The Christmas season is fast approaching. It's the busiest shopping time of the year and as you step up to the check-out counter, get ready for the inevitable offer to open a store credit card. The offers may be very tempting this year - as much as 25 percent off your first purchase. But a close look at the terms and conditions of the card may make you say "no, no no" instead of "ho, ho ho."
Be sure to take a few minutes to read the fine print before signing the account application. Step out of line if you have to - don't be pressured to act quickly. Look for annual fees - if you're saving $25 today on your $100 purchase, but will have to pay a $50 annual card fee, then you're not saving anything. Also take note of the annual percentage rate, which is often higher than 20 percent. You could end up with hefty finance charges if you are not able to pay off the card balance within the billing period.
Finally remember that too many credit cards can hurt your credit score. Stick with a few cards that you can use everywhere, give you rewards you can use and have reasonable interest rates.
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