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Many retailer cards coming with more valuable rewards programs

Thursday, June 07, 2012 at 5:11:44 PM

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If you've been to a major retailer in the past you've probably been offered a store-branded credit card that would give you a discount for somewhere between 20 or 30 percent off your purchase that day, but those offers may soon be a thing of the past.

These days, many major national retailers are trying to incentivize you to open new accounts and start spending on them by

increasing the value of the perks

associated with the account, according to Consumer Reports Money Adviser. Now, many of these retail credit card offers include 0 percent introductory rates for the first six months the account is open, and some even offer cash back rewards that are competitive with card issued by traditional lenders.
But is this kind of card right for you?

Figure out what's in the fine print

The important thing to figure out when you're offered one of these accounts will be the restrictions that come with it before you fill out the credit card application, the report said. For instance, some of these cards may advertise 1 percent cash back, but will actually only apply that once you reach certain spending thresholds, and limit it if you surpass another.

Further, you might want to make sure the introductory rate applies for longer than that first period, the report said. Some retailers' cards come with a 0 percent rate for the first six months, but then apply the standard rate retroactively to any balance you do not pay off in full within that period.

Stop to compare

When you're in the market for a new credit card, something as easy as signing up for a retailer account can sound like a good idea that maximizes your convenience, but at the same time, there can be problems with doing so. For instance, these accounts typically come with higher interest rates than those from standard financial institutions, making any balance you carry over from one month to the next grow more quickly.

For this reason, if you're offered a retailer credit card, you should always

compare it with other offers

that are out there, which will give you an idea of the general type of benefits you can qualify for given your current credit standing, and therefore help you find the best credit card for you.

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