Every time I shop a certain department store they ask if I would like to open their store credit card and get a 10% discount on my purchase. I always say no for two reasons: I don’t need another credit card, and I like the perks I get with the one that I use. Now that it is holiday season, the store credit card offer has gotten bigger with some discounts as high as 20%. It is still not in your best interest to take this bait, and here is why.
The average annual percentage rate (APR) for retail cards now stands at 26.01%, up 37 basis points from a year ago, according to a separate report from CreditCards.com. That’s nearly nine percentage points higher than the overall average credit card APR of 17.21%.
Interest rates on retail cards have risen over the past year even as the prime rate, which most credit-card issuers use to set their APRs, has fallen 25 basis points over the past year.
As many people get a bit over generous during the holidays, these cards add to their debt, potentially reducing their credit scores.
Set a holiday budget and pay cash. You will be in a holiday happy mood throughout the next year.