Hi! Thank you for writing! I should start by defining what I am thinking is the difference between the two kinds of cards you are asking about to make sure I give you the right answer. Both are cards that extend credit to the user; in other words, using either is a promise to pay later for stuff you buy today. I’d define credit card as a method of buying pretty much anything anywhere from anybody – Mastercard, Visa, Amex, etc, issued by entities like CapitalOne, USAA, etc. I think of a store card as credit that lets you purchase only the merchandise at one particular place like Macy’s, Cabela’s, Kohl’s, Target, etc.
ALL your credit and the manner and amount you use it factors into your credit score. Credit bureaus see unsecured borrowing in the same light no matter who issues the card. Paying any of these credit debts late will hurt your credit score.
Is it a good idea to have store cards? Or should you just stick with major credit cards? Personally, I find store cards useful for the stores I regularly shop at because of the coupons, discounts, notices, and specials that these cards give you. I have a store card for Belk, a department store here in the south that I like to shop at. I also have one for Macy’s. These stores give extra discounts and coupons to their cardholders which I find useful. But you need to make sure you keep track of the bills and pay them off.
Hope this answers your question! If not, please write back! Kathy.