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Are Store Credit Cards a Good Deal?

If you've ever wondered why a clerk would offer you ten percent or more off your purchase just for opening a credit card account with the store, the reason is simple: Stores make a lot of money off their cards.

This year, store credit cards will account for more than $13 billion dollars in online sales alone, says "Early Show" consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen.

She says saving a lot instantly sounds good, especially as the holiday shopping season begins.

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But Koeppen cautions that, in most cases, such cards aren't great for consumers.

Often, salespeople are highly encouraged to push store credit cards.

But, Koeppen points out, the cards tend of have high interest rates. So, if you don't pay off your balance, you could be hit with a high interest charge. There's no point in saving that initial 10 percent only to have those savings wiped out by interest on the card.

Also, you can actually damage your credit score by signing up for these cards. Going from store to store signing up in a short amount of time and then canceling the cards after you get your savings can have a negative impact on your credit score, which in turn could affect important things such as the rate you get for a car loan or mortgage.

In addition, a lot of store cards don't have great perks like the rewards you get on regular cards, such as points for airline miles and other items, so make sure you check that out before you sign up.

Store cards can be a good deal, Koeppen notes, if they offer good perks. She has a card to a store where she shops all the time, and gets 10 percent off every Tuesday and a lot of coupons in the mail for $10 or $20 off. The store cards can also pay if you're making a really big purchase -- think furniture or appliances. In situations like that, it may be worth getting the card for the savings. But for something like a sweater? Not so much!

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