29 Shopping Cart Trick Stores (+ Where It Won’t Work)

The “shopping cart trick” is a way to get approved for a store credit card without a hard pull of your credit report, which can lower your credit score by up to five points. It can allow applicants with poor credit to get pre-approved for a credit card during checkout. Below, we explain how to use this trick and list the stores where you can use it.

About the Shopping Cart Trick

The shopping cart trick is a pop-up offer of pre-approval that you might receive during the checkout process when shopping at an online retailer. During the checkout process, you’ll receive a pop-up that prompts you to apply for the store’s credit card. By applying for the credit card during checkout, you’ll receive an approval decision immediately and may be able to bypass a “hard pull” credit check — a full review of your credit report.

Benefits

The shopping cart trick allows you to avoid a hard pull on your credit report, which can bring down your credit score by a few points even if you receive approval for the card. It’s especially useful if your credit score is too low to get a traditional credit card. It only requires a soft credit inquiry so the retailer can verify your identity.

Once approved, you may receive bonuses or promotions from the store through which you apply. These offers might include cash back, coupons, or cardholder-exclusive sales. Some stores may even offer a signup bonus, which you can use as an instant discount on your first purchase using the card.

Drawbacks

The shopping cart trick can be useful for building credit when your score is low. However, be aware that it doesn’t always guarantee a soft pull, and when you open new credit cards, the average age of your open accounts will decrease, which may temporarily bring your score down.

Additionally, note that the credit limits for cards acquired with this trick usually start relatively low (around $500 in many cases). If you need a lot of credit, the shopping cart trick won’t be helpful to you.

How It Works

Follow these steps to use the shopping cart trick:

  1. Go to the website of the store where you want to get a credit card.
  2. Register on the website and/or join the loyalty program. Typically there is a link on the top menu that says “Create an account.”
  3. Make sure you’re logged in.
  4. Add items to your shopping cart. It doesn’t matter which item or items you choose — you won’t need to buy them for the trick to work.
  5. Begin the checkout process. When prompted, enter your address and information exactly as it appears on your credit reports.
  6. You should receive a pop-up offer stating that you’ve been pre-approved for the store credit card at some point in the checkout process. Choose to accept the offer and complete the application per the provided instructions. Note: If you’re asked to provide your full Social Security number (SSN) at any point, the application may run a hard pull on your credit report. Most cards issued through the shopping cart trick only require the last four digits of your SSN.
  7. After you finish the credit card application, you’ll be taken back to the final payment page of the checkout process. You can stop here. You do not need to complete checkout or purchase anything.

If you haven’t received an offer by the time you get to the final checkout page, either the shopping cart trick isn’t working at this time, or you need to make an adjustment and try again. See our related research for tips on what to try when the shopping cart trick isn’t working.

Mobile Devices

The shopping cart trick can work on mobile devices, including Android phones and iPhones. However, remember that the shopping cart trick doesn’t work without the pop-up offer. If your mobile device blocks pop-ups, you won’t be able to get the credit card offer.

Both Android phones and iPhones can receive pop-ups in Google Chrome. Google Chrome Help offers step-by-step instructions to allow pop-ups on an Android phone or iPhone.

Another thing to keep in mind is that most websites have two different versions: the desktop and mobile versions. If the shopping cart trick isn’t working on the mobile version after enabling pop-ups, try switching to the desktop version. With some stores, it won’t matter which version you use. For example, customer service representatives for Walmart and Victoria’s Secret told us that their pop-up offers are available on their mobile sites and desktop sites.

The Shopping Cart Trick and PayPal

When you begin the checkout process, you might see an option of choosing PayPal. It’s best to proceed as if you were going to make a credit or debit card purchase rather than selecting the PayPal option. Choosing PayPal as your payment method usually opens a window to log into your PayPal account; you need to stay on the website of the store you’re shopping with and fill out your information there for the shopping cart trick’s pop-up offer to appear.

The exception to this rule is when seeking approval for PayPal Credit rather than a store credit card. In that case, choose a store (customers report eBay is a good store for PayPal approval) and follow the same steps above. Select PayPal as your payment option, and when prompted, sign in to your PayPal account. Once you sign in, you may get an offer from PayPal Credit the same way you would get a pop-up offer for a store credit card.

See our related research for the list of places that accept PayPal credit.

Stores Where the Shopping Cart Trick Works

The shopping cart trick may allow you to receive instant approval for a store credit card at the following retailers. We compiled this list by testing each retailer’s checkout process and viewing customer reports of credit card approval.

Abercrombie & Fitch

  • What it sells: Clothing and accessories
  • Shop

American Home Furnishings

  • What it sells: Furniture and mattresses
  • Shop

Ann Taylor

  • What it sells: Women’s clothing and accessories
  • Shop

Bath & Body Works

  • What it sells: Bath and beauty supplies, fragrances, and candles
  • Shop

Bed Bath and Beyond

  • What it sells: Bedroom and bathroom home furnishings.
  • Shop

Big Lots

  • What it sells: Home goods and furniture
  • Shop

Boscov’s

  • What it sells: Apparel, shoes, handbags, cosmetics, jewelry, small appliances, and home decor
  • Shop

Buckle

  • What it sells: Clothing, footwear, and accessories
  • Shop

Coldwater Creek

  • What it sells: Women’s apparel, accessories, and home decor
  • Shop

Dillard’s

  • What it sells: Apparel, accessories, home decor, etc.
  • Shop

Eddie Bauer

  • What it sells: Men’s and women’s apparel
  • Shop

Express

  • What it sells: Clothing and accessories
  • Shop

Forever 21

  • What it sells: Men’s and women’s apparel
  • Shop

GameStop

  • What it sells: Video games, consumer electronics, and wireless services
  • Shop

HSN

Note: See our related research on using the shopping cart trick at HSN.

  • What it sells: Clothing, shoes, jewelry, beauty supplies, home decor, appliances, and toys
  • Shop

Jared

  • What it sells: Jewelry
  • Shop

J.Jill

  • What it sells: Women’s apparel, accessories, and footwear
  • Shop

LOFT

  • What it sells: Women’s clothing and accessories
  • Shop

Lowe’s

Note: See our related research on the Lowe’s shopping cart trick.

  • What it sells: Tools, building materials, home improvement, home decor, lawn and garden supplies, and appliances
  • Shop

Motorola

  • What it sells: Mobile phones
  • Shop

New York & Company

  • What it sells: Women’s clothing and accessories
  • Shop

Overstock

Note: The Overstock credit card requires your full Social Security Number, but should still use a soft pull when applying during checkout. Find more details in our research on Overstock’s shopping cart trick.

  • What it sells: Home decor, rugs, furniture, bedding, jewelry, clothing, and many other goods
  • Shop

PC Richard & Son

  • What it sells: Appliances, electronics, and mattresses
  • Shop

Ulta Beauty

  • What it sells: Cosmetics
  • Shop

Victoria’s Secret

  • What it sells: Women’s lingerie, cosmetics, and accessories
  • Shop

Walmart

Note: See our related research on the Walmart shopping cart trick.

  • What it sells: Home decor, electronics, furniture, bedding, jewelry, clothing, and many other goods
  • Shop

Wayfair

Note: See our related research on using the shopping cart trick at Wayfair.

  • What it sells: Furniture, rugs, home decor, cookware, outdoor goods, and more
  • Shop

Williams-Sonoma

  • What it sells: Kitchenware and home furnishings
  • Shop

Zales

  • What it sells: Jewelry
  • Shop

To find out how to use the shopping cart trick for travel and entertainment, see our article on the Caesars Entertainment Total Rewards Visa shopping cart trick.

Stores Where the Shopping Cart Trick Doesn’t Work

Because of the issuing bank and the promotions provided by these stores, customers report that the shopping cart trick does not work at the following major retailers:

  • Amazon
  • Costco
  • The Home Depot
  • Macy’s
  • Nordstrom
  • Sears
  • Target

2 comments

  • Been trying for weeks i thought sct was fake. Got approved for lowes and ann taylor today.

    • artsymom says:

      Lowes is funded through Synchrony, not Comenity. Be prepared to take a hard inquiry if you apply. I was prequalified in store for Lowes and accepted (fridge went out). It showed as a hard inquiry like I had anticipated. I was also prequalified for the Loft Mastercard and after careful consideration decided to accept because I teach and buy most of my clothes there. Considering its the Mastercard version I figure I will get a hard inquiry for that as well.