Gravitating toward retail credit card offers during the holiday season is a popular undertaking, but while these cards offer alluring discounts, the hidden costs can wind up regrettable. The average retail card's APR is 23.84%, which is more than 8 percentage points higher than the average for other types of credit cards. Some retailers offer cards which go as high as nearly 30%, "which is often the penalty rate on a general purpose credit card, the rate given to people who make a big mistake such as paying 60 days late," says Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com, an Austin, Texas-based credit card comparison company. "When a card is easier to get, it might attract a riskier borrower and they typically get higher APRs so banks can protect themselves if that borrower can't pay his bill," Schulz said.
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