If you have bad credit, getting approved for a credit card can be a huge challenge. And most of the time, the cards you can get approved for won’t have the most appealing rates and terms. Many of these cards offer no signup bonuses and have very high APRs.

Nordstrom

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

Do Store Credit Cards Help Your Credit Score?

Department store credit cards will boost your credit score the same as any other credit card. And if you’re in the process of rebuilding your credit, there are many advantages to going this route.

The credit limit will be low so you don’t have to worry about overspending. And you can earn discounts at your favorite stores, many of which may come with high price tags. You may earn additional 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 card with no annual fee.
  • Look for a card offering a deferred-interest promotion.

8 Department Store Credit Cards

So now that you know the advantages of taking out a department store card, the next step is to choose the card that’s right for you. Listed below are eight department store credit cards you might consider.

1. Dillards

If you have at least fair credit, you have a good chance of being approved for a Dillard’s card. With this card, you earn two rewards points for every dollar spent in 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.

Here is an 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 card. One thing that’s unique about the Gap card is that you can use the card and earn points at Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta. However, the rewards can only be redeemed 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.

Here is an 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 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

Here is an 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 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 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. Once you reach 2,000 points, you’ll receive a $20 off coupon. You’ll also receive early access to Nordstrom sales.

Here is an 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 that card. Plus, you’ll receive an additional coupon for 15% off once your 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%.

Here is an 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 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% cash back on all Macy’s merchandise.

Here is an 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, this is somewhat misleading as it can’t be used on any item in-store. Cardmembers who spend $500 or more a year will earn additional discounts.

Here is an 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 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 card will be beneficial for you.

Here is an overview of the Bloomingdale’s store card:

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

Summary

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

And whatever card you choose, make sure you educate yourself on the terms and conditions of that card. And make sure you pay your monthly statement on time so you can avoid late fees or getting sent to collections.