Have you ever stood in a department store and wondered if you should get the advertised credit card? Department store credit cards can be smart, especially if you are looking to improve or repair your credit score or frequently shop at the same department store. Major department store credit cards tend to offer great discounts with regular coupons and special offers. But which are the instant approval department store credit cards? Here are the department store credit cards that easy to get…

In This Article

Credit Card Terms to Know

Here’s a quick breakdown of the terms you need to know in order to know which instant approval department store credit cards are best for you:

APR: Annual Percentage Rate on purchases. This is the interest rate you’ll pay if you keep a balance on your card (ie: if you don’t pay it off in full each month). Department store credit cards are notorious for high interest rates compared to other credit cards.

Credit Status: Stores will check your credit when you apply for a card. Be mindful that whenever a business does a “hard” credit check on you, it can negatively affect your score. Most of the department stores listed below will issue a credit card to customers with a wide range of credit scores, but the credit limit may vary based on your score. Customers with a relatively low credit score might receive a $150 card limit while other customers with a strong credit score could have a credit limit that goes well into the thousands. Scores defined as “low” tend to range from 580 to 619, “fair” scores range from 620 to 679, “good” scores range from 680 to 699, and “excellent” scores range from 700 to 850. Do you know your credit score? Free credit reports are available to help you check your credit.

Open or Closed Loop Card: Most major department store credit cards are “closed loop,” which means that you can only use the card at the store by which it was issued. Open loop cards are credit cards that you can use anywhere. They are backed by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, or another major credit card company. Closed loop cards are typically easier to get for people with bad credit as compared to open loop cards. Somewhat confusingly, a major department store will sometimes offer an open loop credit card that says “Store Name,” but also says “Visa” in the corner. The list below notes which type of card each company offers to clarify your available options

Rewards Cards or Gift Cards: Many major department stores have three kinds of cards — credit cards, rewards cards, and gift cards. Gift cards never involve credit checks or credit scores, but can look similar to a credit card. Rewards cards are a little bit trickier because some stores use the terms credit and rewards cards interchangeably. If it’s free to sign up and does not ask for your social security number — it is a rewards-only card. If you have to fill out an application that involves your social security number — it’s definitely a credit card.

Department Stores That Offer Instant Approval Credit Cards

The information below was gathered by going through the initial phases of applying for each card and reading the applicable Terms and Conditions. If you decide to apply for any of these credit cards, be sure to read all of the information presented to you so that you won’t be caught unawares by unexpected fees. All of these businesses will run a credit check as part of the application process.

1. Belk

2. Bon-Ton (includes Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s, or Younkers)

3. Boscov’s

4. Dillard’s

  • Instant Approval? Yes
  • Incentives: 10% off first statement after spending $100, for every $1,500 earned get 10% off a purchase or a $10 certificate
  • APR: U.S. Prime Rate + about 7% to 22%
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $37 and other transaction fees possible
  • Open or Closed Loop: Open Loop through American Express
  • Credit Status Needed: Good to High
  • Source: Dillard’s Rewards Program Terms
  • Apply in store or by mail
  • Shop Dillard’s

5. Kohl’s

6. JCPenney

  • Instant Approval? Yes
  • Incentives: 15% off on first purchase, 5% off major appliances and Modern Bride Diamond Vault, future coupons, designated no-interest purchase periods; in store offers may differ
  • APR: 27%
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $38
  • Open or Closed Loop: Closed Loop
  • Credit Status Needed: Bad
  • Source: Synchonry Bank Credit Terms
  • Apply for a JCPenney Credit Card
  • Shop JCPenny

7. Macy’s

8. Neiman Marcus (includes Bergdorf Goodman)

  • Instant approval? Yes
  • Incentives: 5,000 bonus points if you make a purchase the same day you sign up, two points for each dollar spent, $100 gift cards for every 10,000 points earned, free two day shipping, occasional interest free periods
  • APR: 25%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Late payment fee: Up to $35 (and $25 for returned payments)
  • Open or closed loop: Closed
  • Credit status needed: Fair to good
  • Source: Neiman Marcus credit card disclosures (click “view details” near the top of the page)
  • Apply for a Neiman Marcus In Circle card
  • Shop Neiman Marcus

9. Nordstrom

  • Instant Approval? Yes
  • Incentives: Earn $20 for $100 spent, two points for each dollar spent, enjoy early access to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale before it opens to the public.
  • APR: About 24% (penalty APR of about 31% applies if you’ve missed payments)
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $38 (returned payment fee is $25)
  • Open or Closed Loop: Both Open (Visa) and Closed Loop cards available. Debit card (drawn from a personal bank account) are available as well.
  • Credit Status Needed: Good to Excellent
  • Source: Cardholder Terms and Agreement, Nordstrom Rewards page
  • Apply for a Nordstom credit card
  • Shop Nordstom

10. Saks Fifth Avenue

  • Instant approval? Yes
  • Incentives: 10% off first day purchases; earn up to six points per dollar spent, 2,500 points gets you a $25 gift card; access to members only events, no foreign transaction fees on the open loop card,
  • APR: About 25% (28% penalty APR applies if you miss payments)
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Late payment fee: $35 (for returned payments, $25)
  • Open or closed loop: Open loop MasterCard and a closed loop store card available
  • Credit score needed: Fair
  • Source: Saks First page, Saks First Terms and Conditions
  • Apply for a Saks First card 
  • Shop Saks 

11. Sears (includes Kmart)

  • Instant Approval? Yes
  • Incentives: 30% off your first purchase on the same day you apply for the card; 10% earned in points on card to spend on future purchases, sometimes no interest opportunities, future coupons and discounts
  • APR: About 26%
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $37
  • Open or Closed Loop: Both open loop (MasterCard) and closed Loop cards (home improvement and regular store/online options) available
  • Credit Status Needed: Good to Excellent
  • Source: Sears credit cards page (scroll down for terms)
  • Apply for a Sears Card
  • Shop Sears

12. TJX (TJMaxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, & Sierra Trading Post)

  • Instant Approval? Yes
  • Incentives: 10% off first in-store purchase, $10 in rewards certificates when you spend $200, reward points
  • APR: 28%
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $35
  • Open or Closed Loop: Both Open (MasterCard) and Closed Loop cards available.
  • Credit Status Needed: Good to Excellent
  • Source: TJX Rewards page and TJX Rewards credit terms
  • Apply for a TJX card
  • Shop TJX

Department Stores That Don’t Offer Instant Approval Credit Cards

So you’re not left wondering about a department store that didn’t make our instant credit card list, here are the department stores that do not have instant credit. There are very few that don’t.

  • Burlington Coat Factory — doesn’t offer a store credit card at all

Other Stores That Offer Instant Approval Credit Cards

Want to apply for a credit card, but not a big department store shopper? Here are some other well-known stores that sell just about everything and offer instant approval credit cards. While they can look similar to department stores, these are warehouse clubs, wholesale distributors, and discount stores, and by most definitions, they’re not department stores.

1. Amazon

2. Cabela’s

3. Target

  • Incentives: 5% off every day, free shipping on most items, extra 30 days to return items, future discounts
  • APR: About 24%
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $38 ($25 for returned payments)
  • Open or Closed Loop: Closed loop, both a debit and credit option are available.
  • Credit Status Needed: Bad
  • Instant Approval?: Yes
  • Source: Target website, Target Red Card Rates & Fees
  • Apply for a Target Red Card
  • Shop Target

4. Walmart

  • Incentives: Discounts on your first purchase with a Walmart card, amount varies as promotional offers change; save 3% on Walmart.com purchases; save 2% on qualified gas purchases; save 1% at Walmart and other locations; free gift cards and future discounts
  • APR: About 18%-24%
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $38
  • Open or Closed Loop: Both Open (MasterCard) and Closed Loop cards available.
  • Credit Status Needed: Bad
  • Instant Approval?: Yes
  • Source: Walmart credit cards page, Walmart Card terms and conditions
  • Apply for a Walmart Credit Card
  • Shop Walmart

In Summary

Almost every department store has an instant approval credit card — Macy’s, Boston Store, TJMaxx, and more. When you decide which one to apply for, keep in mind where you want to use it. Open loop cards can be used anywhere, but closed loop cards can only be used at the store. APRs are usually high with store cards, as are late fees. You usually don’t need more than fair credit to be approved for a department store card. And, if traditional department stores aren’t quite what you’re looking for, discount stores like Walmart and Target also have instant store cards.