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Store Credit Cards and Your Credit Score

Savvy ATM: Store Credit Cards and Your Credit Score

Sixty percent of you admitted that you have current store-specific credit cards in your wallets, and most acknowledged initially signing up for the introductory discount. Deals can be difficult to pass up, but it's crucial to consider the elements of a store card before you agree to one in your name.

Besides the bait of receiving a discount off your initial purchase and other card-holder benefits along the way, store credit cards work just like any other credit card. They likely come with interest rates higher than your usual card and are factored into your credit score just as any other card. But what if you fill out a credit card application to get the discount but never actually use the card? Find out how this affects you when you


When you apply for a store credit card the credit card issuer pulls your credit reports, and hard inquires like this can negatively affect your score for a temporary period. Some shoppers fall into the trap off signing over their personal information in exchange for a discount when they're spending a lot of money, like holiday shopping. Beware of these offers: Whenever they're presented to you carefully evaluate if completing the application will help more than harm you.


Join The Conversation
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
Ok if its only temporary it doesnt sound like too big of a deal to me :?
shepptacular shepptacular 8 years
I have store cards for places where I was doing a very large mount of shopping at a time. I used them and always paid in full. Now I don't really use them at all but I'll keep them all open so that I don't lose the good credit history associated with them
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
when i was in college - i used to fall for all those deals - get the 10% off and all that - but you're 100% right about how the interest rates are higher and how you'll end up in the same place with these cards as with others. there was a time when i would only shop at stores that i had a card for so i didn't have to deal with cash. now i know better and every time a sales person offers me a card application - i say NO THANK YOU!
lawchick lawchick 8 years
I'm sorry. I was trying to be helpful!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Right, I don't think it matters if its a store card versus a normal card, either, I was just going with the idea that some people open store cards to get the initial discounts, which may not be a bad thing if you never use them. I know I phrased it more as a question, but I meant it to be a statement that its not necessarily a bad thing to open store cards and never use them. And I know that you shouldn't have a lot of hits before you are looking to make a big investment, which is why I specifically stated that the benefit outweighs the hit for some people.
lawchick lawchick 8 years
lilkimbo, having some credit you don't use can be good for your credit score (though I don't think it matters if it's a store card versus a normal card). you just wouldn't want to open accounts before trying to do something like buy a house, since lenders don't like to see that a bunch of people have checked your credit score lately.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Isn't it true that if you keep one or two store credit cards and NEVER use them, it will positively affect your credit because you will be using a lower percentage of your available credit? I think this benefit outweighs to temporary hit on your credit report for some people.
nancita nancita 8 years
Great to know. I always suspected that opening store credit cards was a bad idea, but I wasn't sure why. I will probably continue to not do it!
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