“Would you like to apply for a store card today to save 15%?” We’ve all heard it before at our favorite big-box stores. Sure, it’s a tempting offer by design — especially when you’re a shopping-savvy bargain hunter. But is it actually saving you money in the long-run?
When it comes to the fine print, retail store credit cards and credit union cards are usually pretty, pretty different.
Find out if a retail store credit card is your best bet or if you’re better off sticking to a credit union card. Check out this handy guide, it may help you find your credit card soul mate!
UMe vs. The Big-Box Guys
To help you see the pros and cons, let’s compare the UMe Visa Credit Card to the big-box guys.
There are four main factors that we’ll hash out: Interest rate, rewards, flexibility, and the fine print. Interest rate is usually your biggest money saver, so let’s cover that first:
With the big-box guys, you might be saving 15% today, but you could pay for it later in other ways. Many big-box store cards have really high interest rates that are standard for their card which can come as a surprise when you make new purchases or when a promotion ends.
For example, lots of people buy big-ticket items from big-box stores under promotions. Let’s say you bought a fridge with a 0% interest for a 6-month credit card promo. The normal interest rate will typically be MUCH higher than usual. Interest rates do depend on one’s credit history, but for this example, let’s say their “normal” interest rate is 17%.
You might pay 0% interest for now, but if you leave any kind of balance on that card beyond the 6-month promotional period, you will have to pay deferred interest at the higher rate later. Yikes! “Deferred interest” means you’ll retroactively pay the high rate (17% in this example) for all the months that you didn’t get charged interest.
UMe Pro Tip: Instead, look for a card with a low, fixed-rate. This can help you plan out how much you’ll actually pay for your purchases. With the UMe Visa Credit Card, you’ll get a no-surprises, low, fixed rate. UMe rates start at as low as 9.90% APR*!
You might be thinking: Forget interest rates, I want all the rewards!
Although store cards frequently offer rewards or intermittent discounts, they might not be as rewarding as you think. You may save a few bucks on your purchase or get extra in-store credits, but it can affect your overall credit rating, costing you lots more in the long-run! (More on this later under “Be Shy When You Apply.”)
UMe Pro Tip: When is the last time that a store card helped you pay for a trip to the Galápagos? Get this: Our UMe Visa Credit Card offers flexible rewards! That means that you don’t have to spend UMe rewards all in one place. Trade-in your UMe Visa rewards for travel, merchandise, gift cards, and cash back.
Have you ever tried to apply for a big-box store card and didn’t end up feeling… rewarded? Unfortunately, store credit card terms are frequently pretty inflexible. The UMe Visa Credit Card could be a great alternative for you.
Why? We’re here to help you find the best solution for your financial situation. Reach out to UMe to discover more about finding ultimate flexibility in your next credit card.
UMe Pro Tip: With big-box store cards, you’ll be limited on where you can shop. With the UMe Visa, you can shop anywhere that Visa cards are accepted.
Money-saving bonus: UMe doesn’t charge any application fees. Plus, there are many more no-fee bonuses like no cash advance fees and no balance transfer fees. Cha-ching!
When in doubt, always read the fine print: Reading the fine print lets you know what you’re really getting into. Before you sign the dotted line, check for high rates and any hidden fees.
If you’ve read the fine print and compared the pros and cons, you can use a big-box store card strategically to save cash in some cases. However, it’s important to do some research FIRST to make it work for you.
More power to you if you can open the card now, save a bundle, pay it off right away, and close it. However, keep in mind that opening a card and closing it quickly isn’t great for your credit. Weigh the pros and cons before you do this fancy footwork.
Parting Words: Be Shy When You Apply!
“Don’t care how, I want it now!” Does your credit history show your inner Veruca Salt? Slow down, friend: Don’t put yourself out there every time you’re offered a credit card application. Applying for credit cards left and right won’t do you any favors. When you apply for lots of cards, it makes your credit history appear riskier.
When lenders view you as a risky borrower, you’ll pay higher interest rates overall. Yeah, you might save 5% here and 10% there on purchases, but your overall credit rating can take a hit, deeming your future interest rates even higher. It’s a not-fun-at-all domino effect.
UMe Pro Tip: Instead of getting multiple store cards, choose one low-interest rate card that can be used at multiple stores. This can give you a consistent credit history and help you grow your overall financial wellness.
Are U Ready To Get All Your Savings On One Card?
UMe is here to help you make the best financial decisions possible — and that includes finding the perfect credit card for your needs and spending habits.
We’re pretty certain our UMe Visa Credit Card will check all the right boxes with these amazing incentives:
- Low, fixed rate
- Earn rewards – like cash back – on every purchase!
- Instant card issue in-branch
- Extra security and perks when enrolled in Visa Checkout
- Verified by Visa fraud detection + Zero Liability
- Online account management
- Friendly, personal UMe Credit Union service (we think you’ll like this the most!)
Reach out to our awesome, member-centric team to learn more. Or, if you’re ready to get the ball rolling, click the button below to apply now!
get your visa reward card
*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Your rate will be based upon an evaluation of your credit worthiness.