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Store credit cards have some advantages over general-purpose credit cards. They’re often easier to qualify for, which is handy if you’re working to establish your credit. You can also earn extra rewards and benefits at the places you shop at the most.
The downside is store credit cards often charge higher interest rates, but you can avoid interest entirely if you pay off your card in full each month. Another big drawback is you can often only use store credit cards at that store. For example, the Gap Good Rewards Credit Card can only be used at Gap, Inc. stores. You couldn’t use this card to, say, buy groceries.
That’s not the case with every store credit card, though. We’ve identified the top store credit cards that earn extra rewards at your favorite merchants and also allow you to swipe wherever else you want. That can go a long way towards simplifying your finances and earning more in-store rewards from your everyday spending.
Prime Visa card: Best for online shopping
- Rewards rate: 5 percent cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2 percent cash back at gas stations and restaurants; 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.
- Annual fee: $0 ($139 Amazon Prime subscription required)
- Recommended credit score: Good to excellent
Anyone who shops online knows that Amazon is the place to shop online for just about anything you need. As long as you maintain an active Amazon Prime subscription with this card, you’ll earn the full 5 percent cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases (if your subscription lapses, you’ll only earn 3 percent cash back — still, not bad).
The Prime Visa Card also frequently runs promotions. For example, as of this writing, you’ll get a $200 Amazon gift card after you’re approved. Keep in mind that sign-up bonuses like these, which don’t require you to spend money to earn them, may require you to pay taxes on that bonus.
TJX Rewards Platinum Mastercard: Best for mall shoppers
- Rewards rate: 5 percent back in-store rewards
- Annual fee: $0
- Recommended credit score: N/A
Like many retail credit cards, there are two versions of this card: the TJX Rewards Card, which can only be used at certain stores, and the TJX Rewards Platinum Mastercard, which can be used anywhere. The TJX Rewards Platinum Mastercard isn’t the flashiest of store credit cards because it only earns a high reward rate when you use it at TJX-brand stores. Even then, the rewards aren’t true cash back, since you can only redeem your rewards at T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, Sierra and Homesense stores in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Apple Card: Best for Apple fans
- Rewards rate: Earn 3 percent back when you shop with Apple and select retailers, 2 percent back on other spending when paying with Apple Pay and 1 percent back on all other purchases
- Annual fee: $0
- Recommended credit score: 600 or higher
The Apple Card offers 3 percent cash back on a wide range of Apple products, including purchases from the App and iTunes stores and hardware such as phones or earbuds. You’ll also earn the same percentage of cash-back at popular merchant partners which may rotate over time, such as Exxon, Uber, Panera Bread and more.
If you add your Apple Card to your digital wallet you can even use your iPhone or Apple Watch in person at tap-to-pay terminals to earn twice the cash-back as if you swiped your card. Plus, it’s easy to set up free installment plans on your card for Apple’s pricey new hardware.
Verizon Visa Card: Best for food
- Rewards rate: 4 percent back in Verizon Dollars on gas and groceries; 3 percent back in Verizon Dollars at restaurants; 2 percent back in Verizon Dollars on Verizon purchases; 1 percent back in Verizon Dollars on all else
- Annual fee: $0
- Credit requirement: N/A
You’ll need to already be a Verizon customer in order to qualify for this card, but if you are and you like food, this credit card has surprisingly good benefits. Unlike other credit cards which limit the amount you can earn with gas and groceries, this one doesn’t. The downside is the rewards (Verizon Dollars) are rather limited because you can’t redeem them for cash.
You can redeem them towards your Verizon bill or for other Verizon purchases, for travel through Verizon’s travel portal or even for gift cards (although gift cards are generally the lowest-value redemption option for most credit card rewards programs). It will free up money that you’d normally be spending on your Verizon bill, though, which is sort of a de-facto, roundabout way to earn cash back.
Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi: Best for gas
- Rewards rate: 4 percent cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases including gas at Costco (for the first $7,000 per year, then 1 percent), 3 percent cash back on restaurant and eligible travel purchases, 2 percent cash back on all Costco and Costco.com purchases and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases
- Annual fee: No annual fee with your paid Costco membership ($60)
- Credit requirement: Excellent
Costco has somewhat of a cult following, and if you’re a devoted member (which you’ll need to be in order to get this members-only card), the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi* is a great option. Although the high cash-back rate on gas is rather limited after a point, it’s still a well-rounded credit card that balances the major expenses in most families’ lives rather well, especially considering the wide range of items available at this popular warehouse department store.
One thing to note with this card is that you can’t redeem your rewards at any time like with other cards. You’ll be issued a rewards certificate with all of your piled-up rewards once per year after your February statement closes. You can then take this certificate to Costco and use it toward your next purchase or trade it in for cash back.
*The information about the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.