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Credit Cards

Save on everyday essentials when shopping at Target with these 4 credit cards

Earn discounts, points, interest-free financing and cash back on your Target purchases.

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felixmizioznikov | iStock Editorial | Getty Images

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Target may have the most loyal shoppers out of any big box department store chain. Enthusiasts talk often about how they go into Target to buy one thing and leave with much more. There is even a phrase for it dubbed "The Target Effect."

For those who frequently shop at the retail giant, knowing the right way to pay can help you maximize every purchase. Although Target offers a store card, it might not be the best option for everyone because of its high interest rate.

To help you, CNBC Select analyzed dozens of credit cards to find the top picks for Target purchases. Here are the details of the benefits you should know about before you place your next Target order.

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The best cards for shopping at Target

You can typically pay for Target purchases with a credit card, debit card or a Target gift card, though credit cards are often one of the best forms of payments since they provide excellent benefits including rewards and consumer protections.

Here are a few of the best cards to use when shopping at Target:

Best card for discounts

Target RedCard™

  • Rewards

    5% discount at checkout on most purchases in-store and at Target.com

  • Welcome bonus

    Save $50 on a future qualifying purchase of $50 or more, redeemable through Target Circle. Offer available through Dec. 30, 2023

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    29.95% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    N/A

See rates and fees, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Instant 5% discount at checkout
  • Free two-day shipping on most items
  • Extra 30 days for returns

Cons

  • High variable APR
  • Small intro bonus offer

You won't receive cash back or rewards points, but the Target RedCard™ does offer a 5% discount on every purchase made (excluding some items like prescriptions and Target Optical™ eye exams; read our review of the Target RedCard for the full list of exclusions). So, every time you make a purchase from Target, you'll automatically receive the discount when you pay with the RedCard.

Other perks include an additional 30 days for returns and exchanges at Target, exclusive access to new product launches and a coupon for 10% off a purchase every account anniversary year if you sign up for Target marketing emails. Online shoppers will also receive free two-day shipping without the $35 minimum purchase amount required for non-cardholders. Just keep in mind that if you upgrade your shipping method, shipping fees will apply.

Plus, now through Dec. 30, 2023, new cardholders can save $50 on a future qualifying purchase of $50 or more, redeemable through Target Circle.

The Target RedCard™ if offered as both a debit and credit card and can only be used on purchases at Target and Target.com

Learn more: Read the full Target RedCard review.

Best card for cash back

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

On Wells Fargo's secure site
  • Rewards

    Unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate

  • Regular APR

    20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro for 120 days from account opening then BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

Pros

  • Unlimited cash rewards
  • $200 cash rewards welcome bonus
  • No annual fee
  • Introductory APR period for first 15 months
  • Access to Visa Signature® Concierge
  • Get up to $600 cell phone protection (subject to a $25 deductible)

Cons

  • 3% fee charged on foreign transactions

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card allows cardholders to earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on all eligible purchases and there's no limit to how much cash rewards you can earn. Because of this, the card can be a great way to maximize your earnings for purchases you need to make whatever the season. Plus, there's also a welcome bonus without spending too much money: You'll earn $200 in cash rewards after you spend $500 in purchases in your first three months from account opening. And to top it all off, the card has no annual fee so it won't cost you anything to own.

Learn more: Read the full Wells Fargo Active Cash Card review.

Best 0% APR period

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

On Wells Fargo's secure site
  • Rewards

    None

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers.

  • Regular APR

    18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, min: $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Long introductory APR period on purchases and qualifying balance transfers
  • Access to Visa Signature® Concierge
  • Get up to $600 cell phone protection (subject to a $25 deductible)
  • Access to My Wells Fargo Deals to earn cash back in the form of an account credit when shopping, dining

Cons

  • No rewards
  • No welcome bonus
  • 3% fee charged on foreign transactions

For those looking to finance their purchases with no interest, consider a credit card with an introductory 0% APR period. The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card gives cardholders an introductory 0% APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 21 months from account opening. After the introductory period, the interest rate will increase to 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% variable APR thereafter. Balance transfers made within 120 days from account opening qualify for the intro rate, BT fee of 5%, min $5.

Learn more: Read the full Wells Fargo Reflect Card review.

Best card for travel rewards

The Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 1X points on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.

  • Annual fee

    $695

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit Needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See rates and fees, terms apply.

Pros

  • Up to $200 in annual airline fee credits
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) and receive a statement credit that covers the full cost each month. $12.95 plus applicable taxes. Plus Up Benefits not eligible.

Cons

  • $695 annual fee
  • No special financing offers on new purchases

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a luxury travel card that comes with a ton of benefits, including TSA PreCheck®/Global Entry credits, airport lounge access, travel credits, shopping credits and more. The $695 annual fee may be costly for some (see rates and fees), but the card's benefits and pretty much make up for it. New cardholders can also take advantage of the generous welcome bonus: You'll earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $8,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership. Plus, the Platinum card offers great purchase and *return protection. Terms apply.

Learn more: Read the full Platinum Card from American Express review.

Other tips to save on Target purchases

Target Circle

Even if you don't have the Target RedCard™, you can sign up for the retailer's loyalty program, Target Circle. It's free to join and offers non-RedCard users 1% back in rewards on their Target purchases. Target Circle members also get access to exclusive deals, as well as a special gift on your birthday.

Shopping portals

A shopping portal is a service offered by affiliates of Target to bring in more customers through special offers, usually by offering cash back or points. Typically, all you need to do to earn additional rewards is download the browser extension for your desired shopping portal, log in and make sure it's activated when you're shopping on the Target website.

Rakuten is one shopping portal that gives shoppers the chance to earn cash back when shopping on Target.com (and hundreds of other websites). Cashback Monitor is another shopping portal aggregator you can use for finding rewards opportunities at Target and other retailers.

Credit card shopping benefits

Unfortunately, there are cases where items purchased from Target are damaged, defective or they're stolen from your doorstep when ordering online. In these cases, there are credit cards with shopping protections which can help consumers who find themselves with lost or damaged gifts. These benefits include purchase protection, return protection and extended warranty.

However, for coverage to kick in, the purchase must be made with the credit card that offers the benefits. Check with your credit card provider to see what protections your card offers. A few examples of credit cards with these benefits are The Platinum Card from American Express, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

BNPL with Target

Target offers buy now, pay later services through Affirm and Sezzle, which might come in handy for those who want a little more repayment flexibility when shopping. With Affirm, shoppers can spread out their payments over three to 48 months for orders over $50. While there are no hidden or late fees when using Affirm, you could be charged up to 30% interest when financing purchases.

Sezzle, on the other hand, splits each purchase into four interest-free payments over the course of six weeks. And for even more flexibility, the service allows you to reschedule one payment date for free so you can create a repayment schedule that works with your finances. However, if you reschedule a payment a second or third time, you will be charged a fee. You will also be charged a fee if you don't pay an installment on time.

Make sure you understand the terms before signing up for either buy now, pay later service.

Bottom line

Stocking up on everyday essentials can be expensive, especially if you have a large family. Be sure to consider the best credit cards for shopping at Target, as well as the other methods of checking out that can help maximize your spending.

Catch up on Select's in-depth coverage of personal financetech and toolswellness and more, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Our methodology

To determine which cards offer the best value for Target shoppers, Select analyzed 234 of the most popular credit cards available in the U.S. We compared each card on a range of features, including rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.

We also estimated how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee. Our final picks are weighted heavily toward the highest five-year returns, since it's generally wise to hold onto a credit card for years. This method also avoids giving an unfair advantage to cards with large welcome bonuses.

Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.

Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.

It's important to note the value of a point or mile varies from card to card and based on how you redeem them. When we calculated the estimated returns, we assumed that cardholders are redeeming points/miles for a typical maximum value of 1 cent per point or mile. (Extreme optimizers might be able to achieve more value.)

For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/ benefitsguide for more details.  Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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