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Which Store Credit Cards Offer the Best Benefits?

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These days, it seems every retailer is offering some kind of rewards program. From discount clubs to credit cards, nearly every major store in the U.S. is trying to build customer loyalty by offering enticements for consistently shopping with them, and this strategy seems to be working. The average American household boasts memberships to 22 retailer rewards programs, according to Consumer Reports.

But which retail credit cards offer the best benefits? After all, shopping with a credit card is a great way to build credit -- why not get some perks while you're at it?

The four following retail credit cards offer some of the best rewards on the market today, so if you shop with any of these companies regularly (and you probably do), you may want to consider applying for its plastic.

Target Red Card
The Target Red card is perfect for frequent shoppers at this big-box retailer, because it provides a very generous benefit: 5% off every purchase, both online and in stores. The card also rewards customers in these ways:

  • Free shipping on all orders, no matter the total cost of the order.
  • An extra 30 days to return items purchased with the card.
  • A donation of 1% of your total purchase amount to an eligible school of your choice.

This card carries an interest rate of 22.9%, but otherwise comes with few drawbacks. In all, if you regularly shop at Target, this card could save you big bucks.

Gap Rewards Card
The benefits of the Gap Rewards card are almost too numerous to mention, but these are the five best:

  • At least 15% off your first purchase with the card (frequent promotions often mean bigger savings).
  • 10% off every Tuesday for purchases made with the card in Gap stores and online, at Old Navy's online store, and at Piperlime.
  • Five points earned for every dollar spent at Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta, and Piperlime; receive a $10 gift certificate for every 1,000 points earned.
  • Exclusive coupons and early alerts to sales.
  • Birthday discounts.

As with most retail credit cards, the major drawback to this card is the interest rate, at 23.99%-24.99%. It's also important to note that the rewards points expire after 24 months, so don't wait to redeem them. But if you shop at the Gap often enough to get the card, that's not likely to be a problem.

Macy Star Rewards Card
The best benefit the Macy's Star Rewards card offers is the massive number of exclusive coupons you'll receive every year. So if you frequently shop at Macy's, signing up for the card could mean big savings on clothing, household items, and small appliances. The card also offers:

  • 15% off your first purchase.
  • Choose-your-own sale days on online and in-store purchases (you can even use these on sale and clearance items).
  • Returns for up to two years, with or without a receipt.

As an extra benefit, there are a number of different "flavors" of the Macy Star Rewards card, so you'll be able to choose the one that's best for you.

Amazon Rewards Visa
Amazon.com is one of the most popular online retailers, and its credit card rewards program makes it even more attractive. The Amazon Rewards card makes signing up sweet with a $50 gift card, but it's the rewards you'll rack up with this card that make it truly worthwhile:

  • 3 points for every dollar spent at Amazon; 100 points equal $1 that you can spend at Amazon.
  • 2 points for every dollar spent at gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores.
  • 1 point for every dollar spent elsewhere.

The APR you'll get on this Visa card depends on your credit score but ranges between 14.24% and 22.24%. This is one of the most generous credit card rewards programs out there, so if you shop a lot at Amazon, you definitely don't want to overlook this card.

The takeaway
Make your day-to-day shopping rewarding by applying for one of these retail credit cards. As long as you shop responsibly -- charging only what you can pay off by the time the bill arrives, and paying that bill on time -- you'll be on your way to earning some pretty great perks!

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