Have you ever signed up at a checkout counter to save 15% on your purchase? It may have felt like a good idea at the time, but chances are that after you read the fine print of your in-store credit card, the 15% you saved on that sweater really wont feel like that good of a deal anymore.
This guide will tell you how you should use any store credit cards youre already got sitting in your purse or wallet.
Use it at the store
This rule probably doesnt need to be said, because most store credit cards can only be used in one place anyway. Just be sure to remember you have the card whenever you go shopping at that store. Nothing is worse than buying something with cash or your regular card out of habit only to remember later that you could have received a discount with your store card.
Make sure you can pay it off immediately
One of the tricks to in-store credit cards is that they can dupe you into thinking youre getting a deal. The advertised 15% savings can look like a lot, but you might actually be paying more with your cards high interest rate. Rates can get pretty high with store credit cards, so try and pay off any bills in full and on time to avoid any costly interest payments.
Watch what you spend
Store credit cards have notoriously low credit limits, so youll need to be careful how much youre spending. Normally limits on these cards never go much higher than $500, so if youre a big spender, you might want to consider using another form of payment, It doesnt look good on a credit report to use more than 35% of your available credit at any time, so even if your purchase wont exceed your store cards limit, you still might want to pursue other methods of payment.
Dont sign up for any more
Both closing credit accounts and opening new ones can negatively affect your credit score. So because youve already opened your store credit card, youll probably be better off leaving it on than closing it. Just remember to keep up with payments and dont sign up for any more cards in the checkout line theyre never as good a deal as they seem.