The Verdict: Like most major retailers, Nordstrom offers two credit cards: one that can be used to make only Nordstrom purchases and another that works pretty much anywhere plastic is accepted. However, you cannot simply choose the version you want and apply for it directly. All applicants are first considered for the more restrictive version, the Nordstrom Store Card, whereas those with good credit and “who make frequent purchases at Nordstrom,” according to the store’s website, are offered an upgrade to the Nordstrom Credit Card.
The application and approval process therefore seems both vague and a bit subjective, but this ultimately shouldn’t impact you too much. Both the Nordstrom Store Card and its Nordstrom Credit Card counterpart offer a $40 rebate on any purchase made the day of account opening. Both also provide 3 points per $1 spent (at Nordstrom and its subsidiaries), which translates to 3% back. Every 2,000 points you earn are worth a $20 gift certificate. Plus, you’ll get at least $100 in free alterations, at least one “triple-points day” and a variety of additional perks corresponding to how much you spend. Last but not least, neither card charges an annual fee.
The only thing the Visa really gets you is the ability to earn an additional 1 point per $1 spent on non-Nordstrom purchases, which isn’t too big of a deal given that 1 point per $1 is merely what the average rewards card provides. As a result, it shouldn’t really matter which version you get, as long as you like Nordstrom and are comfortable carrying more than one credit card (since neither is likely to be your everyday spending vehicle).
With that being said, we’ll explore both of these offers in greater detail below, including why you shouldn’t use them to carry a balance and how they compare to other notable retail-affiliated plastic.
- $40 Initial Bonus: Shopping at Nordstrom the day you are approved for an account will automatically earn you a $40 gift certificate, sent to you in the mail. And who doesn’t want to get paid $40 for a purchase that would probably be made anyway?
- 3 Points Per $1 Spent At Nordstrom: No matter which Nordstrom card you get, you will earn 3 points per $1 in purchases at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Nordstrom.com, NordstromRack.com, HauteLook and Nordstrom catalogs. Each time you accrue 2,000 points (i.e., every $1,000 you spend), you will automatically receive a $20 gift certificate in the mail. The certificates expire after one year.
- Early Access To Sales & Other Perks: As a cardholder, you will be able to take advantage of the great deals offered during Nordstrom’s annual anniversary sale before the general public. That’s great news for any Nordstrom-loving deal hunter who would rather not fight over on-sale items.
You will also be assigned to a particular rewards “level,” depending on how much you spend at Nordstrom each year. Below you can find the thresholds and corresponding perks for each level.
|Level||Annual Nordstrom Spending||Free Alterations||Triple Point Days||Exclusive Holiday Experience||Biannual “Extraordinary Experiences”||VIP In-Store Events|
|1||$0-$1,999||Up to $100||One||NO||NO||NO|
|2||$2,000-$4,999||Up to $200||Two||YES||NO||NO|
|3||$5,000-$9,999||Up to $300||Three||YES||YES||NO|
- No Annual Fee: Most retailer-affiliated credit cards do not charge an annual fee, which means this particular perk isn’t unique. But the absence of such a charge is clearly preferable to the presence of one. This makes it easier to justify having a credit card that you don’t use every day and enables cost-effective credit building.
No 0% Intro Financing For New Purchases: Neither Nordstrom credit card will help you save money on big-ticket purchases that you cannot pay for in full within a single billing period. One of the main reasons for that is the lack of a 0% introductory rate for new purchases. Any balance that you carry from month to month will instead accrue interest at the card’s regular rate.
Other Things To Consider
- Potential For A Reasonable Regular APR: Depending on your overall creditworthiness, you could be assigned an APR of 25.9% (V) with the store-only Nordstrom card. Nevertheless, this is not a reason to carry a balance from month to month. Doing so still will be expensive, just not as expensive as it would be with many other cards.
- Assorted Visa Cardholder Benefits: If you get approved for the Nordstrom Credit Card, you will have access to benefits such as rental-car insurance, travel accident insurance, and a 24/7 concierge.
- Balance Transfers Not Allowed: Like many other store-affiliated credit cards, neither Nordstrom card allows users to transfer existing balances from other plastic. They therefore won’t help you reduce the cost of amounts already owed or help you reach debt freedom faster, if either of those is your goal.
Compared To The Competition
Nordstrom Store Card
Saks Fifth Avenue Store Card
Neiman Marcus Store Card
Macy's Store Card
|Rewards Bonus||$40||10% discount||5,000 points||20% discount|
|Rewards Rate||3 points / $1||2 - 6 points / $1||2 points / $1||2 points / $1|
|Purchase Intro APR||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Transfer Intro APR||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Regular APR||25.9% (V)||23.99% (V)||25.49% (V)||25.24% (V)|
|Editors' Rating||N/A||3.5 / 5||N/A||3.0 / 5|
|Details, Rates & Fees||Learn More||Learn More||Learn More||Learn More|