Do gas/fuel cards and store cards count for scoring? Or should they be avoided?

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Do gas/fuel cards and store cards count for scoring? Or should they be avoided?

Postby Cre » Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:01 am

Up until this past week, I've never paid so much attention to credit cards than I have in my entire life.

I find myself reading member signatures here, to get an idea of what types of cards and limits that people who are really conscientious about their credit carry, whereas before, I wasn't even conscious about credit.

A couple of member profiles stood out to me... thom02099 holds 15 credit cards, a couple of which are charge cards, with a limit totaling around $144K. And AMEX094 has about the same quantity, type, mix, and limit level in her/his portfolio as well. Given the 800+ FICO scores of these members, it stands to reason that they are pursuing a path of successful creditworthiness building, so naturally, it seems like a good idea to follow them.

But then I noticed something...

There are no Chevron, Shell, or Mobil type gas cards listed in their signatures. Nor are there any Macy's, Nordstrom's, or Sear's cards listed either.

What is the significance behind this omission?

Is it due to these gas and store cards being too "insignificant" to list?

Or is it due to these gas and store cards being a bad idea to have/hold?

If the latter, can someone, or preferably a bunch of someones, explain why?
Current Cards:
AmEx Platinum Charge: NPSL, $450 AF
AmEx Reserve Credit: $30K limit, $450 AF
Chase Slate Visa Credit: $32K limit, No AF
Future Strategy:
Near Term: Need a good MasterCard for places that won't accept AmEx or Visa
Long Term: Will downsize out of one or both current AmEx cards to reduce AFs

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Postby whit » Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:40 am

Gas cards / store cards that do not have one of the major four attached (mc, visa, discover, Amex) still report on ur credit report because it is cc, but because it's limited to only a certain space; it doesn't "count" as much

Great example is Macy's, they have a store Macy card and a Macy's visa cc that can be used in the store and everywhere visa is accepted so, former is not the same as latter. Still generates credit for you though

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Postby beef.stu » Sun Nov 09, 2014 1:04 pm

Many people who start off with store cards may close them at some point. I am planning on doing that with my Chevron card down the line.

I stopped using my Chevron card once I realized that I wasn't getting anything out of it and that I could get myself a rewards card.
(01/10) - Wells Fargo VISA Platinum
(05/10) - Techron Advantage
(10/12) - Amex BCE
(02/13) - Chase Freedom VISA
(09/13) - Discover It
(03/14) - Sallie Mae WMC
(09/15) - Citi Double Cash WEMC
(09/16) - US Bank Cash+ VISA Signature

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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sun Nov 09, 2014 4:15 pm

Chevron, Shell, and Mobil-type cards have no appeal to most people here. Those cards usually offer 1% or 2% off at just one chain, while a card like the Sallie Mae offers 5% cash back at all of those, and has other uses, too. So Chevron-type cards are unpopular just because they are lousy cards.

Let's also consider the users on this site. I've never formally kept track (and have no idea in some cases), but I'd say a solid majority of the users here are male. A lot are pretty young, too. Not very many of us are buying clothes for ourselves or for children at Macy's or Nordstrom's. So those cards may be more popular than you realize, just not among this site's users (sample selection bias).

Even for light shoppers at those stores, there is a value to simplicity. Why have one more bill to pay and one more account to monitor just to save a small sum once or twice?

Sears hasn't been doing too well with any demographic.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

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Postby popamode72 » Sun Nov 09, 2014 4:19 pm

I had one of those Chevon cards earlier on in my credit building and although the auto CLI I got on it was nice, I really had no use for that card anymore once I started getting cards with better rewards, especially on gas. I closed it as soon as I could. I don't have anything with Macys, Nordstrom or Sears because I don't ever shop at those places at all.
Macy's TLs (21k), Lowes (17k), CSP (10k), Sam's Club (10k), Nordstrom (5k), AARP (4.2k), Freedom (3k), Discover (1.5k), Quicksilver (2k), BoA (3k), Barclaycard Arrival (2.5k), Amazon Store (6k), Paypal (4.9k), Sam's Club MC (3.6k), Walmart MC (1.2k)

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Postby otter » Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:38 pm

Store/gas cards... why not?

  • Limited acceptance- You can only use it at their location or in some cases (Sears/K-Mart, Wal-Mart/Sams or Chevron/Texaco) a few places. Of course, if it is a store-branded V/MC/DC/AMEX card, that's not true, but I don't really consider those store cards in the strict sense of the term.
  • APR- Almost all store cards universally have poor APR's. There are a few exceptions, and some cards have 0% deals. Be careful with 0% deals because if you don't pay it off in the 0% period, interest is applied retroactively costing potentially hundreds of dollars.
  • Rewards- Most store cards have poor rewards. Some have rewards worse than you could get with the right bank card. Gas cards typically pay decent rewards only initially or if you spend a lot on gas otherwise you'd be better off with a good gas rewards card which you can use anywhere.
  • Slim CL's- This is kind of iffy because many of these store cards are targeted towards poor credit customers, so the starting limits are poor. Even so, some will give even customers with great credit p!ss-poor starting limits (Yes, Target... I'm looking at you!). The exception is GE/Synchrony/whatever they're called this week. If there's one thing you can say about GE it's that they are generous with CLI's.
  • Poor customer service- I've never had a store card with decent customer service- you're dealing with the very bottom of the Indian subcontinent CSR pool.

The best thing that you can say about store cards is that some will approve even when no one else but First Premier or Fingerhut will approve. Given that, they can be a good way to rebuild your credit without paying an arm and a leg since they have no AF as long as you pay in full every month.
In my Wallet:
  • Amex PRG NPSL[3-14, bd 91]
  • Sallie Mae MC $8000[1-14]
  • Chase Freedom $4700[1-14]
  • Discover It $2750[8-13]
  • BoA UCF Alumni Cash Rewards $5000 [3-15]
Sometimes in my Wallet:
  • GM BuyPower WEMC $5000[9-14]
  • Wells Fargo Propel 365 Amex $7000[4-14]
  • Barclaycard Arrival WEMC $7000[3-14]
  • BoA Better Balance $3000[2-15]
In my sockdrawer: Amex BCE $1000[10-13, bd 91], OCCU Duck $10000 [11-13], The Sportsman's Guide Visa $8000[8-14], Chase Slate $4000 [9-14]Delta Gold Amex $2000 [2-15 bd 91], Diners Club MC $20000 [10-14] Commerce Bank Visa $2000 [3-15] Citi Double Cash $1000 [3-15]
Total CL: $90450

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Postby PlyrStar93 » Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:08 pm

otter wrote:The best thing that you can say about store cards is that some will approve even when no one else but First Premier or Fingerhut will approve.

And they may even approve the application without a hard pull, which is better than First Premier! Use the shopping cart trick without leaving the garden.
Citi Forward Visa $5000 10/2012 | American Express Blue Cash Everyday $8000 2/2014 | Discover it $7000 5/2014
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Postby thom02099 » Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:25 pm

Whether they serve a purpose, is up to the individual to decide. As noted from posts above, there are pros and cons. And yes, they count for scoring.

Store cards have traditionally been used for folks who have slim credit files and want to build credit slowly. And some cards, historically, have had a good run, though perhaps the luster is off nowadays. Sears credit card comes to mind, and perhaps to a lesser extent, Macys, though their business models are currently at opposite extremes. More up-scale cards, such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor and the like, seem to do OK, at least on the East and West Coasts. Not so much in the hinterlands if there's not one around. Again, depends on one's needs.

Having grown up in the South, I recall family (Mom and Aunt) having Belk-Hudson and Parisian credit cards, as up-scale cards during the 60s-70s down there. Later, when I moved to the Northeast, I remember Wanamaker and Strawbridge and Clothier as two cards to covet in the 70s. They met a need at the time. Nowadays, there's the big box retailers, and many folks have their cards, for a variety of reasons. And they serve a purpose. Personally, I have a Lowes and Home Depot card. Redundant, one might say, but they do offer very different product lines. I like one for appliances, the other for home décor and projects. At some point in my downsizing and retirement, I'll also retire these cards, as they've served a purpose.

Gas cards, from my perspective are a bit different. I recall, while in my rebuilding stage, I applied for a Shell Oil gas card, thinking it would help. Got it and got a decent limit. The only problem was that, it was good only in a different region of the country, primarily Arizona and New Mexico, with some stations in southern Colorado. Little use to me, when I read the T&C of the card, I never activated it and let it lapse.

Gas cards have had a checkered history. There was a time when motorists coveted the various oil company credit cards, and there was a loyalty factor. One might have an ESSO (predecessor to Exxon) card, or a Sinclair card, or a Shell card, or a variety of others. Many gas stations also had S & H Green Stamps that they gave out. Think of them as the grandfather to current credit card rewards; one collected them in books and redeemed them for gifts. My dad had a bunch of gas cards when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s. We did a LOT of travelling when I was a kid, and it was this new convenient way to pay for gas. They were much simpler than any cards today. Most of them were PIF when the bill came at the end of the month. It wasn't until the late 50s that the concept of revolving credit came about and started growing.

Today, with the advent of rewards from the major card issuers, it seems to me that the use of an oil company credit card has, for the most part, been made obsolete for most motorists. For those that travel, or for commercial use, such as Fleet or other cards for a target market, then perhaps they still make sense. Personally, I have no use for them since I get rewards from other cards.

But with everything credit, it's up to the individual to decide what is beneficial to them.
Retired, and in the process of retiring cards!
EQ = 846 EX=828 TU = 836 as of 02/2016

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Postby Xorand » Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:48 pm

Several excellent answers here that I can't really add anything to. I've had a couple gas cards and department store cards in my past. My first two credit cards were a Gulf Oil card and a JC Penney card back in the early 1980's. I used the latter to buy my wife's engagement ring, as a matter of fact.

We don't shop in enough places that offer their own credit cards to take advantage of any particular store's occasional card-holder specials. The only exception might be Target for their 5% back on their Credit or Debit cards. However, I can use my BCP to buy Target gift cards at the grocery store and get 6% cash back.

The last store card I had and recently cancelled was a Home Depot card. I got it primarily because I was buying a riding mower and they offered $100 off if I opened an account and paid for the mower with the card. Also had a WalMart CC around the same time. Those two were the only ones that lowered my credit limit during the 2008 recession, by the way.
AmEx - Platinum (NPSL) , Blue Cash Preferred ($19,000), Gold Delta Skymiles ($8,500)
Chase - Sapphire Preferred ($14,000), Disney ($11,500), ($9,000), Freedom ($8,000)
CapOne - QuickSilver ($7,250) / Platinum Rewards ($7,250)

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Postby Cre » Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:26 am

What an informative set of responses! Thank you Whit, beef.stu, CarefulBuilder14, popamode72, otter, PlyrStar93, thom02099, and Xorand for taking the time to write such detailed and thoughtful replies.

You guys are helping me in my quest to better understand credit as it is used today.

I very much remember collecting Blue Chip Stamps, as well as Green Stamps. I also remember those older department stores like Gemco, Woolworths, and Gaberdines. I remember being quite proud to have in my wallet a card from Standard Oil Company (Chevron), Texaco (until it combined with Chevron), Mobil (until their credit card division was bought by British Petroleum), and one other gas station I've now forgotten.

My reasoning back then was... no matter what gas station I encountered when I needed gas, I'd have a card for it. You will laugh at this, but at one point I graduated to having several cards from each gas company, and put a set in the ash tray of each vehicle I owned, so that I wouldn't have to carry so many cards in my wallet. Since each Gas company numbered their cards 1, 2, 3, 4... I'd keep all of the Card 1's in my commuter car, all of the Card 2's in the pickup, all of the Card 3's in the wife's car, etc. That worked quite well for me until the day one of my cars got broken into!

There was no thought of "rewards" at that time. The only savings that could be had was that if I used the Chevron card at Chevron, I'd get to pay the "Cash" price, versus the "Credit" price.... a price distinction they started during the second fuel "crisis" in 1978, I think. Or shortly thereafter.

I still carry a gas card from Chevron and Shell. I let all the others expire without renewal. Lately though, I try and buy all of my gas at the grocery store, which offers up to a dollar off per gallon for concentrating my grocery shopping with their chain.

It did not really occur to me to start shifting spending to cards that offered rewards until this month. I can completely understand why gas and department store cards are no longer in use... there is no reward. Thanks for the explanation.

That Sallie Mae card sounds interesting with 6% cash back.
Current Cards:
AmEx Platinum Charge: NPSL, $450 AF
AmEx Reserve Credit: $30K limit, $450 AF
Chase Slate Visa Credit: $32K limit, No AF
Future Strategy:
Near Term: Need a good MasterCard for places that won't accept AmEx or Visa
Long Term: Will downsize out of one or both current AmEx cards to reduce AFs

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