Finance

5 store credit cards you can use anywhere

A woman chooses an orange at the market and uses an eco reusable bag.

Maria Korneyeva/ Moment/ Getty Images

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 on establishing credit. You can also earn extra rewards and benefits at the places you shop the most.

The downside is that store credit cards often charge higher interest rates, but you can avoid interest altogether if you pay off your card in full each month. Another big downside is that 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 could not use this card to, say, buy groceries.

However, this is not the case with every store credit card. We’ve identified the best store credit cards that earn you extra rewards at your favorite merchants while also letting you swipe wherever you want. It can go a long way in streamlining your finances and earning more in-store rewards from your everyday spending.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card: The Best for Shopping Online

  • Reward rate: 5 percent cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2 percent cash back at gas stations, drugstores and restaurants; 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Annual fee: $0 (requires $139 Amazon Prime subscription)
  • Recommended credit score: Good to excellent

Anyone who shops online knows that Amazon is the place to shop online for almost anything you need. As long as you keep your Amazon Prime subscription active with this card, you’ll earn a full 5 percent cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases (if your subscription expires, you’ll only earn 3 percent cash back—not bad, though).

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card also often runs promotions. For example, as of this writing, you’ll receive a $150 Amazon gift card once 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

  • Reward rate: 5 percent in-store rewards
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Recommended credit score: ON THE

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 store credit card because it only earns a high reward rate when you use it at TJX-branded stores. Even then, rewards are not true cash back, as you can only redeem your rewards at TJMakk, Marshalls, HomeGoods, Sierra and Homesense stores in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Apple Card: Best for Apple fans

  • Reward rate: Earn 3 percent back when you shop with Apple and select retailers, 2 percent back on other spending when you pay with Apple Pay, and 1 percent back on all other purchases
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Recommended credit score: 600 or more

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 headphones. You’ll also earn the same percentage of cash back at popular merchant partners that can change 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 payment terminals to earn twice as much cash back as if you’d swiped your card. Plus, it’s easy to set up free installment plans on your card for Apple’s expensive new hardware.

Verizon Visa Card: Best for food

  • Reward 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 everything else
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Credit request: ON THE

You’ll need to already be a Verizon customer to qualify for this card, but if you are and you love food, this credit card has surprisingly good benefits. Unlike other credit cards that limit the amount you can earn on gas and groceries, this one does not. The downside is that the rewards (Verizon Dollars) are pretty limited because you can’t redeem them for cash.

You can redeem them for a Verizon account or other Verizon purchases, for travel through Verizon’s travel portal, or even for gift cards (though gift cards are generally the lowest redemption option for most credit card rewards programs). However, it will free up money you’d otherwise spend on your Verizon account, which is a de-facto, workaround for earning money back.

Citi’s Costco Anywhere Visa Card: Best for Gas

  • Reward rate: 4 percent cash back on qualifying gas and EV charging purchases, including gas at Costco (on first $7,000 annually, 1 percent thereafter), 3 percent cash back on dining purchases and qualifying travel, 2 percent cash back on all Costcos and Costco. com purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Annual fee: No annual fee with paid Costco membership ($60)
  • Credit request: Perfect

Costco has somewhat of a cult following, and if you’re a dedicated member (which you must be to get this members-only card), the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card from Citi is a great option. While the high gas cash back rate gets pretty limited after a point, it’s still a well-rounded credit card that balances the major expenses in most families’ lives pretty well, especially given the wide variety of items available in this popular department store department store.

One thing to note with this card is that you can’t redeem your rewards at any time like you can with other cards. You will receive a rewards certificate with all your accumulated rewards once a year after the February statement closes. You can then take this certificate to Costco and use it on your next purchase or exchange it for cash back.

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