Just about every major retailer has its own credit card; and the offers they make at the register are often hard to resist. But don't make a big credit mistake in 2014.
Adam Levin of Credit.com says there are important questions you should ask before applying for a store credit card to make sure it's really a good deal.
First, how generous is the signup offer? How big is the discount on today's purchase?
"I want you to at least hear 10 to 15 percent," said Levin. "If you don't hear that, forget about it."
Next question: What is the annual interest rate? While general use credit cards tend to have interest rates from 6 to 16 percent, some store cards have APRs of 19 to 25 percent or more.
Question number three: What's the grace period? How long do you have to pay off the balance without interest?
Some cards have no grace period. The store can charge interest starting the day of your first purchase.
Lastly, you want to know where you can use the card.
"If it's a general purpose card like Visa or Mastercard, then you will be able to use it in other places gives you more flexibility more opportunities to earn whatever rewards you were going to get anyway," Levin explained.
Some cards are limited to one particular store, so you can't use them as often.
Levin says if you sign up for a store card, pay it off right away. Get whatever benefits you can out of it and don't use it again.
To compare the best credit card offers and rates, check out these links: