What is a store credit card?
The only difference between store credit cards and regular credit cards is that store credit cards are branded and associated with a specific retailer and its rewards program. Store credit cards offer in-store discounts, allow cardholders to earn and redeem points when making purchases.
There are two basic types of retail store credit card:
Open-loop cards: These cards with a Visa, MasterCard or American Express logo in the bottom-right, can be used anywhere.
Closed-loop cards: These cards without a Visa, MasterCard or American Express logo only can be used at their co-branded stores, online stores or affiliates.
For example, there are three types of Best buy credit cards, My Best Buy Credit Card, My Best Buy Visa Platinum Credit Card and My Best Buy Visa Card. My Best Buy Credit Card is a closed-loop card, so you can only use it at Best Buy. My Best Buy Visa Platinum Credit Card and My Best Buy Visa Card are open-loop cards, you can use them anywhere that Visa is accepted.
What are the benefits of store credit cards?
Easy to get and can help you to build credit
Because of store credit cards’ high interest rates and low credit limits, they are easy to get with fair or poor credit. If you can use it responsibly, this is an opportunity to build up your score.
A reasonable annual fee
Many great store rewards cards don’t have an annual fee.
Save money at your favorite stores
Store rewards cards have different rewards programs which are great ways to save money, especially you are a frequent customer of that shop. For example, My Best Buy Credit Card offers as much as 5% cash back.
Additional sign-up bonuses and benefits
Many store reward cards attract new customers with a sign-up bonus. What’s more, some store reward cards offer extra benefits, such as discounts, free shipping, a birthday gift and extended return policies.
Open-loop cards can be used anywhere as normal credit cards.
What are the drawbacks of a store credit card?
Low credit limits
This means that you have the risk of going over your credit limits.
High interest rates
Most store credit cards’ interest rates are higher than the industry average (17%).
Closed-loop cards are limited to single store
Many store credit cards can only be used at their store or online shop. But some store credit cards can be used anywhere like normal credit cards, such as Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card.
Customer service problems
Some store credit cards are not issued by major cards issuers, so the quality of customer service is difficult to guarantee.
Some store credit cards can’t be used for balance transfers
What do you need to apply for a store credit card?
Banks approve much lower credit scores for store cards. Therefore, applying a store card is an ideal way for someone with a fair or poor credit score to rebuild his or her credit.
Credit card application
You can apply for a store credit card online, in-store or by email depending on the card. And you just need to fill in your personal information and submit your application. The credit card issuer will consider your credit reports and several different factors when reviewing your application to get an idea of your creditworthiness.
How to use a store credit card?
Read your credit card terms and conditions.
This will give you an idea of how you can earn rewards, when rewards will post and other information.
Take advantage of sign-up bonuses
Many reward credit cards provide sign-up bonuses, please remember to take advantage of sign-up bonuses before they expire.
Maximize your rewards
Reward credit cards offer many ways to help you to save money on everyday items and big-ticket purchases. Keep an eye out for earning double or triple rewards opportunities. In addition, you need to know when your reward points will expire.
Use two store rewards credit cards
Business credit cards can earn points when shopping in specific stores or buying a certain type of merchandise. So it is a good idea to apply for store credit cards according to your shopping habits to get more rewards. For example, if you are a Walmart regular for daily necessities, and you also need to fuel the car, you can prepare one Walmart credit card and one gas rewards card. But we don’t recommend you to take out too many cards at once, because each credit card application may make your credit score lower. So it’s best to add credit cards slowly and allow your credit to build over time.
Plan and budget
It is easy to become impulsive in getting rewards. Don’t spend more than your budget. Earning rewards is not a valid reason to go over your budget.
Pay your bill in full on time
Many store rewards credit cards provide rewards program, but tend to have higher interest rates. If you carry a balance, your interest charge may be more than your rewards. Therefore, we recommend you to pay the bill in full on time in order to avoid paying high interest.