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.