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I got my first ever credit card nearly ten years ago, before I even really knew what a credit card was. I was doing some shopping, and a Macy’s cashier convinced me that I should apply for a new card to get a discount on my purchase (I think it was around 30% off).
I got the discount and went on my way feeling pretty happy, because money was tight and I spent less than expected. But I wasn’t exactly sure what I had gotten myself into. I paid off my purchase almost immediately by phone and ended up forgetting all about the card, never using it again — I’m not sure if I even activated it after receiving it in the mail.
My Macy’s card didn’t do much for me beyond the initial discount, but you may find more value from one of Macy’s credit card offers. There are two different cards available: the Macy’s Credit Card and Macy’s American Express® Card. Both of these cards are issued by Department Stores National Bank (the latter card isn’t issued by Amex, even though it has “American Express” in its name).
The basic Macy’s Credit Card can only be used for Macy’s purchases, while the Amex card can be used anywhere Amex is accepted.
These cards have no annual fees, and the more you spend with them each year, the higher your Macy’s status will get and the better the perks will be. New cardholders start at the Silver level, before progressing to Gold and then Platinum. There are no spending rewards, except for the highest status tier which provides 5% back in rewards for Macy’s purchases.
Frequent Macy’s shoppers may find these cards useful, but we’ve received a massive number of complaints about them from cardholders. Most of the problems are about billing and payment processing, with people finding unexpected interest charges or late fees, along with customer support issues.
In this review we discuss how to use the cards effectively and potentially mitigate some of those problems, but if you’re very concerned about damaging your finances or credit you may want to just stay away from them altogether.
We give both the Macy’s Credit Card and Macy’s American Express Card 2 out of 5 Stars. Although these cards can provide some valuable Macy’s discounts, there are no spending rewards for basic members and we’ve received a lot of complaints about them.
The Macy’s cards could be good for frequent shoppers, but if you only stop by Macy’s occasionally you’d probably get more value out of a different card instead. Take a look at some of our alternative options below.
We’ve heard from a number of reader who said Macy’s contacted them about their accounts being upgraded from the store-only version of the card.
We’re not sure if Macy’s will allow you to decline an upgrade, but we recommend you call the phone number on the back of your card to ask them. If you decide you do not want the American Express card after your account has been upgraded you can always close the account, but keep in mind the impact that will have on your credit scores.
You can apply for the Macy’s Credit Card and Macy’s American Express Card in-store or online.
When submitting your application online you’ll actually be applying for both cards; if approved for both, you’ll be able to choose which one you want. People with worse credit may only be approved for the Macy’s Credit Card.
Yes. If you already have the regular Macy’s card and want to upgrade to the Macy’s American Express Card, you can call customer service to apply for an upgrade. This may result in a hard inquiry on your credit reports.
Some Macy’s Credit Cardholders may also receive an offer to upgrade. Macy’s terms give the impression that if you don’t manually decline this offer, you’ll automatically be upgraded to the Macy’s American Express.
Macy’s states that your account history should transfer over on your credit reports, keeping the same account age and payment history but taking on a new name. And it also states that any login details and payment allocations previously made will transfer over to the new card as well.
However, some card users report that their automatic payments did not transfer over to their new accounts, causing them to be late. If you upgrade to the Amex version be sure that your payment information transfers correctly. It’s also possible that Macy’s will open up a new account that does show up as new on your credit reports, rather than continuing the old account.
You can pay your bill in four different ways:
We recommend making payments online because it’s usually the easiest method.
To make an online payment:
You can set up autopay to help ensure that your payments arrive on time, which we recommend doing. This is especially important with these cards, because many people report issues with payment processing that result in residual interest and late fees.
To set up autopay for these cards, after completing step 2 above click the “Enroll in AutoPay” link. Then you’ll be able to input your bank account information.
You can pay for your Macy’s card in-store at a register, using cash, check, or debit card.
|Macy’s Credit Card Customer Support||Hours|
|Monday–Saturday: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST
The Macy’s Credit Card payment phone numbers are the same numbers given above for general customer support.
To pay by mail, you can use the mailing address on this page that’s appropriate for your particular card.
The basic Macy’s Credit Card can only be used at Macy’s, Macy’s Backstage, and macys.com. Cards like these, which can only be used at their co-branded stores, are known as closed-loop or private label credit cards.
The Macy’s American Express card can be used at Macy’s and also anywhere that American Express is accepted. General-use cards like these, which can be used anywhere their affiliated card networks are accepted, are known as open-loop cards.
If you already have an online profile at macys.com, you can add your cards to make things easier at checkout time. And if you have both the regular Macy’s Credit Card and the Macy’s American Express Card, you can add both of them to your account.
You’ll need to know:
Once you have all that information, you’re ready to go.
Some people report being charged $2 in interest for these cards, and are confused about why this charge was applied. At first glance this may seem like a minor problem for other people, but this is an important aspect of most credit cards that could have significant effects on your credit.
The minimum interest charge for both of the Macy’s cards is $2. When you carry a balance from one month to the next on your card you’ll be charged interest at a very high rate of 27.24% Variable; if your interest charge would be less than $2, it’s automatically increased to $2.
In some cases, people say they paid off the entire card but were still charged interest. This is usually because of something called residual interest, or trailing interest. Given the number of people who report this issue, however, it also seems possible that there’s some kind of problem with the payment processing system for these cards.
Residual interest charges can occur if you carry a balance from month to month, accruing interest as you go. Say you get your monthly statement, and see that a particular balance is due. You pay your bill a week after your statement closing date.
The key here is that the balance will continue to accrue interest during the week it takes you to make the payment. That extra interest, applied during the time between when you get your bill and when you actually pay it, is known as residual interest.
Even if your interest charge was just 5¢, it will be increased to the minimum of $2. This is why some people see $2 charges even after it seems like they’ve paid off the card completely.
Residual interest might seem like a small annoyance, but it can actually turn into a major problem when these charges go unnoticed. If you don’t pay off that charge, as small as it is, it will start to accrue interest itself, and then you’ll get late fees for not paying it; eventually the card issuer can report your account as late to the credit bureaus, which will have a massive negative effect on your credit scores.
You can learn more about residual interest here.
Residual interest can easily be avoided by paying the card’s statement balance in full each month from the start of card membership. Doing so will let you completely avoid accruing interest on purchases because of your card’s grace period, which is an interest-free period between the statement closing date and the billing due date.
You’ll lose that grace period by carrying a balance on your card, which is how residual interest can happen; you can get your grace period back by paying off the entire outstanding card balance, including any residual interest, rather than just the statement balance.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
All cardholders will get the intro bonus described above, but basic cardholders won’t earn any spending rewards at Macy’s for normal purchases made with these cards. However, there are occasional Star Money Days during which all cardholders can earn quite a few points per dollar.
These cards only earn regular spending rewards at Macy’s if you raise your member status to Platinum by spending $1,200 or more at Macy’s with either Macy’s card in a calendar year. That will give you 5% back in rewards for Macy’s purchases when spending with your card.
You’ll receive your rewards in the form of Star Money rewards certificates, which are good for Macy’s purchases.
Your upgrade to Platinum status will occur within 30 days of reaching the spend requirement. It will last for the rest of the year, plus the entire following year.
This is quite a high spending requirement just to be eligible for rewards, and many people probably won’t reach it. That’s why the real value of this card comes from the discounts you’ll get through the benefits.
Although most Macy’s purchases are eligible, certain purchases are excluded from earning 5% back:
The American Express version of the Macy’s card comes with several bonus reward categories that allow you to earn points for purchases outside of Macy’s.
Every 1,000 points is equal to $10 in Star Money, so each point is worth 1 cent.
At 1 cent per point, you’re earning a 3% cash back equivalent at restaurants; a 2% cash back equivalent at gas stations and grocery stores; and a 1% cash back equivalent on all other purchases.
The points you earn with this card will automatically be converted to Star Money rewards as soon as you reach $10 in rewards value (1,000 points).
Take note that Star Money rewards can only be used for eligible Macy’s purchases and expire 30 days after being issued, so you don’t have long to use them. And any points in your account that aren’t used for Star Money rewards will expire after 12 months of no account activity.
Star Money rewards certificates can’t be used for the following purchase types:
The benefits you get from the Macy’s Credit Card and Macy’s American Express will vary depending on your member status. The more you spend, the higher your status and the better your benefits. The higher status levels include all the benefits of the lower levels.
|Status||Annual Spend Requirement||Annual Star Passes||Benefits|
There’s also an even lower level, Bronze, but this is only for non-cardholders. As a Macy’s cardholder you’ll automatically start at the Silver level.
The annual spend requirements above go by the calendar year. After reaching a spend requirement you should be upgraded to a higher status within 30 days. Your new status will last for the rest of the current year, and for the entire following year.
The American Express card also has a few additional perks that don’t come with the basic Macy’s Credit Card, and they’re noted below.
All cardholders will get Star Passes each year, which can be used to get 25% off at Macy’s on any chosen day. Cardholders with higher status will get more Star Passes per year, as shown in the table above.
All cardholders will receive occasional special offers at checkout, event invitations, access to exclusive sales, and more.
All cardholders will receive a special birthday surprise during their birth month. This will probably take the form of a Macy’s discount of some kind.
All cardholders are automatically enrolled in the Star Rewards program, which comes with access to Star Money Days. These are limited-time events during which members can earn points on eligible Macy’s purchases when spending with their credit cards.
During the last Star Money Days period, which was from 12/11 to 12/17, cardholders earned 20X points per dollar at Macy’s. This translates to a 20% cash back equivalent, because each point is worth one cent. Platinum members earned a total of 25X points per dollar (20X from the Star Money Days perk and 5X from the status level).
Points earned are redeemed for Star Money rewards, as described above.
Macy’s cardholders can create Wedding or Commitment registry shopping lists at Macy’s.
The cardholder will get 10% back in rewards for every eligible purchase from the registry that she makes, and 5% back in rewards for every eligible purchase from the registry made by someone else. So you’ll get 10% back for your own purchases, and 5% back for purchases made by other people as gifts to you for your special day.
After your event, you’ll receive a Macy’s Rewards Card for the total amount of rewards earned through the registry.
Cardholders with Gold and Platinum status will get free standard shipping on purchases from Macy’s and macys.com. You must pay with your Macy’s card to get this benefit.
Cardholders with Platinum status will earn 5% back in rewards at Macy’s when paying with their Macy’s cards, as described above.
Macy’s American Express cardholders get a variety of travel perks, provided by the ALTOUR travel service agency.
Visit the Macy’s American Express travel website to learn more and book travel, or call 1-877-476-6077. You must pay with your Macy’s American Express Card to access the benefits. Blackout dates and booking fees may apply.
Macy’s American Express cardholders can access the Amex Offers program, which provides opportunities to save money by earning additional points at a changing selection of retailers.
You must activate each offer you want to use by clicking “Add to Card.” Then you can just use your card as normal, and the savings will automatically be applied as extra rewards on eligible purchases.
In most cases you need to spend a certain amount to get a particular discount. Some of the current offers include:
|Merchant||Need to Spend||Cash Back||Maximum Savings|
|Hampton by Hilton & Hilton Garden Inn||$175||$40||22.85%|
|Saks Fifth Avenue||$250||$50||20%|
Macy’s American Express cardholders have access to presale tickets and reserved seats for concerts and events, when purchasing from ticketmaster.com/amexnetwork.
|Card||Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|Macy's Credit Card||27.24% Variable||Not Available||Not Available|
|Macy's American Express Card||27.24% Variable||Not Available||27.24% Variable|
|Card||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|Macy's Credit Card||$0||Not Applicable||Not Applicable||Not Applicable|
|Macy's American Express Card||$0||3%||Not Applicable||4%, $5 minimum|
|Card||Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|Macy's Credit Card||None||Up to $39||Up to $39|
|Macy's American Express Card||None||Up to $39||Up to $39|
Neither of these cards have an annual fee.
Take note that the basic Macy’s Credit Card can’t be used for balance transfers, cash advances, or foreign transactions. The Macy’s American Express card can’t be used for balance transfers either, but it can be used for cash advances and foreign transactions.
We recommend never taking out cash advances because they have high fees, and interest will begin accruing on them immediately. And if you’re looking for a card for foreign transactions or travel abroad, check out our picks for the Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards.
Both of these cards have a very high purchase APR, so you should aim to pay off your statement balance in full each month to prevent interest from accruing. You can see our instructions above on how to pay the bills for these cards.
You can check the terms for either of these cards yourself:
Your credit limit for the Macy’s Credit Card and Macy’s American Express Card will be determined by your creditworthiness, including your income. You can request a credit limit increase for these cards if you’d like.
To request an increase online:
You can also call customer support to request a credit limit increase: 1-888-257-6757. Business hours for customer support are given in the next section.
|Macy’s Credit Card Customer Support||Business Hours|
|Monday–Saturday: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST
The Macy’s Credit Card payment phone numbers are the same numbers given above.
We’ve received an extremely high number of complaints about both of the Macy’s cards, unfortunately. People are more likely to complain than to give compliments, of course, but we’ve received so many similar reports about slow payment processing and incorrect billing that it seems very likely that there’s a major problem of some kind with the Macy’s cards.
Many people report getting late fees even when their bills were paid, and then having to deal with customer support to get those fees waived. Some people find that those fees were indeed waived, but others keep getting bills for interest and late fees that were supposed to be cancelled.
In other cases people have reported fraudulent charges on their accounts and were told that they would be removed, only to find them appearing again on their next monthly statements. Others say their credit limits were drastically reduced, and, although this is within the rights of the card issuer, it’s not a pleasant customer experience.
Many cardholders grow frustrated and distressed by the poor customer service, and promises of remediation that are never fulfilled. Some stop shopping at Macy’s altogether, an unfortunate outcome for previously loyal customers.
You may be wondering about the Macy’s American Express Card — Amex is known to have relatively good customer service, so what’s up with this card? It’s because this card isn’t actually issued by American Express, despite the name; it’s issued by Department Stores National Bank, which is not known for its good customer service.
If you use a Macy’s card, either the basic store credit card or the American Express version, try to make your payments as early as possible. We suggest setting up autopay for the full statement balance. Consider paying off your card throughout the month, before your monthly statement even arrives, to make sure you get down to a $0 balance by the billing due date. It might be worth checking a day or two later to make sure that your payments actually went through.
If you have an important interaction with customer support, try to get the result in writing. If the agent tells you that a late fee or interest charges will be cancelled, or that fraudulent charges will be removed from your account, try to get some kind of proof. If something goes wrong you’ll be able to refer back to that proof, which should (hopefully) give you more leverage.
The more you spend with these cards, the better your benefits get. If you’re already spending hundreds of dollars per year at Macy’s you may want to take advantage of one of these card offers to get more bang for your buck. These cards get better once you hit the $500 annual spending threshold — will you be spending that much or more with Macy’s this coming year?
However, as we’ve discussed throughout this review, these cards seem to have some serious issues with billing and payment processing. Although you won’t necessarily run into any problems, you are taking on some risk if you use these cards, and you have to weigh that risk against the potential value you can get.
If you feel perfectly confident that you’ll be able to understand the billing system and always get your payments in on time, you may not be worried about those risks. But if you’re not too confident, if you’ve had similar problems in the past, or if you have poor credit, you may not want to gamble on cards like these. A card from a major card issuer (like American Express or Capital One) might be more your style.
To sum up the main differences between these cards:
These cards can be quite useful if you take advantage of all the perks every year, but as we’ve stressed there are some problems on the back end that could turn these cards into nightmares. Check out our alternative card picks below for some other options for shopping at Macy’s and similar stores.
To apply for a Macy’s Credit Card or Macy’s American Express Card you can click either of the Apply Now buttons below. You’ll be taken to Macy’s website to apply.
When submitting your application you’ll actually be applying for both of these cards at the same time. If approved for both, you’ll be able to keep whichever card you wish. Some applicants with worse credit may only be approved for the basic Macy’s Credit Card.
Most applicants will get an instant decision, either approved or denied. In some cases it may take longer to provide a response. If your application is denied you’ll receive an explanation why.
Although the following cards don’t provide any of the Macy’s-specific benefits that come with the Macy’s cards, anyone can become a Bronze-level Macy’s member to get some perks. You can then use your Bronze benefits when shopping with the first two cards below to give you a bit of extra value.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use card that you can pull out for any purchase, this is it. The rewards program is very simple: 2% cash back no matter what you buy, or where.
So this card is pretty good for Macy’s shopping — it’s not as rewarding as the 5% back you can get for being a Macy’s Platinum member, but there’s no spending requirement and it’s more flexible. You won’t get the other benefits that come with a Macy’s card, but you also don’t have to deal with poor customer support and sloppy billing systems, giving you more peace of mind. And, of course, you can become a Macy’s Bronze member to get a few perks along with your 2% cash back.
The Double Cash has a set of above-average benefits for a card without an annual fee, some of which could save you some money.
The Citi Double Cash Card has no annual fee.
This card comes with an excellent offer of 0% APR for 18 months on Balance Transfers. This is one of the longest intro periods on the market for balance transfers, giving you quite a long time to pay off a balance at no interest. After that your regular APR will be 15.49% – 25.49% (Variable).
If you’re carrying a high balance on a Macy’s card, accruing interest at that extreme rate, you could transfer that debt over to the Double Cash and take 18 months on Balance Transfers to pay it off without accruing more finance charges. This strategy will work for any card on which you’re carrying a balance at interest, and could save you a whole lot of money. Be aware of the transfer fee, of 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum..
Read more in our Review of the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Macy’s stores stock a vast array of merchandise, but many of those products can be found at other retailers as well. Some of them offer their own co-branded store cards, which could work out better for you than a Macy’s card.
Amazon is great for one-stop shopping, and if you can find it at Macy’s you can likely find it at Amazon as well. The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card (Review) is great for loyal Amazon customers, although it requires an Amazon Prime membership to use. It’s also made of metal, which many people enjoy.
These are store cards, but they’re issued by Chase so you can expect a better level of customer support and a better billing system than the Macy’s cards.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
Cardholders will earn 5% cash back at Amazon and also at Whole Foods, just as much as a Macy’s Platinum member will earn at Macy’s, but with no spending requirement. So you’re already coming out ahead with this card compared to the Macy’s cards, at least in terms of spending rewards.
If you don’t have Amazon Prime you can get the basic Amazon Rewards card, which is slightly less rewarding for some purchases: 3% cash back at Amazon and Whole Foods Markets. The intro bonus is a bit smaller too ($50 gift card), but the other bonus categories and benefits are the same.
The main focus of the Macy’s cards is on the benefits, rather than on the spending rewards; but with these Amazon cards the situation is reversed. The most valuable features are the spending rewards, and the benefits are less attractive (although some of them are still pretty good).
The Amazon cards don’t come with any Amazon-specific perks, unfortunately, but you will get benefits like a Visa Signature Concierge, which you can call for any non-emergency assistance you might need. There’s the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection, which provides perks for eligible hotel stays. And there’s also a variety of shopping and travel protections.
These cards have no annual fees, apart from the Prime membership requirement for the Prime Rewards card ($119 per year for a standard membership).
Kohl’s is one of America’s favorite department stores, rivaling Macy’s for the frequent discounts and attractive sales. The Kohl's Charge Card (Review) provides cardholders with additional discounts and offers that normal Kohl’s shoppers won’t get, giving you a chance to save quite a bit of money.
Like many store cards, the Kohl’s credit card unfortunately gets quite a few complaints from cardholders. This card may not have quite as many problems as the Macy’s cards, but many people have reported issues with payment processing and customer support. So the same warnings and advice given above for the Macy’s cards also apply here.
The Kohl’s Charge Card does not earn any rewards. However, anyone, including cardholders, can sign up for Kohl’s Yes2You Rewards program, and that program can be used when spending with the card.
The Yes2You Rewards program provides 1X point per dollar for Kohl’s purchases. Each point is worth 5 cents, so you’re getting a cash back equivalent of 5%.
Like the Macy’s cards, the real value of the Kohl’s Charge Card comes from the benefits. Cardholders get an initial 35% discount on a purchase after being approved (the discount value is subject to change). Then, an additional 15% discount will arrive in the mail along with the card.
Cardholders get 12 annual discount mailings, which usually range from 15–30%. And again like the Macy’s cards, you can spend more to raise your Kohl’s member status: Spend just $600 in a calendar year at Kohl’s to become a lifetime MVC (Most Valued Customer). MVCs get 6 additional discount mailings per year, for a total of 18. This is a better type of offer than the Macy’s membership tiers, which only last for the remainder of the current year and the following year.
Charge Card users will also get early notice of special sales and promotional offers, with some offers being exclusive for cardholders. And you won’t need a receipt to return purchases made with the Charge Card.
You’ll be able to combine some of the discounts you get with the Kohl’s credit card with Yes2You Rewards, giving you more opportunities for savings.
Read more in our Review of the Kohl’s Charge Card
Was this review helpful to you? Go ahead and share it with a friend! And if you’ve used one of these cards, leave your own review of the Macy’s Credit Card or Macy’s American Express Card, we’d love to hear from you!
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