BOSTON (CBS) — If you think you’ll be saving money with a retail store’s credit card, think again.
A new report from CreditCards.com says store-branded credit cards are charging interest at rates up to nearly 30 percent, and suggests those rates could go even higher.
“With their outrageously high APRs, most consumers would be wise to steer clear of these cards unless they’re 100 percent certain they can pay their balance off every single month,” CreditCards.com’s senior industry analyst, Matt Schulz, said in a statement.
The study found that the average store card charges 23.84 percent, while the national average for all credit cards is 15.22 percent.
Big Lot, Zales Jewlers, and Staples offered credit cards with the highest APR, while Dillard’s, Military Star, and Nordstrom offered the lowest.
It also found that signup bonuses for new cardholders, as well as rewards for ongoing spending at the retail stores for the cardholders, are getting smaller–decreasing the value of the store cards.
Those who benefit most from these types of cards, according to the study, were people making large purchases or those who are regular customers at the stores from which they have cards.
CreditCards.com said that the average store credit card interest rate went up by .41 percent when the Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate by .25 percent. Because the Fed is expected to do the same thing again this year, the study says store card rates could also go up again.
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