Best credit cards for department stores

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Department stores are a destination for shoppers who appreciate customer-friendly return policies, a variety of brands, competitive sales and the convenience of one-stop shopping—particularly during the pandemic.

Now that we’re in the holiday shopping season, it’s even more to your benefit to select the best credit cards for cash back and other lucrative rewards on department store purchases.

When searching for the best credit card in your wallet to pay for your purchases at department stores, there are some standouts. Not only can you earn valuable perks like miles, points and cash back benefits, but credit cards also provide additional retail protections like extended warranties and price match policies.

Best credit cards for department stores:

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card: Best cash back category spending offer

With the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card, cardholders will earn 5 percent cash back on up to $2,000 spent per quarter in two categories of their choice, with department stores as a lucrative cash back category. For one of three other spending categories of your choice, you can earn 2 percent cash back—with no spending limit.

Just make sure you choose your categories each quarter. If you do not choose your categories, all eligible purchases will only earn 1 percent cash back. (Note that category options are subject to change on a quarterly basis.)

Rewards can be redeemed for statement credit, deposit to an eligible U.S. Bank account or a U.S. Bank rewards gift card. If you are redeeming for a gift card, the minimum amount is $20. Otherwise, there is no minimum for bank deposits or statement credits.

Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express: Best for both online and in-store purchases

On the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, the eligible department store list for bonus earning is robust and packs a lot of value. The card offers 2 percent cash back at select U.S. department stores, including Bealls, Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and more. Eligible purchases include those made in-store and online.

Two percent back is a valuable benefit, especially during peak shopping months. Beyond department stores, you can reap 3 percent cash back on up to $6,000 each year in purchases at U.S. supermarkets. After reaching $6.000, you will earn 1 percent cash back. Finally, this card awards 1 percent cash back on other purchases.

Citi® Double Cash Credit Card: Best for flat cash back earnings

The rewards on the Citi Double Cash Card are true to its namesake, as it offers up to 2 percent cash back on purchases: 1 percent when you buy and 1 percent as you pay for those purchases. This model yields double cash back on what you spend at department stores, and there are no categories, no earning caps and no annual fee to cut into rewards potential.

Because there are no caps in earning, a cardholder can purchase appliances, jewelry, housewares and wardrobe essentials at department stores and earn the same great cash back rate on all those purchases.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card: Best for digital wallet purchases

Shop department stores for sales and splurges with the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa card and earn unlimited 1.5 percent cash rewards without the hassle of category limitations or quarterly activations. Cash rewards do not expire as long as the account is open and in good standing.

For those shoppers who prefer to load their card into mobile wallets, there is a 1.8 percent cash back rate for qualified digital wallet purchases, including purchases made on Apple Pay® or Google Pay™, for the first 12 months after account opening. This can raise your cash back earnings even more the first year.

Bottom line

Department store purchases can add up quickly, and with careful planning and a cash back strategy, you can earn and reap valuable rewards on cards with no annual fee.

It’s important to note that rewards at department stores are becoming harder to find, as department stores are becoming a less common category as a whole. For example, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express removed it as a category last year, and the Chase Freedom Flex ℠ didn’t include department stores in its 2020 categories. So if you want to take advantage of offers still available, build department store shopping into your holiday plans this year.

Also, be sure to read the terms of your rewards credit card thoroughly—you may need to opt-in or choose a spending category like a department store to maximize your cash back benefit.

The information about the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.