Whether you’re purchasing holiday gifts or everyday necessities, choose wisely the next time you pull out a credit card as payment.
Many retail stores’ credit cards aren’t what they used to be, a new CreditCards.com analysis shows.
The financial data site analyzed data on every card offered by the top 100 retailers in the U.S., a total of 68 cards. They included:
- 42 store-only cards
- 24 general purpose, or co-branded, cards
- Two debit cards
The findings — which are mostly bad news — include the fact that retail store cards share the following qualities:
- Rising interest rates: The highest APR among the 68 cards analyzed was 29.99 percent. That represents an increase of nearly 15 percent since 2010, when CreditCards.com first analyzed retail credit cards. The highest APR back then was 27.99 percent.
- Higher interest rates than other credit cards: The average APR of the 68 cards was 23.84 percent. The current national average interest rate for all credit cards, however, is 15.18 percent.
- Low security: Only 29 of the 68 cards come with EMV microchips.
- Low tech: Only seven of the 68 cards are compatible with a major mobile wallet.
- Fewer perks for new cardholders: Just in the past year, 10 of the cards have dropped sign-up offers. Only 13 cards offer limited-time, low- to no-interest rates.
The cards with the highest APRs are credit cards from:
- Big Lots: 29.99 percent
- Zales Jewelers: 29.24 percent
- Staples: 28.24 percent
The next-highest APR, 27.24 percent, is offered by 10 cards:
- Catherines credit card
- Dick’s Sporting Goods credit card
- Dick’s Sporting Goods MasterCard
- GameStop PowerUP Rewards credit card
- Justice credit card
- Lane Bryant credit card
- Maurices credit card
- TJX Rewards credit card
- TJX Rewards Platinum MasterCard
- Williams-Sonoma credit card
If you’re in the market for a new or better card, check out “Finding the Perfect Credit Card.” You can search for cards based on a variety of features, including low APR and low introductory rate.
Do you carry any store cards? Let us know what you like (or dislike) about them by commenting below or on Facebook.