Interest rate on retail credit cards hits 30% as holiday shopping season starts

American families are expected to spend anywhere between $850 and $1,700 during this year’s holiday season – about $1.6 trillion overall – and while it may be tempting to save some money by using a TJ Maxx, Walgreens or Wayfair credit card, financial experts warn that retail credit cards can cost more than they’re worth.

The average store-only credit card charges a hefty 30.24% interest rate, and co-branded credit cards – those that pair a bank credit card with a retailer – charge 27.64%, according to a new report from Bankrate, a consumer financial services company. Both figures reflect a roughly 2% rate hike from last year and are well above the 20.71% average for all credit cards.

And as the holiday shopping season ramps up – some major retailers rolled out Christmas merchandise as early as July and August – so does the credit card balance.

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