Newest Review: ... I spend. For standard credit card holders, you receive 1 point for every 4 you spend on the card, whilst for platinum holders its 1 po... more
Master the Tesco MasterCard - don't let it Master You!
Tesco Personal Finance
Member Name: rachelwestall
Tesco Personal Finance
Advantages: Clubcard Points
Disadvantages: Fees if you don't pay your bill in full.
~Keeping all your loyalty points under one roof....~
The reason we took out a Tesco Credit card was because we wanted to collect more loyalty points. If you stick to one loyalty scheme religiously you are more likely to reap the rewards. Tesco, at the time we took out our card, had the best clubcard deals -and I believe they still do...
* Collect 5 Clubcard points when you spend £4 at Tesco .
* Collect 1 Clubcard point when you spend £4 elsewhere
At the end of each quarter Tesco send you Clubcard vouchers for all the points you've collected. You can choose how to use these.
* In-store :o( - Your vouchers can be used for your weekly shopping in store, at Tesco.com, on your petrol, or at Tesco Direct. This I believe does not give you the best value for money. A £2.50 voucher is worth £2.50
* Clubcard rewards :o) - Our favourite- You can get up to four times their value. £2.50 worth of vouchers is £10.00 towards your chosen reward. You can use these to treat yourself at a restaurant, use for a family day trip or buy yourself some jewellery. We managed to get over £1000 off our French holiday a couple of years ago, and we usually get a weekend break in a nice hotel each year courtesy of our clubcard points. Fantastic Rewards, but I do spend a lot!!
* Turn Points into Airmiles - :o) - £2.50 in Clubcard vouchers get you 60 Air miles. I have looked into this, but you do need to collect a lot of air miles to get anywhere, which I guess is fine if you're able to collect air miles from other sources or if you area frequent flier.
~But I don't shop in Tesco so I won't get many points....~
I don't actually shop in Tescos all that often any more, but the points keep mounting up. I guess it's all down to the way in which you organise your finances. We pay for virtually everything on our credit card - big and small purchases. We have learned over the years that credit card payments come with some benefits (legal protection etc) and also the more you spend the more points you accrue!! We always play by the golden rule and that is to ALWAYS pay off the full balance at the end of each month. Therefore we don't ever have any charges and all the clubcard vouchers we get are genuinely a 'freebee'.
~Hang on - Isn't Big Brother watching you?~
Many people remind me that every penny I spend on my credit card means that Tesco are able to gather information on me - my spending power, my shopping habits and even my movement around the country or indeed the world. While this in some ways is disturbing, I don't let it bother me. Maybe I am naive, and I am sure that many of my fellow Dooyooers will point out the error of my ways, but what do I care if Tesco know I frequent Waitrose more often than Asda or buy Value fruit juice rather than Innocent Smoothies? I have nothing to hide. I am happy to let them have this personal information in exchange for a weekend away with my family in a lovely hotel which we other wise couldn't afford.
~ Don't use this one abroad ~
Last year we travelled to the States and before we went several people warned us about charges for using your credit card abroad. It is relatively easy to find the information you want by searching comparison websites. We checked up on the Tesco's MasterCard and found they convert using MasterCard's exchange rate and then apply a 2.75% fee. The Post office however have a 0% Commission on purchases abroad. So we took out a Post Office card for our trip. We just used this card for our holiday and then cleared the balance. We felt that the collection of points wasn't worth an extra 2.75% on every purchase.
~Dealing with Disputes.~
One of the advantages of paying by credit card is that you can use their legal team if you have a dispute over a purchase. We have had to use them a couple of times with items we have purchased over the internet. On both occasions we were very happy with the service we received. We had a problem with a large item we bought and Tesco dealt directly with the company, withholding our payment until we had reached an agreement with the company. It must be noted though that the legal department is only open from Monday - Friday which can be awkward. Also, as with any telephone contact with large companies, you end up going through a long line of 'please press 1...' and several minutes of cheesy music. Having said that, we have been happy with the advice and service we have received from Tesco in this department.
We haven't had many occasions to deal with the customer service team, however when we have spoken to them we have been impressed with their response. Our most recent encounter was just a couple of weeks ago. We always pay our monthly bill, in full, online, it's easy and secure. However, over Easter we were away and forgot to make the payment. We were late with our payment by just 1 day. I cleared our bill in the normal way, sadly aware that we would have to pay a penalty. How shocked I was to not only receive a £12 late payment fee, but a large interest payment too. We did nothing as I knew I had made the payment late and you are always warned about the huge costs of doing this. I was shocked, however the following month when there was yet another interest payment. Interest for what? I'd paid my late payment fee plus a very large sum of interest for my mistake. How could they possibly charge us more money? I was really wound up - so got my other half to phone (!) He's the main card holder, also he's really good at complaining. He stays calm, whereas I would just go ballistic and ruin all chances of a happy outcome. Needless to say my hubby chatted to the customer service team. Explained what the problem was, reminded them what good customers we are and managed to get all the fees credited back onto our account - even the late payment fee. Now that's what I call customer service!
~ Opening an account ~
Look at www.tescofinance.com you will find the latest offers. Currently they are....
* Pay 0% interest on ALL purchases for 12 months from account opening
* Pay 0% on balance transfers for 6 months from account opening (2% fee on all balances transferred in the first 4 months)¹
* Typical 16.9% APR (variable)
Always read the small print and ask questions before you sign on the dotted line!
~ My Advice ~
If you have good control of your finances and you are staying in the UK, I would recommend the Tesco Credit Card, because of its great rewards.
BUT - Only choose a card for rewards if you're never, ever, ever charged interest. This means you must pay the full balance every month. Especially at the moment, I wouldn't want anyone to go into debt. Make the credit card work for you, not the other way round. I have been very happy with Tesco Personal Finance and will continue to use their credit card as long as the loyalty points are worth collecting.
Summary: Be aware of all the charges - Make sure YOU are in control.
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