Do You Own Credit Cards for Specific Department Stores?
Saturday, May 26th, 2012
It seems every time I check out at a store, like Ross or Target, I’m asked if I’d like to apply for a credit card for that particular store. If so, I can get instant savings and bonus perks throughout the year.
Long ago, I would have said yes, signed up, and put the card in my wallet. I’d save ten or fifteen percent with each trip, but I would accumulate well over five or six credit cards.
These days, we stick to two main credit cards: one for gas and groceries combined, one for other needs.
I did break down and get a Target card. My thought: It’s one of the only big stores we have in our area for random purchases like kid’s gifts and toys, and there are times we spend a good amount of money in the store. I signed up over Christmas, and we saved a considerable amount on the gifts. But I haven’t really used the card since.
Which brings me back to store cards: I know the thought is you’ll get the savings at the checkout line each time you shop, but I like to have a general idea of what I’m paying out each month. If I end up with six different cards for as many stores, there’s no way I will keep track of what I spend. Plus, since I’m not a ‘huge spender’, I don’t tally up that much on a monthly basis in shopping anyway, so my savings at checkout won’t be that much since I don’t really charge that much.
Of course, the reason these stores want you to sign up is so you’ll charge items, not pay them off on time, and then pay two or three times as much (at least) because of interest fees. This is a great perk for the store, as it allows them to make much more money off of the consumer for transactions. Some department store credit cards can carry pretty hefty interest fees for charges that aren’t paid in full each month, and they bank on customers not considering this when they apply. Another con: opening multiple department store cards in rapid succession can put a ding in your credit score.
Still, I know many people who carry cards for various stores like Target or Ross or Belk’s. If you do, do you keep track of what you spend on each card each month so you know what you need to pay off when the bill comes? And do you feel the perks of having the card at the checkout line add up to good savings?
What do you think?