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5 store credit cards worth considering in 2017

 By Sean Bryant/Credit.com

How many times have you gone to check out at your favorite retail store and been asked if you’d like to save 10 percent on your purchase? Just about every time, right? Retailers sometimes use special promotions as a way to get you to sign up for their store-branded credit card, and while these promotions can be pretty attractive, you should always proceed with caution. Most store credit cards tend to have a very high standard annual percentage rate (APR) and the long-term reward potential is not very high.

To help you save some time, we’ve picked some store credit cards that are worth considering in 2017. Just note: Even though these five cards might be good deals for frequent shoppers, they still tend to have a higher APR than most general-use credit cards. That means it’s crucial that you pay your balance in full each month to avoid running up credit card debt and big finance charges.

Keep in mind that, like applying for any credit card, deciding whether a store credit card will actually benefit you is important. There are several things to consider when choosing a store credit card. And while some store cards are easier to get than a general-use card because they don’t have the same qualifying standards, it’s still good to know where your credit stands before applying. That’s because there’s still a hard inquiry conducted for a store card, and that can ding your credit for a little while, so you don’t want to apply if you’re just going to be rejected. You can get an idea of your chances to qualify by getting your two free credit scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

Here are some store credit cards worth considering in 2017. (Note: For full details, please see card agreements.)

1. Amazon Prime Credit Card

Signing up for the Amazon Prime credit card means you are going to be able to save 5 percent on every purchase you make at one of the world’s largest online retailers. You will also have the chance to receive a promotional 0 percent APR for six to 24 months on purchases over $149. Keep in mind, though, if you choose to take advantage of the special financing, you will not receive the 5 percent back. And if you don’t pay the balances off in full by the time your promo period expires, interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date.

While it’s not all that exciting, you will receive a $10 Amazon.com gift card (though offer may vary), loaded into your Amazon account, after your application is approved. Like most “store” cards, you will only be able to use it on Amazon.com. The card doesn’t technically carry an annual fee, but it does require a $99 per year Amazon Prime membership. It carries a variable 26.24 percent APR.

2. Target REDcard

Just like the Amazon Prime card, you will receive 5 percent off on all purchases that you make. And when you shop on Target.com you will receive free shipping as well as an additional 30 days to make any needed returns.

The card can only be used at Target stores and on Target.com. Keep in mind that most general credit cards will not offer bonus rewards when shopping at a superstore like Target, which makes this a great card for any frequent Target shopper.

The card doesn’t carry an annual fee, but it does carry a variable 23.15 percent APR.

3. Lowe’s Consumer Credit Card

When you sign up for the Lowe’s Consumer credit card, you will receive 10 percent off your first purchase and then 5 percent off every other purchase. You can get 0 percent financing for up to 6 months on purchases over $299, but that offer cannot be combined with the 5 percent discount mentioned above. Also, if you fail to pay your balance by the end of the promotional APR period, you will owe deferred interest on the purchase. The card can be used only at Lowe’s and on Lowes.com.

There’s no annual fee and the card carries a variable 26.99 percent APR.

4. TJX Rewards Platinum MasterCard

When you sign up and are approved for the TJX Rewards Platinum MasterCard, you will receive a 10 percent off coupon to be used on your next purchase. You will also receive 5x points on any purchases that you make at T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, HomeGoods, or Sierra Trading Post. You will also earn 1x points on any purchase that you make outside the TJX family of stores. Once you reach 1,000 points on your card, you will receive a $10 off coupon that can be used at any TJX store.

This is an open loop credit card, so it can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted, and there are a couple other benefits available. You will receive price protection, which will cover you if the price drops after you make your purchase. You will also receive an extended warranty, which will double any manufacturers warranty up to one year.

There is no annual fee; the card carries a variable 27.24 percent APR.

5. Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

With this card you will receive 4 percent cash back at gas stations, including at Costco Gas, on the first $7,000 each year. You will also receive 3 percent back at restaurants and on eligible travel purchases, 2 percent back at Costco and Costco.com, and 1 percent back on all other purchases. Because this is an open loop card that can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, you can earn points quickly.

The card does not carry an annual fee, but you need a paid Costco membership, which starts at $55. There’s a 0 percent introductory purchase APR for the first seven months, then it’s a variable 15.74 percent.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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