7 Department Store Cards for Bad Credit (2018)

7 Department Store Cards for Bad Credit ([current_year])
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Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Posted: November 14, 2018
BadCredit.org's popular "How-To" series is for those who seek to improve, rebuild or better understand their subprime credit rating.

Department stores sure are pretty. The bright lights, glossy counters, and whimsical window displays have a way of luring shoppers in to buy their name-brand products. And to amp up the appeal, most department stores also offer store credit cards that seem to unlock exclusive rewards and discounts.

What’s not as pretty, however, is having your credit card application denied because of your poor credit. But there’s no need to feel too rejected — most store credit cards aren’t the deal they seem to be. Store cards usually charge high APRs and can only be used, or have their rewards redeemed, on branded purchases.

Generally, the typical rewards card provides more shopping deals and deeper savings for users. The only hang-up is that consumers with bad credit have limited options — whether it’s for a store credit card or for all-purpose rewards cards that can be used anywhere. Yet, even with a low score, there are still several cards out there worth checking out.

Consider One of the Best Open-Loop Cards for Bad Credit

Many store cards sound sweet to the ears but have limitations that can sour your credit score. Branded, closed-loop credit cards not only prohibit how or where you use them, they also require a hard credit pull to open.

So if you’re trying to rebuild and pay down debt, it’s hard to warrant a department store credit card that can only be used on a shopping haul at your local mall.

Instead, you’re better off staying on budget and scooping up extra savings in the process through an all-purpose, open-loop credit card that can be used on everyday purchases. Our expert-rated bad-credit card issuers have easy online applications and flexible conditions that will work your needs.

  • Easy application! Get a credit decision in seconds.
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  • Use your line of credit to shop thousands of items from great brands like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
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4.8

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Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 Minutes See issuer website Yes 9.0/10
  • All credit types welcome to apply
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
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  • Use your card at locations everywhere that Mastercard® is accepted
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  • Checking Account Required
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4.7

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 Minutes See terms Yes 8.5/10
  • Checking account required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • A genuine VISA card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
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★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 Minutes See terms Yes 8.5/10

+See More Credit Cards for Bad Credit

After six months of responsible spending and on-time payments with your card, you’ll likely see improvements to your credit score. Plus, you may even become eligible for better card options and credit limit increases.

Just keep in mind that these possibilities vary based on your current credit situation and how much existing debt you manage to pay off.

Best “Department Store” Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Despite former industry predictions, most department stores still aren’t going away any time soon. Many brands are actually expanding their eCommerce presence thanks to increasing online and mobile shopping trends.

But while department stores are a shopping haven for name-brand clothing, high-end makeup, and premium housewares, they’re also a hotspot for high prices. And, by purchasing with store-branded cards that have high APRs, shoppers can quickly blow their budget — and, potentially, their credit.

However, if you’re a repeat customer or if you always have a long list of gifts to buy for the holidays, you may reap some benefits from a store card.

Perks run the gamut from exclusive sale access and products to special financing options on large purchases. Just be mindful to pay off your card as soon as possible to prevent interest fees from accumulating.

1. Kohl’s Charge Card

The Kohl’s Charge Card allows users to combine their card discounts with Kohl’s Cash®, Yes2You Rewards®, and even online coupons to maximize their savings.

Kohl’s Charge Card

  • Get at least 12 special Kohl’s offers annually to use in-store or online if you’re a cardholder
  • Receive 30% off your first Kohl’s Charge purchase
  • Pay no annual fee

Be careful with your spending and make payments on time since you’ll be hit with a late fee of up to $38 and a current penalty APR of 29.49%. Also, because the Kohl’s Charge card has a 26.49% APR, it’s smart to avoid carrying a high balance in general.

2. Macy’s Credit Card

Anyone who uses the Macy’s Credit Card earns 1X Plenti reward point per $1 spent on eligible store purchases that include a wide range of products, from clothing and makeup to furniture and wedding.

Macy's Credit Card

  • Earn a $10 coupon for every 1,000 Plenti points
  • Receive a 20% off Macy’s coupon to redeem within the first two days of opening an account
  • Pay no annual fee

No amount of Plenti points can justify the high fees that come with carrying a large balance on your Macy’s Credit Card. Avoid missing payments and pay off the card monthly so you won’t be burdened with high interest charges.

3. Dillard’s Credit Card

The Dillard’s Credit Card rewards cardholders 2X points for every dollar spent at the store, whether it’s for your wardrobe or on goods for your household.

Dillard’s Credit Card

  • Redeem 1,500 points for a 10% off Rewards Shopping Pass or a $10 Rewards Certificate
  • Receive access to exclusive shopping events and offers
  • Pay no annual fee

Unlike most store cards, the Dillard’s Credit Card doesn’t offer a single APR but a range of possible rates. However, with a current 24.24% to 26.24% APR window, even the lowest rate will result in sky-high fees for anyone who carries a balance from month to month on their card.

4. TJX Rewards Credit Card

With the TJX Rewards Credit Card, you’ll earn rewards that equate to 5% savings on purchases made at any T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, or Sierra Trading Post location.

TJX Rewards Credit Card

  • Get a $10 Rewards certificate for every 1,000 points you earn
  • Receive a 10% coupon on your first purchase after opening an account
  • Pay no annual fee

The rewards for frequent T.J. Maxx (or the T.J. Maxx family brands) shoppers do not make up for the high 28.24% APR. Pay off your full card balance monthly to sidestep charges that can easily add up to more debt than savings.

5. Belk Credit Card

The Belk Rewards Credit Card users can take advantage of insider savings and exclusive rewards if they’re a repeat shopper at the department store.

Belk Credit Card

  • Earn up to 5% back in rewards on eligible store purchases
  • Get $10 Belk Reward Dollars to use the day you open a card account
  • Pay no annual fee

The potential 5% rewards rate of the Belk Rewards Card is, unfortunately, overshadowed by a current 25.49% APR. And, the card’s high APR coupled by its closed-loop limitations mean the card will become more of a steal than a deal if you tend to carry a high balance.

6. JCPenney Credit Card

The JCPenney Credit Card enables users to earn 1X reward points per dollar spent on clothing, accessories, housewares, and appliances.

JCPenney Credit Card

  • Get a $10 JCPenney Rewards certificate for every 200 points you redeem
  • Receive up to 20% off your first JCPenney card purchase
  • Pay no annual fee

If you regularly fill up your cart at JCPenney, you can reap savings despite the card’s restriction to branded purchases only. Regardless of shopping preference, though, the card’s high 26.99% APR and $38 late fee should make you think twice before you apply.

7. Nordstrom Retail Card

Cardholders of the Nordstrom Retail Card can enjoy several shopping perks, as well as receiving accelerated rewards earnings the more they spend at the fashion-focused department store.

Nordstrom Retail Card

  • Earn 2X rewards points per dollar spent in-store and online
  • Receive a bonus Nordstrom Note on your first card purchase the day you’re approved
  • Pay no annual fee

The 23.90% APR of the Nordstrom Retail Card is reasonable compared to some other store cards, but the price is high for paying late thanks to its 30.90% penalty APR. Be mindful to avoid carrying a high balance on the card, which can be easy to do since the store has many high-priced products.

Spend with the Right Card to Build Your Credit Score

Most store cards have rewards that are only a facade to cover up the reality of a closed-loop credit card that has major shopping restrictions and a sky-high APR.

Yet, if your credit is far from perfect, you may think that beggars can’t be choosers. But, regardless of your credit score, you still don’t have to hold yourself back to shopping at one store or brand.

Open-loop credit cards enable consumers who even have bad credit to enjoy special savings and the opportunity to build their score when handled responsibly. And, if you regularly pay on time and gradually minimize your overall debt, you’re sure to improve your credit score and find yourself eligible for even more credit card options.