Black Friday Sales and Store Credit Cards: Why the Quick Perk Isn’t Worth It

When it comes to Black Friday and Black Friday sales, many shoppers have a tendency to go a bit overboard with the savings to be had. Many high-end items like television sets, Blu-Ray players, and video game consoles can be found for a fraction of their typical sales prices.

Considering the Black Friday deals madness, it’s no small surprise that some customers get caught up in the recent trend of springing for store credit cards that come with special Black Friday perks attached. Many large national retailers have tied enrollment in their store credit cards to consummate perks during the Black Friday holiday, tempting shoppers already searching for deals.

2012 Black Friday Perks – If You Sign Up for the Store Credit Card

There are a few different examples from 2012 that illustrate this new Black Friday tactic by retailers. First, Toys R Us and Target offered store credit cards with special Black Friday perks. For example, both companies offered the chance of exclusive checkout lines for customers with Target “REDcards” or Toys R Us “R Us” credit card.

This strategy, while potentially aggravating to those consumers without access to the special lines, seems to pay dividends for the retailers. According to Target’s own statistics, the REDCard has paid for itself by increasing sales by 14% in 2012, and in 2013 that figure is expected to rise even higher.

As for the Toys R Us credit card, sales have more than doubled since its adoption. In addition to these increased sales, both credit cards have brought in quite a bit of money through the high interest rates charged on the cards.

For one, Sears offers a “Shop Your Way” loyalty club that is directly tied to early access to specific Black Friday deals. Is this club any more worth joining than its Toys R Us or Target equivalent? Economists suggest that it is not. While very frequent shopping at Sears can make this card pay for itself, most average consumers will see no benefit—in fact, they will tend to actually lose money on the whole due to the higher interest rates on store credit cards.

This is widely indicative of the kind of raw deal that most consumers will face if they opt for the large corporation credit card deals featured so prominently in advertising, television, and the movies.

Why the Emphasis on Converting Shoppers to Cardholders?

Why do large-scale retailers push Black Friday sales and store credit cards so much? The answer lies in the mere profit margin and potential of both. Retail stores, especially those in the very competitive discount goods department, benefit greatly from having loyal consumers with store credit cards in their pockets.

For most shoppers, though, taking up a store credit card for the simple purpose of a Black Friday perk or two is a very bad idea. As previously noted, these types of store credit cards profit upon the high interest rates and lack of profitable deals associated with their use.

There may be a few supercharged deals that feature primarily in the sales pitch of these cards, but most of those deals are either exaggerated or are readily available to the public as a whole. Ultimately, you’ll have another piece of plastic to worry about (along with the card’s high APR) and this almost always isn’t worth the perk.

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