Best Store Credit Cards of 2021: What’s Worth Signing Up For?

Best Store Credit Cards of 2021: What’s Worth Signing Up For?

These are the top store credit cards currently available to consumers, based on a number of different needs and factors. We also looked at which general-purpose credit cards can provide users with significantly better deals, while fulfilling the same basic requirements.

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We evaluated store credit cards offered by some of the nation's largest retailers to find the cream of the crop. The following curated list includes all the top store cards currently available. Keep in mind that even the best offers here leave a lot to be desired. Store credit cards have limited redemption options for their rewards and outrageously high interest rates. Anyone with an average credit score or better should look at general-purpose credit cards instead.

Note: All the store credit cards listed on this page give you points that can only be redeemed for gift certificates and vouchers for more in-store purchases. Therefore, you are not getting actual cash back, like you would with regular credit cards. Be sure to also read our section on "What You Should Know About Store Credit Cards".

Best Store Credit Cards For

Online Shopping: Amazon Prime Store Card

The Amazon Prime Store Card comes with a 5% cash back rate on all the purchases you make through While some cards can match this, they typically only do so for a few months out of the year. The Amazon Prime Store Card is currently the only way to get 5% back on your purchases all year-round. This can be very useful for big shopaholics who are frequently ordering things off Amazon.

The card also comes with 6, 12 and 24 month 0% APR financing options. There are several problems with this. Firstly, you will not earn any cash back rewards on purchases you choose to finance. Most importantly, however, it's not a good idea to finance the types of things you can buy on Amazon. Even if you avoid paying interest, you are putting yourself at risk. If an emergency expense were to come up, preventing you from repaying a big purchase, you may unexpectedly find yourself dealing with the card's extremely high APR -- 26.99%.

Grocery & General Purchase Card: REDcard

The REDcard is another store card with a good rewards rate on in-store purchases – 5% back on all purchases you make in Target stores or on – much better than what you can normally get through other credit cards. Target has a wide assortment of goods, so this discount can go a long way for most shoppers. Unfortunately, there are several items the standard rewards rate doesn't apply to. That list includes prescriptions, over-the-counter items located behind the pharmacy counter and clinic services at Target and restaurants located in the store.

If you have other credit card accounts, we recommend opening the Target debit card instead. It comes with all the same major benefits, including the 5% discount. However, opening the debit card will not impact your credit score at all. Therefore, if you already have other credit cards and you don't need to build up your history, the debit card may serve you better.

Department & Clothing Stores: TJX Rewards® Credit Card

The TJX Rewards® Credit Card is among the best department store credit cards. You can use it at T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, Sierra Trading Post, and to get an unlimited 5% rewards rate. You can also use this card at other stores to get a 1% return. Unlike many other store credit cards, this one comes with a bonus. Users get 10% off their first purchase on or Together, this reward structure can translate to decent savings for shoppers who love shopping at T.J Maxx and other stores of this brand.

Home Improvement: Ace Hardware Rewards Visa

The Ace Hardware Rewards Visa can be useful both inside their affiliated hardware stores and outside. This store credit card provides 10 points per dollar on most purchases. $5 reward every 2500 points. That's 2% back on most purchases. The rewards you earn come in the form points that you later redeem for Ace Hardware gift cards.

General Purpose Credit Cards That Are Good Alternatives to Store Cards

Anyone with a good enough credit score should apply for a general-purpose credit card over a store card. In most cases, you can find much better deals and interest rates through these offers. Below are some great credit cards that fulfill the same purposes as the above-mentioned store cards.

Online Shopping: Discover it® Cash Back

The Discover it® Cash Back lets you 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically Over the last three years, Discover included Amazon as a category during at least one quarter. For 2021, the categories include grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS (January-March), gas stations, select streaming services and wholesale clubs (April-June), restaurants and PayPal (July-September),, and (October-December). Unless you only shop on Amazon during the first half of the year, the Discover it® Cash Back will give you the best rewards there and other places you shop.

Furthermore, new cardmembers have all their cash back doubled at the end of the first year. Therefore, it's possible to get 10% cash back on Amazon with this card, up to the category limit of $1,500.

Unlike store credit cards, the Discover it® Cash Back is also extremely valuable when used at a variety of stores due to its cashback rewards program.

Gas, Supermarket and General Purchase Card: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of the most rewarding credit cards because it grants cardholders a high cash back rate in some of the biggest consumer expense categories. Cardholders get 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more), 1% Cash Back on other purchases. While some store cards offer a 5% rewards rate, it's usually only for purchases at specific stores, which can be highly restrictive. For most people, we believe the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express will be much more rewarding than a store credit card.

While the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express comes with a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee, it offers several avenues through which to earn that fee back (See Rates & Fees). For instance, assuming you spend just $140 per month at U.S. supermarkets, you'll get approximately $101 in cash back per year. The more you spend, the easier it becomes to justify the annual fee. Also, you can earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. The statement credit is enough to offset the card's fee for at least two years. That's not even taking into account the cash back you'd earn by using the card.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

Zero Percent Financing: Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

The Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever is a better substitute for those considering store credit cards for their zero percent financing options. The card has a 0% for 18 months on Purchases from date of account opening and 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers from date of first transfer, then a 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) APR applies. The Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever is also great for consumers who are dealing with a mountain of debt on other credit card accounts. You can transfer balances from those other cards over to this one and enjoy the 0% APR period, however you will have to pay a fee of Balance transfer fee – either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

The benefit of using this card over store credit cards is the better ongoing APR, after the zero percent promo period ends. The APR will be anywhere between 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable), based on your creditworthiness.

What You Should Know About Store Credit Cards

Before applying for a store credit card, there are several important facts consumers should be aware of. Store cards are generally targeted at consumers with lower credit scores, and therefore the benefits they provide aren't as good as what you can expect from products offered by national banks, like Chase or Citibank.

  • Store credit cards have low credit limits. Cardholders are typically given credit limits around $500. This is a problem, since you are likely to use a total percentage of your credit line as a result. The percentage of your limit you use is referred to as "credit utilization" and it impacts your credit score. FICO advises consumers to keep their credit utilization below 30%. However, if you have a $500 credit line, that would require you to spend no more than $150 per month on the account.
  • Not all store credit cards can be used outside the issuing store. You should check the lower right-hand corner of the credit card. If it doesn't have a Mastercard, VISA, American Express, or Discover logo, it can only be used at the store that issues it. These are referred to as "closed loop" credit cards.
  • Store credit cards aren't good for consumers who plan to carry a balance. The biggest deterrent from opening a store credit card is their high APR. The average interest rate in the United States currently hovers at around 17%. For store credit cards, that figure stands at over 26% -- close to a ten point difference. You can avoid paying interest if you pay off your credit card balance in full by the end of each month. If you can't manage that, avoid opening a store card. Many of these credit cards also present users with a 0% financing option which may seem like a great solution to the APR issue. However, it is generally a bad idea to micro-finance small purchases at stores. In some cases, if you fail to pay back the loan within the agreed-upon time, you will be retroactively charged interest. General-purpose credit cards with 0% promotional offers don't work like that. They don't charge you interest on balances you already paid off.

The information related to the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).