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, which can lower your credit score by up to five points. If you’re having a difficult time securing a credit card because of poor credit, then the shopping cart trick may allow you to get a pre-approved credit card from many retail websites during checkout. Read on to find out how to use this trick and to see the list of shopping cart trick stores.

Benefits of the Shopping Cart Trick

The shopping cart trick is especially useful if your credit score is too low to get a credit card. This trick can also help you avoid a hard pull on your credit report, which can often bring your score down even if you are approved for the card. Only a soft credit inquiry is conducted so that the retailer can verify your identity.

You’ll probably be offered some great bonuses and additional promotions from the store through which you are approved. Sometimes you’ll get cash back offers; other times you may get special deals for purchases at the partnered store. Some stores may even offer a special signup bonus which you can use as an instant discount on in-store purchases.

Drawbacks of the Shopping Cart Trick

The shopping cart trick can be useful for building credit when your score is low. Typically, the more credit you’ve been approved for, the higher your score will be. But be aware that when you add new cards, especially in a short time period, the average age of your open accounts will decrease, which will bring your score down temporarily.

Note that the credit limits for cards acquired with this trick usually start out relatively low (around $500 in many cases). So if you need a lot of credit, the shopping cart trick won’t be able to help you.

How to Do the Shopping Cart Trick

Note: Be careful if you’re asked to provide your full social security number at any point during the application process. If you are, the application may run a hard pull on your credit report. Almost all cards issued through the shopping cart trick only require the last four digits of your SSN.

  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 actually 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. At some point in the checkout process, you should receive an offer stating that you’ve been pre-approved for the store credit card. Choose to accept the offer and complete the application per the provided instructions.
  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 actually purchase anything.
  8. 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. Check out the tips below.

The Shopping Cart Trick and PayPal

When you begin the checkout process, you might see an option of choosing PayPal. If you are looking to get the store credit card for one of the stores listed below, it is best to proceed as if you were going to make a credit or debit card purchase rather than choosing the PayPal option. Choosing PayPal as your payment method usually prompts a pop-up window to your PayPal account. In order for the shopping cart trick to work, you need to stay on the website of the store you’re shopping with and fill out your information on their website in order to get their pop-up offer.

The exception to this rule is if you are 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. In this case, you will want to select PayPal as your payment option. When prompted, sign into your PayPal account. Once signed in, you may get the offer of PayPal Credit the same way you would get the pop-up offer for the store credit cards.

For the list of stores that accept PayPal Credit, check out our article: Who Accepts PayPal Credit Online or In-Store?

The Shopping Cart Trick on Mobile Devices

The shopping cart trick can also work on mobile devices, including Android phones and iPhones. The key thing to remember about the shopping cart trick is that it doesn’t work without the pop-up offer. If your mobile device is blocking pop-ups, then you won’t be able to get the credit card offer. So you first need to enable pop-ups. Both Android phones and iPhones are able to receive pop-ups in Chrome. Visit Google Chrome Help for step-by-step instructions to allow pop-ups on an Android phone and pop-ups on an iPhone in Chrome.

Another thing to remember is that websites have two different versions — the desktop version and the mobile version. If the shopping cart trick is not working on the mobile version after you have enabled pop-ups, you can try switching to the desktop version. There is often a link somewhere on the mobile site to switch or view the desktop version. With some stores, it won’t matter which version you use. For example, Walmart customer service and Victoria’s Secret customer service have both advised that their pop-up offers are available on their mobile sites as well as their desktop sites.

Stores Where the Shopping Cart Trick Works

Abercrombie & Fitch

  • Items sold: Clothing and accessories
  • How to shop: Online and in stores nationwide
  • Start shopping

American Home Furnishings

  • Items sold: Furniture and mattresses
  • How to shop: Online and in-store
  • Start shopping

Ann Taylor

  • Items sold: Women’s clothing and accessories
  • How to shop: Online and in stores nationwide
  • Start shopping

Bath & Body Works

  • Items sold: Bath and beauty supplies, fragrances, and candles
  • How to shop: Online and in stores nationwide
  • Start shopping

Bed Bath and Beyond

  • Items sold: Bedroom and bathroom home furnishings.
  • How to shop: Online or in-store nationwide
  • Start shopping

Big Lots

  • Items sold: Home goods and furniture
  • How to shop: Online and in-store nationwide
  • Start shopping

Boscov’s

  • Items sold: Apparel, shoes, handbags, cosmetics, jewelry, small appliances, and home decor
  • How to shop: Online and in stores nationwide
  • Start shopping (paid partner link)

Buckle

  • Items sold: Clothing, footwear, and accessories
  • How to shop: Online and in stores nationwide
  • Start shopping

Coldwater Creek

  • Items sold: Women’s apparel, accessories, and home decor
  • How to shop: Online retailer only
  • Start shopping (paid partner link)

Dillard’s

  • Items sold: Apparel, accessories, home decor, etc.
  • How to shop: Online and in stores nationwide
  • Start shopping

Eddie Bauer

  • Items sold: Men’s and women’s apparel
  • How to shop: Online and in-store nationwide
  • Start shopping

Express

  • Items sold: Clothing and accessories
  • How to shop: Online and in stores nationwide
  • Start shopping

Forever 21

  • Items sold: Men’s and women’s apparel
  • How to shop: Online and in-store nationwide
  • Start shopping

GameStop

  • Items sold: Video games, consumer electronics, and wireless services
  • How to shop: Online and in stores nationwide
  • Start shopping

HSN

  • Items sold: Clothing, shoes, jewelry, beauty supplies, home decor, appliances, and toys
  • How to shop: Online retailer only
  • Start shopping (paid partner link)

Check out our article on the HSN shopping cart trick for some trick tips specific to HSN.

Jared

  • Items sold: Jewelry
  • How to shop: Online and in-store nationwide
  • Start shopping and select “Get Prequalified Now”

J.Jill

  • Items sold: Women’s apparel, accessories, and footwear
  • How to shop: Online and in stores nationwide
  • Start shopping

The Loft

  • Items sold: Women’s clothing and accessories
  • How to shop: Online and in stores nationwide
  • Start shopping

Lowe’s

  • Items sold: Tools, building materials, home improvement, home decor, lawn and garden supplies, and appliances
  • How to shop: Online and in stores nationwide
  • Start shopping

Check out our article on the Lowe’s shopping cart trick for some trick tips specific to Lowe’s.

Motorola

  • Items sold: Mobile phones
  • How to shop: Online and in stores nationwide
  • Start shopping

New York & Company

  • Items sold: Women’s clothing and accessories
  • How to shop: Online and in stores nationwide
  • Start shopping

Overstock

  • Items sold: Home decor, rugs, furniture, bedding, jewelry, clothing, and many other goods
  • How to shop: Online retailer only
  • Other information: Customers applying for the Overstock credit card will be asked for their full Social Security Number, but it is still a soft pull. Also, this card is known to provide a high credit limit with regular automatic increases.
  • Start shopping

PC Richard & Son

  • Items sold: Appliances, electronics, and mattresses
  • How to shop: Online and in stores in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania
  • Start shopping

Ulta Beauty

Victoria’s Secret

  • Items sold: Women’s lingerie, cosmetics, and accessories
  • How to shop: Online and in stores nationwide
  • Start shopping

Walmart

  • Items sold: Home decor, electronics, furniture, bedding, jewelry, clothing, and many other goods
  • How to shop: Online and in-stores nationwide
  • Start shopping

Check out our article on the Walmart shopping cart trick for some trick tips specific to Walmart.

Wayfair

  • Items sold: Furniture, rugs, home decor, cookware, outdoor goods, and more
  • How to shop: Online retailer only
  • Start shopping (paid partner link)

Check out our article on the Wayfair shopping cart trick for some trick tips specific to Wayfair.

Williams-Sonoma

  • Items sold: Kitchenware and home furnishings
  • How to shop: Online and in stores nationwide
  • Start shopping

Zales

  • Items sold: Jewelry
  • How to shop: Online and in-store nationwide
  • Start shopping

Stores Where the Shopping Cart Trick Does Not 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
  • Home Depot
  • Macy’s
  • Nordstrom
  • Sears
  • Target

Troubleshooting

Is the shopping cart trick not working? Check these things…

  • Check who issues the card in the offer. Typically, the shopping cart trick only works for Comenity-based cards. (Synchrony or Wells Fargo issued cards usually don’t work.)
  • Make sure you are opted in to credit card promotions. You’re automatically opted in, so unless you went through the process of opting out, you shouldn’t have to change anything. But, if the trick isn’t working, go to the Opt Out Prescreen website to ensure that you’ve opted in.
  • Double-check that the information entered for your account matches the information on your credit report. The retailer will need to do a soft credit pull to verify your identity, which requires accurate information.
  • Turn off the pop-up blocker for your browser, if you’re using one. Go to Preferences or Settings in your browser to turn off the pop-up blocker. Most credit card offers appear in pop-up windows that your computer may be automatically preventing from showing up.
  • Sometimes you have to begin typing in payment information before you get the pre-approved offer. Once you begin typing numbers in the credit card box, an offer may appear.
  • If you are on a mobile device, first make sure you have allowed pop-ups. Second, switch to the desktop site instead of the mobile site and try again.

If a pre-approved offer still doesn’t show up, try again in a few weeks. Offers are not always available, and the trick doesn’t have a 100% success rate. Better luck next time!

If the card offer is popping up, but you aren’t able to qualify for the card, check out our article, Shopping Cart Trick Not Working? Here are 7 Ways to Fix It.

In Summary

The shopping cart trick is a handy way to get a new credit card when you have a low credit score or want to avoid a hard pull. It works at a number of retailers, the majority of which use Comenity Bank to issue cards. All you have to do is create an account on a store’s website, add some items to the shopping cart, and then wait to be pre-approved. If that doesn’t work, try one of our helpful troubleshooting tips.

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.

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.