Newest Review: ... it seems to be fairly reasonable in this respect, and there is no annual fee. There is even a choice of colours: pink, black, silver or g... more
A different kid of earner
Partnership John Lewis Waitrose Credit Card
Member Name: jupiter28
Partnership John Lewis Waitrose Credit Card
Advantages: useful rewards scheme
Disadvantages: high interest rate
Note: I do not encourage or endorse the use of credit cards to spend beyond your means. Ok I'm off of the soapbox now, back to the review.
JLP stands for John Lewis Partnership, comprising John Lewis, John Lewis Online, Waitrose food stores and Ocado.com.
~~~ The Basics ~~~
The partnership card is the credit card offered by the John Lewis Financial Services which was formed with the purpose of providing financial services to John Lewis Partnership customers. John Lewis FS is actually part of the HSBC Group of companies [Source: partnership card Legal information]
Everyone knows John Lewis. One of the upmarket department stores that offers virtually everything (including kitchen sinks!) at reasonable prices and been around since the 1800s. So a great reputation putting it's name to a credit card.
The card is a Mastercard, so accepted globally. The card comes in 4 colours, pink, black, green and a sage colour. The card has partnership written in the top left corner and underneath it say 'John Lewis Waitrose'. Beneath that is the chip for chip & pin and your long card number, start/end dates and your name. On the right is the Mastercard logo.
As with most credit cards nowadays, you can apply via their website quite easily after filling in a form with relevant information. URL at the end of this review. Everyone knows how a credit works and it's payment/billing method so I won't bore you with that.
~~~ Interest Rates ~~~
For new sign-ups the card currently offers 0% on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 6 months. This is particularly good for a number of reasons. Firstly if you have existing amounts owing on other credit cards, you can save by transfering to this 0% interest, but don't forget the 2% balance transfer free. At the same time you can make purchases and only have to pay the minimum amount each month. Just remember to pay off the balance before the promotion expires and avoid high interest rates.
Secondly, the period for both Balance Transfers and Purchases is the same. Some credit cards offer different periods which means you can end up in a negative payment hierarchy. That is if you think you have paid off the debt with the shorter period but still have a debt on the longer period, the amount you have paid will only apply to the debt on the longer period and you will rack up interest on the shorter period debt. My advice if you do go for a credit with different promotion periods for each is to have separate cards for each type of debt. The following is a statement from the partnership card website:
"If you do not pay off your balance in full, payments we receive are applied first to Payment Protection Insurance premiums, then to Default and other charges, fees, interest and then Balance Transfers, Storecard Transfers, Cheque Transactions, Cash Advances and Purchases with lower rate introductory or promotional items repaid before items with no introductory or promotional rate, unless we notify you otherwise. Please refer to "Allocation of Payments" section in your Agreement for a full breakdown."
Outside of promotional periods the interest rates (dated Jun-08) is 16.9% APR for Purchases and Balance Transfers and 18.9% APR for cash advances. I pay off my credit card bill in full each month therefore not incurring any interest charges. My advice to you is to do the same.
~~~ The Benefits ~~~
As with other credit card you have a period between purchasing an item and when you have to pay for it. That is pretty standard, as is the minimum payment amount, chip & pin. This also includes servicing your credit card account online so you can check your balance, payment and how many points you have earnt. I won't dwell on the standard things.
The main advantage is that you can earn points which result in John Lewis partnership card vouchers. You earn 1 point for every £1 spent in John Lewis, John Lewis online and Waitrose food stores. Everywhere else you ear 1 point for every £2 you spend. Another thing to note here is that only whole amounts of spending will count. For example £3.82 spent in John Lewis will only result in 3 points. Similarly, £3.82 spent outside of the JLP will only result in 1 point. I use my card for petrol, bills and groceries, so I mostly try and spend even pounds outside of JLP but it is not always possible. vouchers are sent out 3 times a year in denominations of 500 points. 500 points is worth £5 and the vouchers are sent out 3 times a year in February, June and October.
John Lewis is one of my favourite stores so I relish the prospect of being able to earn vouchers on my normal spending. To be honest I would be spending the money anyway so if I can I put it on my partnership card. The way I see it is my normal everyday spending allows me to indulge in some of the unique pieces John Lewis sells. I have had the card for about 5 years and have probably earnt over £500 in vouchers. How much you will earn will be wholly dependant on your spending patterns. You can use the vouchers in any of the JLP establishments but they come printed with your name and a 2-year expiry date, so you couldn't give them as a gift. However, you can earn points buying JLP gift vouchers as JLP purchases.
~~~ Anything Else? ~~~
Yes, I've had to dispute a number of charges to my account. Fraudulent transactions from an online gambling website that I never participated in and transactions I have had to dispute with UK merchants. For the fraudulent transactions, partnership card services immediately froze my card, returned the charges back to the merchant and issued me with new cards so promptly and efficiently that I cannot fault it. Once I informed them that it wasn't me, they didn't question it any further.
For the disputed transactions, they put the transaction on hold until further investigation established whether they could be removed. This means it is frozen and not actually applied until a course of action is determined. You just have to complete a form (available on the card website) and send it back. I had to dispute the charge of an item I never received and also a charge for services I never received. Again it was dealt with the utmost professionalism and efficiency that I have no quibbles and it always felt like the card services were working for me rather than the merchants. But then I am never wrong so why would they question me ;o) lol
Customer services is 24 hours, my calls are always answered and dealt with promptly without any hassle.
~~~ Verdict ~~~
So in summary you can't just measure how good a credit card is on the basis of it's rewards system alone. You have to factor in the things like online account servicing and customer services. For me this comes up trumps on all these things. In the industry I'm known as a rate tart, which means I will follow the best rate around. However because I really like John Lewis and the rewards system fits nicely into my current lifestyle I will be sticking with this a long time to come - it is my little indulgence. My vouchers are always received shortly after being notified that they have been sent and I have never had any issues with this aspect nor any other, I really can't fault them.
Oh there is no annual fee either which is an excellent bonus. You don't even need a John Lewis near you as you can use the vouchers online and currently with free shipping.
~~~ Additional Information ~~~
I could regurgitate the summary that is provided on the website at http://www.partnershipcard.co.uk/html/summarybox.j sp, but rather than clog up the review here, you can go and check out things like charges, latest interest rates and a simple illustration.
For further information check out http://www.partnershipcard.co.uk
Also posted on other sites by me.
© jupiter28 2008
Summary: Watch out John Lewis, here I come!