OUR BOTTOM LINE
The John Lewis Partnership Credit Card is an appealing rewards card for consumers who shop regularly at Waitrose or John Lewis. Cardholders get 5 points for every £4 in spend at John Lewis and Waitrose and 1 point for every £4 spent elsewhere. It also has an 18-month balance transfer offer and a 9-month 0% introductory interest rate on new purchases, and you get all of this without having to dole out an annual fee.
Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
What I like
- Rewards – All spending on the card accumulates points that provide rewards in the form of a voucher which can be used at John Lewis or Waitrose. For every £4 spent at John Lewis or Waitrose, cardholders accrue 5 points. For every £4 spent at all other retailers that accept Mastercard, 1 point is accrued. Cardholders are sent vouchers at four-month intervals, with a £5 voucher for every 500 points. Each point is worth 1p in John Lewis and Waitrose vouchers, so you can earn the equivalent of 1.25% back on spending at John Lewis and Waitrose and 0.25% elsewhere.
- No annual fee – The card does not charge an annual fee. This broadens its appeal to consumers who may want a credit card but are unsure how frequently they will use it. It also means that cardholders are not under pressure to use the card in order to offset an annual fee, which provides them with greater flexibility.
- Balance transfer – For consumers who have a balance on an existing credit card, the John Lewis Partnership Credit Card offers a 0% interest balance transfer period of 18 months. This could differentiate the card versus other rewards offerings, since an individual may be able to save on interest costs as well as accruing rewards for spending. Although a 2.9% balance transfer fee applies, this is likely to be less than the interest payments that would have been made during the 18-month period had a balance transfer not been undertaken.
- Offers – The card includes a number of offers that differentiate it from other rewards cards. For example, the card has an introductory 0% interest rate on all purchases made within the first nine months of the account being opened. This could make the card attractive for consumers who have a major purchase planned in the near future. There are also a variety of promotional offers available from John Lewis partners, including insurance and travel deals, which may appeal to some consumers, depending on their personal circumstances.
What could be improved
- Vouchers – While the card offers a fairly generous rewards scheme, vouchers must be spent at either John Lewis or Waitrose. If an individual regularly shops at either store, the store-specific vouchers are unlikely to be a problem. However, some consumers may not live near either store or may not want to shop online. In such a situation, the vouchers may be less appealing than those of other rewards cards.
- Fees – The 2.9% balance transfer fee could mean that consumers wishing to reduce the cost of existing debt can find a better alternative elsewhere. In fact, it may be possible to find a longer balance transfer period than 18 months with no balance transfer fee payable. The card also has a 2.75% non-sterling transaction fee, which makes it relatively unappealing as a travel credit card. Cardholders may therefore want to have a second card with no foreign transaction fees for use when travelling abroad.
How does it stack up?
The John Lewis Partnership Credit Card is an appealing rewards card. The voucher value of each £1 spent at John Lewis and Waitrose compares very favourably with the value of rewards from other rewards cards. There is also no annual fee, which broadens the card’s appeal to a wider variety of consumers. Offers such as an introductory 0% interest rate on new purchases, as well as the balance transfer offer, help to differentiate the card from other rewards cards.
The card is most likely to appeal to regular shoppers at John Lewis or Waitrose. Not only are points accumulated at John Lewis or Waitrose at a significantly higher rate than they are when the card is used at other retailers, but the vouchers can only be spent at John Lewis and Waitrose. For anyone wanting a travel credit card, the card has limited appeal due to its foreign transaction charge; cardholders may be better off having a second credit card that does not have a non-sterling transaction fee when travelling internationally.
Applications for the card can be made online through the John Lewis or Waitrose websites. For consumers who are unable to apply online, there is also a phone number on which to discuss an application.
As with all credit cards, the advertised interest rate and other details are representative. This means that the advertised terms are offered to the majority of successful applicants, with the remainder potentially being offered different terms. An individual applying for the card may therefore receive a different interest rate from that which is advertised.
How to apply
The card is available to anyone over the age of 18 who is a UK resident and has an annual income of at least £6,750. Applicants must have a UK bank account, a good credit history and agree to use their John Lewis Partnership Credit Card solely for personal use, as opposed to business use.
When applying for the card, applicants should have details such as their address history over the last three years, monthly income and outgoings, as well as employer information available.
Is the John Lewis Partnership Credit Card right for you?
For consumers who regularly shop at John Lewis or Waitrose, the card has significant appeal. It provides generous rewards for loyalty to the brand, and points can also be accumulated when the card is used at other retailers, though at a much lower rate. The balance transfer and introductory 0% interest rate offers could make the card appealing for consumers who either have existing balances or who have large purchases coming up.
For consumers who do not shop regularly at John Lewis or Waitrose, there may be better options available elsewhere. The fact that vouchers can only be spent at either retailer limits the card’s appeal.
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