Retailers offering store cards are to be bound to a raft of new measures designed to help customers manage their purchases and debts.
The Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) has worked with the government and the British Retail Consortium to bring in the new legislation as a result of continued criticism about the cards being 'pushed' on to shoppers who do not understand what they are signing up for.
Now, staff members will not receive direct commission for persuading people to take out a store card and free gifts such as cash credits will not be offered until seven days after an account is set up.
This could help to prevent consumers from agreeing to have a store card they may not be able to manage simply because they are lured in by the prospect of money off their purchase.
British Retail Consortium director-general Stephen Robertson said the measures are a "common sense compromise which will give people enhanced consumer protection with access to the benefits those cards provide".
FLA figures state there are 13 million store card accounts in the UK, with each one being used an average of three times a year.