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 represent 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 the perfect way for people with good and excellent credit scores to save on some of their biggest recurring expenses. They’re especially well-suited to those employing the Island Approach, which involves using multiple cards for various specific purposes.
Store credit card offers ebb and flow over time, however, with the quality of their terms changing based on the economic climate, industry trends and retailers’ priorities. So WalletHub closely monitors more than 140 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 everything from initial rewards bonuses to financing gimmicks. You can also check out our editors’ picks for the best store credit cards.
- Roughly 99% of store credit cards do not charge an annual fee. In contrast, the average general-use credit card charges $16.42.
- Most store cards (46.90%) offer ongoing rewards, primarily in the form of points.
- The average store credit card that offers rewards in the form of discounts gives you a 19.27% initial discount and 2.90% off every purchase moving forward.
- Store credit cards are offering 0% intro rates for longer than last year, with the average card now giving you an 18.8-month respite from interest.
- All store credit cards offering 0% intro terms use a dangerous feature called deferred interest. Deferred interest basically 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 Features
|Percentage of All Cards - 2016||Percentage of All Cards - 2015||2016 vs. 2015|
|0% Intro APR on Purchases||37.93%||38.36%||-1.11%|
|No Annual Fee||99.31%||99.32%||0.00%|
|Percentage of All Cards - 2016||Average - 2016||Average - 2015||2016 vs. 2015|
|Ongoing Rewards Earn (in the form of discount)||6.90%||2.90%||2.90%||0.00%|
|Ongoing Rewards Earn (in the form of points)||40.00%||2.38||2.38||0.00%|
|Initial Bonus (in the form of $)||9.66%||$17.33||$17.86||-2.93%|
|Initial Bonus (in the form of discount)||28.97%||19.27%||19.53%||-1.36%|
|Initial Bonus (in the form of points)||2.76%||5013||5013||0.00%|
|2016||2015||2016 vs. 2015|
|Average Ongoing Rewards Earn||$0.033||$0.031||6.5%|
|Average Initial Bonus||$1.00||$0.92||9.1%|
|Rewards Range||$0.0 - $0.1||$0.0 - $0.08||N/A|
|2016||2015||2016 vs. 2015|
|Average Regular APR||26.72%||26.69%||0.11%|
|Regular APR Range||12.99% - 29.99%||11.15% - 29.99%||N/A|
|Average Length of 0% Intro APR (in months)||18.8||15.29||22.96%|
|0% Intro APR Range||7 months - 72 months||6 months - 72 months||N/A|
|Percentage of 0% cards with deferred interest||100.00%||100.00%||0.00%|
2016’s Best Store Credit Cards
This report reflects data on more than 140 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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