What Are Store Credit Cards?
These cards are a subtype of regular credit cards. Store credit cards are given out by many major retail chains all around the world. Attaining this card from your preferred store would put you in the beneficial line of receiving various kinds of discounts, privileges, and surprise offers.
You will, however, have to incur an amount of interest that will come with the many advantages you will be entitled to receiving. If you have a plastic store card of any retail outlet, you will be treated as a loyalty member amongst the other customers and will be the first one to know about the upcoming sales or special offers.
The Difference between a Credit Card and a Store Credit Card
It may be hard to believe, but the basic idea of the globally loved credit cards was taken root back in the day from store credit. There weren’t individual cards for this kind of thing back then, but suppliers and retailers used to give their most loyal and trusted customers the advantage of buying products on credit that they would then be able to pay off later over a pre-decided period.
But, now that there are many different types of credit cards, it can be confusing for many at times as to where does the line of difference lies among the many. Here is the breakdown between retail credit cards and regular credit cards:
|Credit Cards||Store Credit Cards|
|A single credit card can be used at various outlets. In fact, you can buy anything with it as long as the retailer/restaurant accepts payment via credit cards.||Store credit cards are shop specific and can only be used at the retailer that issued the card to you. For example, a Toys R Us card cannot be used at an American Eagle outlet.|
|Credit cards have a relatively (and considerably), lower APR rate than a store credit card.||Their interest and APR rates can go as high as 30%.|
|You may be offered cash back options in the form of fuel points or other benefits.||These cash backs can be redeemed in the form of other products from the retail outlet that issued the card.|
They might look the same at times and may even have the same issuers (Visa, Master Card, etc.in order to) but their functionality is entirely different. Where many membership club cards may disguise themselves as credit cards (regular or store credit), they are NOT. If you are seriously considering opting for a retailer credit card, try to acquire as many minute details you can about each one and then compare avail the best deal.
SHOULD You Get One?
What is the best thing about getting a retail credit card? You can obtain it with a bad credit score. If your credit score is so low that you cannot walk into a bank without feeling a little insecure, acquiring a store card should be a piece of cake for you.
The first thought that completely overwhelms our brains before applying for a retailer credit card is the incredible amount of discounts you would be getting after getting yourself that shiny new card. Most of the time, we go for the card without taking into account all of its potential implications. If your intention is not to abuse the array of benefits you will be receiving, then, by all means, go ahead and get it. But in any case, you suffer from the constant need to shop at your utmost convenience, then halt all your breaks right now.
The procedure to make the right decision is further confused by the variety of retailer credit card options you will find out there. Usually, retailers offer cards that are supported by Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.
What Should You Ask Yourself BEFORE Getting a Store Card
Only after you have answered these questions successfully can you make a final decision regarding the store card. Doing this BEFORE getting your hands on the card is smarter because AFTER you get the card, you will be blinded by the overbearing advantages it brings into your life.
- First of all, the biggest influence on your decision to choose the card depends on the introductory offer they’re making. Consider this as the stepping stone to further investigation. Some stores offer one-day purchase offers that can only be availed on the first say of your card issuance.
At times, these offers come with spending limits. For example, if you are being offered 10% off, the proposal would state that the discount would be applicable on purchases that are$50 or less. Meaning that if you’re buying a bunch of products for $50, you’re only saving about $5, which does not seem like much of a difference. Whereas, if the offer states that your 10% discount can be availed on purchases made of the amount $1000, this would entitle you with an overall saving of $200. Now, that’s a discount worth considering, isn’t it?
- How well does their reward system work? Every retailer credit card has a kind of reward or cash-back system in place. Find out how each one works. DO you get a real cash-back benefit, or a point system is in place that will enable you to buy more products from the same store? The one major attraction regular credit cards lack. Go for the ones that offer at least 3-5% of your purchase amount.
- Rewards are great, but what other benefits is the store offering? The ideal retailer credit card should entitle you to benefits other than the points and rewards. Like free shipping, or frequent coupons that let you have discounts on different purchases.
- Don’t forget the interest rate! The one factor that you forget to consider when getting yourself a credit card of any sort. But don’t fool yourself – it’s the most important one. The reality will take effect when the shining new craze of having amazing discounts fades away. And it will, at some point, that’s when you will start regretting choosing a card with a higher than the most interest rate. Determine the standard interest rate according to the market and go for the one that you wouldn’t mind incurring for prolonged periods of time.
- Are you a regular at the retailer you’re trying to acquire the credit card? Okay, it has fantastic offers and discounts, but do you visit the shop frequently? Or you’re going for the card just because it seems like a good idea momentarily? You may get yourself a store
- credit card, incur the interest every month, but visit it once in every two months. That isn’t a smart move. Watch out for the seasonal sale instead of investing your energy into the process of getting a store credit card.
- It’s less likely that you’re less than prestigious credit score will become a hindrance between you and the eternal glory of a store credit card, but it doesn’t hurt to check. After you determine your current state of credit score, you need to analyze whether having a store card would improve the score or worsen it. If your chosen card can make things worse, pick a different one.
There is something you should always remember and live by having a credit card of any kind should be your choice, and not influenced by pressure caused by other people around you. You will be facing the interest situation all on your own, so why consider what other people are saying or expecting you to do? In any case, getting a store credit card should be saving you money instead of becoming a burden on your monthly budget. So, choose wisely.
Never apply for multiple retailer credit cards all at once. It may seem appealing because you can get your hands on so many amazing discounts all at once and save hundreds of dollars in a single shopping spree. But think about it, it can put a big fat dent in your credit score, and who would want that? Refrain from impulse purchases.
Pros and Cons of Store Credit Cards
Hello! The mind-blowingly amazing discounts that you can snag! Most retailers offer regular discounts for their cardholders in addition to the sign-up offers and discounts you may get when you first get the card. The introductory offers are mostly set up to make the card look more desirable, but that doesn’t change the fact that you will, indeed, be benefiting from the offers.
They’re great around the holidays. With the amount of personal shopping, decorations, and food, you need to take care of buying presents for the family. All of that can’t happen on one month’s salary, can it? Shop credit cards let that worry off your chest and you can keep everyone happy at once – with the added incentive of saving a lot of time.
Nothing is all good or all bad. When it comes to monetary “pros”, the hidden costs are usually what get you in the end. As far as shop credit cards are concerned, they are widely popular for their high-interest rates. A detail you seem to overlook when you were applying for the card. The discounts may sound eye-popping at first, but the interest you’d be paying for it at the end of the month might overshadow the temporary savings you made a few purchases.
Abuse it, and you can bid farewell to the possibility of gaining a good credit score. One of the reasons why it’s so easy to get a store credit card without having a good credit history is because the card itself damages the score. As appealing as it may seem, do not apply for a store credit card if you are in the hopes of trying to improve your credit score, forget about these cards.
Store credit cards are a fantastic help during the holidays so that you can maintain the tradition to shower your loved ones with seasonal gifts. But relying on these cards to get you good deals is not very helpful. It’s a good idea to get one of these cards if you’re in search of a temporary push. Remember to choose cards that offer different deals and packages instead of offers that most retailers offer.
5 Best Store Credit Cards for the Year 2016
Purchase Introductory APR: 0% for the first six months
Regular APR: 26.99%
Bonus: 15% discount
Reward system: 2 points/$1 spent
No annual fee!
Regular APR: 25.24%
Bonus: 10% discount
Reward system: 2 points/$1 purchase
Purchase Introductory APR: 0% for the first 26 months
Regular APR: 26.99%
Bonus: 15% discount
Reward system: 1 point/$ 1 purchase
Additional benefits: When your membership reaches gold or platinum, you receive extra reward points and offers to celebrate your status change.
Regular APR: 25.24%
Bonus: 15% discount
Reward system: 0.04 points/$1 purchase
Additional benefits: special 20% discount on your birthday and they hold quarterly special events for cardholders.
Regular APR: 24.24%
Bonus: 105 discount
Reward system: $0.05/gallon
Additional benefits: You save 5₵ on every gallon you purchase at Meijer Gas Stations.
The last thing you do before getting your hands on a store credit card takes your time to read the terms and conditions stated in the contract. The best store credit card will offer you a reasonable and affordable interest rate, hence prolonging your loyalty period to them. You can apply for these cards online or in person, depending on your preference. But the most important thing you need to make sure after acquiring any credit card is that you have a plan in place to make the repayments on time. Use them wisely and you’ve hit gold; abuse them, and you’ll find yourself buried under mounds of credit. So handle your store credit cards with proper care. Please bookmark this site at www.creditcardblogworld.com