Instant Approval Department Store Credit Cards (Easiest Ones to Get)

There are plenty of department stores that offer their own credit card services, but should you get one? Is it worth it? In some situations, 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 discounts through regular coupons and special offers, and often times, they’re not that hard to get. These are the easiest department store credit card to get approved for…

In This Article

Credit Card Terms to Know

Here’s a quick breakdown of the terms you need to know in order to determine which 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 (i.e., 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; if you don’t shop at the store offering the card frequently, won’t be able to pay off your purchases before they accrue interest, or can get approved for a card with a better interest rate, you may want to consider a different credit card.

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. Even if the business does a “soft pull,” opening up a few lines of credit in quick succession can also have a negative impact on 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? Actually free credit reports are available to help you check your credit.

Open or Closed Loop Card: 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. 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. 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: 1) credit cards, 2) rewards cards, and 3) 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 card” and “rewards card” interchangeably. If it’s free to sign up and does not ask for your social security number, then it is a rewards-only card — such as a loyalty program. If you have to fill out an application that involves your social security number, then 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 unaware by unexpected fees. To avoid damaging your credit score, don’t apply for too many cards at once and don’t make any purchases on your new card that you won’t be able to pay off. Note, as well, that all of these businesses will run a credit check as part of the application process.

Belk

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

  • Instant Approval?: Yes
  • Incentives: Varying discounts and coupons with double rewards, free shipping from online orders, future coupons
  • APR: About 25%
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $37
  • Open or Closed Loop: Closed Loop
  • Credit Score Needed: 550 and below
  • Source: Bon-Ton credit account website
  • Apply for a Bon-Ton Card
  • Shop Bon-Ton

Boscov’s

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: None
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $37 and other transaction fees possible
  • Open or Closed Loop: Open Loop through American Express
  • Credit Score Needed: 700 or above
  • Source: Dillard’s Rewards Program Terms
  • Apply in store or by mail
  • Shop Dillard’s

Kohl’s

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: None
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $38
  • Open or Closed Loop: Closed Loop
  • Credit Score Needed: 550 or below
  • Source: Synchonry Bank Credit Terms
  • Apply for a JCPenney Credit Card
  • Shop JCPenney

See our dedicated JCPenney credit article for more information on getting a JCP Credit Card.

Macy’s

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: None
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $35 (and $25 for returned payments)
  • Open or Closed Loop: Closed
  • Credit Score Needed: 650 – 749
  • 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

See our article for an explanation of your Neiman Marcus credit card approval odds.

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: None
  • 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 Score Needed: 700 or above
  • Source: Cardholder Terms and Agreement, Nordstrom Rewards page
  • Apply for a Nordstom credit card
  • Shop Nordstom

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: 650-699
  • Source: Saks First page, Saks First Terms and Conditions
  • Apply for a Saks First card 
  • Shop Saks 

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: None
  • 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 Score Needed: 700 or above
  • Source: Sears credit cards page (scroll down for terms)
  • Apply for a Sears Card
  • Shop Sears

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: None
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $35
  • Open or Closed Loop: Both Open (Mastercard) and Closed Loop cards available.
  • Credit Score Needed: 700 or above
  • Source: TJX Rewards page and TJX Rewards credit terms
  • Apply for a TJX card
  • Shop TJX

Note: The TJX credit card has the highest APR in this list.

Department Stores That Don’t Offer Instant Approval Credit Cards

Very few department stores don’t offer instant credit. The only one we identified is Burlington, but that’s only because they don’t offer a store credit card at all.

Other Stores That Offer Instant Approval Credit Cards

There 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.

Amazon

Cabela’s

Target

  • Instant Approval?: Yes
  • Incentives: 5% off every day, free shipping on most items, extra 30 days to return items, future discounts
  • APR: About 24%
  • Annual Fee: None
  • 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 Score Needed: 550 or below
  • Source: Target website, Target Red Card Rates & Fees
  • Apply for a Target Red Card
  • Shop Target

Walmart

  • Instant Approval?: Yes
  • 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= to 24%
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $38
  • Open or Closed Loop: Both Open (Mastercard) and Closed Loop cards available.
  • Credit Score Needed: 550 or below
  • Source: Walmart credit cards page, Walmart Card terms and conditions
  • Apply for a Walmart Credit Card
  • Shop Walmart

If you’re interested in buying jewelry, we suggest: Jewelry Store Credit Cards: Easy to Get Cards for Major Jewelry Stores

In Summary

And those are the easiest department store credit card to get approved for and ones that might be a little harder but are still worth considering. Just look at the credit score required. The lower the score, the easier it’ll be for you to get. Almost every department store has an instant approval credit card — Macy’s, Boston Store, T.J. Maxx, 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.

Suggested Article: What’s a virtual credit card and how easy is it to get one?

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19 comments

  • Rebecca Powell says:

    I can wait just didn’t know they had beds I need a full size one we got two air mattress and both got holes in them fast and i have broke leg that has be amputated but I’ll try them

  • Could someone please help me I want apply for department credit card we are on disability and credit not that great we did get approved for loan but it not showing payment on credit yet and Fingerhut but ain’t used yet rather have local store we lost everything in flood and just can’t afford pay cash right out we don’t get but 800 month so I don’t know if any would approve us and don’t want run bunch hard credit reports it lowrts your score plzz any recommendations who to tty

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Rebecca,

      Sorry to hear about the flood! If you have an address to send things too and can wait a couple days for shipping, it’s pretty easy to get approved for Amazon’s credit card. I would recommend taking a look at this article: The 13 Easiest Store Credit Cards to Get. We also list some of the toughest to get, so you know what to avoid. Several department stores made that list, so you should find something that can help.

      You might also want to consider soft pull credit cards. A soft pull doesn’t affect your credit score, so you won’t have to worry as much about the risk of losing a few point only to not even be approved. We also have a list of those: Soft Pull Credit Cards and Store Cards.

  • Dawn Sciarrino says:

    I already have just about every card on the list but I applied for a Boscov’s which said your credit could be bad, mine is above average and I was denied! I never get denied credit.

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Dawn,

      While I can’t say why Boscov’s denied you credit, now may be a good time to contact one or more of the credit reporting bureaus to check on the health of your credit. You’re entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. You can find out how to order a copy of your credit report here.

      • Name* (displayed publicly) says:

        I have a Walmart card what companies are these card with what banks can I still get another credit card

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Donald,

      You’ll have to make a payment once a month. If you chose the minimum payment, rather than to pay the balance, you’ll also be charged interest on the next month’s statement.

  • S. Trahan says:

    If you are looking for instant approval on a credit card Dillard’s does offer approval within seconds of applying. Only takes about 2 minutes to apply. I work for them and I process credit applications all the time.

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Trahan! Yes, you’re totally right. I called to confirm, and Dillard’s told me that yes, it’s almost always instant, unless there is some problem and they need to consult with their credit department. We’ve updated the article to reflect this correction! Thanks for helping us catch this error!

      • Hi I may be a little confused.
        Are you saying Instant Approval meaning you will automatically be approved for their credit card or Instantly Approval meaning you will instantly get the results ( Approved/Not Approved)

        • Kathleen Wilson says:
          First Quarter Finance logostaff

          Hi Booney,
          Thanks for the question. Most credit cards take days (or even weeks) for you to hear back if you’ve been approved or not. In this article, when we say Instant Approval, we mean that you’ll get results back instantly about if you’ve been approved or not approved – (usually just after the department store does a quick phone call to check your credit. Hope this helps clear up the confusion!

      • Rebecca Turley says:
        First Quarter Finance logostaff

        Hi there!

        You can either go to your local Dillard’s and apply in-store, or you can call them at 1-800-643-8276 to receive an application by mail.

  • S. Trahan says:

    Dollar’s does have instant approval on their credit card. I don’t know where you got your info.

  • After reading this a few months ago i applied for everyone you said was an instant approval and got rejected by every single one.So I guess thungs have changed since this was written.

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi there,

      Unfortunately, instant approval doesn’t mean absolute approval. In other words, these companies still run your credit to determine your credit worthiness.