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Store credit cards have reached record-high interest rates, a new study has found

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There's no denying store-branded credit cards have their perks, but what do you have to lose?

Well, according to a new report released Thursday from CreditCards.com, store cards charge an average of 23.84% interest, well above the national average credit card interest rate of 15.22%.

A common misconception people have when signing up for retail store credit cards is it will save you big bucks.

However, CreditCards.com suggests applicants re-read the terms and reconsider.


These are the highest and lowest retail card APR offers from the report:

Highest:

  • Big Lots credit card: 29.99%
  • Zales Jewelers credit card: 29.24%
  • Staples credit card: 28.24%

Lowest:

  • Dillard's, 10.24%*
  • Military Star, 10.49%
  • Nordstrom Visa Signature, 11.15%**

What trips people up when using these cards?

"If you pay the card off every month, then the APR doesn't even matter. But many don't do that," said Atlanta-based financial planner Karen Lee.

According to the American Bankers Association, about 4 in 10 cardholders don't pay off their balance at the end of each billing cycle.

Nearly half of retail-branded cards carry an annual percentage rate or APR of at least 25 percent, according to the report.

A Facebook report found 57% of millennials would prefer to pay with cash than credit.


How can you avoid a store credit card crisis?

CreditCards.com suggests finding the best deal on a store credit card, similar to how you'd scavenge a sales rack.

According to the report, brand-loyal shoppers and those making infrequent, large-dollar purchases are best suited for store cards and their reward offerings.

Occasional shoppers should look elsewhere for credit.

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