Is it the end of store card madness?

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During the past couple of decades British shoppers were much like shoppers around the globe and were completely enamoured of store card shopping, with its ‘buy now pay later’ mentality. Unfortunately, this craze was costing them dearly and it took until the current debt crisis to realise just how much store cards were really adding to their financial woes.

Data which was recently released by the FLA (Finance and Leasing Association) indicates that shoppers in the UK spent approximately 2% less this August than the same month of last year. The overall drop for 2011 to date indicates that Britons are spending an average of 20% less on store cards and that one off discounts are not as appealing as they once were.

In fact, stores have been offering a number of discounts and promotional sales when offering shoppers store cards which at one time was a major factor in the number of store cards being issued. Las year, Santander communicated with customers that they were likely to be charged a hefty fee if they did not use store cards within a six month period. Santander is one of Britain’s main store card operators.

Even though store cards have always carried high interest rates they have always been quite popular in the UK and it is estimated that as many as 13 million cards from a wide assortment of high street stores had been issued to consumers. It is further noted that sales personnel had been incentivised to promote store cards to shoppers.

Shoppers are finally getting savvy and realising that there are cheaper cards out there not issued by stores and that one off discounts are no reason to take out a store card. Now with the digital age of printable coupons and vouchers found online, if it is a bargain you are looking for, the only hidden cost is a piece of printer paper and a bit of ink.

Author: Sam Allcock
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