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Shop wisely with these six great store credit cards

Several big chain retailers reward frequent shoppers with perks and rewards when they sign up for a store-affiliated credit card.

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Although it's possible to take advantage of certain bonuses and specials with a general rewards credit card, when you frequently shop at a store, you can often get the most out of your money by using that store or brand's particular credit card.

As with any credit card, however, you have to be diligent in how you use and pay for the purchases you make with the card, if you want to realize the greatest savings and benefits. For instance, because store cards often carry higher interest rates than general rewards cards, it's crucial to pay your balance in full each month to fully maximize the store card's potential.

To ensure you get the most out of your shopping trips, here are six of the best store credit cards available.

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Target REDcard

Target offers a debit REDcard and a credit REDcard, both of which allow you to take an automatic 5% discount at the register. The debit card requires connection to a bank account, while the credit card operates on a line of credit. Neither card has an annual fee, and both offer the discount in addition to savings with the Cartwheel app and coupons.

The REDcard also provides cardholders with an extra 30 days for returns and free shipping when they use the card at Target.com. Further, if you have the debit card, you can make up to a $40 cash withdrawal at checkout.

Amazon Prime Store Card

Although not a standard brick-and-mortar store — save for its Seattle bookstore — Amazon is one of the most popular destinations for many items. Amazon offers two different store cards, but the Prime version includes more perks. For Prime members, each purchase made on Amazon earns a 5% statement credit.

Plus, if your purchases total $149 or more, you can choose either 5% back or special financing. For example, for purchases totaling at least $149, you can select six months financing at 0% interest. For orders of $599 or more, you can choose 12-month special financing. The Amazon Prime Store Card also currently offers new cardholders a $10 gift card, which is automatically applied to their Amazon accounts when they're approved for the card.

Kohl's Charge Card

For those who regularly shop at Kohl's stores, the Kohl's Charge card provides significant discounts and savings opportunities. You receive a 15% discount offer with your card when it is mailed to you, plus a 20% discount on the first purchase you make with the card. As a cardholder, you also receive at least 12 special discount offers every year of 15%, 20%, or 30%, and if you make $600 in purchases with your card, you receive Most Valued Customer status, which entitles you to at least 18 discounts every year.

My Best Buy Visa

For electronics stores, it's difficult to top the My Best Buy Visa card. This card not only awards you 5% back on Best Buy purchases, but also 2% on dining out, groceries, and gasoline, and 1% on everything else. You can also take advantage of special financing. For store purchases totaling at least $199, you get six months special financing, and for store purchases of $399 or more, you get 12 months. Home theater purchases of $799 or more receive 24-month financing. New cardholders also receive a 10% rewards bonus on the first purchase made with the card.

Barnes & Noble MasterCard

Whether it's for booksmoviesmusic, or gifts, Barnes & Noble shoppers can get their money's worth with the Barnes & Noble MasterCard. The Barnes & Noble card actually offers two types of rewards: You receive 5% back on your B&N purchases (including Nook and Nook downloads), but you also get two points for each dollar spent at restaurants and one point for all other purchases (except B&N purchases). You can redeem your points when you reach 2,500 for a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.

This MasterCard also comes with 12 months of membership after you make $7,500 in purchases in a year with the card. In addition, new cardholders receive a $25 gift card after making the first purchase with the card.

Barclaycard Visa With Apple Rewards

Fans of Apple products and those who just regularly purchase Apple-brand computerscell phonestablets, or even smartwatches can take advantage of a great deal of perks and benefits with the Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards. You receive three points for each dollar spent on Apple purchases at Apple.com, in-store, or in the iTunes Store. Plus, you earn two points for each dollar spent at restaurants, and one point for all other purchases. When you reach 2,500 points, you can redeem them for a $25 Apple or iTunes gift card.

Apple also offers special financing for purchases made within the first 30 days of opening the account. Purchases under $498 have six months financing, purchases totaling $499 to $998 receive 12 months, and purchases of $999 or more receive 18 months.

This article first appeared at DealNews.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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