13 Store Credit Cards for Bad Credit (The Easiest to Get)

Store Credit Cards for Bad Credit (The Easiest to Get)

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Posted: January 11, 2018
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

As someone who has been on both sides of the retail exchange, I know cashiers are often required by the company to spout that litany of offers at the checkout line. But knowing they have to ask me doesn’t always reduce my level of annoyance when I’m in a hurry.

Making matters worse is the fact that I know the average store credit card simply isn’t that great of a deal, despite the tempting spiel memorized by the cashier. This is thanks in part to the high APR store cards tend to charge, but also because of the fact that most store-branded credit cards can only be used to make branded purchases — and the same goes for their rewards.

For many consumers, the average rewards card can be a lot more useful than your typical store card. The caveat here is if you have poor credit, which restricts your options for rewards credit cards. But even for bad-credit consumers, store cards may not be worth the limitations.

Better Options | Automotive | Clothing | Department Stores | Other Retail

Try One of the Best Open-Loop Cards for Bad Credit Instead

As alluring as store cards can sound in the checkout line, few consumers are likely to get enough use out of a branded, closed-loop credit card to justify the hard credit pull — especially poor-credit consumers trying to rebuild. After all, a budget focused on paying down debt usually has little room for splurging on mall shopping sprees or the latest fall fashions.

Instead, a better option for many people is an all-purpose, open-loop credit card that can be used to make purchases anywhere. This will allow you to build credit as you purchase things that actually belong in your budget — such as gas and groceries — instead of tempting you into making purchases you don’t really need. Our expert-rated bad-credit issuers have flexible credit requirements and easy online applications.

Fingerhut Credit Account Review

at Fingerhut'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Fingerhut offers more than 500,000 items including the brand names you want like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
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  • Take advantage of low monthly payments if you apply and are accepted for a Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank, who determines eligibility and qualifications for the terms of credit
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Issuer Website
$0
Poor Credit

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad
Credit One Bank® Visa® with Free Credit Score Tracking Review

at Credit One'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

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4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • See if you Pre-Qualify in less than 60 seconds—without affecting your credit score. It's fast, easy, and secure.
  • Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV. Terms apply.
  • This is a fully functional, unsecured credit card—not a debit card, prepaid card, or secured credit card with deposit requirements.
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Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
19.15% - 25.24% Variable
$0 - $99
Bad Credit

+See More Cards for Bad Credit

Depending on the nature of your credit woes, you could potentially see drastic credit score improvements after only six months or so of on-time credit card payments, with more card options opening up to you after 12 months of responsible credit use. Pay down any existing debt during the process to see even better results.

Best “Automotive” Store Credit Card for Bad Credit

Few things can be as terrifying as the ominous glare of your car’s “Check Engine” light (except, perhaps, the accompanying steady stream of smoke from under the hood). Even something as seemingly mundane as a sensor or electrical relay can wreak havoc on your automobile — and your budget, as that teeny-tiny sensor often has a giant repair cost.

Knowing how difficult it can be to shoulder the cost of a pricey repair, many major merchants offering automotive maintenance and repair services provide branded credit cards with interest-free financing offers that can help get you back on the road. If you need longer-term financing for an auto repair and can’t qualify for a low-APR loan or open-loop credit card, a store-branded card can help so long as you read the fine print.

4. Firestone Credit Card

The Firestone Credit Card doesn’t have rewards but does provide special six-month interest-free financing deals on purchases of $299 or more.

Firestone Credit Card

  • Receive special financing on eligible Firestone tire, maintenance, or repair purchases of $299 or more
  • Get exclusive monthly deals & coupons
  • Pay no annual fee, ever

Although the Firestone Credit Card offers a decent financing deal, that deal can get expensive fast thanks to a little thing called deferred interest. In essence, deferred interest means if any portion of your initial balance remains unpaid when your financing terms expire, you’ll be charged interest fees on the entire amount at the card’s rate of 22.8%.

Consider this scenario: say you charge a $500 repair on your Firestone Credit Card using special financing, so you receive no interest for six months. If even $1 of that $500 balance is left on your card when those six months are over, you’ll be charged interest for the full $500 purchase amount, regardless of how much you’ve already repaid.

Best “Clothing” Store Credit Card for Bad Credit

Although clothing is certainly a necessity in our society — you’ll quickly be arrested if you run around without a stitch on — many of us take the accumulation of clothing to the next level. And happily helping us into the latest fashions are the slew of retail stores that specialize in keeping our closets full. Many of these merchants are armed with branded credit cards, drawing us into stores with shiny purchase rewards.

But when the shine wears off, what you really see is a high APR — and lots of restrictions on where you can earn and spend your rewards. Since the typical store-branded credit card is only usable with that brand, the only thing they tend to be really great for is encouraging you to spend more money on clothing that isn’t in your budget.

5. Express Next Credit Card

The Express Next Credit Card can be a boon to regular shoppers, providing a $10 rewards certificate for every 2,500 points earned (which means $125 in eligible purchases).

Express Next Credit Card

  • Earn 20X points per $1 spent on eligible Express purchases made with your card
  • Receive free shipping on online orders
  • Pay no annual fee, ever

No matter how much you love that Express shirt or pair of jeans, however, be sure you can pay off that purchase right away. The Express Next Credit Card comes with a pricey 25.99% APR.

6. Old Navy Credit Card

The Old Navy Credit Card is slightly more versatile than your average store card, usable in any Gap Inc.-brand store, including Old Navy, GAP, Banana Republic, and Athleta.

Old Navy Credit Card

  • Earn 5X points per $1 spent on eligible Gap Inc.-brand purchases made with your card
  • Receive 15% off your first Old Navy Card purchase
  • Pay no annual fee, ever

Considering the hefty 25.99% APR charged by the Old Navy Credit Card, you’ll want to pay off those polos in full before your billing date to avoid being charged high interest fees on your purchases.

7. Victoria’s Secret Credit Card

The Victoria’s Secret Credit Card is best for the lingerie enthusiasts who can make the most of the card’s rewards. You’ll earn a $10 Angel Rewards certificate for every 250 points earned.

Victoria's Secret Credit Card

  • Earn 1X point per $1 spent on eligible Victoria’s Secret purchases made with your card
  • Receive exclusive offers & bonus buys
  • Pay no annual fee, ever

While prodigious purchasers can find some value in the Victoria’s Secret Credit Card, the high 25.99% APR makes carrying a balance an easy way to rack up some big interest fees. Furthermore, given the shop’s generally higher-priced merchandise, you may not get the spending power you want out of a Victoria’s Secret card.

In fact, many store credit cards often provide relatively low credit limits, meaning your purchases can quickly approach your credit limit. Credit scoring models look at the utilization rate of each card in your profile, so a store card that is near maxed out can drop your credit score.

Best “Department Store” Credit Card for Bad Credit

Although they may be dwindling, department stores are still the anchors of nearly every mall in America. Department stores provide a wide range of tempting products, from fashion to furniture and nearly everything in between. They also offer tempting store credit cards that make it easy to swipe through every department in the store — and right through your budget, too, with high APRs. Plus, as with most store cards, department store credit cards are closed-loop.

That said, if you’re approaching Christmas or a big birthday and want to earn a little extra on the purchases you’re going to make anyway, a department store credit card at least offers access to a wider range of products than the typical store card. Be sure to pay off your purchases right away, however, or that savings will wind up buried under a pile of interest fees.

8. JCPenney Credit Card

With the JCPenney Credit Card, you’ll earn points for your JCPenney purchases, helping you save on every belt, blazer, blanket, and bench. Receive a $10 JCPenney Rewards certificate for every 200 points you collect.

JCPenney Credit Card

  • Earn 1X per $1 spent on eligible JCPenney purchases made with your card
  • Receive 15% off your first JCPenney card purchase
  • Pay no annual fee, ever

As with most store credit cards, the JCPenney Credit Card is limited in use by both its high APR — 26.99%, to be exact — as well as its closed-loop nature, meaning you can only use it to make JCPenney purchases.

9. Kohl’s Charge Card

With your Kohl’s Charge Card in hand, you can boost your Kohl’s rewards by pairing your Kohl’s Charge special deals with Kohl’s Cash® and Yes2You Rewards®.

Kohl's Charge Card

  • Get at least 12 special Kohl’s offers to use in-store or online each year you’re a cardholder
  • Receive 25% off your first Kohl’s Charge purchase
  • Pay no annual fee, ever

The Kohl’s Charge Card’s 24.99% APR isn’t the only reason to avoid carrying a balance. A single late payment can mean being charged the 27.99% penalty APR, potentially for the life of the account.

10. Macy’s Credit Card

Cardholders of the Macy’s Credit Card can save on everything from fashion to furniture, earning a $10 coupon for every 1,000 Plenti points redeemed.

Macy's Credit Card

  • Earn 1X point per $1 spent on eligible Macy’s purchases made with your card
  • Receive 20% off Macy’s purchases first 2 days after account opening
  • Pay no annual fee, ever

Those Plenti points won’t seem so plentiful if you’re stuck paying 26.24% APR on your purchases, so always pay your full Macy’s Credit Card balance each month to avoid fees.

11. Nordstrom Retail Card

The Nordstrom Retail Card offers a host of perks for regular shoppers, with the benefits increasing with your annual Nordstrom spending.

Nordstrom Card

  • Earn 2X points per $1 spent on eligible Nordstrom purchases made with your card
  • Receive exclusive discounts and sale access
  • Pay no annual fee, ever

Although the Nordstrom Retail Card’s regular 23.90% APR is competitive for a store card — or a subprime one — it can still mean large fees. You’ll also be stuck with a ridiculously high 30.90% penalty APR if you make any late payments.

Best “Other Retail” Store Credit Card for Bad Credit

Offering easy access to everything from groceries to garments to home goods, the stores in our “Other Retail” category offer many products that can be considered everyday necessities — and a lot of products that are simply budget-busters. So, the store credit cards offered by these merchants can be equal parts awesome and awful, offering rewards on things you really need, while tempting you to make impulse buys on things you really don’t.

All in all, if you use the card solely for necessities, avoid overspending, and pay your balance in full each month, these store cards can offer great rewards. On the other hand, if you do most of your everyday shopping somewhere else or are prone to carrying a balance, you may want to stick with a more versatile open-loop credit card that can be used anywhere.

12. Target REDcard

The Target REDcard provides loyal Target shoppers with an automatic 5% discount at the register for eligible purchases.

Target REDcard

  • Get 5% off at checkout for eligible in-store or online Target purchases
  • Receive exclusive deals & discounts
  • Pay no annual fee, ever

You can also use your Target REDcard discount to earn extra savings by stacking it with a Target coupon or promo code. The card has a 23.90% APR, so make sure you avoid carrying a balance to keep those savings intact.

13. Amazon.com Credit Card

The Amazon.com Credit Card provides competitive rewards for cardholders who are already (or decide to become) Amazon Prime members, but the card won’t be as valuable to other cardholders who don’t want to pay the $89 membership fee.

Amazon.com Credit Card

  • Amazon Prime members earn 5% cash back rewards on eligible Amazon purchases
  • Receive special financing on orders $149+
  • Pay no annual card fee, ever

Although non-Prime cardholders won’t receive the full benefits offered by the Amazon.com card, non-members are still eligible for the special financing offers available on qualifying Amazon orders of $149 or more.

As with most store cards that provide special financing, the Amazon.com Credit Card operates using deferred interest. This means you’ll need to pay off your entire purchase amount before the end of your financing terms or else you’ll be charged interest for the entire amount. With a 26.99% APR, interest fees can add up fast.

Keep Your Spending on Track to Build Credit

To the average shopper, the well-rehearsed spiel of the store clerk is a tempting lure into the seemingly lucrative rewards of a store-branded credit card — and that temptation can be even stronger for someone with poor credit who sees the promise of easy acceptance. In the end, however, store credit cards are often a lot of shine with little substance, providing myriad restrictions and high interest rates.

Even with poor credit, there’s little reason to limit yourself to a single brand or store, as the options for credit cards extend far beyond the walls of any store. With an open-loop credit card, you can build credit as you make the purchases that you really need. Pay your card on time and in full each month, and within a year, you will likely see significant credit score improvements that dramatically expand your credit card choices.