May In-Store Credit cards amount to highway robbery

Signing up for a new store credit card could be a very tempting offer, and many people can’t stand the temptation. But doing so, without reading the fine print, could also prove to be quite a costly mistake in the long run.

Reported by Liku Zelleke

According to CreditCards.com, retail credit cards can come with average annual percentage rates of 23.23%. This was discovered after an analysis was done on cards from 36 of the biggest retailers in the United States.

That rate is over 8 percentage points higher than the average credit card APR of 15.03%.

“Retailers dangle incentives like 15% off a purchase to encourage consumers to sign up for their credit cards … the much higher interest rates far outweigh the one-time discount for anyone who carries a balance,” said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com.

Many people do of course go for it. Those that are sure they will never miss a payment and think that the retailers rewards program will provide them with savings, could find themselves with a deal worth their while. But, those who have even the smallest doubt when it comes to making payments should also take into consideration that they could end up paying a steep price in interest as a result of their decision.

As an example, a customer with a 23.23% APR credit card would find himself paying $840 in interest if he were to carry a $1,000 balance and only make minimum monthly payments. It would also take him 73 months to repay the balance. In comparison, an average credit card would only charge $396.

CreditCard.com found that there were some cards that had even worse deals. At the top of the list was Jeweler Zale’s store card that had an APR of up to 28.99%, Office Depot and Staples offered cards with rates of about 27.99% and, ironically, Best Buy cards came with rates between 25.24% and 27.99%, depending on customers’ credit.

Be careful. You may want to avoid these cards altogether. Do you really need to spend that extra money in the department store, or should you be saving to start that business?

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