How do you use the shopping cart trick to get a new credit card?


Suppose your credit history is not so stellar and credit inquiries only make things worse. Serious credit inquiries can stay on your credit report for about two years and can negatively affect your credit score. Soft credit inquiries generally won’t affect your credit score.

The difference between hard and soft credit applications

Hard credit inquiries are also known as hard credit checks or hard draws and typically occur when financial institutions check your credit to make a loan decision regarding your creditworthiness. Typically, you need to allow them.

On the other hand, soft credit inquiries, also known as soft credit checks or soft withdrawals, occur when a person’s credit is pulled – sometimes without their permission – to see if they qualify for certain credit card offers. credit.

Why should you try the shopping cart trick?

Stores typically require soft credit applications for customers to get their credit cards approved when shopping with them online, but it’s hard to know for sure.

To avoid difficult credit inquiries, some shoppers have successfully used the online shopping cart trick as well as shopping in person at stores. Keep reading to find out what the shopping cart trick is, how to use it, and if you could try it yourself.

What is the shopping cart trick?

The shopping cart trick is a technique shoppers use to get pre-approved for credit card offers when checking out on a store’s website. This method could be considered an unconventional way to get a new credit card, as not all online retailers offer it.

How to use the shopping cart trick

The shopping cart trick is actually easy to use, but you might want to prepare the following before you start.


  1. Be sure to accept pre-approved credit offers by providing your personal information and preferences on This website is the official Consumer Reporting Industry location for accepting or rejecting firm offers of credit or insurance.
  2. Remove pop-up blockers from your web browser. Pop-up blockers prevent annoying and unwanted pop-up windows (usually advertisements) from appearing on your computer screen.

Start shopping and use the shopping cart trick

  1. Log on to a website where you like to shop and want to apply for a store credit card.
  2. Find the items you want to buy and add them to your cart. The goal is usually to add at least $100 worth of merchandise to your order.
  3. Proceed to checkout, but do not click to purchase the items.
  4. Instead, enter your billing information and you should see the store’s credit card offer pop-up.
  5. If the offer does not appear immediately, continue shopping and add more items to your cart.
  6. Repeat the payment process until the offer appears.
  7. If you still don’t receive the credit card offer pop-up after several attempts, clear your browser history and cookies.
  8. Try again using an incognito web browser.
  9. When you see the credit card offer, click on the pop-up window and complete the application. Accept the offer only if it does not require your full social security number. If they need your full social security number, exit the app.
  10. Enter the last four digits of your social security number, then go ahead and complete the application.
  11. Once approved, you will be redirected to the payment page.
  12. Cancel the purchase and wait to receive your new store credit card in the mail.

Who should use the shopping cart trick?

For those with less than stellar credit, the shopping cart trick can offer a chance to apply for some of the more lucrative offers or the best bank credit cards that are often difficult to get approved. A few examples are the Citi Double Cash Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, and American Express Gold Card, so you might want to try your hand.

If you have exceptional (800-850), very good (740-799), or even good (670-739) credit, then applying for a store credit card using the shopping cart trick is probably not for you.

Why the shopping cart trick might be a good option:

  • You have several inquiries on your credit report
  • You have a fair (580-669) or bad (300-579) credit score
  • You have no credit history or a negative credit history
  • You filed for bankruptcy

Advantages and disadvantages of using the shopping car trick

Find out what some of the pros and cons of using this trick are and how it might affect your particular situation.


  • You’re probably already shopping at many stores that allow the shopping cart trick, which means you can also take advantage of loyalty discounts, coupons, and other promotional offers.
  • If it works, you can potentially improve your credit score.
  • Approval is more likely because the credit card issuer will not see your full credit history on your application.
  • You can avoid pulling on your credit report.
  • You can add a permanent good account to your credit file.


  • The new store card will still appear on your credit report and temporarily lower your credit score.
  • You may be pre-approved for a store credit card, but the shopping cart trick may not work to get you fully approved.
  • Avoiding a hard credit draw is not guaranteed.
  • You might forget to opt out of pre-approved credit card offers and find your mailbox full of junk mail in the near future.
  • You should also remember to re-enable your pop-up blocker to prevent unwanted pop-ups from taking up space on your computer screen.

Does the shopping cart trick really work?

If an online shopping credit card offer pop-up requires you to enter your full social security number, this is most likely a hard credit request, which you want to avoid.

Which companies are compatible with the purchasing card trick?

Three major companies offer credit cards compatible with the buy-card trick: Comenity, Synchrony, and Wells Fargo. Many stores offer credit cards issued by these entities. Some popular stores include:

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create accurate, unbiased and up-to-date content. We check every stat, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to ensure that the information we provide is correct. You can read more about GOBankingRates processes and standards in our Editorial Policy.

About the Author

Kathy Evans is a freelance personal finance writer and entrepreneur with a background in technical writing and instructional systems design. She has a master’s degree in technical writing and information design and is currently a doctoral student in instructional technology at Towson University. Through her experience working in the federal government as well as the business and non-profit industries, she has focused her freelance writing on finance, investing, and economic content with a specialization in budget coaching.

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Peggy P. Gilmore