Let’s face it – it can be hard to say no to the perky retail clerks trying to coax you into signing up for their store credit cards. After all, “You’ll get 10% off right then and there,” along with “Valuable coupons in the mail!”
Yes, the deals are enticing. And with today’s economy absolutely pummeling retailers, who can blame them for pulling out all the stops to get you to fling out your wallet and spend, spend, spend? It’s so simple to do, yet the repercussions of having a teetering stack of store credit cards can land you in more financial angst than you bargained for.
Sure, store credit cards have their benefits. For instance, if you loyally shop at one store, say Macy’s or Nordstrom, it would make sense to get the card because they do send coupons as a way of drawing you back into the store.
But while some interest rates may be at all time lows right now, most store credit card interest rates are, frankly, a big rip off – sometimes as high as 28%! It can take years to pay off such cards if you only make minimum payments, and as interest on the unpaid bills mounts daily, you’ll pay an astounding amount of it along the way. Plus, if you miss a payment, added surcharges mean you’ll really pay the piper.
Does that mean you should never get store credit cards? Not at all. Some cards can be a great deal. Just be careful not to allow a store card to lull you into overspending, and, as with all credit cards, try to pay off your balances monthly and never make late payments.
The Simple Solution
Don’t blame the cashier for suggesting a store credit card; it’s part of their job. But your job as a savvy consumer is to take care of your finances – wisely. While one or two store credit cards likely won’t hurt, most of the time it’s just best to smile politely to the cashier and say, “No, thank you.” Happy shopping!