Store Card Landscape
Store cards occupy a very interesting niche within the broader credit card market. For one thing, they tend to have more lenient approval requirements than general-use cards with comparable terms. That’s largely because they can only be used to make purchases with the retailers they represent, which limits the risk for the issuer. As a result, store credit cards are a great way to build credit at a low cost.
But store cards aren’t only for the limited-and-fair credit crowd. Their sign-up bonuses and ongoing rewards provide savings at affiliated stores that even the market’s best overall rewards cards can’t match. So they’re especially attractive to people with good and excellent credit who employ the Island Approach, which involves using multiple cards for various specific purposes.
Store credit card offers ebb and flow over time, with the quality of their terms changing based on the economic climate, industry trends and retailers’ priorities. So WalletHub closely monitors more than 300 store credit cards to help you decide when to apply and which offer to get. You can find our latest snapshot of the store card landscape below, with stats on rewards, rates, fees and everything in between. You can also check out our editors’ picks for the best store credit cards.See 2018’s Best Store Credit Cards
- All store credit cards have $0 annual fees. The average general-use credit card charges $15.88 per year.
- 30.72% of store cards offer ongoing rewards, primarily in the form of points.
- The average store credit card that offers rewards via discounts gives 29.23% off your first purchase.
- The average store credit card with a 0% intro rate gives you a 16.87-month break from interest. The average general-use 0% credit card has a 10.59-month intro period.
- 85% of store credit cards with 0% intro APRs use a dangerous feature called deferred interest. Deferred interest means that finance charges can retroactively apply to your original purchase amount – like the 0% rate never existed – if you pay your bill late or don’t pay off your full balance during the intro period.
Most Common Store Credit Card Features
|Percentage of All Cards - 2018||Percentage of All Cards - 2017||Percentage of All Cards - 2016||Percentage of All Cards - 2015||2018 vs. 2017|
|0% Intro APR on Purchases||42.32%||40.32%||37.93%||38.36%||4.95%|
|No Annual Fee||100.00%||99.68%||99.31%||99.32%||0.32%|
Store Card Rewards
|Percentage of All Cards - 2018||Percentage of All Cards - 2017||Average - 2018||Average - 2017||Average - 2016||Average - 2015||2018 vs. 2017|
|Ongoing Rewards Earn (in the form of discount)||3.76%||3.55%||4.00%||5.00%||2.90%||2.90%||-20.00%|
|Ongoing Rewards Earn (in the form of points)||21.00%||23.00%||2.81||2.47||2.38||2.38||-98.86%|
|Initial Bonus (in the form of $)||8.78%||5.48%||$21.79||$18.82||$17.33||$17.86||15.74%|
|Initial Bonus (in the form of discount)||4.08%||2.90%||29.23%||22.22%||19.27%||19.53%||31.54%|
|Initial Bonus (in the form of points)||2.19%||2.26%||2,386||3,800||5,013||5,013||-37.22%|
Store Credit Card Interest Rates
|2018||2017||2016||2015||2018 vs. 2017|
|Average Regular APR||28.62%||28.26%||26.72%||26.69%||1.26%|
|Regular APR Range||12.99% - 30.49%||12.99% - 30.49%||12.99% - 29.99%||11.15% - 29.99%||N/A|
|Average Length of 0% Intro APR (in months)||16.87||16.41||18.80||15.29||2.82%|
|0% Intro APR Range||6 months - 72 months||6 months - 72 months||7 months - 72 months||6 months - 72 months||N/A|
|Percentage of 0% cards with deferred interest||85.47%||82.40%||100.00%||100.00%||3.72%|
|2018||2017||2016||2015||2018 vs. 2017|
|Average Ongoing Rewards Earn||$0.029||$0.033||$0.033||$0.031||-10.60%|
|Average Initial Bonus||N/A||N/A||$1.00||$0.92||N/A|
|Rewards Range||$0.0 - $0.1||$0.0 - $0.1||$0.0 - $0.1||$0.0 - $0.08||N/A|
This report reflects data on more than 300 store credit card offers, which WalletHub monitors weekly. Please note that we considered rewards in the form of cash back and discounts to be the same thing, as the end result for the consumer is the same in both cases: a certain percentage saved.
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