When you’re looking for an easy way to establish credit, getting a retail store card might be the best option when you start out. Even though many of these retail cards carry low balance options and high interest rates, paying off the balance at each month will prevent that unnecessary interest buildup. As you get better at paying the balances and extending your credit line, you’ll start receiving more offers from different companies. As long as you are spending within your budget (yes, even on credit cards), you can start making some valuable credit history.
Department store credit cards come with other perks. Many hand out free gifts, discounts, and coupons just for signing up. Some can also have referral programs where signing up friends and family can give you additional benefits. Here are a few highlights of store credit card offers and incentives you may have missed:
Chase Amazon.com Platinum Visa Card: 0% APR intro rate, earning points towards free rewards on Amazon.com and discounts on purchases online; 1,500 bonus points awarded on sign-up
Borders 3.2.1 Visa Rewards Card: no annual fee, 0% APR for 12 billing cycles, reward points on all book purchases. You can also earn extra points for grocery, gas, and dining expenses
Chase Disney Visa Card: 0% APR for up to 12 months, no annual fee, Disney Rewards, and theme park benefits. You also get to pick your choice of Disney design!
Sony Card: No annual fee, 1,500 bonus points after first use, 0% APR for up to 12 months
Starbucks Card: $10 Duetto Dollars on your first Visa purchase, 0% APR for 6 billing cycles, no annual fee, and earning Starbucks dollars with every purchase
Toys R’Us Visa Platinum: points for all dollars spent on the card, a 10% savings reward certificate for in-store purchases, and no annual fee
Best Buy: no annual fee, rebates and rewards for using the card, and 0% financing for 90 days
Circuit City: Earn 5 point sfor each dollar spent in-store or online, instant joining of the ThankYou Redemptions Network reward program, no annual fee
Nordstrom Visa Signature: this is the elite version of all Nordstrom cards, allowing unlimited point earning potential, a travel program, and a personal concierge to help with any travel arrangements.
Target Red Card: 10% savings certificate in the Target Pharmacy Reward program, no annual fee, and 1% donation of each dollar donated to your K-12 school. Also no annual fee.
Walmart: Can be used at Sam’s Club, Walmart.com, Thrifty Car Rental, and AOL; no annual fee, special offers, and savings of 3 cents per gallon at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club gas stations.
Home Depot: Deferred payment on large purchases throughout the year, special interest rates for purchases above $2,000, no interest and payments for six whole months for any purchase over $299.
As you become a preferred customer at many of these locations, you can take advantage of Premium cardholder benefits, as well as advanced savings events and even secret sales. Others may give cash offers and rewards based on the dollars you spend. You’ll still exercise caution here, as the false premise of getting that return on your investment might level out in the end; balance is key, but when you know your limits, you can take advantage of some valuable offers and maximize your dollars in the process!