How COVID-19 could disrupt store credit cards

While Gen X consumers are presumably further along in their careers and perhaps have to manage a home and family, millennials and Gen Z consumers might be drawn to these cards out of necessity, especially if they’ve been affected by the pandemic, Schulz said. 

Citing research from Equifax, Rossman said store credit card originations and balances have been on the decline prior to the pandemic, but these declines can be harmful to retailers leading up to the holiday season. The holidays are not only crucial for retail sales, but they also bring in more store credit card applications. The amount of private label accounts has declined, a trend which has been going on before the pandemic, Rossman noted. 

“There are still a lot of retail cards in the market, so we probably won’t see usage fall off a cliff, but we’re likely to see continued contraction in this space,” Rossman said. “That can be attributed mostly to debt-averse consumers and tighter lending standards. It’s likely to hit hardest during COVID, but as these numbers show, the retail card market was declining well before the pandemic and that could well persist afterwards.”


  1. ^ somewhat likely to apply for a store card (
  2. ^ CNN reports (

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