A store card is a credit card that only lets you spend money at a certain shop or retail chain. Like with a traditional credit card, store cards can be used to buy things with credit.
Store cards charge interest on everything you spend if you don’t pay back what you’ve spent within a month of making your purchase.
Store cards aren’t the same as reward cards or loyalty cards. Reward cards allow you to collect points on your shopping which you can use later to get money off your bill or swap for goods.
There are also store-branded credit cards, which you can spend anywhere, but which offer better rewards if you spend them in the store they’re branded to.
While store cards can be a good idea, there could be a cheaper alternative when it comes to credit cards. Before choosing a card, it’s important to shop around and compare providers to find the best card for you.
Store card benefits
The rewards and benefits for each store card depend on individual cards but usually, they include:
- Money off purchases – This could either be a percentage or a set amount and usually only applies to your first purchase.
- Pay nothing back at first – Some providers offer no repayments for the first few months meaning you won’t have to pay anything back. Once this period ends, you’ll have to start paying back with interest.
- Loyalty points – Loyalty points can be built up every time users spend money on their store card. You could then exchange these for money off purchases in the future.
Is there a cheaper alternative to store cards?
Store cards usually charge a higher interest rate compared to traditional credit cards, meaning they can be an expensive way to spend money.
A 0% purchase credit card doesn’t charge interest for a set period. With a 0% purchase credit card, you only need to pay off the minimum payment each month, and when the 0% period ends, you’ll pay interest on any outstanding balance.
The 0% period on a purchase credit card is usually longer than what a store card can offer. A 0% credit card also allows you to spend online or on the high street in any shop, making shopping simpler.
Important things to know…
- You must be at least 18 to get one.
- Stores will run a credit check on you when applying for a store card.
- The interest rate for store cards is usually higher than for a credit card.
- You won’t be offered any store card deals within the first seven days.
- You have 14 days to cancel a store card.
- To avoid paying interest, you should try and pay off your bill in full each month.
The only time you should consider getting a store is if you spend lots in one store – and even then, you need to be in control of your money. If you’re not disciplined enough to pay back what you owe every month, store cards can be an expensive method of spending so search around for other options.