Is a Store Card Better than a Credit Card?

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It can be a good idea to compare a store card with a credit card. This is because they tend to be very similar in the way that they work but there are also some differences that you should consider as well.

Similarities

  • Both a credit card and a store card will give you some interest free credit. You will be able to use the card to pay for things and will not be charged any interest on what you have bought until a certain date. You will get a statement through which will tell you how much you need to pay and by when, in order to pay no interest at all.
  • Both cards will allow you to delay repaying everything that you owe. You will need to repay a minimum amount of money and this will cover the interest and perhaps a little of the balance as well. However, with both cards, if you just pay this much each month, you will take a long time to repay the card.

Differences

  • With a store card you will only be able to use it in a particular store or set of stores. This means that you will not be able to use it for most things that you buy, but just from specific retailers. With a credit card you will be able to use it in most stores.
  • The interest rate can vary but it is often the case that a store card will be more expensive than a credit card. However, you will need to keep a check on the rates to be sure.
  • A store card may have rewards for the store – perhaps discounts, preview sale access or things like this. Some credit cards will also offer rewards as well such as air miles or cash back.

It is worth comparing these things and think about what will work for you. You might prefer the flexibility of a credit card, that you can use it in lots of stores but you may rather have discounts in the stores that you really like. You may also want to go for the cheapest card and so you will need to compare them to find this out.

Some people might choose to have a store card and a credit card. This is something which will mean that you can take advantage of both. However, there is a risk with this that because you have more credit available to you, that you could end up spending more money than you can afford to repay. If you like to repay in full, then you might need to make sure that you keep a note of what you are spending on each card to ensure that you will be able to afford to repay. It is always wise to use online banking to keep regularly looking at how much you owe to make sure that you can afford to repay it, but if you have lots of cards, this can become more time consuming and trickier to remember to do.

Some people may also find that if they have a store card which has a discount, that they use it as an excuse to spend lots of money in their favourite shop. They should not do this because they will end up spending more than they can afford or buying more things than they actually need. Therefore, it is a good idea to think hard about whether this is something that you want to risk or whether you think that it is not something that will happen to you.

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