The Verdict: Macy’s offers two credit cards — an Amex and a store card — but in an unusual twist, applications for the version capable of making purchases anywhere (Amex) must be submitted in person at a Macy’s location. We nevertheless recommend making that trek if your credit score is good or excellent. You see, the Macy's Credit Card requires better credit for approval than the Macy's Store Card, but it also offers better ongoing perks that ensure your plastic will be rewarding beyond the first purchase, even if you use it only at Macy’s.
With that being said, this review will discuss both Macy’s credit cards, noting differences in their terms wherever applicable. After all, they share some of their best traits, such as 20% discount on your first purchase and no annual fee. And it’s fair to say that anyone interested in either card is likely fond of the retailer whose name both bear.
But both also have faults, including a lack of low intro rates and a high APR, so make sure to continue reading below to get the full scoop on both offers, including how they compare to other popular retailer-affiliated plastic.
- Up To $100 Off First Purchase: You will receive a 20% discount on purchases at a Macy’s store or on Macys.com for two days after account approval, with the savings being applied to your account as a statement credit. Note, however, that discount cannot exceed $100. That means only purchases of $500 or less will benefit from the discount. What’s more, you’re only eligible to receive this rebate if you’re immediately approved for an account upon applying. If “further processing” is required, you’re out of luck.
- Up To 5 Points Per $1 Spent: After the first-purchase discount, the rewards you'll glean from the Macy's Store Card will be in the form of “Star Money” going from 2 to 5 points per $1 spent at Macy’s, depending on your annual spend. Points are worth $0.01 each in Macy’s fare. Once you accumulate 1,000 points, a $10 Star Money reward will be issued. You will also periodically receive Star Money bonus days, a surprise birthday offer and other such gifts. But that’s it — a fact that makes the store card considerably less valuable for long-term users. With the American Express, you will get 3 points per $1 at restaurants, 2 points per $1 at gas stations and supermarkets and 1 point per $1 everywhere else.
- Access To Special Promotions: Regardless of whether you have the Macy's Credit Card or the Macy's Store Card, you will receive three to 12 Star Passes per year, depending on how much you spend. A single purchase qualifies you for three, while spending at least $500 gets you six and crossing the $1,200 mark scores you 12. A Star Pass is basically a discount code redeemable on certain Macy’s purchases, but you can receive them only if you’re signed up to receive Macy’s marketing mail and if your account is in good standing. Macy's Amex cardholders also have access to additional benefits, such as exclusive travel deals and savings on dining and shopping.
- No Annual Fee: Neither Macy’s credit card charges an annual fee, but this is perhaps most important as it relates to the store card. It’s definitely not going to be your everyday spending vehicle, for one thing, and people generally don’t like paying for situational plastic. The store card also is available to people with less-established credit and who tend not to have money to throw around.
- Very High Regular APR: Both the Macy’s Amex and store card have a regular APR of 25.24% (V). For context, the average APR for “good credit” credit cards is 19.28%, and the store-card average is 24.06%, according to WalletHub’s latest Credit Card Landscape Report.
You should therefore strive to always pay your Macy’s credit-card bill in full, regardless of which version you get. That shouldn’t be too big of a sacrifice, though, considering that high-end clothing and accessories purchases are not debt-worthy necessities.
- No 0% Purchase Financing: Many credit cards, including store-affiliated plastic, offer reduced introductory financing rates on new purchases and/or balance transfers. Neither Macy’s card provides either. In fact, balance transfers aren’t allowed at all.
This isn’t the worst thing in the world, considering the types of goods that Macy’s sells (primarily clothing and accessories) and the fact that many store-card financing deals come with a sneaky feature known as “deferred interest,” anyway. But the lack of low introductory interest rates is certainly not a positive feature, either.
Other Things To Consider
- In-Store Application Process: As already mentioned, you have to apply for the American Express version of the Macy’s credit card in person. This most certainly is not the norm for retailers that offer both a network-branded credit card and a store card. In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true, as you often have to apply for a store card in person in order to get a certain first-purchase discount.
- 3% Foreign Transaction Fee: American Express’ relatively limited worldwide acceptance and the largely domestic presence of Macy’s are far from a dream combination for international travelers, so this card’s 3% foreign transaction fee isn’t likely to affect most users. They’re simply not going to seek out such unfavorable terms. But the fee should serve as a reminder to keep the Macy's Amex in your wallet the next time you do travel abroad or make a purchase through an international merchant.
- No Smart Chip: This shouldn’t amount to anything more than a minor inconvenience, at worst, considering all credit-card users are guaranteed not to be held responsible for unauthorized transactions. It all comes down to whether you feel the failure to adopt the latest security features indicates other shortcomings, or at least a greater potential for them.
Compared To The Competition
Macy’s plastic has a lot of competition in terms of both store-branded credit cards and cards that will save you money no matter where you shop. To help you make an informed decision about what’s best for your wallet, we compared the Macy's Store Card — the version you can apply for online — to some of its most notable foes in both of those categories, including its Amex sibling.
Macy's Store Card
Target Credit Card
Saks Fifth Avenue Store Card
Neiman Marcus Store Card
|Rewards Bonus||20% discount||$40||10% discount||5,000 points|
|Rewards Rate||2 points / $1||5% Cash Back||2 - 6 points / $1||2 points / $1|
|Purchase Intro APR||N/A||N/A||0% for 12 months||N/A|
|Transfer Intro APR||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Regular APR||25.24% (V)||22.9% (V)||23.99% (V)||25.49% (V)|
|Editors' Rating||3.0 / 5||5.0 / 5||3.5 / 5||N/A|
|Details, Rates & Fees||Learn More||Learn More||Learn More||Learn More|