NatWest Credit Cards
NatWest has been a mainstay of the British banking high street for decades. As part of one of the largest banking groups in the country (the Royal Bank of Scotland group) NatWest is considered one of the ‘big four’ banks in the UK. And as a result the bank is more focused on rewarding its existing customers, rather than chasing new ones with attractive deals.
What this means for its credit card portfolio is that you won’t find some of the long interest-free introductory periods that can be found with some newer entrants to the market. Instead, NatWest takes a more mature approach in offering cards with no fees on things such as foreign transactions or balance transfers, or providing rewards on cards which are attached to NatWest current accounts.
What does NatWest do well?
What stands out about the NatWest credit card portfolio is that there is a little something for everyone. It has a card for balance transfers, travel, rewards, and even for students. While some other providers may give you several options within one category, NatWest is more streamlined in that it only has one card for one function.
Something that you will find with NatWest cards is that you can avoid some costly fees. It’s specific balance transfer card and it standard card don’t carry fees on balance transfers. And considering that its interest-free introductory period on balance transfers is relatively competitive, this is a winning combination.
Similarly, a couple of the bank’s cards don’t carry any foreign transaction fees. This is a fee that you will be charged is you purchase anything abroad or anything that is not in pounds sterling. While this may not be important to some borrowers, for those who want to use a credit card abroad this can be a real bonus.
What NatWest does very well is look after its customers. For its more attractive reward cards which do carry an annual fee, the fee is refunded if you hold the corresponding current account with the bank. Which means that you can benefit from cashback rewards without incurring an annual cost.
Meanwhile, if you hold a NatWest Student current account you are eligible to apply for its student credit card. Obtaining a credit card as a student can be very difficult, but it is also a good idea in order to build up a good credit rating. NatWest gives students this opportunity by providing a credit card which is linked to its student account and that has a manageable initial credit limit.
Where does NatWest fall down?
NatWest has some demanding eligibility criteria which may mean that some of its cards are out of reach for the average borrower. However, this depends on which card you are applying for. For all but its student card, it has a minimum income requirement. Meanwhile, some of its cards require that you must hold a current account, savings account, credit card or mortgage with the bank.
It also has cards which carry annual fees. These are attached to its reward cards, which means that you need to consider whether or not the cost of the annual fee can be offset by how much you can earn in rewards during the 12 months of card membership. As mentioned above, these fees are waived if you hold a corresponding current account. But if you are not a Reward or Reward Black current account customer you may not get as much as you would like from the card.
And while the bank does offer interest-free promotional periods, these are rather middle of the market. While competitive enough, the length of its introductory periods are not enough to place it at the top of the best buy tables. It does have the advantage of no balance transfer fees, but if you are after the longest interest-free period available, you had best look elsewhere.
What will you find in NatWest’s card portfolio?
What you will find with NatWest is simplicity. There is one option for each of the credit card categories the bank caters for. If you are looking to avoid additional fees on a credit card, then NatWest may be a good choice. Its lack of balance transfer fees and foreign exchange fees definitely make it stand out from the market. And if you are a NatWest customer, you are likely to have more options within the bank’s credit card portfolio than other borrowers.
What you won’t necessarily find with NatWest is accessibility. As mentioned above, there is a minimum income requirement for all but its student card and for its classic card you have to be a customer with the bank in order to be able to apply. Great if you are a loyal customer, not so great if you’re not.
How to apply
Applications can be made online, with the process generally taking less than 10 minutes to complete. As part of the application process you will need to provide information such as your employment status, previous address history, and in some cases, details regarding your existing products with NatWest.
For most NatWest cards (excluding its Student credit card), in order to successfully apply you need to have a good credit score and an annual income of at least £10,000.