmembers. If you spend up to $499 annually, you’ll qualify for Silver status. This will earn you 25% off your purchase with Star Passes.

If you spend $500 or more annually, you’ll earn Gold status. This earns you free shipping and a special birthday offer. And if you spend more than $1,200 annually, you’ll qualify for Platinum status. This earns you 5% cashback on all Macy’s merchandise.

Overview of the Macy’s store card:

  • Intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 27.49% APR
  • Annual Fee: None

7. JCPenney

With the JCPenney credit card, you’ll earn one point for every dollar spent. Once you’ve earned 200 points, you’ll receive a $10 off coupon. Plus, you’ll earn an additional 5% off select merchandise throughout the year.

When you sign up, you will earn a one-time 20% off coupon. However, it cannot be applied to every item in-store. Cardmembers who spend $500 or more will earn additional discounts.

Overview of the JCPenney store card:

  • Intro APR: 0% APR for 12–48 months
  • Regular APR: 28.24% APR
  • Annual Fee: None

8. Bloomingdale’s

The Bloomingdale’s store credit card is fairly easy to apply for, and borrowers with fair credit can qualify. However, you’ll need to regularly shop at Bloomingdale’s for the discounts to be worthwhile.

When you sign up, you’ll receive a 15% off coupon that day and the following day for a total of $250 in savings. For most purchases, you’ll receive three points for every dollar spent. But you’ll earn six points for every dollar you spend on shoes, cosmetics, and perfume. So if you regularly purchase those items, this credit card will be beneficial for you.

Overview of the Bloomingdale’s store card:

  • Intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 27.24% APR
  • Annual Fee: None

9. Walmart Rewards Card

The Walmart Rewards Card from Capital One is an excellent choice for those who frequently shop at Walmart and are looking to maximize their cash back earnings. With this card, you’ll earn a generous 5% cash back on Walmart.com purchases, including pickup and delivery services.

In addition, you’ll receive 2% cash back at Walmart stores and fuel stations, as well as on dining and travel expenses. For all other purchases made with your card, you’ll still earn a respectable 1% cash back wherever Mastercard is accepted.

One of the great features of the Walmart Rewards Card is the ability to find out if you’re eligible without any risk to your credit score. This makes it a convenient and hassle-free option for those considering a new rewards card.

Overview of the Walmart Rewards Card:

  • Intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 28.99% APR
  • Annual Fee: None

10. Target REDcard

Take advantage of a limited time offer with the Target REDcard: receive $40 off a future qualifying purchase over $40 when you’re approved for a credit, debit, or reloadable REDcard. As a cardholder, you’ll enjoy 5% off on eligible in-store or online Target purchases at checkout – and this discount can be stacked with manufacturer and store coupons for even greater savings. In addition to these immediate benefits, you’ll also gain access to exclusive deals and discounts available only to REDcard holders.

The perks of the Target REDcard don’t stop there. Enjoy free 2-day shipping on hundreds of thousands of items at Target.com, and earn 2% back on dining and gas purchases, as well as 1% back everywhere else outside of Target.

However, it’s important to note that certain exclusions apply to the 5% cardholder discount: prescriptions and over-the-counter pharmacy items, gift cards, select restaurant merchants, and Target Optical eye exams are not eligible for the discount. Despite these exclusions, the Target REDcard offers a range of valuable benefits for frequent Target shoppers.

Overview of the Target REDcard:

  • Intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 27.15% APR
  • Annual Fee: None

11. TJX Rewards Credit Card

The TJX Rewards Credit Card is a fantastic option for loyal shoppers of TJX-brand stores, such as T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, Sierra Trading Post, and Homesense. With this card, you’ll earn an impressive 5% back in rewards on every card purchase at any TJX-brand store. Plus, as a new cardholder, you’ll receive a 10% discount on your first card purchase, giving you an extra incentive to start shopping right away.

Maximize your rewards with the TJX Rewards Credit Card by accumulating points on your purchases. For every 1,000 points you earn, you’ll be issued a $10 Rewards Certificate, which can be used toward a future purchase in-store or online.

In addition to these benefits, you’ll also receive invitations to exclusive shopping events and be eligible for Arrival Alerts via email. With the TJX Rewards Credit Card, shopping at your favorite TJX-brand stores becomes even more rewarding.

Overview of the TJX Rewards Credit Card:

  • Intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 31.24% APR
  • Annual Fee: None

12. Fingerhut

If you’re looking to rebuild or establish credit, the Fingerhut Credit Account may be just the solution for you. With an easy application process and an impressive 90% approval rate, you can get a credit decision in seconds.

As an added bonus, Fingerhut reports to all three credit bureaus, helping you build your credit history while you shop. Browse through thousands of items from top brands like Samsung, Apple, and KitchenAid, and enjoy the convenience of using your line of credit to make purchases.

Fingerhut, once a home catalog company, has transformed into a large online retailer that focuses on providing closed-loop credit lines to those with less-than-perfect credit. At Fingerhut.com, you’ll find an extensive selection of items from hundreds of renowned brands.

Overview of the Fingerhut Credit Account:

  • Intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 29.99% APR
  • Annual Fee: None

What is a department store card?

A department store card is a type of credit card that can typically only be used at the store that offers it. It is similar to a regular credit card in that it can be used to make purchases.

Many retailers offer these cards as a way to reward their frequent customers with extra perks, such as cash back or rebates when they use the card. Additionally, some stores may alert cardholders to upcoming sales and discounts.

How do department store cards work?

Department store credit cards operate in the same way as traditional credit cards, but with some key differences. These cards have a set credit limit as well as the option to pay in full at a later date or over time with interest.

Most store cards are unsecured, but some retailers offer secured credit cards as well. Open-loop store cards are available, but they are usually harder to qualify for and require good or better credit.

Department store cards differ from Visa, Mastercard, American Express cards in that balance transfers are not an option. Additionally, you should consider the interest rate on these cards, as they can make the amount to be paid much higher than the original purchase price.

Do store credit cards help your credit score?

Most store credit cards will boost your credit score the same as any other credit card. This is because the payment history is reported to the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. And if you’re in the process of rebuilding your credit history, there are many advantages to going this route.

The credit limit on store cards is typically low, so you don’t have to worry about overspending. And you can earn discounts at your favorite department stores, many of which may come with high price tags. In addition, you may earn benefits, like free shipping or free alterations on clothing.

Here are a few things to keep in mind going forward:

  • Keep your credit utilization rate below 30%.
  • Pay off your balance in full every month, so you don’t end up paying interest.
  • Look for a credit card with no annual fee.
  • Look for a credit card offering a deferred-interest promotion.

What are the benefits of getting a store card?

One benefit of store credit cards is the potential for discounts. Many department stores offer exclusive discounts and promotional offers to cardholders.

These discounts can range from a percentage off the total purchase to free shipping or even storewide sales. Additionally, cardholders may be eligible for special rewards programs, such as cash back on purchases or discounts at affiliated stores.

As mentioned, store credit cards can also be a useful for establishing and rebuilding credit. Many store credit cards report to the credit bureaus, allowing customers to build credit over time. This can help customers get approved for better loans and other forms of credit in the future.

However, since it can only be used to make purchases with the company that issued it, it may not offer the same convenience as other credit cards for bad credit.

How to Get a Department Store Credit Card

Getting a department store credit card can be a great way to build credit, earn rewards, and enjoy exclusive discounts while shopping at your favorite stores. In this section, we’ll walk you through the steps to apply for a department store card.

  1. Research your options: Before applying, research the different department store cards available, paying close attention to interest rates, rewards programs, fees, and any additional benefits they may offer. Determine which card best suits your shopping habits and financial goals.
  2. Check your credit score: Store credit cards typically have more lenient credit score requirements than traditional credit cards. However, it’s still important to know your credit score before applying. You can obtain a free credit report from each credit bureau every 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.com.
  3. Visit the store or website: Once you’ve selected the department store card you’re interested in, visit the store or its website to begin the application process. Many retailers allow you to apply for their credit cards online or in person at the customer service desk.
  4. Complete the application: Fill out the credit card application with your personal information, such as your name, address, Social Security number, and income. Be sure to provide accurate information to avoid delays or rejections in the approval process.
  5. Review the terms and conditions: Before submitting your application, carefully read the terms and conditions of the credit card. This includes interest rates, fees, rewards structures, and any promotional offers. Make sure you understand and agree to these terms before proceeding.
  6. Submit your application: After completing the application and reviewing the terms, submit your application either online or in person. Many store credit cards offer instant approval, while others may take a few days to process your application.
  7. Wait for a decision: Upon submitting your application, you may receive an immediate decision, or it could take several days for the credit card issuer to review your information. If approved, you’ll receive your new credit card in the mail, typically within 7-10 business days.


As you can see, many of these store cards come with extremely high APRs. The best way to boost your credit scores is to use a department store card from banks like Comenity or Synchrony. Then, make occasional small purchases and pay off the balance in full. This will help you avoid paying money in interest or racking up a balance you can’t back pay.

Whatever department store credit card you choose, make sure you educate yourself on the terms and conditions of that card. Make sure you pay your monthly statement on time so you can avoid late fees or getting sent to collections. If you’re unable to get approved for store credit cards, check out these secured credit cards.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get a credit card with bad credit?

Yes, there are several credit cards designed specifically for individuals with bad credit. These include both secured and unsecured credit cards.

Secured cards require a deposit which becomes your credit limit, while unsecured cards may come with higher interest rates and fees. Many of these cards can help improve your credit score if you make consistent, on-time payments.

What is the easiest credit card to get with bad credit?

The easiest credit card to get with bad credit is typically a secured credit card. These cards have a more lenient approval process because they require a security deposit which acts as your credit limit.

This reduces the risk to the issuer, making it easier for individuals with bad credit to get approved. Examples include the Capital One Secured Mastercard or the Discover it Secured card.

Here is a list of the best secured credit cards for 2024.

What are the best store credit cards for people with bad credit?

While specific offerings can vary, some department store cards known for being more accessible to those with poor credit include the Fingerhut Credit Account, the Kohl’s Charge Card, and the JCPenney Credit Card. However, keep in mind that while these cards might be easier to get, they often come with higher interest rates and lower credit limits.

Can store cards be used anywhere or just at the store?

You can only use most store cards at the store that issues the credit card, or at stores owned by the same company. However, some store cards you can use anywhere and earn reward points that you can spend at the store.

Typically, the store cards you can only use at the store are easier to get approved for if you have bad credit. The store cards that you can use anywhere generally have higher credit score requirements.

What’s the difference between an open-loop credit card and a closed-loop credit card?

An open-loop card is a card that can be used anywhere that a major credit card such as Visa or Mastercard is accepted. A closed-loop card is a card that can only be used at specific locations, such as a store or restaurant chain.

Jamie Johnson
Meet the author

Jamie Johnson is a freelance writer who has been featured in publications like InvestorPlace and GOBankingRates. She writes about various personal finance topics including student loans, credit cards, investing, building credit, and more.