Signing up for a store credit card can seem like a good way to survive the holidays. But these cards often come with significant gotchas, as a study released this week by Representative Anthony Weiner (D-Queens and Brooklyn) again proves. Surveying credit card offers from 35 major retailers in New York City, the inquiry found rates as high as 29 percent, or nearly double that of average credit cards. Radio Shack, Best Buy, Staples, Home Depot, and Sears were the five worst offenders.
"As this survey demonstrates, store charge cards can be very expensive if you don’t pay the bill in full every month," said Chuck Bell, Programs Director for Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports. "Don’t succumb to high-pressure holiday pitches to open up a new store account without carefully checking the interest rate, penalty and late fees, and other fine print."
While Consumer Reports agrees with Rep. Weiner’s findings, and supports his legislation to increase point-of-purchase disclosure of interest rates, grace periods, and annual fees, we've found some store cards that carry actual rewards. For example, Costco’s card charges 0 percent interest for six months and 15.24 percent interest thereafter. Read our complete list of store card winners, as well as additional tips for saving during the holidays.