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Credit Card eZine - News and Articles about Credit Cards

Credit Card eZine - News and Articles about Credit Cards

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The Important Difference between a Store Credit Card and a Regular Credit Card

[March 1st, 2018]

If you’ve ever been presented with the option to get a big discount at the register by signing up for a retail credit card, you might have wondered whether there was any possible downside to saying yes. After all, what could be bad about getting a healthy percentage off your total purchase amount?

The answer is there’s nothing wrong with it, necessarily. Saving money is great. But a store credit card isn’t like any other type of credit card, and it’s important to understand the difference.

The Downsides
For one thing, a retail credit card can usually only be used at the store that issued it. So, you may get twenty-five percent off your purchase at a clothing store or department store when you apply for their credit card, but you can only use that card at their store, and nowhere else. It’s not useful for general purchases, and offers very little in the way of flexibility.

Another thing to keep in mind is that retail credit cards almost always carry a hefty interest rate. You might pay up to a 30 percent APR, or annual percentage rate, if you don’t pay off your balance in full each month.

A Better Card to Carry
It might not offer you the same initial savings off a single purchase, but a cash back credit card is almost always a better choice if you’re looking to save money and get rewards from your credit card. The general cash back credit card can be used anywhere that takes Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover, depending on which one you have. You can use it to pay for all your everyday purchases, as well as when traveling, and on special occasions.

Cash back credit cards also offer better ongoing value. Whereas with a store credit card, where you get that percentage off the first purchase, that is often all the savings you’ll see. You won’t get five percent back on all your purchases for the rest of time, as you could with certain cash back credit cards.

The Bottom Line
Do your research before applying for a store credit card This way you will be sure you end up with a card that makes the most sense for you, and saves you the most money over the long haul.

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