25 Best Store Cards for Bad Credit

Updated: Nov. 10, 2020 

store cards for bad credit

If bad credit has stopped you from qualifying for a credit card, a store card may offer an alternative. Store cards can be easier to get, and they often come with perks like special financing, no annual fee, and rewards programs that let you earn points or discounts. 

The 25 best store cards for bad credit

Many retailers offer their own credit cards, which are typically "closed-loop" cards, meaning you can only use them on purchases you make with that retailer. By contrast, "open-loop" cards can be used in other places.

While store cards are more restrictive this way, they can offer people with bad credit a chance to rebuild their credit. Because store cards often come with higher interest rates, however, it's important to be careful about carrying a balance, as you don't want to fall into a cycle of debt that ends up hurting your score rather than helping it. 

If you've been turned down for a credit card due to bad, here are some store cards to consider. 

1. Fingerhut Credit Account

Fingerhut got its start as a shop-from-home catalog business. Much of the catalog aspect still exists today, however, Fingerhut has taken its business online. 

The company specializes in extending credit to shoppers who might not otherwise qualify for a typical credit card. There are two kinds of store accounts available through Fingerhut: the WebBank/Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account and the WebBank/Fingerhut FreshStart Installment Loan.

When you apply for credit through Fingerhut, the company automatically considers you for both accounts. If your credit is too poor to qualify for the Advantage account, Fingerhut will consider you for the Installment Loan. 

Key takeaways:

  • Fingerhut processes your application right away, so you get an instant decision.

  • The online store features products from major brands, along with a wide range of merchandise, including clothing and big name appliances.

  • Fingerhut reports to all three credit bureaus, so you can build positive payment history by making purchases and paying them off each month. 

2. Amazon.com Store Card

If you're already a Prime member, it's worth checking out the Amazon.com Store Card, as you get 5% cash back if you have the card in addition to your Prime membership. You can also receive special financing terms, including 0% APR, for any purchase $150 or more. 

However, Amazon's special financing has deferred interest, so it's important to pay off the balance before the promotional period ends. The APR for the Amazon.com Store Card is 25.99%. 

Key takeaways:

  • Get 5% on Amazon.com purchases with a Prime membership.

  • Cardholders are eligible for special financing on purchases over $150.

  • No annual fee. 

3. Overstock Store Credit Card

The Overstock Store Credit Card has no annual fee, as well as extended financing on purchases. The card's variable APR is 26.99%, which is in line with other store cards. 

While the 0% APR special financing terms on purchases greater than $249 can be a good deal, it's important to pay off your bill before the promotional period ends. If you have a balance at the end of the promo period, you'll end up paying deferred interest. 

Key takeaways:

  • No annual fee. 

  • Cardholders get special offers.

  • Up to 24 months of 0% APR available depending on the amount of your purchase. 

4. Kohl’s Charge Card

Along with no annual fee, the Kohl's Charge Card gives cardholders exclusive discounts and special offers on a monthly basis. The variable APR for the Kohl's card is 24.99%. 

If you spend $600 or more each year, you will also earn Most Valued Customer status, which comes with perks like free shipping and birthday gifts. 

Key takeaways:

  • Special offers once a month.

  • No annual fee.

  • Receipt-free returns for purchases made with your Kohl's Charge Card. 

5. Dillard's Card

With the Dillard's Card, you earn 2 Dillard's Reward points for every dollar you spend in Dillard's stores or online at Dillards.com. Once you earn 1,500 points, you can cash out with a $10 certificate you can put toward a purchase or receive a 10% rewards shopping pass. 

There is no annual fee for the Dillard's Store Card. The APR varies between 22.99% and 24.99%, with a 0% introductory APR for 12 to 24 on certain purchases, such as furniture. 

Key takeaways:

  • Cardholders receive 2 rewards points for every dollar spent. 

  • No annual fee.

  • Special financing available on certain purchases of $200 and up. 

6. JCPenney Credit Card

The JCPenney Credit Card offers 1 reward point for each dollar spent. Once you accumulate 200 rewards, you receive a $10 rewards certificate, which you can use on a future purchase.

Cardholders who spend $500 a year earn elite status, which nets them additional discounts. Deferred interest is available for 18 to 24 months on some purchases, and you can get 0% APR for up to 60 months on some purchases. 

Key takeaways:

  • Cardholders receive 1 point per $1 spent and get a $10 reward for every 200 points. 

  • No annual fee.

  • Special financing on qualifying purchases. 

7. Old Navy Credit Card

In addition to 20% off your first purchase, the Old Navy Credit Card lets you earn 5 points for every dollar you spend on purchases at Old Navy, Banana Republic, Gap, and Athleta. Once you accumulate 500 points, you receive a $5 rewards certificate. 

Key takeaways:

  • Generous rewards program that lets you earn 5 points per $1. 

  • No annual fee.

  • The variable APR is 25.99%. 

8. TJX Rewards Credit Card

If you enjoy shopping at TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Marshalls, or Sierra Trading Post, it's worth checking out the TJX Rewards Credit Card. You'll receive 5 points for every $1 you spend at the TJX family of stores. 

Once you accumulate 1,000 points, you receive a $10 reward you can spend in the store or online. Cardholders also receive new arrival alerts and get invited to participate in special shopping events. 

Key takeaways:

  • Larger network of participating stores.

  • Rewards program gives you 5% rewards on all purchases.

  • No annual fee.

  • Variable APR is 27.24%.

9. Express Credit Card

The Express Credit Card gives you 20 points for every dollar you spend in-store or online. After you earn 2,500 points, you receive a $10 store credit. 

There is no annual fee for the Express Credit Card. The variable interest rate is 26.99%. 

Key takeaways:

  • Get a $10 store credit for every $125 you spend.

  • 20% off your first purchase when you open a new card.

  • No annual fee. 

10. Target RedCard

When you sign up for the Target RedCard, you receive 5% off most Target in-store and online purchases. As a bonus, you can combine your 5% discount with other coupons. 

Cardholders also receive free shipping on their purchases, as well as an extra 30 days to make returns. There is no annual fee, and the variable APR is 22.90%. 

Key takeaways:

  • Cardholders get 5% off most purchases. 

  • No annual fee.

  • At 22.90%, the interest rate is lower compared to other store cards. 

11. Walmart Credit Card

Walmart offers two kinds of credit cards: the Capital One Walmart Rewards Card and the Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard. The Rewards Card is a closed-loop card you can only use at the Walmart family of stores, while the Mastercard can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. 

As you might expect, it's harder to qualify for the Walmart Mastercard. However, both cards offer a rewards program that can be quite lucrative if you do a lot of Walmart shopping. 

There is no annual fee with either card, and both cards come with a rewards program that lets you earn 5% on Walmart.com online purchases and grocery pickup and delivery, 2% back on in-store purchases and Murphy gas station purchases, and 1% back on Sam's Club store and gas purchases.

Applicants who qualify for the Mastercard also get 1% cash back on all their non-Walmart purchases and 2% back on restaurant and travel purchases. Depending on your creditworthiness, you can also get an interest rate as low as 17.99% with the Walmart Mastercard.  

If you can't qualify for the Walmart Mastercard, you can still apply for the Walmart store card. While you can only use this for Walmart purchases, you'll still earn all the same rewards when you shop at Walmart, Sam's Club, or Murphy USA fuel stations. 

Key takeaways:

  • No annual fee. 

  • If you qualify for the Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard, you can use it anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

  • Based on your creditworthiness, your variable APR for the Walmart Mastercard could be as low as 17.99%. The APR for the Walmart store card is 26.99%.  

12. Big Lots Credit Card

The Big Lots Credit Card doesn't offer a rewards program, but you might qualify for special financing on certain purchases. There is no annual fee, but the variable APR is quite high at 29.99%.  

Key takeaways:

  • Cardholders can receive special financing on purchases of $250 or more. 

  • No annual fee.

  • Card owners get special member offers. 

13. Firestone Credit Card

If you need to replace your car's tires, you might want to consider the Firestone Credit Card, which comes with six months of interest-free financing when you spend at least $149. However, the interest is deferred, so you should be certain you can pay off your balance to avoid paying interest on the entire amount charged. 

Key takeaways:

  • No annual fee.

  • Receive exclusive deals and coupons each month.

  • Variable APR is 28.80%. 

14. Victoria’s Secret Credit Card

The Victoria's Secret Credit Card, which is issued by Comenity Bank, lets you earn 1 point for every dollar you spend on in-store and online purchases. Cardholders get $10 for every 250 points they earn. 

There is no annual fee, and the interest rate is 26.74%. Cardholders get notified about special sales and exclusive offers.  

Key takeaways:

  • Get 1 point for every $1 spent. 

  • No annual fee.

  • Cardholders receive $10 for every 250 points they accumulate.

  • Get $25 off your first purchase when you open your card.

15. Macy’s Credit Card

With the Macy's Credit Card, you can earn between 2 and 5 points for every dollar you spend on purchases in-store and online at Macys.com. Once you earn 1,000 points, you receive a $10 coupon to use on a future purchase.

Depending on your creditworthiness, you may also qualify for a Macy's Amex, which can be used anywhere American Express is accepted. However, you can only apply for this version of the Macy's card in person at a Macy's store.   

Key takeaways:

  • Get 20% off up to $100 on your purchases the first and second day after opening your card.

  • No annual fee.

  • Both the Macy's Amex and the Macy's Store Card have a variable 25.24% APR. 

16. Nordstrom Retail Card

Nordstrom offers both the Nordstrom Visa and the Nordstrom Retail Card. Both cards have no annual fee and both come with rewards. The interest rate for the Nordstrom Visa ranges from 18.90% to 25.90%, and the APR for the Nordstrom Retail Card is 25.90%. 

While you can use the Nordstrom Visa anywhere Visa is accepted, you can only use the Nordstrom Retail Card at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Hautelook, and Nordstrom Trunk Club. Both the Visa and the Retail Card offer 3 points per dollar at Nordstrom stores, and the Visa offers 1 point per dollar on all Visa purchases. 

Key takeaways:

  • No annual fee.

  • Earn rewards on purchases at the Nordstrom family of stores.

  • If you qualify for the Nordstrom Visa, you can use it anywhere Visa is accepted. 

17. Belk Rewards Credit Card

The Belk Rewards Credit Card offers three tiers of rewards depending on how much you spend each year. You can earn between 3 and 5 points per $1 spent.

Once you accumulate 1,000 points, you receive $10 in Belk Rewards Dollars to put toward a future purchase. Other perks include birthday coupons, early access to promotions, and a cardholder savings day each month. 

Key takeaways:

  • Get up to 5% back depending on how much you spend on an annual basis. 

  • No annual fee.

  • The variable interest rate for the Belk Rewards Credit Card is 25.49%. 

18. Lowe’s Advantage Card

If you're an avid DIYer, the Lowe's Advantage Card has the potential to save you money on tools, paint, and other home improvement items. Cardholders get a 5% discount on most purchases, which is applied at the checkout. 

There is no annual fee with the Lowe's Advantage Card, and the variable APR is 26.99%. On the downside, you can only use the card for Lowe's purchases.

Key takeaways:

  • 20% off your purchase when you open an account.   

  • Special financing available on purchases of $299 and up. If you spend $2,000 or more, you can get fixed 7.99% interest for 84 months. 

  • No annual fee.

19. Montgomery Ward Credit Card

The Montgomery Ward Credit Card allows consumers with bad credit to get an unsecured credit card good for shopping at Montgomery Ward stores in-person and online. Montgomery Ward reports to the credit bureaus, so you can use the card to boost your credit score by paying your bill on time.

On the downside, the card offers no rewards program, so you won't earn points or cash back when you shop. However, there is no annual fee and no monthly maintenance fee.

Key takeaways:

  • Interest rates range from 5.75% to 25.99% depending on your creditworthiness.

  • No annual fee.

  • Easy online application and fast decision. 

Alternatives to store cards for bad credit

One of the major disadvantages of store credit cards is you can typically only use them at the retailer that issues them. If you want a more flexible card, consider these alternatives. 

1. Capital One Secured Mastercard

The Capital One Secured Mastercard is a secured credit card, which means you must put down a security deposit when you open your account. This protects the issuer in the event you stop making your payments. 

While you might not like the idea of a security deposit, you get the money back when you close your account or upgrade to an unsecured card. The Capital One Secured Mastercard comes with no annual fee, and its variable interest rate of 26.99% is comparable to most store credit cards. 

Something that sets this card apart is its various levels of security deposits. People with lower credit scores will need to put down $200 to receive a $200 credit limit, but those with better scores can get the same credit limit putting down just $49 or $99. 

The card also lets you make your security deposit in installments, making the card accessible to people who need to rebuild their credit but don't have the budget for a security deposit. 

The $200 initial credit limit may seem low, but Capital One says cardholders get an opportunity to increase their limit after making five on-time payments. The card also reports to the credit bureaus, so you can use it to improve your payment history

2. Bank of America Secured Credit Card

The Bank of America Secured Credit Card is another secured card known for accepting applicants with less than perfect credit. There is no annual fee and no monthly fee for this card.

However, the card does require a $300 security deposit, which is a bit higher compared to others. The good news is you can get this money back after 12 months of on-time payments and responsible use.  

The standard variable APR for the Bank of America Secured card is 22.99%. The card reports to all three major credit bureaus, potentially helping you improve your credit score with each bureau. 

3. Surge Mastercard

The Surge Mastercard from Continental Finance is an unsecured card, meaning you won't have to come up with a security deposit. However, this can be an expensive card to own, as it comes loaded with fees.

While the Surge Mastercard is generally easy to get even with bad credit, you should be prepared to pay a lot of fees. There is a $125 annual fee the first year, which drops to $96 a year thereafter. 

In addition to the annual fee, there is a $120 monthly fee, which is billed at $10 each month. There is also a $30 fee to add an authorized user to your account, and you'll pay up to $40 for every late payment.  

4. Total Visa Card

The Total Visa Card is an unsecured card, but its $300 initial credit limit is quite low compared to most unsecured cards. It reports to all three credit bureaus, so you can use it to rebuild your credit score.  

However, there are some significant fees with this card. In addition to the $89 "program fee" required just to sign up, you must pay an annual fee of $75 for the first year and then $48 in subsequent years. 

While the monthly maintenance fee is waived the first year, you'll pay $75 (billed at $6.25 per month) each year thereafter. The card also comes with a sky-high 34.99% interest rate.

5. Milestone Mastercard

The Milestone Mastercard, which is also known as the Milestone Gold Mastercard, accepts people with bad credit, and it reports to all three major credit bureaus. 

While there is no monthly maintenance fee, there is a $75 annual fee the first year that increases to $99 per year thereafter. The regular purchase APR is 24.90% but you'll pay a variable 29.90% for penalties and cash advances.

6. Indigo Platinum Mastercard

The Indigo Platinum Mastercard is accepted at most retailers around the world, so it's more flexible than a store card. However, the annual fee can range between $75 and $99. 

The card's 24.90% APR isn't the highest on the market, but there are plenty of secured credit cards with lower interest rates available to people with bad credit. This card reports to all three credit bureaus, however, so it can be a good way to rebuild your credit score

How do store credit cards work?

Store credit cards work just like a regular credit card, allowing you to make purchases now and pay them off later. A notable difference, however, is that the majority of store cards are closed-loop, which means you can only use a store card at the retailer that issued it.

Interestingly, there is an argument to be made that store cards predate modern open-loop credit cards, as the idea of credit first originated in local shops hundreds of years ago, when proprietors would allow trustworthy customers to buy merchandise on a running account, which they could pay off later. 

Many store cards also attract customers by offering special discounts or rewards, such as a number of points for every dollar you spend. After you rack up enough points, you can redeem them for a discount, or the retailer sends you a coupon or cash equivalent to spend on a future purchase.

While every retailer has its own criteria for issuing a credit card, many store cards are easier to get than an open-loop credit card. Because retailers tend to accept a lower credit score, you can often use a store card to establish a positive payment history and improve your credit score. 

However, store cards have their share of drawbacks. In addition to being closed-loop, many also come with high interest rates that can trap you in a cycle of debt if you overspend. 

What are the easiest store credit cards to get?

According to online reviews, Fingerhut appears to be the easiest store credit card to get when you have bad credit. The company accepts applicants with low credit scores, as well as those who need to repair their credit.

The Fingerhut card also comes with no annual or monthly fees, making it an attractive choice for people who need a card to rebuild a bad credit profile. While you can only use the Fingerhut card to make purchases at Fingerhut, the company sells a large variety of products, including appliances, clothing, and home goods. 

Reviewers also note that the Walmart Rewards Card is a solid choice for people with fair credit. While those with low scores might struggle to qualify for the Walmart Mastercard, consumers say it's generally much easier to get the Walmart Rewards Card, which still lets you earn impressive rewards for shopping at Walmart stores. 

How a store card impacts your credit score

One of the main draws of store cards is that they allow you to build credit. Because most store cards report your payment activity to all three major credit bureaus, you get credit for making your payment on time each month. 

On the other hand, store cards tend to come with higher interest rates compared to open-loop cards. It's not unusual to see a store card charging interest at 25% or higher, which is why it's critical to use any store card responsibly. 

If you're using a store card to rebuild your credit, you should strive to pay off your balance every month. Purchase only what you can afford and then immediately pay it off so you avoid accumulating interest. 

Additionally, be wary of the lure of rewards programs and points. These programs can give you impressive discounts, but they are designed to keep consumers coming back for more — a bad thing if you're constantly chasing discounts and rewards certificates. 

It's also important to note that applying for too many store cards in a short period of time can hurt your credit score. In most cases, the retailer will do a hard pull of your credit when you apply, and racking up too many hard inquiries can lower your score. 

At the end of the day, consider which stores you frequent most often and then take a detailed look at what kind of credit card they offer. If the interest rate is reasonable and the rewards program can save you money on things you already buy anyway, a store card can offer a great opportunity to boost your credit score and put more cash back in your pocket. 

Best practices for using a store card

Store cards can be an effective way to improve your credit score, but they can also be a gateway to overspending. This is why it's important to use your store cards in a way that allows you to earn rewards without dragging you into debt

  • Know the fees before you sign up. Be certain you know all the fees associated with a store card before you apply. Check the interest rate and make sure there are no annual fees or monthly maintenance fees. 

  • Calculate your credit utilization. Store cards tend to come with lower credit limits than open-loop cards, so carrying a balance on a store card has the potential to hurt your credit utilization. Ideally, you should keep this ratio below 30 percent. 

  • Pay off the balance each month. Store cards tend to come with higher-than-average interest rates compared to open-loop cards, so it's best to avoid carrying a balance. Many store card special financing offers also have deferred interest, which means you will pay interest on the full amount charged if you fail to pay off your balance within a certain period of time. 

  • Shop around for the best deal. Everyone has experienced a retailer worker pressuring them to open a store credit card. Keep in mind that it's best to avoid opening up a store card for every place you shop.Instead, look for terms and conditions that offer a good deal. A store card has the potential to help you rebuild your credit, but not all store cards offer enough perks or points to justify the interest or other terms. 

Conclusion

As long as you use them responsibly, store cards can offer a way to rebuild your credit and improve your credit score. However, it's important to read the terms and conditions carefully, so you choose the store cards that offer the best rates and perks. 


About the Author


Mike Pearson

Mike is a recognized credit expert and founder of Credit Takeoff. His credit advice has been featured in CNBC, Investopedia, CreditCards.com, Bankrate, Huffpost, The Simple Dollar, Reader's Digest, LendingTree, and Quickbooks. Read more.

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