Best Store Credit Cards of April 2022 — Forbes Advisor – Forbes Advisor

Opening a credit account is a major move with real consequences to your credit and overall financial health. We don’t recommend you make these decisions while standing in line at the checkout at your favorite store. Instead, if you’re interested in the benefits of a store card, go home and carefully research the pros and cons of a store card before you apply. Even if you do end up applying for the card at the store, make sure it’s a premeditated decision and that you fully understand the terms and conditions, card agreement and your role and responsibilities as a cardholder.

Store cards often come in two varieties: open- and closed-loop, otherwise known as co-branded cards and store-only cards. An open loop card may be used anywhere the network’s payment method is accepted. These cards will usually have a Visa, Mastercard, American Express or other major card issuer logo associated with them and can be used anywhere the issuer’s cards are accepted. A closed-loop or store-only card is a credit account accepted only at the store associated with it. Our list has both in-network cards and closed-loop cards on it—be sure you understand which type a card is before you apply.

Store-only cards typically will impact your credit and appear on your credit report. Opening a store credit account can have major consequences to your credit. Some cards offer “special financing” which involves fine print applicants should pay special attention to as it often means deferred financing where if you miss a payment, you’ll pay a steep penalty. No matter what the store card you want indicates about its interest, fees and other charges, be sure to consider all of the details before you apply. For instance, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi advertises no annual fee but a Costco Membership is required for the card. The BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard offers a similar structure.

Store cards offer a way to unlock special financing on large purchases, as with the Lowe’s Advantage Card, or earn rewards or discounts at a favorite store as with the REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard and the Target RedCard. Store cards have long held a reputation for gouging customers when it comes to interest and hidden fees and while not all store cards have these, many confusing and poorly worded advertisements can still mislead consumers jumping at the promise of rewards. Our recommendation? Read as much as you can about the card and ensure you fully understand what you’re getting yourself into before you apply.

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