I have four retail cards and a good credit score. I want to get a regular credit card and get rid of the retail cards. Is this a good move for my credit?

By , CardRatings Contributor

Our credit card articles, reviews and ratings maintain strict editorial integrity; however we may be compensated when you click on or are approved for offers (terms apply) from our partners. How we make money.

Switching from retail credit cards to general-purpose accounts isn't just good for your credit score, it's good for your overall financial future. Sure, you can save lots of money with the special deals stores offer when you sign up for their cards. Because those cards usually only work with one specific company, the banks that underwrite them see applicants as less risky. That's why they're relatively easy to get, especially when you're building credit for the first time.

While retail credit cards can help you establish the first few line items on your credit history, they often carry relatively low lines of credit. That means, if you're maxing out on a low introductory rate offer, you could end up reporting a high credit utilization rate to the credit bureaus. In turn, that could keep your credit score from climbing as fast as it could if you had a zero balance.

If you've been making on-time payments toward those cards, you might start to see some pre-qualified credit card offers in your mailbox. Search for credit card deals online, and you'll discover some balance transfer offers that can save you even more money.

Some popular entry-level cards include:

  • Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard®. For years, this bank managed private credit cards on behalf of large American retailers. To extend its own brand, the U.S. arm of the major British lender has created a rewards credit card with no annual fee for those with average credit.

If you get a card with a balance transfer offer try to arrange your balance transfers in such a way that you can keep at least 70 percent of your credit limit free on any particular card, especially the card with the largest credit limit. Even if you can't do that right away, you can still improve your credit profile by paying down your debt quickly with help from a zero introductory APR credit card.


Be the first to comment!

Start Here

Search. Compare. Apply.

Featured Partner Cards

  How is your credit?
Oops! Your credit does not qualify you for this card. Applying and being rejected for this card could possibly hurt your credit
We are redirecting you to offers you are qualified for based on your credit.
CardRatings is excited to announce the launch of the
100% Free CardRatings Email Course to Learn How to Maximize Travel Rewards.

Created in partnership with ChooseFI

We partnered with ChooseFI to combine CardRatings’ offer expertise with ChooseFI’s tried and true travel rewards strategies. Get to know ChooseFI: they have changed tens of thousands of lives and recently won Podcast of the Year at FinCon.
You may think you are a rewards travel expert, but rewards strategies are changing (e.g., the days of card churning and manufactured spending are numbered). Learn powerful, sustainable strategies (a couple of which even you die-hard travel experts might not know). You'll be so glad you did.
We're planning more courses for the future; this is just the beginning of our journey.