The increasing number of U.S.-based stores arriving in Canada is encouraging stores north of the border to do business the American way, the head of the Consumer Association of Canada says.  

And that means more retail-store credit and rewards cards, said Bruce Cran.

The arrival of stores such as Target and Nordstrom — that have strong credit and reward point card programs — is forcing many Canadian retailers to step up, he said.

"These competitive marketers are not just across the border, now they're practicing their methods here … which is good for consumers. It's called competition," Cran said.

The proliferation of store-specific credit cards can tempt consumers into spending beyond their means, said Scott Hannah, president of the Credit Counselling Society.

Hannah said he commonly sees people who carry as many as 10 cards.

But if used correctly — not to rack up debt — cards can translate into more choice and better deals, Cran said.