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3 On Your Side: Store Credit Card Interest Rate 8 Points Higher Than Average Credit Card

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If you’re doing back-to-school shopping, you’ll likely be faced with an offer or two for a store credit card. A recent survey of many of those cards found the interest rates may cost consumers more than they anticipate. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan looks at the pros and the cons.

What shopper doesn’t want to score a discount in store? In many cases, retailers will save the best offer for last. An opportunity to save an extra 15, maybe even 20 percent at the register by signing up for a store credit card.

But a recent survey by Creditcards.com found that consumers may save on purchases in that moment, but pay for them down the line. The survey looked at the fine print on cards from 36 of the nation’s largest retailers. The average annual percentage rate was 23.23 percent, about eight points higher than the average credit card.

Among those with the highest interest rate?  Zales (28.99%), Office Depot  and Staples (27.99%) and Best Buy (25.24% – 27.99%)

Now if you pay off a balance in full each month, that makes high interest a moot point, and incentives like store coupons and exclusive sales can be good, especially at back-to-school time, and during the holidays.

But you really need to be mindful of how many offers you accept. Applications for those cards prompt inquiries on a credit report, and too many inquiries can put a dent in a credit score.

For more information about this survey visit: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/retail_card-stores-survey-apr_2014-1276.php

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