Why You Might Want to Think Twice Before Signing Up for Store Credit Cards

Almost half of Americans with a store credit card regret getting one, according to a new survey from CompareCards.com.

Around three-quarters (74 percent) of those surveyed owned a store credit card or had in the past — and 47 percent of them said they regretted getting one.

Americans with higher income were more likely to get a store card — but also more likely to regret it. Eighty-eight percent of survey respondents with household incomes of $100,000 and up owned a store card, and 58 percent of them expressed regret. (Only 53 percent of those with an income below $25,000 used a store card, and only 43 percent of them regretted it).

In addition to surveying Americans, CompareCards.com reviewed 68 credit cards from some of the largest American retailers — which led to some key insights about the pros and cons of store cards.

On the plus side, store cards are likely to come with sign-up perks, with the most common perk being a discount on the first purchase made with the card. Fifty-six of the 68 cards (82 percent) included some kind of benefit.

On the flip side, store cards are also likely to have high APRs, which could leave customers paying far more in interest than they would with a traditional credit card. The average APR of the 68 store cards was 24.97 percent — far more than the 16.46 percent the average American pays on credit card debt.

Two-thirds of those surveyed (66 percent) were aware that store cards tend to have higher APRs. But if users plan to pay their balances in full at the end of the month, the higher APRs make little difference.

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