How to Apply for Department Store Credit Cards

Department store credit cards can be an excellent way to establish credit, but many have higher interest rates than other cards. Department stores offer great deals when you apply for a card with a purchase. It is worth doing your homework first to figure out if the benefits outweigh the costs for these cards.

Check the annual percentage rate (APR) on the card. If you do not plan to pay off the card each month it may cost you more in interest than you are saving with the special savings or perks offered. Ask if there is an annual fee for keeping the card.

Decide on two cards to apply for in a year. Applying for numerous cards at once can actually hurt your credit, even if you are approved. Being declined for multiple cards is even worse. Pick the two department stores you shop at the most, or pick the two department stores that offer the best deals and APR.

Consider a department store with in-house credit lines. Stores like Macy's or Bloomingdales offer revolving credit lines that are managed in-house instead of through an outside bank.

Make a few small purchases the first couple of months. Do not go overboard and max out the card. Spend 25 to 50 dollars and pay off the bill each month to boost your credit. Give the credit reporting agencies a few months (at least 90 days) to catch up with you before you apply for another card.

Resist the urge to apply for more cards. Even if the sales are excellent, multiple inquiries on your credit report lower your score rather than raise it.

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About the Author

Based in southern California, Morgan is a full-time financial analyst. She has been writing since 1995, including articles for "Wet Set Gazette" and "The American Encyclopedia of Novels". She has been writing for eHow since 2008. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Southern California and a Master of Business Arts from Cal State Dominguez Hills.

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