Many big shops offer a form of credit by way of store cards – find out more and whether you should have one in your pocket
Store cards can be useful and often come with tempting offers, but they can also be very expensive if you don’t pay off your bill on time and in full. They can also be quite limiting, in that you can only use them with one particular shop or retail group.
A store card can offer a number of benefits for consumers, including:
- A discount off the price of your first store purchase
- Special events such as store card holder only evenings
- Store card points per purchase which can convert to in-store vouchers give you discounts on further purchases
Should I get a store card?
Store card interest rates are generally much higher than standard credit cards. When considering a store card you should take into account the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and compare it with other forms of credit before you sign any agreement.
Shop assistants are often paid commission to sign customers up to their retailer’s store card, so don’t be pressured into signing up before you’ve looked through all the terms and conditions.
While your store card statement will specify a minimum payment, you should pay off the balance in full each month – if you only pay the minimum amount, the store card debt will increase and could take a long time to pay off.
Store card alternatives
One option could be opting for a new credit card with a 0% balance transfer deal and transferring any store card debt across to the new card.
Furthermore, if you’re after a credit card with some of the perks of a store card but a better APR, try a reward credit card – every time you spend on a reward card you get something back in the form of points, which you can exchanged for discounts, gift vouchers or even flights.
If you have a store card and have difficulty paying off your debts, get in touch with the issuer to make sure they know your situation, while organisations such as Citizens Advice and StepChange can help you tackle your debts.