The cash register used to be a place where you took out cash to pay for your items. But increasingly it has become the place to upsell you. As you’re waiting in line there are magazines, expensive mini treats and costly drinks. Then when it’s finally your turn you can be “offered” insurance on that electronics purchase or a store credit card.
The cashier will entice you with tales of big discounts, instant approval and zero risk. But in reality, they are either working on commission or they have a quota to fill. Typically the store will offer a 15% discount on any items you purchase that day if you sign up for a store card. But what about discounts after that? Don’t count on it.
If you’re spending $100 that day you’ll be getting a whopping $15 off. That’s like thirty $0.50 off coupons. You think to yourself: “Great, I’ve just saved $15!”. But there are consequences to getting that card that will cost you far greater than $15 in the long run. Think about it, why would they give you a discount if they weren’t planning to recoup that money and more?
Here are a few reasons why getting a store credit card is a bad idea.
The interest rates on these store credit cards are typically higher than the interest rate on your average credit card. Expect rates of 20% on a store credit card. With rates that high they’ll make up for that measly 15% discount in no time.
When you have a store credit card you are more likely to spend more money at that store. You figure “I can just charge it on my new special store card.” The store will also send you ads, at times ads based on what your spending habits. Thus increasing the temptation to spend more.
By using a store credit card you won’t be using your regular credit card. This means you’ll be missing out on possible rewards points. While the store may have their own rewards program, it will be difficult to come up with enough points to redeem them on both of your cards.
If you have too many open accounts, your credit score will go down. So if you already have a few regular credit cards and older store credit cards, don’t open up a new one. If your credit score drops your interest rates on your other credit cards may go up, costing you a pretty penny.