August 16, 2022
Shopping Cart Trick

The “Shopping Cart Trick” For Store Credit Cards

Store Credit Cards: You may have found yourself to be in a dire situation, led by a prolonged inability to pay your credit card bills on time, or at all. Delays and non-payment of your credit card bill will lead your credit score to deteriorate faster than you may think!  In fact, you may have come to a point where you had to wind up your credit cards for good! 

An unfavorable credit score can be due to other reasons as well. Filing for bankruptcy, a negative or nil credit history, or too many credit inquiries, will all deplete your chances of obtaining credit in the future. 

This means you have to put up with a life without credit cards and the frustrating ineligibility to get a new one. Soon you’ll find yourself facing two challenges. 

Shopping Cart Trick

shopping cart trick

How to qualify for new credit accounts and how to fix your existing credit? The “Shopping Cart Trick” (or sometimes the “Soft Pull Trick”) is a straightforward strategy to overcome both these challenges. In other words, there are store credit cards for bad credit.   

Shopping Cart Trick Get Credit Cards Without The Hard Pull:

Luckily, it’s easier for you to apply for a retail store credit card than a conventional one (particularly when you have bad credit standing). When applying for a retail store credit card, the card issuer won’t be analyzing your full credit history with your application.

Thus, there will be few steps in the application process and there will be no hard pull on your credit report. This way, you’ll not only have attained a store credit card, but you’ll also have added an account in good standing to your credit report. 

The benefits of opting for retail store-specific credit cards don’t end there. Think about the deals you’ll get from stores you frequent! You’ll get deals like receiving gift certificates from time to time, free merchandise offers (and other promotions), or a certain percentage off on your purchases.

Other perks from store credit cards include exclusive coupons and Deals of sales. In addition to the direct perks, by keeping your store credit card in good standing, you’ll be on your way of avoiding a hard pull on your future credit report.

Some questions we’ll be dealing with through this writeup include: How to actually make the shopping cart trick work? Whether it’s beneficial in rebuilding your finances, given your situation? What is/are: the approval process; the limitations of store credit cards; the credit impact like? How you can avoid a credit pull on your next credit card applications? 

Let’s look at the last question first. It’s important to know exactly why it’s good to avoid hard pulls on your credit report.

Why You Should Avoid Hard Pulls On Your Credit Report?

Although counter-intuitive to some, applying for a new credit card can cause your credit score to drop by several points. This is because of the hard credit inquiry added to your credit reports when lenders check your credit. 

Avoid Hard Pulls On Your Credit Report

A single hard inquiry has a small impact. Yet, many hard inquiries within a short period of time can cause more significant damage to your credit score.

This happens, for example, if you apply to 10 different credit cards thinking one will approve you. In doing so you could be damaging your credit score by between 3 to 5 points per application. As a result, it’s recommended to cut the number of hard inquiries that show up on your reports.

This is where the ‘Shopping Cart Trick’ comes to your rescue. It is a method that works with certain store credit cards. The trick allows you to apply online while skipping the hard inquiry. It helps you deter your credit score from going from bad to worse. It also grants you the much-needed credit you need or want. 

Under the trick, you now have a higher chance of adding a new credit card. Thus, you have the chance to add a positive history to improve your score over time.  The only thing is you need to ensure you pay your monthly bill on time. 

Before tricking your way to new credit, there are certain facts you must master knowing.

Make sure you know How the trick works!

There is no guarantee that the steps outlined below work every single time. You may experience a higher chance of some store cards over others. Patience is the key, as the process entails considerable hit and trial while you’re online waiting for the right offer to pop up.  

Don’t Opt Out Of Pre-screened (pre-approved) Credit Card Offers:

When you opt-out you stop receiving pre-approved credit card offers (by mail or phone). Yet, to receive all such offers is fundamental to the shopping cart trick stores.

If you’re certain you haven’t manually opted out of pre-approved credit card offers, then you can move on to the next step.  If you have opted out in the past, chances are you did so through either calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT or by visiting

You can ‘opt-in’ by visiting and filling in the required personal information, or by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT again. This will not take more than a minute to do. Once you’re approved for a store credit card (or more than one store credit card), you may decide to opt back out again in order to avoid unnecessary offers. 

Disable pop-up Blockers:

Disable pop-up Blockers

Have you blocked pop-up ads on your internet browser? If yes, go ahead and disable any pop-up blocker or ad-blocker you’ve activated. This is the next step to successfully use the shopping cart trick credit cards.

The shopping cart trick works when the website of the retail store sends you a pre-approved credit card offer at the time you check out online.  When you’ve activated any type of pop-up blocker, you won’t receive a credit card offer at the stage it’s meant to be offered (even if you’re qualified).  You can turn the pop-up blocker back on once you’re done with the trick.

Clear your Browser History:

Next, clear your browser history, by wiping out the cache and cookies. This step too is important prior to visit your favorite store’s website.

Clear Browsing Data

Here are the steps to clear browser history:

  • Go to the menu bar and find your browser settings
  • Select “History”, or press the CTRL button and H to reach the same page
  • Click on “Clear Browsing Data”
  • Select the following: Browsing History, Download History, Cached Images and Files, Cookies and Other Site Data.

If you are using Google Chrome as your web browser, you may skip the above steps and alternatively use an Incognito Window.  You can locate this option in your browser settings, or by clicking CTRL + Shift + N. 

By clearing the browser history, you won’t have to worry about your shopping cart trick being interrupted.

Visit the Website Of Your Favorite Shopping Cart Trick Store:

visit Shopping Cart Trick Store

Till now the steps have been to opt-in pre-approved credit card offers, activate pop-ups, and make sure your browser history is clear. The next step is to make sure that you visit your favorite store’s website. Upon visiting the website you’ll have the option to either sign up for an account or sign in as a guest.

The next thing to do is to add a few items to your shopping cart as if you would buy them (although you wouldn’t). Remember, you’re just window shopping! In this step, it’s important to pick a few to several items rather than one large item. 

Ensure you’ve carted merchandise valued at a total of around $100 or so, and head towards checkout. While filling the address field, make sure you fill it exactly matching your address listed in your credit reports.

Once you’re at the checkout stage, do not click the purchase or submit buttons.  Your ultimate aim is to wait for a credit card offer to pop up while you’re filling out the checkout and payment details (basically the billing information). For this reason, it is crucial that you fill in your details slowly without opting for the autofill text choice. Do not click ‘PURCHASE”! 

Even after doing the above, it often happens that no credit card offer comes up. Don’t worry! An offer can still pop-up. Try altering your shopping cart (make changes to your merchandise selection and value). You might have to try this a few times until you achieve success – a credit card offer pops up.

Read More: Anatomy of a Credit Card

Once The Offers pops-up, What Next?

What next after your efforts pay off and you see the credit card offer finally appear on your screen? Make sure to enter your information (name, address, etc.) exactly as displayed on your credit report. At first, you may think you should rush to click on ‘Apply’. But, wait! There’s a catch to knowing whether to apply or not. The catch has to do with the SSN (your social security number). 

Accept only those offers that do not need your full SSN (all nine digits). If a full SSN is being required, this means a hard inquiry is underway. In such a case you must immediately cancel out of the application. As a rule of thumb, only soft credit inquiries should be acceptable to you when applying, not the hard ones.

Your consent to fill in the full SSN authorizes a full credit inquiry. Thus, if the credit card application asks for the last four digits of your SSN, it’s to allow a soft credit inquiry, and you should go ahead with it. 

After getting guaranteed store credit card approval, you do not need to continue with the purchase. At this point, come out of the checkout page by canceling out of the purchase. 

Here’s an example of a Victoria’s secret pre approved store credit card offers:

List of stores offering credit cards eligible for the shopping cart trick:

The shopping cart trick only works on retail stores cards issued by Comenity bank and some cards issued by Synchrony and Wells Fargo. The list in alphabetical order is shown below.

Comenity Bank Retail Store Cards: 

Abercrombie & Fitch



Ann Taylor

J. Crew


Bath & Body Works

Jessica London

Sportsman Guide

Brylane Home




King Size Direct

Victoria’s Secret

Coldwater Creek






Full Beauty


Woman Within


New York & Company



Synchrony Retail Store Cards

Wells Fargo Retail Store Cards





How Will Your Credit Be Affected By Retail Store Cards?

The Credit Impact:

First of all, if you think you won’t be able to pay off your new store credit card’s monthly bills, then don’t apply! That just defeats the purpose of opting for it. Don’t forget that overspending and burdensome debt were previous root causes of your downfall in the credit world.

Your shopping card discipline is reported impacting your credit history.  Comenity bank cards (and all other bank cards) report to the three main credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The reporting is usually done every 30 days on the monthly date specific to your billing cycle.

As explained in the introduction, your aim is to fix your credit report since a new store card lowers the overall age of your credit accounts. So really, this is your chance to fix up your credit score whilst getting that new credit card (store card), which you can no longer get from normal banks and hard pull systems.

Maintain your store accounts for a long long time. The older your accounts are the better your score fares in the “length of credit history” category (15% of overall credit score is attributed to this).  You should also know now that hard pull inquiries chew away the little that’s left of your credit score.

Since 35% of your credit score is attributed to your payment history, you need to ensure you pay off your monthly card dues in full and on time each month. This lowers your credit utilization ratio.

Given below is the breakdown of how your FICO credit score works. Knowledge of this should help you understand how the shopping cart trick could both help and hinder your credit score:


Credit History (15%), Payment History (35%), Utilization (30%), New Credit (10%), Mixed Credit (10%).

Will the shopping cart trick help rebuild your finances, given your situation?

Be more Financially disciplined!

The answer is yes with a disclaimer. You need to resist the temptation to overuse your store card on items you can’t afford. By controlling your spending behavior thus by being disciplined, you can realize financial benefits through qualifying for cards with the shopping cart trick.

You need to begin by only opting for cards from stores you have been frequenting regularly in the past. This way you’ll be making your routine purchases and settling off the balance in full each month and on time. Keep doing this and over time you would attain a positive payment history, without having to spend any extra money.

To make the trick work from the beginning, be strategic from the start. Keep your average age of accounts low by deviating from opening multiple new accounts. Start off with one single new store credit card to test out your behavior initially. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation then quickly close that account.

Closely monitor yourself (rational card selection, sensible purchasing, and disciplined payment behavior) through the stages of the shopping cart trick. This way you’ll prevent credit damage and help improve your credit over time.

Limitations of Store Credit Cards

As mentioned earlier, these cards also report to your personal credit report.  If not managed with discipline they could lower the average age of accounts (lowering your credit history), and further lower your credit score. 

In case the store credit card is your first credit card then you might get a pretty big drop in your credit score.  Yet, the drop will be temporary. If you again start paying your bills in a disciplined manner then in a few months your score will probably bounce back and eventually be in a favorable position.


There are reports the shopping cart trick may be dying off. Many companies (not all) are reportedly resorting to hard pulls even after asking for just the last four digits of your SSN during application. 

There are fewer stores the trick can be successfully applied on. Yet, with a little bit of time and determination,  you can still make things happen.

If you’ve never had a credit card in the past (you have no credit history), for the time being, you can pick up store credit cards with no credit pull. Doing so will build up your credit profile. On the contrary, you can add credit to your profile without incurring a hard pull.

Understanding exactly how the trick could work for or against you as measured by its impact on your credit score will ensure your score doesn’t go for an ultimate hit. 

Tell us about your experiences with the shopping cart trick stores credit cards, in the comments section below.

Read More:

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