Credit cards are the most common type of personal debt, with store cards not far behind. These cards can lead to spiralling financial problems with the tendency to spend on consumer goods – such as groceries, clothes and holidays – with a buy now, pay later mindset. However, by the time ‘later’ comes around, interest and charges can leave your balance looking much bigger than initially anticipated.
Although these cards look similar and allow you to spend and pay later, there are significant differences between credit cards and store cards. You can use a credit card practically anywhere; payment networks, such as Visa and MasterCard, allow for global spending but with store cards you can only use them within that store. For example, a Debenhams store card can be used at any Debenhams across the UK, but only Debenhams will accept it.
Store cards are widely recognised as ‘the devil’s cards’; and it’s easy to understand why. It can be tempting to take out a store card (and crucially, a binding consumer credit agreement) when making a purchase in that store and the customer service adviser offers you the card which, when taken out there and then, will allow for discounts on your purchases. This is how a lot of store card accounts are opened. But the reason they’re dubbed devil cards is due to their huge rate of interest; many store cards tend to charge 25% and upwards whereas credit cards tend to offer long interest-free periods and a standard rate of around 17%-18%.
The technique to using a store card safely is to take out the card (if you really wish to), benefit from the immediate discounts and then pay it off straight away, so you never have to pay a penny in interest.
If you forget to pay of the store card balance, the card operators will hit you with sky-high interest, often ranging between 25% and 30%.
Taking out a store card or credit card can seem like an harmless and useful tool at first but it’s easy to fall foul of the fees and interest that is applied once you fail to repay the balance each month. Debts of this nature are deemed ‘unsecured debts’ and we can help individuals across Northern Ireland that are suffering with financial problems stemming from credit and store cards through a number of official, legal procedures that protect you from creditors.
Speak to one of our friendly, experienced advisers for free today.
After losing my job, I started relying on credit cards and payday loans to get me through the month. As the debt build up, I found it increasingly difficult to keep up with the monthly payments and was hit with late penalties and added interest which only made the problem worse.
I was ignoring letters and phone calls, and dreading knocks on the door fearing it was bailiffs. This was when I knew I had to seek expert advice. After contacting Northern Ireland Debt Solutions, I felt an immediate sense of relief. Within a matter of days, the phone calls and threatening letters stopped, and I was finally able to move on with my life.
After burying my head in the sand for many years, I knew I had to face up to my debt problems. I was ashamed of the situation I had got myself in to, and it took a lot of courage to pick up the phone and make that first call to Northern Ireland Debt Solutions.
My adviser was sympathetic to my problems and I never felt as though I was being judged. He explained all of the options which were available to me and explained how each would work in my situation. While bankruptcy is a big step, I knew it was the best thing for my circumstances. I paid off what I could afford and the rest was written off. Three years on, I am in a much better place financially and able to look forward to the future.