Consumer Watch: Using Store Credit Cards For Back to School Shopping

Consumer Watch: Using Store Credit Cards For Back to School Shopping

If you're doing back-to-school shopping, you'll likely be faced with an offer or two for a store's credit card.
If you're doing back-to-school shopping, you'll likely be faced with an offer or two for a store's credit card. A recent survey of many of those cards found the interest rates may cost consumers more than they anticipate.

What shopper doesn't want to score a discount in store?

In many cases, retailers will save the best offer for last - an opportunity to save an extra 15, maybe even 20 percent at the register by signing up for a store credit card.

A recent survey by Creditcards.com found that consumers may save on purchases in that moment, but pay for them down the line. The survey looked at the fine print on cards from 36 of the nation's largest retailers.

The average annual percentage rate, or APR, was 23.23 percent, about eight points higher than the average credit card.

Among those with the highest -- Jeweler zales, with a rate of up to 28.99 percent; Office Depot, and staples, and Best Buy, as high as 27.99.

Paying off a balance in full each month makes high interest a moot point, and incentives like store coupons and exclusive sales can be good, especially at back-to-school time, and during the holidays.

But shoppers should be mindful of how many offers they accept. According to Bankrate, applications for those cards prompt inquiries on a credit report, and too many of those can put a dent in a credit score.
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