“ Type: Store Card „
Just to let you all know before you continue reading this, I love store cards. I am a huge fan of them and what they do, I think they are generally a great idea. IF and it really is a big IF you can control them. Luckily I can, although Im sure if you asked some of my friends, they would probably disagree and tell you that I can't!
The cards are just like credit cards in the way that you get set a limit, which can be changed and modified to suit you. My Dorothy Perkins card application got accepted straight away and I got a limit of £250, and I have kept it at this, as I find it manageable. I got asked a few times to get a card, and it was only last summer I decided to agree and get one. I wanted to buy a huge selection of clothes anyway (well around £100 of bags/sandals/shorts) for holiday, so it seemed the best way to be able to afford it all. There was no queue, and the process was very quick.
This card can be used in all Arcardia stores, which include BHS, Miss Selfridge, Topshop, Topman, Burtons and Evans.
So what happens.. First of all they do a quick age check, as you have to be over 18. Then it takes about 10 minutes to give your name, address, work occupation, other cards, bank details.. and then they ring up the 'main office' and they tell you dependent on your credit score whether you are accepted or not. This process is pretty fast. The usually reasons for no card being allowed is debt on another card, or not having any experience in the field of borrowing.
One of the main reasons I got my first store card (which was Topshop) about 2 years ago, was because I wanted to make sure I have a good credit history, and the only way you can show a good history is by having some! As Martin Lewis always goes on about, when it comes to borrowing money, other banks need to know you can actually do it first. So it is a good way of improving your credit score.
I get my bills every month, and then do a direct payment from my bank to theirs. I do this because I change it every time e.g. sometimes I do £10, sometimes the minimum and sometimes try to pay it all off.
If you are a forgetful person the best thing to do is to set up a direct debit! Because late payment fees do cost about £12, which is ridiculous!
I do love my card, and if I want to treat myself to a lovely dress or shoes it is nice to know I can do just that. I don't let it get on top of me, at the end of the day the best thing to remember is that it is not gift card money.. you will eventually have to give it off! Their typical APR is 29.9, so it is always best to get as much paid off each month, although interest generally doesn't bother me, at the end of the day I wanted to outfit and because I couldn't wait to get paid, I used this instead! So it really should be carefully monitored, but a great way to indulge yourself every once in a while.
I should say at the outset, I'm not a fan of store-cards in general because, after a disastrous, failed attempt to take advantage of a £15-off voucher from Kays Catalogue back in 1996 led to my having to pay the full price for a really nasty trench-coat (made of awful synthetic fabric that wasn't anywhere near the colour I ordered in the first place), and also - rather more significantly - nearly led me to being put on a credit black-list, I've been deeply superstitious about buying clothing by any method that involves me not paying for my purchase outright and on the spot.
That said, I had a brush with Dorothy Perkins store-card about five years ago during one of my fairly infrequent visits to the shop, took one out, paid it off then cancelled it and nothing terrible happened, so when I was in Dorothy Perkins the other day and got to the checkout and they asked me if I'd like one of their free store-cards and 10% off the price of my purchases I was loathe to refuse.
Communications from the card operators so far seem good: I've had two letters from Dorothy Perkins already in the fortnight since I took out the store-card so it seems unlikely I'll lose track of it. The card is easy to service over the phone and you can check, then pay off your full balance using your credit or debit card via an automated service. You can eventually get through to a human operator via this same service if you try hard enough. There is also an on-line card service, though I haven't used this myself.
The money off coupons and offers that come with the card seem quite generous; in addition to the 10% off at the till I got, I was sent a second voucher entitling me to 20% when I spend £30 (or some such) which - if I was going to be spending the money there anyway - would be a pretty good offer. They also have card-holder special days where everything in the store is a certain % off and previews of new ranges in-store for card holders, and so on. While the discount vouchers aren't valid against purchases from the DP online shop, and they do have an end-date (eg. my 20% off voucher is only valid till mid-May) they seem pretty good in general.
What I didn't like about the card is, despite the shop assistants having used my American Express credit card as proof of my ID in the shop, and my having specifically asked if I would be able to use that same American Express card to pay off my Dorothy Perkins store-card balance, that when I tried to used the same credit card over the phone it was rejected, as Dorothy Perkins store-card doesn't apparently accept American Express. I was quite cross about this as (for various reasons) I had specifically wanted to use this credit card to pay for my clothes purchases. While I know from long experience that American Express cards are refused almost everywhere, worldwide, if I'd known it would be refused by the Dorothy Perkins store-card operators like this I wouldn't have bothered taking their store-card out in the first place.
Still, the Dorothy Perkins store-card has no fees attached, and I was told it would cancel itself out in three months if I don't use it - so let's see what happens next.