“ By Amazon. „
You can view credit cards in one of two ways: (1) they make modern life easier by removing the need to be forever looking for the nearest cash point, providing payment flexibility and offering a way of managing your money, or (2) they are instruments of evil that tempt us into purchases we otherwise wouldn't have made and help us rack up huge levels of debt, which the card companies then charge us painful amounts of interest on. As the sort of person who is able to pay off their full bill each month, I fall firmly into the first camp. I like having a credit card; I find it convenient, invaluable for online shopping and more secure than carrying a lot of cash with me wherever I go. They are also fantastic in emergencies - as I found out the time my car broke down in the middle of nowhere.
=== Why This Card? ===
Up until a year ago, my credit card of choice had been the Halifax Ipoints card - I had had it for about 8 years and it had suited my needs excellently over that time. Unfortunately, last year some changes at the Ipoints website (including a rebranding of their online loyalty scheme as "maximiles") meant their contract with Halifax was abruptly terminated, and I was given short notice that I would no longer receive Ipoints as a reward for purchasing items on my card. No bonus meant no more Halifax credit card as far as I was concerned, so the hunt was on for a new replacement, ready to take over the place of my Halifax card the moment I stopped earning Ipoints for using it. As you have probably guessed from the category this is posted in, my ultimate choice was the Amazon Mastercard. But why amongst the hundreds of potential credit cards out there did I choose this one? There were several reasons that influenced my choice:
* I don't earn a huge salary, so any card that required a large minimum income level (such as a platinum card) was not worth applying for.
* I pay off the balance every month, so looking for a low or 0% APR (annual percentage rate, or what proportion of the debt you pay to the credit card company in charges) was irrelevant to me. Equally, I never spent huge amounts on any card, so I didn't need to look for a company that offered high credit limits.
* By not being dependent on getting a low APR, this freed me to look for a card that gave me something back for using it. There are a wide variety of cards that offer such incentives these days, and without paying any charges, this effectively meant I would be paid for using the card on transactions I would have made anyway.
* If I was going to get something back I would prefer that it paid out regularly, rather than an annual cashback as most cards and loyalty schemes seem to offer - this would give me tangible results quicker! Cashback is available is a myriad of different ways from different schemes, so I also wanted payments that were going to be of practical use to me (so not in Airmiles, then).
* I wasn't keen on getting an American Express card as they aren't very widely accepted in the UK, which therefore reduced the usefulness of a credit card and limited opportunities for earning any cashback. This ruled out the Nectar credit card as well as the American Express cashback options.
After much consideration, I decided that the Amazon credit card fitted these requirements well. There were no restrictions on who could apply in regards to income level, it was a Mastercard and therefore widely accepted, and the rewards would come in the form of loyalty points that could be exchanged for Amazon vouchers (which are most definitely practical and useful to me). There was also an initial bonus when I joined up a year ago that gave me £10 after my first use of the card, which was applied automatically to my account as soon as I became eligible for it (after being a member of all sorts of online loyalty and cashback schemes over the years, it always amazes me when I don't have to chase after such things). This introductory offer now gives you £10 on to your Amazon account rather than your credit card account, which is awarded on approval of your new card instead of after the first use of it.
== The Application Process ==
Unusually for Amazon, finding the page that lets you sign up for their Mastercard proved quite tricky; they certainly don't seem to go out of their way to advertise this service (it's here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/cobrandcard/marketing.html/). Having tracked down the application page, applying for the card proves much easier: a short form to fill in with your details, and an instant approval process means some customers will get their new account straight away (if you don't, Amazon warn you that you will have to wait up to two weeks for a manual approval process to be completed). If you get instantly approved you don't need to wait for your plastic to arrive before you can use it to shop on Amazon - they add the card to your Amazon account as a payment method immediately. The full card number isn't revealed to you at this point, however, so you can't run amok with it elsewhere until you have received and activated it.
My card arrived in the post about a week after I applied for it (pretty good compared to some other cards I have had to wait weeks for in the past). Once you receive it, you need to visit the online card services website at http://www.bankofamerica.co.uk/amazon/ to activate it and set up your online account, which allows you to view your balance and statements, and make payments online.
== The Loyalty Scheme ==
The Amazon Mastercard gives you 1 Loyalty Point for every £1 spent on your card at Amazon and 1 Loyalty Point for every £2 spent on your card elsewhere. For every 1,000 Loyalty Points that you earn, you are automatically emailed a £10 Amazon gift certificate. The number of points you have collected is shown in your online card services account page, and the balance is updated after each individual transaction (so you don't need to wait until the end of the month if for your gift certificate if you qualify for it at the beginning of the month - another thing I like).
I'm sure you won't be astounded to learn that these loyalty points are not a huge amount in terms of cashback: you would have to spend £1,000 at Amazon or £2,000 elsewhere to qualify for a £10 voucher, which represents a 1% and 0.5% cashback rate respectively. Such rates are never going to make you rich, but in a world where every other thing you read incorporates the phrase "the current economic climate" as a reason for you getting less or paying more for something, this is still a case where I am receiving something I like for free. I have paid not a penny in interest or charges for my card in the year I have had it, all transactions made on it are things that I would have bought anyway, and every now and again I get a £10 Amazon voucher emailed to me to spend on what I please. Not great value admittedly, but a nice little bonus for anyone who is able to use their credit card carefully.
== Online Management ==
The whole of my Amazon Mastercard account is run online; I have had nothing since my initial paperwork through the post, and have never had any cause to phone their call centre (which is good for me, but it does mean I can't offer any information about what they are like). I find the website reliable and easy to use, although it does get a little slow sometimes. I have had no reason to question the security of the website; they have a two stage log-in process and say they use the highest level of encryption currently available.
The online service page allows you to access your statements, view your credit limit, apply for a higher limit (although I find they give me a very generous amount, so I very much doubt I would need this), transfer a balance, view your PIN (one number at a time for security reasons) and make a payment. Monthly bills are issued around the middle of the month, and once a new statement is available, you are emailed a notification that you can now log into your account to view it and make payments. It takes about 24 hours between the appearance of the statement in your account and the email being sent, so it is possible to pay off your month's bill before you receive your notice should you wish to.
I have not experienced any problems with the online services, although I do notice that the online payment system defaults automatically to taking a payment for the minimum amount, which I don't like but would expect from a credit card provider. It pays to check this carefully and amend the amount paid to "full amount" if you want to run your account without charges, as the standard APR on the Amazon Mastercard is a bloated 16.9%, which will soon make any unpaid purchases very expensive indeed.
== Final Thoughts ==
My year with the Amazon Mastercard has proved to be a positive one. I have no real source of complaints - the card has never been rejected; I have never needed to speak to customer services as everything has (amazingly!) just worked; the card has proved simple to manage online, and of course I have enjoyed spending my free Amazon vouchers. So do I recommend this credit card?
- You can pay off your balance in full every month. 16.9% is a high rate of interest.
- You use Amazon regularly and would like to get free gift certificates for transactions you would have made anyway.
- You are happy to manage your credit card account online.
- You have debt to clear on a credit card or only pay the minimum balance each month. Go for a card with a cheaper rate, or you will be paying far more in charges than you earn in Amazon credit.
- You can get accepted for a card than offers a more competitive cashback rate (some American Express cards offer up to 5% as part of their introductory offer, but you need a substantial salary to qualify for them).
Hi, I signed up to this card and then bought something on Amazon with it. They never sent me a statement or asked me to make a payment.The first thing I knew about it was when Bank of America wrote to me saying that I was in default. I paid the balance off immediately but they would not remove the late marker from my credit file.I was never given the opportunity to pay an amount of the balance until it was too late.The way Amazon market this card in conjunction with Bank of America / MBNA is a confidence trick.It is a complete rip off.DO NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS CARD !
Why did I chose this card?
Last Christmas I had a huge shopping list and found Amazon to be a lot cheaper for certain products. For example, a vase I wanted cost £45 on Amazon including delivery where as it retailed at £100 in some stores. I added the item to my basket and when I went to pay and advert came up saying if I bought it on an Amazon Mastercard I coukld get £15 worth of credit put on the card straight away. I briefly glanced at the details and decided to go for it.
After taking a few minutes to fill in my details I was accepted for the card, and paid for the item. The bill came within a few weeks with a total of £45 for the item minus £15 credit so totalled at £30 !! I was amazed.
I took a few minutes registering online and paid it off there and then, it was so quick and easy.
To be honest that was the only reason I got the card and I cut it up afterwards so I reaped the benefits of free £15 credit, paid it off and got rid of the card.
My partner also did the same on a £14.99 book so technically he got it for free and got 1p credit! How amazing! Now there is a £50 minimum spend but there wasn't when I registered.
Overall, if you can pay your bills on time I would highly recommend this card. You can get £15 worth of free credit and you can earn points towards free amazon vouchers. I would always read the small print but so far I am more than impressed.
Brief details of the card:
0% on all purchases at Amazon.co.uk (for 9 months)
£15 worth of credit (minimum £50 spend in 60 days)
0% on money transfers for 12 months (4% handling fee).
0% on all balance transfers for 12 months (3% handling fee).
16.9% APR Typical rate
Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every £1 spent at Amazon.co.uk and 1 Loyalty Point for every £2 spent elsewhere
Every 1,000 Loyalty Points will get you a free £10 Amazon.co.uk gift certificate
Online Banking: This account is set up really easily and comes with paperless statements.
I do stupid things like applying for credit cards purely because companies are offering special offers for new customers.
Hence I applied for an Amazon credit card I didn't need early in 2008, as they gave you £15 in Amazon vouchers when you started spending on it.
A short while - and a few more special offer credit card applications later - I realized that perhaps all these applications for credit cards I'd been making were in fact having an effect on my credit rating, and hence I cancelled some of the ones I wasn't using - the Amazon credit card included.
Then at the beginning of this month, Amazon began their £15 for new Mastercard customers again. I saw this offer as I was checking out after buying some cut-price flip-flops from Amazon (yes, I thought they only sold books, too) and as the £15 would effectively mean I was getting the flip-flops for free, very foolishly I filled in the online application - it was very much a spur of the moment thing. Unsurprisingly, given the number of credit cards I now own the application wasn't approved immediately. I was advised that I would be contacted by post within a week with the decision on my new credit card.
A fortnight later I still hadn't heard from Amazon Mastercard, and being worried about identity theft and the possible new card, so I set out to chase up the application.
The old phone number I had for my first Amazon credit card no longer worked, as the card issuer had changed. It is now Bank of America. There was no contact number for the new Mastercard given on the Amazon website and a call to their regular helpline found me routed to a frankly, confused operator clearly based somewhere in the Indian sub-continent. Trying to explain to this person what my - apparently non-standard - Amazon-related question was about was a rather frustrating experience, although they were as helpful as they could be in the end.
On eventually getting hold of the new credit-card-line number, I was through to Bank of America. They had my application in hand but it hadn't been procesed. I think I made it clear that my only intention was to make a query about the progress of my application (if any) because I was worried about potentially lost paperwork, but the operator took it upon herself to complete my application then and there - without telling me that this was what she was up to.
After a long time spent waiting on the phone I was advised that I could have a new Amazon Mastercard, but only if I accepted a reduction in the credit limit on a different Mastercard that I have had for years. I only use this other Mastercard as a back-up when I'm on holiday and always pay the balance off as soon as I get back, so effectively in Mastercard's eyes this is apparently a 'redundant' account.
I told the operator to cancel my application for the Amazon Mastercard at this point as I hadn't really wanted it in the first place anyway.
As far as I'm aware the new card product has no annual fee, and as a bonus it gives you £15 credit as soon as you start spending on it. The account can be operated by phone, or online. Having owned a similar card before I can say it's very likely a perfectly all-right credit card, but I was disappointed during the course of my application for a new one, partly because of the difficulty I found in contacting the card operator's company, also because of the slowness of their administrative process, and finally because of the unrequested palavering about that resulted over my - as I though unrelated - Mastercard account because I hadn't wanted this to be brought into the discussion in the first place.
The Amazon Mastercard is a credit card on offer in conjunction with Halifax Bank of Scotland through Amazon.co.uk and is a great little credit card with rates competitive within the market place as well as offering points on all transactions. The card offers points back on transactions from the Amazon website at a rate of double those of purchases with other retailers and this is why I originally took the card out...if you are a fan of gaming (for example) then take this card out and put your console purchases onto this card when you purchase through Amazon and continue to use this card for you game, controller, utilities purchases and the points will build up nicely and once you reach the preset amount then you will automically receive a nice e-mail containing your Amazon.co.uk voucher for you to use against any purchases from the website which you can once again use towards your game purchases and use your card to pay the remaining balance to get the points back on the way to building up for your next voucher. The card is easily managed through the Amazon.co.uk website link to your credit card and any queries you have are easily answered by the Halifax Bank of Scotland but I would also say that when I had my card (I have since got rid of this card) you could not pay over the phone as Halifax Bank of Scotland only offer this to its customers through its own cards rather than those like the Amazon Mastercard.
I wanted a MasterCard because I wanted to order items from international stores online and they didn't accept my regular maestro card. So I went for the search in finding one which would give something back to me for using the card. I was not really interested in the APR or anything like that because I had no intention of keeping credit from the bank - all money would be settled as soon as possible. All I wanted is a card which was accepted internationally for internet orders.
Finding the Card
While I was surfing around for credit cards and the rewards I might get, I saw many different rewards; Airmiles, 5% cashback for the first 3 months of purchases, Tesco Points, Nectar Points - and more. I jumped onto Amazon.co.uk to look for a book which was recommended to me by a friend and staring at me was a banner on the front page saying "Amazon Credit Card - Rewards" I clicked in it and found the answer I was looking for!
If you would like to signup for the card, the simple direct link is www.amazon.co.uk/mastercard
The Amazon credit card is actually provided by Halifax. When you are taken to any webpage concerning the card, there is always the Halifax logo along with the Amazon logo. It's simply a re-branded template - I'm sure there are other companies doing the same thing with Halifax. It's nice to know that the card is being provided by a big name like Halifax - after all what does Amazon know about Credit Cards?
The card itself is the standard credit card size - no dodgy designs as we all know as the mint card - yes we all remember the adverts :- ) - this Amazon one is just standard, blue with a chip on it (for chip and pin use) it bears the Amazon logo and the MasterCard logo - there is no word of Halifax on it.
The Application Process
Upon accessing the credit card page on the Amazon website I clicked on the "Apply Now" link and was taken to a page where I had to fill in my personal details. They also asked my job title and my yearly wage. The whole process took about 10 minutes. I clicked enter and it took about 10 seconds to process my data and come back with "Your Approved!" they calculated that they would give me a £2100 credit limit (far more than I had expected, or even needed). There was the option to add an additional card holder too, but I didn't need to do this.
The paperwork for the card arrived in my mailbox after about 4 working days, the credit agreement, you simply sign it and send it back. Then after about a week my shiny new Amazon card arrived.
As a security precaution when my card arrived there was no pin number with it; that would be sent separately. On the card itself there was a sticker on it stating that I would have to call the number printed to activate my card (another security feature). I phoned the number and they asked me some security questions, my name, date of birth, job title, yearly wage etc just the confirming the things I stated online when making the application. I have to say that they were VERY long winded, they tried selling me a card protection plan, if I was unable to repay the credit back - how would I do it if I lost a limb, died, or lost my job! I just said I wouldn't require any protection plan of this sort!
Another thing as this is a MasterCard - you are protected against fraudulent use (which you would not be when using a debit card)
The pin number arrived by post a day after I got the card. This was the usual letter with the strip you have to rub off using a coin. Pin number as always are hard to remember - you are given a booklet inside on how to change your pin number using a ATM machine.
As this is a MasterCard - online purchases from a store will take you to a special page which communicates with Halifax bank and they will ask you your passcode you made up during signup - this feature stops anyone using your credit card online without your knowledge. If you tell someone your passcode then that's the only way they are able to use your credit card online.
Overall I think this credit card is secure. I guess these above features are true for all credit cards.
When you have got your card you are invited to go to the Amazon credit card page and signup for online banking. This is a really simple process. They simply ask for a username and password. By signing up you are able to view your statements online and even pay off your credit - this can only be done by using a debt card (so this is where my old maestro card came in handy :- ) your payment into your account from your debit card takes 3 working days to credit - this is really fast.
You can apply to have your credit increased, see current transactions and also see how much more credit you have left over.
I personally found the online banking feature really easy to use. You just choose from the simple menu on the left of what you want to do, and that's it. No complicated things to go through.
Now for the whole reason I signed up for this Card. The reward scheme is as follows
For every £1 spent on the Credit Card you get:
1 x Amazon Point (if you spent it at Amazon.co.uk)
0.5 Points (if you spend it at any other store)
And once you accumulate 1500 points Amazon will send you a voucher worth £15. if you are not a shopper at Amazon then in order to get 1500 points (for the voucher) you have to spend £3000 on it - so I use this card EVERYWHERE - I mean everything I buy goes on the card. Once the transaction is viewable online - I just pay it off. Its more simple than paying by cash - and you get points to spend at Amazon!
As I signed up for this card I was given an offer - when I use my card for the first time Amazon will send me a £15 Voucher. This is excellent. Even if you don't intend on using the card any further, just get it, use it once, get your voucher, and cut it up!
You don't have to be a bookworm to want this card. Amazon has grown to sell more things than just books - electronics, shoes, and other items. If you are like me, and don't want credit and don't need it, this is a really nice thing to have as you just pay off the transaction when it appears online with your debit card.
I've gotten used to taking out my credit card whenever I need to make a purchase. Even small things like lunch. It's much simpler then to deal with cash and then having to carry around the change...it's really easy to get used to...and at the end of it all you get rewarded with money you can spend at Amazon!
The Amazon.co.uk credit card is my first true credit card (I got a Vanquis one with only £250 before), and I got it during my student days; that is before I had any real income or job. I just filled out the application to 'try my luck', and I was told online that I had been approved for a £1700 credit limit! That is how students get into deep debts. Also they 'review' your credit limit once a year, and I am on £2200 now!
I got the paperwork quickly, and I just needed to sign and return it. The card arrived just days later.
Everything works fine! Bills have always been on-time and correct. The APR after the promotion period is at a fair 14.9%
I never really need to use the customer services much, but the online banking/account is the silly HBOS one. This being a Halifax card, is a real pain to set up.
My 0% offer had just run out, and I had transferred my balance (most of it anyway) to a 0% Virgin card. However, this card is still the lowest APR card in my wallet at the moment, and I love it.
I highly recommend the Amazon credit card to anyone. Any you get cash back to use on the Amazon website.