Are Store Credit Cards a Good Way to Save Money During the Holidays? - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Are Store Credit Cards a Good Way to Save Money During the Holidays?

YAKIMA, Wa -  If you have been doing any shopping for the holidays, chances are you have been offered a store credit card application.  Are they good idea?  It doesn't depend on the card necessarily.  It depends on you.  

"I'd rather have cash for my gifts, then January looks a whole lot better." says Patty Wytko, a holiday shopper at Valley Mall.

She doesn't want to go into debt, but others like the big discounts the cards offer.

"I signed up for the 10% off deal," says Brittany Wilkening who has a Macy's card.

Large Chain clothing stores, jewelry stores and department stores all offer store credit cards.  They can save you money if you know how to play the game, but they can also cost you money if you don't.

Many jewelry stores offer zero percent interest for twelve months on big purchases.  Clothing and department stores give you 10 or 15 percent off if you sign up.  But, they all make that up with high interest rates.  Some rates are over 25 percent.  They're hoping you can't pay it off right a way, or you miss a payment.

"It's not which store you get the cards from, but if you have credit cards from them all, there's a chance you might miss payments."

Consumer credit counseling services says read the fine print before signing up and be selective.  You should only sign up for one or two.  That way you will be less likely to forget about a payment.   The number one rule; make the payments right a way. 

"If you have self restraint to pay it off right away, there's a lot of rewards.  It's a good idea," says Wilkening.