You’re at the counter of your favorite shopping haunt. As the cashier rings up your purchases, he/she asks you if you would like to apply for the store’s credit card. Generally, this also will come with a 15% to 20% discount on your purchase if you’re approved. You think, is it worth it? Possibly.
If you frequently find yourself in Target, Walmart or Nordstrom, or clicking items to go into your Amazon shopping cart, applying for a credit card from your favorite store can have you capitalizing on benefits or rewards such as discounts, points, cash back or free shipping. But before you volunteer your social security number and home address, it’s also important to consider some store credit cards do have downsides such as low credit limits and high interest rates.
Pros of store credit cards
Like a student credit card, people who are credit challenged or have no credit history have a higher chance for approval with a store credit card than with a card issued by a financial service institution like American Express. And if you pay off all or most of the balance as you can each month to avoid interest charges, store cards can actually help you improve your credit score. So, make sure you’re paying on time.
Store cards also offer rewards for their shoppers, such as cash off after the accumulation of a certain amount of points or discounts that are exclusive to card holders.
Cons of store credit cards
Store cards in the U.S. can carry with them an APR of 25% or more. This means if you’re not paying off the balance in full or just making minimum payments then you’ll be paying more in interest that you might have initially anticipated.
Credit utilization rate also presents another con for store credit cards because many of these cards have low credit limits. The credit utilization rate is a number that reflects how much of your available credit you’re using. Credit card issuers prefer to see a user’s credit utilization rate around 30%, but if you have a credit limit of $1000 but have made purchases totaling $800, that has driven your credit utilization rate up to 80%.
Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at Gap brands, in store or online, and 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere. $0 annual fee.
Save 20%, receive free shipping on your first purchase and an extra 10% off each time you shop at Gap and Gap Factory stores. Plus. opportunities to earn more loyalty benefits and return purchases without receipts.
Another benefit is this card is an open-loop Visa, which means you can use it anywhere Visa is accepted.
Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas (up to $7000 per year, then 1%) 3% on restaurants and eligible travel purchases, 2% on all other purchases at Costco stores and Costco.com.
One last tip
When looking to apply for a store card, try to select an open loop card. An open loop card is a card that can be used anywhere that brand of card is accepted. It usually bears the logo of the card brand or network, such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover. This will enable you to receive all the rewards from the store, but you’ll also have the ability to use the card to make purchases in other places.
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