I’m sure the same scenario has happened to you: You’re in the checkout line at a big-box retailer and the clerk asks you, “Would you like to save 10 percent today by opening a credit card account with us?”
I always politely decline – even if I did want to save 10 percent, there’s no way I’d hold up the poor souls in line behind me by applying for a freakin’ credit card while they stew in their juices.
But it always gets me to wondering: just who are the people who sign up on the spot like that?
Well, the folks at CreditKarma.com, a San Francisco credit monitoring company, commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct an online survey of 2,051 adults in January and found that one in five Americans opted for the discount and opened a store credit card at least once over the past two years. Almost half (45 percent) admit they didn’t consider the impact on their credit or finances when they filled out the application.
CreditKarma.com also analyzed data from its more than 20 million members to see how many people opened store credit cards during the recent 2013 holiday shopping season. Its data confirmed that many holiday season shoppers succumbed to a “deal.” Compared to the previous January, the percentage of new store credit cards more than doubled during the months of November (13 percent) and December (11 percent), signaling the most activity of the year (based on CreditKarma.com month-by-month data, 2013).
“Opening a store credit card can be beneficial if you regularly shop at that store,” said Ken Lin, CreditKarma.com’s founder, in a press release. “However, it can also negatively impact your future credit worthiness and your finances, which many Americans don’t think about. That’s when people get into trouble.”
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The Harris Interactive survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Credit Karma from January 6-8, 2014 among 2,051 U.S. adult adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
Credit Karma data methodology: From a sample size of 133,238 Credit Karma members who checked their credit the first week of January 2014, 42,324 opened a store card in 2013. Among those who opened store cards, 64,821 cards were opened total, an average of 1.53 cards per person.