A store card is issued by many larger stores and they offer the shoppers credit. They are similar to a credit card, but you can only use the card in that particular store or other stores that they own. This means that you are restricted as to where you can use them. However, they do have some advantages over normal credit cards.
A store card allows you to have credit. This means that when you shop, you will not have to pay for the goods immediately. The balance is put on the card and then after 4-6 weeks you will receive a bill. You can usually to choose to pay off a minimum balance, which would include an interest charge or to pay off the full balance, which if you always pay off in full, includes no charges. In that sense it works the same way as a credit card. You will only be able to use it in the shop that issued it or in shops that they own though. Therefore it is more restrictive than a credit card in that sense.
Often a store card will have some advantage to those that have them. It could be that you get money off coupons, access to special events, collect points or get cash back all in connection with that particular store. There could be all sorts of interesting things that are only available to store card holders but this will differ depending on the specific store that you have the card with. Some will obviously have more than others. This means that if you shop in that store a lot, then it can be well worth having one and enjoying those benefits. Unfortunately, it is hard to find out what some of the benefits will be until you actually take out the card and so you may find you have to go with it and see if you find that it was worthwhile. Sometimes they will offer a discount on your first purchase with the card, which can be well worth taking advantage of if you have bought a lot of things on it. However, it is worth being careful that you are not buying more than necessary just because it seems to be a good offer. It is only a good offer if you would have bought the items anyway.
One thing to be careful of is interest on store cards. If you do not pay back the full outstanding balance each month, interest will be added. This works in the same way as a credit card in a similar way to a payday loan but it is normally more expensive. It is therefore best to pay off the full balance each month and you should be able to get all of the benefits of the card without excessively paying for them. If you think that you will not be able to pay off the balance, then it is best not to get one at all or to find one which has the lowest possible interest rate on it. You should be able to set up a direct debit each month to repay the full outstanding balance, so it is easy to do and you will not forget, but you will have to make sure that you have enough money to cover the payment.
So, getting a store card can be worthwhile, but only if you take full advantage of it. Use all of the good offers that you can but make sure that you do not buy more than you need. Make sure that you pay all of the balance off each month and therefore you will not have to pay any interest on it and you will gain a lot from it. If you do need a card where you do not pay it all off in full then it is wise to compare interest rates and find the one that will be the cheapest. This is because the high cost of the interest will be more than any benefits that you get from the card. Do be cautious though and if you think that you are the type of person that could easily get into debt, then it is probably worth avoiding using a card at all.
It is certainly worth having a think before taking out a store card. They can often be something which a shop will try to quickly sell you at the till and you are not left time to think about it properly. Do take time though, ignore the queue behind you and think whether you really want one and if this is the right time for you to sign up. Do not feel pressured into it, make sure that you are doing the right thing for you. If you sign up and change your mind, you can always cut it up and throw it away and not use it again afterwards.