Shopping Cart Trick
The shopping cart trick can help you if you have bad credit, let’s talk about how to actually do it. But first, a big fat disclaimer: there’s no guarantee that these steps work every single time.
Readers have had better luck with some store cards than others, and it may take a few tries to get the right offer to pop up while you’re online. Use your own best judgment and don’t be afraid to try more than once if it doesn’t work the first time. Now let’s get to it.
Don’t Opt Out of Credit Card Offers
Before you do anything at all, make sure you haven’t opted out of receiving prescreened offers from credit card companies. This would have been done either through 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or www.optoutprescreen.com.
The opt-out service allows you to stop receiving pre-approval credit card offers in the mail and over the phone. While it can be annoying to get all of that junk mail, being able to receive those prescreened offers is an integral part of the shopping cart trick.
If you haven’t manually opted out, then you’re good to go in pursuing the shopping cart trick. If you have opted out, it’s easy to opt back in by visiting the website or calling the phone number. You can always opt back out once you’ve been approved for one or more credit cards so that your mailbox isn’t cluttered with unwanted offers.
Disable Pop-up Blockers
The next step to successfully use the shopping cart trick is to disable any pop-up blocker or ad blocker you have on your Internet browser. The shopping cart trick relies on the retail website sending you a pre-approval credit card offer while you’re attempting to checkout online.
If you have any type of blocker activated, then you won’t receive a credit card offer at the appropriate stage — even if you qualify for one! So go ahead and disable it. You can simply turn it back on when you’re done using the shopping cart trick.
Clear Your Browser History
Right before you visit your chosen store’s website (we’ll give you a list of eligible stores in a little bit), be sure to clear your browser history. This includes wiping your cache and cookies.
To do this, simply find your browser settings in your menu bar, then select “History.” Alternatively, you can simply hit the CTRL button and H to reach the same page.
Next, click on “Clear Browsing Data” and select the following options: Browsing History, Download History, Cached Images and Files, and Cookies and Other Site Data.
If you want to skip all of those steps and you use Google Chrome as your web browser, you can also use an Incognito Window. You can find this option in your browser settings as well, or just click CTRL + Shift + N. Then you don’t have to worry about any browsing history interrupting your shopping cart trick.
Apply for Credit Card Through Store Website
Now it’s time to get down to business. Use the list below to find a store from which you’d like a retail credit card. You can create an account if you don’t already have one, or you can choose to go through the steps as a guest. It’s up to you.
Next, add a few items to your shopping cart — don’t worry, you’re not actually going to buy them. Pick a few items rather than one large item, and shoot for about $100 worth of merchandise. Once you’ve window shopped, head to the checkout page.
From here, you’ll actually start to fill out your billing information as if you were going to buy the items. Don’t click the purchase or submit button. The whole point here is to wait for a credit card offer to pop up while you’re filling out the page.
For the best chance of receiving an offer, fill in your data slowly and don’t use any autofill text. If you don’t get an offer to pop up, change things up in your shopping cart and try a few more times. It might just take the winning combination for your efforts to pay off.
Look for Offers that Don’t Use Full SSN
Once you receive your credit card offer, the pop-up will likely offer you a percentage discount on your purchase when you sign up for the card. Click on the button that allows you to accept the offer.
You’ll then be taken to a separate page to apply for the credit card. This is the final test to see if the shopping cart trick has worked. If the page just asks for the last four digits of your social security number, then it probably won’t result in a hard pull on your credit report.
If, however, you are required to enter in all seven digits of your social security number, the application will likely result in a hard pull on your credit report. At that point, it’s best to abort mission so you don’t rack up several inquiries. You can always try again at another website to see if you get different results.
What credit cards are eligible for the shopping cart trick?
Once you know how the shopping cart trick works, it’s time to decide which online stores you want to try out. Most retail cards that come through Comenity Bank work, plus some cards from Synchrony and Wells Fargo.
Again, there’s no absolute guarantee that the trick will work every time, but it only takes a few minutes to get to where you know if it does or not. Here’s a comprehensive listing of retail store credit cards from each bank that may not require a credit check with your application.
Comenity Bank Retail Store Cards
Synchrony Retail Store Cards
Wells Fargo Retail Store Cards
How do retails store cards affect your credit?
Before you start opening multiple credit cards from your favorite stores, take a few minutes to think about how these new accounts can affect your credit — for better and for worse. Like any new credit card, a new store card lowers the overall age of your credit accounts.
The older your accounts are, the better your score fares in the “length of credit history” category, which accounts for 15% of your overall credit score. You also now know that if you don’t avoid a hard pull, those inquiries can eat away at your score as well.
Additionally, it’s important to think about why you have bad credit in the first place. If it’s from overspending and burdensome debt, then you might want to rethink opening even more credit cards. But if you’re committed to rebuilding your credit over the long term, a fresh account does have some benefits.
If you pay off your balance in full each month, it can lower your credit utilization ratio. Additionally, those on-time monthly payments can help your credit score, since your payment history accounts for 35% of that important number.