NBC 7 Responds

Dangers Of Signing Up For Retail Credit Cards

NBC 7 Responds looks at the pros and cons of using department store credit cards.

NBCUniversal, Inc.

As consumers flock to malls and retail stores for their holiday shopping undoubtedly they'll be offered to save some money by opening a store credit card.

But NBC 7 Responds spoke to some experts who have some warning for those looking to save a fast buck at the register this holiday season.

“While you may get that discount on that purchase that particular day, it’s going to cost you more in the end,” the president of California Coast Credit Union, Todd Lane said.

Lane’s reasons for the warning: high-interest rates and the hit your credit score could take in just applying for store credit.

“I would avoid the store cards at all costs because the interest rates are typically very high and it’s going to hurt your credit score,” added Lane.

But not all is bad news when it comes to department store credit cards.

Mary Beth Storjohann is a financial planner for Abacus Wealth.

Storjohann agrees that the store credit cards typically have higher interest rates and in most cases, it makes more sense to get a bank credit card in order to take advantage of the rewards and points that come with them.

“Store credit cards, those have higher interest rates than what you would find with your general credit card. So it is costing you more to use that retail credit card and to accrue that balance than it would for your general credit cards,” said Storjohann.

But Storjohann says if done smartly the retail credit cards could come in handy.

“If you use it responsibly and pay it off every month then the retail cards could save hundreds of dollars on big purchases. It’s when you keep those balances that it ends up costing you in the long run.”

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