There are many stores that we all shop at regularly and a lot of them will have the option for you to have a store card. It is important to understand firstly the difference between loyalty cards and store cards. A loyalty cards use differs between stores but usually you will build up loyalty points as you shop in the store and you can exchange them for goods once you accumulate a certain amount. A store card is very different. It works like a credit card in that you use it to pay for items that you buy from that specific store and then you get a bill at the end of the month which you can either choose to pay in full or you can pay off a minimum amount and will get charged interest on what is left until you pay it off in full.
Some shops will offer additional benefits to store card holders. They might have a preview sale evening, for example or offer discounts from time to time. This means that if you are a regular customer, then you could see some advantages from having a store card. You may be able to pick up bargains in the sale, before anyone else gets a chance to look or you may be able to get some money off items that you buy. It can mean that you will save money that you otherwise would not be able to.
However, there may not be any benefits to holding a store card apart from being able to get credit. If you have a credit card, then you will get the same advantage with this. It is worth noting that the interest rate on a store card tends to be higher than on a credit card. Therefore if you do not get any advantage to having a store card, apart from the credit, then it could be better to just use a credit card instead.
Having a store card could tempt you to buy more than you would otherwise buy from the store. If you have a card where you do not have to pay for things straight away, then you may be tempted to spend more than you can afford. If you are invited to sale previews of get money off, you may be even more tempted to spend money. When you get money off, then it can be tempting to buy things just because they are cheap, even if you would not normally have bought them. This can end up with you wasting money on things that you may not need and perhaps do not even end up using.
Having a store card can also mean that you will visit that particular store before any others. This might sound obvious as it is probably one of your favourite stores, but it may mean that you are actually paying more for things. It could be that you could get the items that you want or need from a different store at a lower price but because you have the store card, you do not bother to compare prices and shop their anyway.
The main problem though, with a store card is if you do not pay the balance off in full. You will be charged interest and it can be very expensive. If you leave paying it off for a long time, you will end up owing a lot of money and this will mean that you will pay a lot more for the items that you have bought with the card. It will be possible to set up a direct debit so that the card gets paid off automatically in full when the bill comes and this can be a great way to manage the payments and make sure that you do not end up paying any interest.
So deciding whether to get a store card is not an easy decision. Think about whether it might change your shopping habits and mean that you end up spending more money or paying more for items. Alternatively it could mean that you end up being able to take advantage of special offers and get some interest free credit on your purchases. It all depends on how you are likely to use it. Another option is to get a loan for things you would like to purchase. Sites like Emu.co.uk can help with that.