There is something known as a “shopping cart trick” that can allow you to get store specific credit cards that don’t result in a hard pull on your credit report. Using this trick doesn’t result in a hard pull, it will still affect your credit as these cards are reported on your credit report (which will decrease your average age of accounts). There are a couple of rules we need to follow when trying to do this trick:
- You need to be opted in for credit card promotional e-mails. You’re automatically opted in, so unless you have manually opted out you won’t need to do anything. I recommend being opted in anyway, you might receive a good targeted promotion if you are (here is how you can check for these offers).
- Only works on cards issued by Comenity bank (and some cards issued by Synchrony & Wells Fargo)
- Turn your pop up blocker off if you use one. A lot of the credit card offers pop up, if you have a pop up blocker then you might miss it.
- If your asked for your full SSN, it might be a hard pull. Some of these websites ask for your full SSN when applying for the store cards, whilst others ask for your last four digits. If it asks for your full SSN it might be a hard pull so be careful. As always, your mileage may vary.
How To Do The Trick:
- Go to the website of the store you want a card for.
- Join their loyalty program (some people find more success skipping this step and just checking out as a guest)
- Add some items to your shopping cart
- Start to check out
- Enter in your address, make sure this matches your address listed in your credit reports exactly
- Continue going through the check out process until you get to the final payment page. You should receive your offer before this page, if you haven’t then either the shopping cart trick isn’t working or you need to try again.
- Choose to accept your offer
- Complete the application
When joining the websites loyalty programs, it’s extremely important that the information you enter is the same as it’s displayed on your credit report. Whilst the shopping cart trick isn’t a hard pull, it’s still a soft pull and if they are unable to verify your identity you will not be offered a card. Comenity bank usually uses your Experian report.
You don’t need to actually purchase anything at the store you use this trick on. Once your application is finished you’ll automatically be taken back to your check out page (if this was closed earlier) you can just abandon this after you’ve finished applying.
You can request a credit limit increase and they usually give automatic credit limit increases if you put any decent amount of spend on the cards. They typically won’t increase the credit limits if the card is not 9 months or older. Requesting a credit limit online is usually a soft pull. You might be able to get higher limits on these cards by adding a lot of items (e.g several thousand) to your shopping cart before trying this trick.
Why Is This Useful?
There are three main reasons as to why you might find this trick helpful:
- Help to build your credit when your credit is bad. Because they don’t do a hard pull on your credit report, they will not be able to see if you have any bankruptcies on file or other derogatory items. Typically lenders feel more comfortable loaning to people with bad credit that have received credit from other lenders, as this allows the borrower to show that they are capable of making on time payments and might have turned over a new leaf.
- Bonuses on the credit card. A lot of these store specific cards offer bonuses to cardholders to encourage them to use the cards or shop at the store. It’s not unusual to see stores offering a $10 statement credit to use the card for example. Some will offer a “sign up bonus” that is an instant discount on purchases. The best cards offer on going bonuses.
- Fee free American Express credit cards. These cards can be used for Small Business Saturdays and some American Express sync offers. Unfortunately Comenity seems to only really have Visa cards so you’re pretty restricted in using this trick for that, but Dillard’s is a card that this trick works for that has an American Express version.
Stores That This Trick Works With
Below are a list of stores that I’ve seen successful reports on this trick working. The trick won’t work 100% of the time, so if you don’t see a pre-approved offer don’t stress out, just try again in a few weeks and hope for the best.
Comenity Bank Store Credit Cards
- Abercrombie & Fitch (our review)
- Ann Taylor
- Bath & Body Works
- Brylane Home
- Coldwater Creek
- HSN (you need to go to the every end of the check out process before it’ll appear)
- Jessica London
- King Size Direct
- New York & Company
- One Stop Plus
- Overstock (while it does ask for your full SSN, it should still be a soft pull). This card usually gives a nice high limit and automatic credit limit increases are regular.
PacSun(will discontinue on July 31st, 2016)
- Sportsman Guide
- Total Rewards (reports of it not working on the new flashed base site). According to reader it’s working.
- Victoria’s Secret (our full review of this card)
- Woman Within
Most people find Victoria Secrets one of the easiest cards to get using this method, I’ve also had a lot of success with Overstock as well. If you’ve gotten the shopping cart trick to work on any other cards then please let me know.
Synchrony Bank Store Credit Cards
Wells Fargo Store Credit Cards
The following are some resources & blog posts that you might find useful if you’re getting into the shopping cart trick.
- myFICO forums. Has the most information on the shopping cart trick, things you can do to improve your chances and pretty friendly forum for newbies as well. Some threads from there you might find useful:
- PFDigest. Has a lot of good information on the shopping cart trick and his personal experiences using it. I’d recommend these posts:
Are there any blog posts or forums / threads which you think I missed? Let me know and I’ll add them.
These methods aren’t going to be for everybody, but if you have bad credit and want to get some positive trade lines reporting this might be an alternative option to a secured credit card. For people with good credit (and a high AAoA) then some of these cards might be worth considering for the on going bonuses. I also think it’s worth trying to get the Dillard’s card to have another fee free American Express card, although I haven’t been able to get that card to show recently.