Ho, ho, no? Reconsidering store credit cards at the holidays

FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2019, file photo a woman holds a Macy's card in New Orleans. Signups for retailer credit cards soar during the holidays. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

Most shoppers know the routine: It's time to check out and the cashier (or website) offers a discount if you sign up for the store credit card.

The offer can be hard to refuse, but experts say some shoppers should do just that.

Signups for retailer credit cards soar during the holidays. But the cards' perks don't always outweigh the downsides for everyone.

Here's what to consider:

HOW THEY WORK

Retailer credit cards work in one of two ways.

Cards that can only be used for purchases at that chain - like Target or Macy's- are known as "closed-loop" cards.

"Open loop" cards, on the other hand, such as the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa or the Capital One Walmart Rewards card, can be used anywhere but tend to earn better perks at the named retailer.

Holidays are when Americans tend to shop the most, so it's no surprise that signups for credit cards jump at the end of the year.

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