In last week’s post on retailer credit cards, a few commenters voiced the opinion that the rewards from retailer credit cards aren’t worth getting a hard pull. Different people can disagree on what exactly a hard pull is worth, but everybody can agree that all things being equal, it’s best not to have too many hard pulls.
But did you know there’s something called the “shopping cart trick” which lets you get a credit card without a hard pull? I’ve seen it mentioned in a few places as a way for people with poor credit to build up their credit file, but it’s also a way for people to reap retail credit card rewards without getting too many applications for new credit on their file.
The basic principle is that you give retailers your info and then they’ll preapprove you and open a new card with no hard pull. I have no experience with this so I can’t vouch for it myself, but many of my readers have had success with this trick and you can read their stories in the comments in my Comenity credit card post.
I’ve seen little discussion about this on blogs. The best summary I’ve been able to find is on a blog called “Roots, Credit, and Life”:
- You MUST be opted-in for promotional offers. If you don’t know what this means, clickhere. If you know you are opted-out, you can opt-in again here. Unless you remember opting-out, you are probably opted-in already and don’t need to worry about this. If you get credit card offers in the mail, you are opted-in for sure.
- The trick applies only to cards issued by Comenity Bank. Comenity is a major issuer of retail store credit cards, but also issues a few Visa and Mastercard branded-cards.
HOW TO DO IT:
This is the simple part:
- Go to the retailer’s website, such as http://www.buckle.com.
- At this point, I usually register or join or whatever that particular store calls it. You give them your name, email, phone number and maybe address information.
- Pick an item or two and add it to your shopping bag or shopping cart.
- Begin the checkout process. Enter your shipping address, billing address, etc. and go as far as you can before it requires you to enter your credit card information. If the trick is going to work, you will get a pop up offering you an account at some point before you have to enter payment info. ACCEPT THE OFFER.
- If you have pop-ups blocked, you may miss the offer.
- Once you accept the account offer, you can choose whether or not you want to proceed with using your new account to finalize your purchase. You do not have to buy any of the items in your cart once you accept the offer – you will still get the account.
You may or may not be told the credit limit on the account. I would not expect it to be high though – they are typically $500 or less. You can always request a credit limit increase once you get your card.
If you’re not getting the offers, it never hurts to try incognito mode on your browser. You can also try changing up the email address you’re using; and if you’ve moved recently you can always try using an older address to get the retailer to recognize you. Make sure you match whatever is on your credit report.
If you want to take advantage of the shopping cart trick, then you will want to target retailers with cards offered by Comenity as it is by far the #1 shopping cart trick bank (though the Dillard’s credit card, offered by Wells Fargo, is reported to work as well). I have a long post on Comenity cards here. Note that you can get multiple cards with Comenity, multiple cards with the shopping cart trick, and it’s also possible to obtain multiple credit line increases over the years if you’re responsible with your credit. So keep your expenses down, pay your bills on time, and you’ll be good to go.
Cards my readers have reported success with:
Victoria’s Secret credit card (see my review here)
Ultamate Rewards Credit Card – you’ll want to ask at the register if you’re preapproved for this one
HSN – commenter Darla said that says that to get the pop-up for the HSN card, you need to register there and enter a credit card number while you’re in the shopping cart.
Dillard’s – this one is actually offered by Wells Fargo (formerly by Synchrony)
Venus – card includes $15 off, 5% rewards on your purchases, and a $15 gift certificate every birthday
Loveloft – 5% back on purchases and a $15 gift certificate on your birthday
Limited – this card is being closed down, unfortunately
New York & Company – 5% rewards + 15% off your first purchase and a $10 gift certificate on your birthday
Childrens Place credit card – Pretty good rewards here: 10% on spending, plus 30% off your first credit card purchase, 25% off for your kids’ birthdays! and 20% Off when you get your card!
Loft – 5% rewards and a $15 birthday gift certificate
Coldwater Creek – 5% back and a $25 birthday reward