What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell us

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Stacey Vanek Smith Jun 6, 2006
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TargetCard

Stacey Vanek Smith Jun 6, 2006
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TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: We’ve all been asked at the checkout counter if we want the store credit card.’No thanks,’ most of us say. Unless we’re at Target, apparently. Target is the first retailer to crack the top 10 list of credit card issuers. Stacey Vanek-Smith has more.

STACEY VANEK-SMITH: Would you like to save 10 percent on your purchase today by opening a credit card with us?

That has been the $5.5 billion question for Target. And more money is likely on the way, thanks to new bankruptcy laws.

Personal Finance Expert Jordan Goodman:

JORDAN GOODMAN: In the past, consumers could run up a lot of debt and forsake the debt through bankruptcy. The bankruptcy law which went into effect last October basically forecloses that option for most Americans.

In fact, most retailers, like Sears, sold off their credit divisions partly to avoid costly defaults. Now that that risk is gone, Goodman expects more retailers to issue their own cards.

GOODMAN: Well, the retailers hook you in it the first time to get you the 10 percent off, charge you 23 percent and then don’t let you get away from bankruptcy. Sounds like a good business to me.

Especially good because retailers usually charge higher interest rates than regular cards, but they can offer incentives to attract customers, like discounts and promotions.

I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

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