Christmas Countdown - The Danger Of Store Cards.

Christmas Countdown – The Danger Of Store Cards.

Would you like a store card today?

With just 13 weeks until Christmas, for many of us, the panic has already set in and we are considering credit such as store cards to keep up.

The “must have” presents children crave present a sizable headache for parents up and down the country worrying about how they are simply going to afford everything on their children’s wish list.

With just 13 weeks until Christmas, for many of us, the panic has already set in and we are considering credit such as store cards to keep up. The “must have” presents children crave present a sizeable headache for parents up and down the country worrying about how they are simply going to afford everything on their children’s wish list.

Have you thought about applying for one of our store cards today?

Many will consider spreading the cost on their credit cards and work through the payments over the year until the Christmas merry-go-round starts all over again.

But, increasingly we are all faced with the question, “Have you thought about applying for one of our store cards today?”, when paying at the till of many high street retailers.

Sounds like a great idea right?

Buy now and pay later, everyone’s a winner.

Except there is one slight snag, interest repayments!

Where as with most credit cards there is a rather handy interest free payment period, usually ranging from 1-3 years, with store cards it’s a much bleaker story.

Unless you plan to pay the balance quickly you will be subject to interest charges.

A maximum of 56 days interest free is as much as you can expect and when you break it down you’ll be shocked at just how much.

The cost of a £1000 shopping spree

A recent article in The Daily Mirror suggested that if you have a balance of £1000 on your average store card and you pay the minimum monthly payment of 1% of the balance plus interest, it would take you almost 20 years to repay the outstanding balance at a cost of £2000 in interest.

Not sounding like such a great deal now I’m sure you’ll agree.  

These cards, like any credit facility, leave an imprint on your credit file. In fact, even if you apply for a savings account with your high street bank it will impact your credit score by an average of 5 points, with prepaid current accounts this is not the case.

If paying monthly is an easier method for you, surely it’s better to put a little aside each month from January and then at the end of the year shop until you drop?

By opening a prepaid account you can save some money away without the need for any credit checks and negative impacts on your credit score.

Your money is kept secure in line with the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 so you can be safe in the knowledge that your hard earned cash is protected.

Another added bonus with a prepaid account is if it comes with the MasterCard symbol then you also have purchase protection, meaning using it is safer when shopping online than using a standard high street account VISA debit.

“America leading the way”

Over in the U.S.A. about 8% of households use prepaid cards according to the Federal Deposit insurance Corp. The cards have become popular with consumers, who already have high street bank accounts, to use as a budgeting tool.  

They say if America sneezes Britain catches a cold.

This could be one cold worth catching.

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Thinking Thrifty

David Jack Taylor is the founder and editor of the Thinking Thrifty blog. After a striking realisation about the direction his life was heading he set himself a 15 year plan to achieve total financial freedom. Join the journey!

He is also a contributor to Clear Debt, ICOUNT Money and M1 Debt Advice blogs discussing all things personal finance.
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