Besides just finding a generally good credit card that you can get approved for, if you do a lot of your shopping at particular stores or particular types of stores, you do well to investigate the vast array of store credit cards available today.
You don’t have to drop your other credit card(s) to get a store credit card. It often makes sense to get one of more such cards on top of another more general use credit card you may have.
But, if you prefer to keep things on the simpler side, having just one card and making it a strategically chosen store card could also be a great option.
What Exactly Are “Store Credit Cards?”
Credit card providers like Visa, Master Card, and others, and particular banks as well, will often have special arrangements with certain stores or classes of stores – in order to form a “store credit card” to market to consumers.
This kind of card will get you extra cashback (often as high as 5%) when you make purchases at particular stores. The discount holds regardless of whether those purchases were made in-store or online.
There may also be special perks and benefits, like “points” that earn gift cards to that store or discounts on certain types of future purchases.
And finally, there will normally be smaller discounts, points, cash back, or other benefits even when you shop at a different store.
Why Choose a Store Credit Card Over Other Options?
The most obvious reason to opt for a store credit card over other types of credit card offers is to get the bigger cash back and other perks whenever you shop at the relevant store. If you shop there a lot (or plan to), you can save more than you would with a “regular” credit card.
And over the course of, say, a year, those extra savings add up. If you buy high price tag items, maybe for a renovation project using a home improvement store credit card, your savings add up even faster. But by year’s end, even small cash back amounts could earn you hundreds of dollars.
But the second major reason to opt for a store-specific credit card is that they are usually easier to qualify for. After all, major retailers, airlines, gas stations, and other types of businesses want your business. And they know that if you have a credit card with their store’s name on it – you’re going to be a regular customer!
What Should I Look For in a Store Credit Card Offer?
There are truly a near endless supply of store credit card offers available out there. Obviously, no one could possibly use them all or use more than a limited number of them simultaneously and still benefit. You only have so much money you’re going to spend – a store credit card benefits you if you spend enough of it at that particular store.
So, here are 6 key things to look for in any store credit card before you even apply for one:
- Are its benefit pay-backs high enough? Most offers get you 5% cash back for purchases made at that store or something of more or less equivalent value on a points system. Don’t choose a card that is stingy with the savings when that’s the whole point of having the card!
- Do you get free shipping for online purchases from that store with the card? This is pretty standards with most store cards. It’s possible you’ll have to spend a certain amount per order to get the free shipping or only get reduced shipping rates. If so, does it still save you a good deal of money per order?
- Is there an annual fee? (Note that some annual fees on store cards only kick in after the first year.) If so, will you likely spend enough so you save more per year than the annual fee costs?
- Are there limits on how much you can save? Some store cards have 6-month, 12-month, or life-of-card limits. It’s fine if there’s a limit so long as it’s not too low. But you have to do the math and be reasonable in your projections.
- What is the APR? There might be an introductory APR that’s low, but you need to consider the “regular” interest rate that would apply after the intro period ends as well.
- What kind of credit limit is on the card? The credit limit might be kind of low. If it is, you have to ask yourself several questions: will I likely go over that credit limit?, is there a heavy penalty for going over it?, and can I possibly get the card’s limit raised later on?
How Do I Find My Best Store Credit Card Offers?
You can find good store credit card offers that fit your shopping habits by simply examining those shopping habits. Look up companies you frequently shop at and see what kind of store card offers, if any, they have.
You might also get a recommendation from a friend, family member, or neighbor on a good store card – especially if you and him/her shop a lot at the same places.
However, those are hit and miss, unsystematic ways of finding a store card. If you want to really view the scenery and get a panoramic take on what kind of store cards are out there that might interest you, you need a better strategy.
At Bonsai Finance, we help you search for a store credit card that fits your exact needs and preferences with minimal time and effort invested. You can search by type of business, for example, and not just by the brand name itself. You can search based on the cash back percentages, free shipping, points, or other types of perks too.
We have the tools and the expertise to put you in driver’s seat when it comes to finding your ideal store card(s). Using Bonsai as a central search hub for store cards is an effective and highly efficient way to search.
Why Choose Bonsai Finance?
Bonsai Finance is the premier online search engine and credit card matching service that can help you find any and all types of credit card offers that fit your needs. That includes, of course, store cards.
We at Bonsai have been in the business of helping online searchers locate the store card or cards that meet their exact criteria for many years now. We are staffed by people who are highly trained in financial matters and who are deeply experienced with the credit card market.
When you use Bonsai, you can avoid many of the common pitfalls that people tend to fall into when they search for a credit card without a high-powered search engine and without professional advice at their fingertips.
We do not work for some particular credit card company, so our goal is not to sign people up for cards favoring particular stores, banks, or card issuers. Our goal is simply to satisfy out clients on both ends of the equation by matching would be cardholders with the store credit cards and other credit cards that truly meet their needs.