We all know retail is doing it tough.  And when Amazon comes on line, it’s going to get even tougher for bricks and mortar stores.

Which could be good news for shoppers like us. Providing we know how to handle the market.

Myer, one of the biggest players, has just announced it is dumping its store card operator and switching Macquarie Bank, who have quickly come up with a new Myer Credit Card with all the bells and whistles you’d expect.

But are store cards like Myer and David Jones really worth it?

The main benefit of having a store credit card is that they are linked to specific retailers and their rewards programs – allowing cardholders to earn and redeem points. So you can save money on your everyday purchases, and use it on things you really want like flights and hotels.

But be warned, store credit cards are not a good choice if you aren’t particularly loyal to the store that issued it.

And they tend to have higher interest rates and worse rewards points if you shop at different retailers.

The new Myer card will include unlimited potential to earn shopping reward points with no annual fee for the first year, then an ongoing annual fee of $69. So you have to save at least $69 for this to make sense.

Rewards can include up to three Myer one shopping credits for every $1 spent on purchases in-store. You also enjoy 55 days interest-free on all purchases made with the card and you can use your mobile Apply Pay or Android Pay with the new card. Naturally, you will also be invited to VIP events, fashion shows and enjoy exclusive offers.

Over at rival David Jones American Express credit card, you pay $99 as an annual fee.  So the first thing to think about is:  Can you save $99.

If you spend more $250 or more on a dress, a piece of bling or shoes, you won’t have to pay a cent for three months under its Fashion Pay Later Option.

You also have a Christmas deferred payment option and with Christmas round the corner this will be handy.

So when you make any purchases between 1 November and 24 December, you will only pay for them in February the following year. Reward points are earned on every dollar you spend on everyday items such as groceries with two reward points for every dollar spent at DJs.

According to comparison site, Canstar the David Jones and American Express partnership is “one of the most versatile rewards programs out there.’’

Finder.com.au says the credit cards offered by the two supermarket giants, Woolworths and Coles has varying rates of return for reward points. For instance, the Woolworths Everyday Money has a Platinum Visa which rewards you with everyday money points at the checkout or the Platinum Qantas credit card which gives you Qantas points when you spend.

The Coles Mastercard has a basic low rate, no annual fee credit card as well as a Mastercard linked to the supermarket’s flybuys customer loyalty program. The Coles Rewards Mastercard also has a currency conversion fee waiver on international purchases. Very handy for cardholders who travel frequently or shop online.

Finder.com.au says there are limitations to store credit cards which usually accrue interest at a higher rate than other credit cards.

Another drawback is that you earn less points per dollar spent when you shop at a retailer not affiliated with the store card provider. So if you don’t shop frequently at the same branded stores, it may not be worth your while.

Our view

The bad news about store cards is that some charge interest way above everyday credit cards. So read the terms and conditions and don’t treat them like a ordinary credit card unless you are sure of the charges.

And if you want to get the best out of your store card, the biggest rewards are typically when you sign up. These are sometimes as much as 25% off that day’s purchases.

See www.canstar.com.au/credit-cards/store-credit-cards/

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