The most popular credit card issuers on the market today — Capital One, Chase, Citi, American Express, Discover and Bank of America — really need no introduction. Most people have heard of them, and it’s not uncommon for consumers to carry their credit cards.

But some card issuers aren’t as widely known, and this includes Comenity Bank. This card issuer, a subsidiary of Bread Financial Holdings, has long been known for offering dozens of store credit cards from popular retailers like Big Lots, IKEA and Ulta Beauty. If you’re curious about the cards Comenity Bank offers, read on to learn more.

What is Comenity Bank?

Founded in 1989, Comenity Bank is a specialized bank that dominantly partners with merchants to supply store credit cards. The bank currently offers more than 145 store credit cards with retailers around the world.

Unlike other banks, Comenity Bank does not have any physical locations for customers to visit. If you need to contact them, you can do so over the phone, on its website or via its mobile app.

Stores that offer retail credit cards through Comenity Bank

Comenity Bank offers more than 145 credit cards with various retailers. Although many of the retailers are outside of the U.S. or only relevant on a regional basis, the bank also offers numerous cards for huge brands everyone has heard of. Some of its most popular credit cards include:

  • Ann Taylor Credit Card*
  • Welcome Rewards™ Store Credit Card (Bed Bath & Beyond)*
  • Big Lots Credit Card*
  • Eddie Bauer Credit Card*
  • IKEA® Projekt Credit Card*
  • Sephora Visa® Credit Card*
  • Ultamate Rewards® Credit Card (Ulta Beauty)*

Are Comenity Bank’s credit cards in the Visa or Mastercard network?

Some credit cards from Comenity Bank are included in major card networks like Visa and Mastercard, which means they can be used almost anywhere.

Other Comenity Bank cards are store cards only, meaning they can only be used in a specific store or a family of stores. A good example of this is the Big Lots Credit Card, which can only be used for purchases at Big Lots.

Is a Comenity Bank credit card right for you?

Comenity Bank offers a variety of credit cards, so making the decision to apply depends on the card you’re interested in and your spending habits. That said, store credit cards have unique perks and drawbacks.

If you’re considering a Comenity Bank-issued card that’s associated with a specific retailer, weigh the advantages and disadvantages, and remember to read the fine print.

Advantages

  • Earn boosted rewards for purchases from your favorite brands. If you’re already spending regularly at a particular store, why not earn cash back or points for your loyalty?
  • Receive an intro bonus or discount. Like many credit cards, plenty of credit cards from Comenity Bank offer introductory bonuses for new cardholders. Many of these bonuses come in the form of a statement credit or free merchandise right off the bat.
  • Build credit. Retail credit cards are often easier to get approved for than the top rewards credit cards, which usually require good to excellent credit. If you’re looking for a card that will help you earn rewards while you build your credit up, a store credit card can be a great entry point.

Disadvantages

  • Inflexible rewards programs. Retail cards can be restrictive in terms of redemption options. For example, the Eddie Bauer Credit Card earns rewards that are only good for certificates for more Eddie Bauer merchandise. Some cards have more flexible programs, but you’ll need to read the fine print.
  • Limited use. Some Comenity Bank-issued cards are only usable at the associated merchant. For example, you can’t make purchases at the grocery store with your J.Crew Credit Card* — it can only be used for online or in-store J.Crew purchases.
  • Higher-than-average interest rates. Store credit cards are notorious for charging high interest rates. If you tend to carry a balance, you may want to consider using a low-interest credit card instead.
  • Lack of physical locations. Comenity Bank doesn’t have any physical locations to visit. If you like being able to talk to a representative face to face, this could be a major drawback.

Alternatives to Comenity Bank credit cards

Knowing retail credit cards can sometimes be restrictive, you may want to consider credit cards that offer rewards for purchases made at any department store, not just one. Another option to consider is a cash back credit card, many of which let you earn at a flat rewards rate and come with no annual fee. You can often redeem your rewards for cash back in your bank account, gift cards, statement credits or more.

Here are some alternatives to store cards to consider:

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card

The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card offers 5 percent cash back in two eligible categories of your choice each quarter (up to $2,000 in combined purchases per quarter, then 1 percent). Two of the category options for the first quarter of 2023 are department stores and select clothing stores. You can also earn 2 percent back on one everyday category of your choice and 1 percent back on all other eligible purchases. Be sure to select your categories each quarter or you’ll only earn 1 percent back on all purchases.

The card also includes a welcome bonus of $200 cash back after you apply online and spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening. Best of all, there’s no annual fee.

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card

If you’re a big online shopper, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card could offer a hefty rewards payout. It doesn’t charge an annual fee and offers 3 percent cash back in a category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement. You’ll also earn 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined 3 and 2 percent category purchases each quarter, then 1 percent) and 1 percent back on all other purchases.

The card also offers a welcome bonus of $200 in online cash rewards after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening.

Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card is a popular cash back card since you earn up to 2 percent back on all purchases you make — 1 percent when you make a purchase and another 1 percent when you pay it off. There’s no annual fee, and you can redeem your rewards for statement credits, direct deposits, checks or convert your rewards to Citi ThankYou points.

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card also offers an unlimited 2 percent cash back on your purchases and has no annual fee. You can redeem your cash back as statement credits, physical cash (from a Wells Fargo ATM), direct deposits, gift cards and travel.

New cardholders can also receive a welcome offer of $200 after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first three months.

The bottom line

If you’re interested in a store card or a traditional credit card that earns rewards with a specific retailer, take the time to compare Comenity Bank’s credit card offerings. There are more than 100 store card options offered through Comenity Bank, so you’re bound to find one you like.

Should nothing catch your eye, consider our standard rewards card picks listed above or read through our list of the best rewards credit cards on the market today.

*The information about the Ann Taylor Credit Card, Welcome Rewards™ Store Credit Card (Bed Bath & Beyond), Big Lots Credit Card, Eddie Bauer Credit Card, IKEA® Projekt Credit Card, Sephora Visa® Credit Card, J.Crew Credit Card and Ultamate Rewards® Credit Card (Ulta Beauty) has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.