Best Credit Cards in April 2024Studies & Surveys
How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Nearly 3 in 10 Americans Applied For A Store Credit Card During The Holidays

Updated on:
Content was accurate at the time of publication.
lt-leaf-logo Why use LendingTree?
We are committed to providing accurate content that helps you make informed money decisions. The content on this page has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. We do maintain partnerships with some issuers, and our site may be compensated through those partnerships. Read our

Editorial Guidelines

At LendingTree, we are committed to providing accurate and actionable content that helps you make informed decisions about your money. Our team of writers and editors follows these key guidelines:
  • We thoroughly fact-check and review all content for accuracy. We aim to make corrections on any errors as soon as we are aware of them.
  • Our partners do not commission or endorse our content.
  • Our partners do not pay us to feature any specific product in our content, but we do feature some products and offers from companies that provide compensation to LendingTree. This may impact how and where offers appear on the site (such as the order).
  • We review and interview both external and internal reputable sources for our content and disclose sourcing in our content.
.

Nearly 3 in 10 American adults applied for a store credit card during the 2018 holiday season, according to a new report from LendingTree, and millennials led the way.

With the holidays still fresh in our memories, LendingTree asked Americans to look back at some of their spending behaviors. We asked whether consumers had applied and been approved for a store credit card, how long they expected it would take to pay off their first purchase with the card and whether they spent more than they expected on shopping this holiday season.

We found that many Americans just couldn’t resist the lure of a new store credit card. That’s despite the fact that these cards come with an average APR of about 25% — far higher than other credit cards – less lucrative rewards than general-purpose credit cards and fine print that can turn a good deal into a not-so-great one. (Check out our 2018 Store Card Study to learn more.) We also learned that many Americans were a little more spendy this holiday season than they thought they’d be.

Key findings




Younger Millennials Most Likely To Apply & Get Rejected For Store Credit Cards

Nearly Half Expect To Pay First Store Card Purchase Off Within A Month

About A Third Of Consumers Spent More Than They Expected On Holiday Shopping In 2018

The bottom line: When it comes to store credit cards, buyer beware

It’s no great secret why Americans embrace store credit cards: They can save you real money if you use them wisely. That 15% or 20% discount that many retailers offer on your first purchase can be a big deal and can help extend your family budget, assuming you can pay that purchase off at the end of the month. On the flip side, however, if you carry a balance, these cards can be seriously costly.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: If you can’t pay your balance in full each month, you shouldn’t get a store credit card. It’s as simple as that. The main reason is that the interest rates are too high. You don’t have to be an accountant to understand that it doesn’t make sense to pay 25% in interest to save 15% on a purchase. The math just doesn’t work in your favor.

Many people simply don’t think this through before applying for a card, and that’s how the retailers want it to be. They offer you the card at the checkout counter, assume that you won’t take the time to ask too many questions and know that a significant number of people will still say yes. That’s not a recipe for good decision making.

Here’s what you should do instead the next time a store credit card offer piques your interest: Politely say no, but ask for a brochure. When you get home, read the brochure, making sure that you understand the main fees and other details associated with the offer. If the offer still sounds good after you’ve read up on it, go ahead and apply for the card the next time you visit. Chances are all of the things you liked about it will still apply, and you’ll be making a much more informed decision.