Shopping around for the best store card

Consumers who are trying to be smart in planning their finances typically shop around for credit card offers and select the one most suitable for their spending needs. Since many Americans have store credit cards, understanding the differences between various kinds of store cards may also be beneficial.

The standard kind of store card that most consumers are probably familiar with is one that only allows the holder to make purchases with the card in the store that issues it. If a store card has a Visa, Mastercard or American Express logo imprinted on it, it may be what is known as a co-branded card. Such cards are essentially standard credit cards that simply offer rewards when the consumer shops with a specific retailer, according to Consumer Reports.

A third kind of card can only be used to finance large purchases. Such cards may be tricky for those with bad credit history or financial problems, as they often offer zero-percent financing over a several-month period. Once the period expires, however, interest may retroactively apply to the remaining balance.