Store cards hurt more than help

With all the Christmas shopping, you might be tempted to save 10 or 15% on your store purchases by signing up for a store credit card.

The drawbacks, as the New York Times puts it, may outweight that one-time benefit:

As one expert put it, if you strip away the store discounts and brand names that come with these cards, many are essentially the same products marketed to subprime borrowers, or individuals with tarnished or fairly new credit histories. Would you really choose a card with an interest rate of say, 25 percent, or about 9 percentage points higher on average than many other credit cards?

You may save on that initial purchase, but gotchas like a higher interest rate, a lower credit score, or spiking rates after a promotion are some of the harmful effects of signing up for store-brand cards.

To learn more about how big bank credit cards can “get ya,” visit our Operation: Your Best Interest site.

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