This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Credit Cards That Pay For Holiday Shopping

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Don't worry frugal, recession-shocked Americans: It's OK and sometimes beneficial to do your holiday shopping with a credit card.

This summer, as holiday savings and layaway programs began, the American Express (AXP) Spending and Savings Tracker found that 75% of Americans had either maintained or lowered their debt in the first half of the year and planned to save an average of $12,000 this year. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department noted that Americans saved 5.9% of their disposable income in the second quarter. Even as families with incomes of more than $100,000 increase by 400,000 this year and are poised to contribute an extra $1.1 billion to the holiday season's shopping, according to a survey released yesterday by American Express Publishing and Harris Group, their predicted average holiday spending of $2,093 this year is down roughly 1% from last year.

That thriftiness was evident earlier this week, when the National Retail Federation predicted that U.S. holiday spending would rise 2.3% from last year, to $447.1 billion. While that marks a dramatic improvement from last year's 0.4% rise and 2008's 3.9% downturn, it's still shy of the 2.5% average annual growth during the last decade.

Retailers have played it safe, with Toys R Us renewing last year's "Christmas Savers Club" plan that allows customers to put money on a gift card through cash or credit card payments and earn 3% interest as the holiday approaches. Sears (SHLD) and Kmart's "Christmas Club" gift card also offers 3% interest (yielding up to $100), but the two chains also focused on layaway programs by extending consumers' payment period to 12 weeks from eight.

Target (TGT) had offered customers an automatic 5% discount off their purchase when paying with their Target Visa (V) or house credit and debit cards, but are now offering new applicants for their private-label Target Credit Card 10% off a full day of shopping for signing up, while all cardholders get 10% off a day of shopping for every $1,000 they spend at the store. Banks and credit card issuers, however, are being slightly more generous in wooing holiday shoppers who've been more nice than naughty with their spending and payment schedules. "There are several cards that offer significant cash back or points during the first three months," says Ben Woolsey, analyst for CreditCards.com., "although they aren't really tied to holiday spending."

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,915.07 -70.54 -0.42%
S&P 500 1,964.68 -8.15 -0.41%
NASDAQ 4,396.2040 -22.83 -0.52%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs