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Should you use store credit cards for holiday shopping?

by , 10 December 2014

The holidays are almost here and that means the spending frenzy is well on its way. Retailers will go out of their way to make their special offers more enticing and convince customers to shop like there is no tomorrow.

The question is what will you do? Will you give retailers and marketers satisfaction? Will you shop ‘til you drop or will you be more responsible and protect your savings from their greedy claws?

One way retailers try to convince customers to overspend during the holiday season is by providing them with store credit cards that come with special rewards and convenient benefits, but also have many hidden tricks that lead to overspending and debt.
As a smart consumer, you should act in a financially responsible manner and beware of the tricks retailers use when trying to convince you to sign up for their credit cards.
What are the main perks used by retailers to persuade you to use their credit cards?
- zero interest in the promotional period – you can use the cards within a period of 6 to 12 months without being charged extra. However, you have to make the payments on time every month if you zero interest.
- many discounts – some stores offer a certain percentage off any in-store purchase, while others provide free shipping, gift wrapping, or rewards. As appealing as these perks may be, you need to stay focused on the big picture and avoid buying things you don’t really need.
Don’t let yourself be fooled by flashy credit card deals this holiday season because they’re not all they’re made up to be. More importantly, take note of the following prior to opting for retail credit cards.
- you may be required to spend a certain amount – check to see if the retailer has set a minimum spending requirement.
- interest rates may be higher – compared to regular credit cards, retail cards charge higher interest rates.
- there may be special conditions to fulfill and grace periods you need to consider. If you miss payments or fail to pay before the grace period ends, you will end up paying much more for regular purchases.
It’s up to you to decide whether or not to use store credit cards for holiday shopping, but if you have the habit of missing payments or overspending, then you’re probably better off paying by cash.

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Should you use store credit cards for holiday shopping?
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