We have all heard the pitch as we are purchasing our selected items at the store.

“Would you like to save 15% on your purchase today?” said every retail check out associate.

In your mind, you are thinking, “Well of course I would but what is the catch?”
When it comes to store credit cards, that ‘catch’ is an average of 23% APR. So basically, any savings you may receive initially could be wiped out fast.

We all want the best deal we can get, but not all deals are created equal. When you are making a large purchase the savings of 15% sounds really good.
Saving 15% on a $500 trip to Home Depot means some great savings, but is it really that simple?
The answer is a resounding ‘no’.

Following are some tips to put the power back in your hands at the checkout counter:
1. Back away
Don’t be pressured to make a financial decision on the spot with a line of people behind you. Politely decline and ask for the credit card brochure so you can read it at home when you have the time to really see what you would be signing up for.

2. Pay it off
If you pay off your balance at the end of each month, you’re making that high interest rate a moot point, so you are making that rewards card really work for you. However, if you carry a balance of $1000 on a card with an APR of 23% for six years and only make the minimum balance payment, you just spent an extra $800 on interest alone.

3. Shop around
The credit card business is so competitive, so see what else is out there.

4. Know yourself.
If you can’t resist the lure of extra available credit, don’t get one of these cards. If you know you can not pay off the balance each month, just say no to the card.

In the end it is all about taking control of your financial life.

Don’t be in a hurry to make any financial decision, let alone one in the checkout line. Make certain you understand what you are getting into, there is just too much at stake.