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Are store credit card offers the best deal for you?

Friday, June 15, 2012 at 1:20:21 PM

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If you're on the lookout for a new credit card these days, you've probably been very enticed by the offers you get when you check out at a major retailer.

A number of national chains are now giving consumers credit card offers with great deals on them, such as a low introductory rate, ongoing rewards program and even a discount from the store on everything you buy using the card. And while many of these cards carry the logos of trusted brands like Visa or MasterCard,

you might not want to assume that this type of credit card offer is the best available to you

.

Consider the outcome


The temptation of filling out a store-issued credit card application can be large, especially if the retailer will give you a large discount on whatever you're buying at the time you apply for a credit card. But at the same time, you might want to think about the overall cost such an account comes with, according to Consumer Reports.

That's because retail credit cards are usually offered to a wide variety of customers and have less stringent qualification standards than accounts issued by financial institutions. For this reason, the lenders behind these cards protect themselves by applying interest rates that are far larger than those on traditional cards. And if you regularly carry a balance from one month to the next, as many Americans do, that can make the card extremely costly for you going forward.

Review as many accounts as possible


As a consequence of the higher costs associated with credit cards issued by retailers, you'll want to take the time to carefully review a number of suitable credit card offers as you possibly can before deciding to apply for a credit card of any kind. Doing so will not only give you the ability to figure out the various credit cards available to you given your current credit score, but also help you determine the exact costs you will face for using it based on your previous borrowing habits.

The best credit card deals you find should be those that will reward your specific spending practices so that you're getting as much as possible out of your account, and

don't end up paying for the privilege of having the card

.



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