Open your inbox right now. We're willing to bet that there are tons of offers from the stores you shop in (and some from stores you've never stepped into) asking you to sign up for a store card, or offering you a signup bonus or another discount as an enticement to apply for their card. The truth is, there are so many different stores offering so many different reward credit cards with different bonuses, perks and incentives to choose from that it's difficult not to get overwhelmed.
Still, a lot of these cards come with high annual percentage rates (APRs) or only work at one specific store. Pick the wrong card and those interest rates and limited shopping options might cramp your style, not to mention your wallet. Also, there's no one-size fits all reward credit card solution (just like there's no one store that will cater to all of your needs). That's why this article will show you the best cards for filling up your closet without draining your bank account.
Because the right clothing is crucial for success in so many aspects of our lives, it's often easy to overspend (even when you have a budget). "Just one more pair of shoes" can often lead to "And also the bag that goes with them." Or that red sale sticker starts calling your name. (‘No, I've never worn green pants before, but LOOK at this price!'). No doubt it's important to remember that no credit card will help if your spending is out of control (like the 6% of Americans who have a shopping addiction).
But if you're smart about how you spend and the retail credit card you choose, you can really make the most of freebies and perks to make your wardrobe (and your wallet) full. With thousands of stores to choose from, how do you strike the balance between having the cards that fit your needs… and not having too many cards?
We've narrowed down the cards that work for every kind of fashioned-obsessed consumer, so you can find what works best for your shopping style. There are hundreds of stores offering hundreds of cards for the financially savvy fashionista. Naturally, not all of them made the cut for this list. Here's how we selected our top five:
- Something for everyone. We avoided specialist clothing stores that cater to a small audience. All of these cards are for stores offering a full range of clothes for men, women and children.
- Shop anywhere. If it's on the list, it's probably in your neighborhood. None of these stores are local or regional chains.
- Fits your budget. There's a wide range of retailers on this list. Some of them may be pricier than others, but we tried to present a selection of cards so that at least one of them will fit your budget.
Of course, there are many good cards that we left off this list. For most shoppers, the five we cover will be perfect for whenever you start looking for the newest addition to your closet.
Shop From Home?: Amazon Prime Store Card
If you're doing your shopping online, there's likely one retailer you're going to more than any others, Amazon. While the online behemoth has a few different card offerings, you're likely to find the most value in the Amazon Prime Store Card.
Great discounts and financing. This card offers cashback on Amazon purchases, which gives you some great savings when it's time to add to your wardrobe.
Special financing offers. These are routinely available through this card and include things like low APR offers.
Gift card signup bonus. Once you're approved, you could get a credit to spend on Amazon.
For the brick and mortar shopper: Gap Card
The Gap, known for knit shirts and cool cords, implements a product strategy that helps you own your favorite shirt in every color. You can do that with the store card that incentives you the more you shop, by offering steep discounts for cardholders. That's why we're recommending the Gap Credit Card for those who like to do their shopping in an actual store.
Discounts, introductory and otherwise.
Get rewarded. Each dollar spent translates into reward points, more when you spend them in store.
For the department store shopper: Nordstrom Card
If you're a fan of department stores (despite the sneaky tricks they use to make you spend more), Nordstrom offers a credit card that brings some hot benefits when looking for haute couture.
Lower than average interest. The Nordstrom Card has lower interest than its department store competitors.
Use it anywhere. This card can be used anywhere Visa is accepted.
Nice potential for signup bonus.
Rack up points.
Easy points system.
Early access to sales. Also, all cardholders also gain early access to Nordstrom's annual anniversary sale and there are plenty of opportunities to earn additional bonus points.
Family Fashionista?: Target REDCard
For fashion finds for the whole family, you can't really go wrong with Target. Whether it's a $5 pineapple tee or an amazing embellished clutch, Target is one of those places where you just might want one of everything. After all, the store leads the way in access to affordable, designer collaborative fashion while keeping home goods, groceries and more all under the same roof.
Combined savings. The Target card comes with a discount on every Target purchase you make and that discount can be combined with deals on CartWheel, Target's coupon app.
Special perks. Cardmembers get an extra 30 days for returns and free shipping for online purchases.
Bargain Hunter?: TJX Rewards Credit Card
Bargain hunters rejoice. The TJX Rewards Credit Card lets you earn points if you're a frequent discount shopper. The store, known as a go-to destination for getting great deals on designer clothes and accessories (and the hangers to put them on) rewards loyal customers pretty nicely.
Multiple stores to get rewarded. If you're also a big fan of HomeGoods, TJ's sister store that specializes in home decor, you'll definitely want to leverage the TJX Rewards card. You earn rewards there, too!
Earn points, get store credit.
When You Have Too Many Cards
It's easy to switch the cards that you don't use or that have high interest with the cards for stores you might frequent more often or that give you better rewards. But should you close the retail store card you opened but won't use?
Perhaps, not. Retail cards don't tend to charge monthly or annual fees, so simply hold onto the card if it isn't costing you money. The unused credit limit, albeit a small one, is likely helping your credit scores because credit scoring systems like unused credit limits.
When I bought my first home, I went to one of the big home supply stores and applied for a credit card to cover the costs of a new washer and dryer. I figured I would pay off the card after closing on the house, gain some rewards points and not spend anything out of pocket before moving day. What I did not know was the mortgage interest rate went up a point and a half when my credit score took a mere five-point hit from that one credit card application! To put it in real terms, one credit card application cost me an additional $4,500 in interest on my mortgage.
I could have paid for four sets of washers and dryers with that! Always consider your credit score when filling out a new application. And if you are trying to build credit because you'd like to make a large, life changing purchase soon, perhaps hit the pause button and ask if more credit is going to help or hurt you. Otherwise, get your shopping on with these store cards—you won't regret it!