Follow this topicFollow this topic Knowledge » Credit cards

Lovemoney Awards: John Lewis is your favourite credit card

Ed Bowsher
by Lovemoney Staff Ed Bowsher on 14 November 2012  |  Comments 14 comments

Lovemoney readers have given their verdict. The John Lewis card is their favourite credit card.

Lovemoney Awards: John Lewis is your favourite credit card

Earlier this year we asked Lovemoney readers to give us their verdicts on the financial products they use. We’ve collated the results and we’re now ready to announce the results of the Lovemoney Awards 2012.

Read more in How the Lovemoney awards work.

Today we’re going to start with the credit card awards. Here are the results:

Customer service

Winner

First direct

Cheer

Co-operative Bank

Cheer

John Lewis

Rewards

Winner

John Lewis

Cheer

Tesco

Cheer

M&S

Cashback

Winner

American Express

Cheer

Capital One

Cheer

John Lewis

Interest rate

Winner

First direct

Cheer

Nationwide

Cheer

Virgin Money

Most loved (overall winner)

Winner

John Lewis

Cheer

American Express

Cheer

M&S

So you can see that John Lewis has come top in the rewards category and has also won the ‘most loved’ award for the overall top credit card provider.

Last year’s ‘most loved’ winner, American Express, is in second place this year alongside M&S.

One card only

Unlike most credit card providers, John Lewis only offers one card – the John Lewis partnership card. This card has a 16.9% interest rate and new cardholders get a six month interest-free period for new purchases.

Nothing earth-shattering there, so why is the card so popular with Lovemoney readers?

I think the answer is rewards. Every time you spend at John Lewis or Waitrose, you earn one point for each £1 you spend. And when you spend elsewhere, you’ll earn one point for every £2 you spend.

When you’ve earned 500 points you’ll be eligible for a £5 John Lewis Partnership voucher. This is a pretty generous scheme – when you use the card at John Lewis, you’re effectively getting 1p back on every pound you spend.

What’s more, cardholders get exclusive access to regular special offers at John Lewis.

When you also remember that John Lewis has a fantastic brand and is renowned for its customer service, I can understand why the card is so popular.

Better

That said, I do think there are better cards – and better card providers – out there. Let’s look at some of the best:

American Express

It’s easy to see why American Express has won a ‘cheer’ award (runner-up) in the ‘most loved’ category. The company offers some cracking cards.

I especially like the American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card . It’s a cashback card that will pay back 5% of your spending during the first three months you have the card.

After that introductory period is over, you’ll get tiered cashback depending on how much you spend. Here’s how it works:

Annual spending

Cashback rate

Up to £3500

0.5%

£3500 - £7500

1%

£7500+

1.25%

There’s no annual fee on this card, but if you’re willing to pay a £25 annual fee, you could get even more cashback with the American Express Platinum Cashback Card.

Once again you’ll get 5% cashback for the first three months and after that you’ll get 1.25% paid back on all your spending. You’ll also get 2.5% cashback for one month each year – on the anniversary of when you took out the card. However, you do need to spend at least £10,000 in the previous year to qualify for this one-month bonus rate.

On the downside, American Express cards aren’t accepted at all merchants, but most big chains do accept them.

Anyway, I prefer the American Express cards because you receive cash that you can spend anywhere that accepts American Express, whereas with John Lewis, you can only redeem your points at John Lewis or Waitrose.

Read about the other leading cashback cards in The best cashback credit cards.

M&S Credit Card

The other ‘most loved’ runner-up is M&S.

The M&S Credit Card is similar to the John Lewis card. It offers reward points for spending in M&S, and you can only redeem those points at M&S. You earn a point for every pound you spend at M&S; elsewhere you get one point for every £2 you spend.

The points you accumulate can then be converted into vouchers to spend at M&S. Interestingly, the points convert to pennies at exactly the same rate as John Lewis. 100 points is worth a £1 M&S voucher.

But M&S beats John Lewis in one crucial respect. If you take out a new M&S Card now, you could benefit from a 15-month 0% on new purchases offer.

In other words, if you got a new card and then went and bought a top-of-the range £1,000 TV, you wouldn’t have to pay any interest on the resulting debt for 15 months, so long as you make the minimum repayment each month. Remember John Lewis only offers a six-month 0% period for purchases.

Balance transfers

Moving on from the ‘most loved’ champions, I’m surprised that you don’t see the main providers of balance transfer cards among the winners.

I can’t be certain why that is, but my best guess is that most Lovemoney readers are so financially savvy they don’t carry credit card debt and don’t need a 0% balance transfer card. So they focus on other factors such as customer service and rewards.

Nonetheless there are some fantastic balance transfer cards out there and I do think they deserve a mention.

For instance, the Barclaycard 22 Month Platinum Visa card comes with a 22-month 0% period and only charges 2.6% fee for the transfer.

But when all is said and done, this article isn’t really about what I think. John Lewis is the clear favourite among Lovemoney readers. Well done John Lewis!

More on credit cards from lovemoney.com

Top credit cards for Christmas shopping

The best 0% balance transfer credit cards

American Express launches new fee-free cashback credit card

Barclaycard’s cheapest ever balance transfer card is launched

Avios: it’s getting easier to get a free flight!

Enjoyed this? Show it some love

Twitter
General

Comments (14)

  • edwardmk2879
    Love rating 65
    edwardmk2879 said

    Credit cards are a slow motion airplane crash for the the entire economy. They should be forced to call them 'Debt Cards'. They are dangerous and insidious unless used in such a way that most people can't manage. I speak from experience of having been on both sides of the fence, when the debts incurred are easily affordable, and when they're not. Most credit card agreements have reams of small print which few people bother to read. One of the worst is the unilateral power of the credit card company to just increase the interest rate at their preference. So let's say you're on the interest free period...Happy Days! Of course, you've already lost 3% which is over 6%APR or thereabouts with the upfront commission for the balance transfer. Then if you make the mistake of not repaying as per your original plan for whatever reason, move past 'Happy Days' onto about 16% minimum payments and not very happy days at all. Try getting a 16% return with your deposited money at a Bank, or in your pension fund!

    Then to add insult to injury, I was hiked to about 2.4% per month by MBNA. That is a near 30% APR. When I called to point out I'd never missed a payment, they were completely unhelpful with no coherent reason available for the interest rate hike. To the credit card companies, consumers are cash cows to be milked as much as possible. Caveat Emptor. It's been a hard road getting out of debt, but I'm nearly there. I now have a Utilities Warehouse pre-paid credit card. Check them out, especially if you shop at Sainsbury's.

    Report on 14 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  2 loves
  • tonyjarvie
    Love rating 0
    tonyjarvie said

    Actually, I'd go further than your statement above, if I may;

    "Anyway, I prefer the American Express cards because you receive cash that you can spend anywhere that accepts American Express" - I have had one of these cards for about 4 years, and on the anniversary of my joining I get the money back as a rebate to my account. I emailed them this year and they were perfectly happy to transfer that to my bank account (via the card I use to pay my bill if I remember correctly) which meant it was money I could use anywhere at all!!

    Report on 14 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • nosbort
    Love rating 160
    nosbort said

    @edwardmk2879

    reading your post you appear to be a perfect example of someone who shouldn't have a credit card. I neither know nor care what interest rate any of my cards charge because I simply use them as a convenient way to pay (and get additional consumer protection into the bargain) and don't pay interest on any of them, and if I couldn't pay them off in full at the end of the month I would simply not use them.

    Report on 14 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  2 loves
  • isobelsgrandma
    Love rating 41
    isobelsgrandma said

    @nosbort, I agree wholeheartedly and have never paid any interest on any credit card. I have had a John Lewis card for several years, initially because it was a condition of being able to zap my own shopping in the local Waitrose, and now use it for everything I possibly can although I keep a separate Amazon card for on-line shopping (which also gives cashback in vouchers). I used to use the vouchers accrued to treat myself every so often but since retirement they don't seem to accrue quite as easily and, indeed, last year I used them towards my Christmas grocery shopping. However if all credit card customers were like us presumably the system just wouldn't work.

    Report on 14 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Salfordguy
    Love rating 22
    Salfordguy said

    The rewards sound generous but John Lewis stuff is about 4 times as expensive as elsewhere!!!! So not really worth it unless you are a rich money bags!!

    Report on 14 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Mike10613
    Love rating 626
    Mike10613 said

    The Barclaycard Simplicity with it's low interest rate of 7.9% didn't get a look in. That speaks volumes for the financial literacy of the average Lovemoney reader. Always in debt - always will be.

    Report on 14 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • isobelsgrandma
    Love rating 41
    isobelsgrandma said

    @Salfordguy, you don't have to buy John Lewis stuff with your credit card and you can use the vouchers in Waitrose which is pretty competitive on price these days.

    @Mike10613, I think you might have missed the point!

    Report on 15 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • neil733
    Love rating 1
    neil733 said

    @Mike10613 It could be the opposite. The average Lovemoney reader has such high financial literacy that they use credit cards as a means of getting discount (cashback) and added consumer protection, and never pay any interest. The interest rate on my cards is irrelevant as I pay the full balance each month. The cashback rate, and the lack of annual fees are much more important.

    Report on 15 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Ed Bowsher
    Love rating 80
    Ed Bowsher said

    Hi all,

    On the Barclaycard Simplicity issue, I have to say that I'm with neil733 on this one. The savvy approach is to pay off your bill in full each month. If you do that, the interest rate on the card is irrelevant. Doesn't really matter whether it's 7.9% or 27.9%.

    My only criticism of the Lovemoney reader is that he/she isn't getting the best reward/cashback deal on their spending - I'd rather get pure cashback I can spend anywhere rather than get points I can only spend in John Lewis or Waitrose.

    Ed

    Report on 15 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • PoohBah
    Love rating 23
    PoohBah said

    Even the savvy Lovemoney reader may fall foul of another credit card trap: simply being lured into spending more than they otherwise might because it's so easy. Doesn't matter that you can afford to pay the account in full each month: you are still likely to be over-spending.

    Report on 16 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • jamjar
    Love rating 1
    jamjar said

    Credit cards are good for three things ... making money off them, interest free loans and consumer protection on purchases!

    It's the making money off them that I like....

    Halifax - spend £300/month get £5 cashback (1.67% in my pocket)

    Capital One - 1% cashback on everything I spend plus extra £10 extra annual cashback bonus)

    Both with no fee.

    Lovely jubbly!

    JJ

    Report on 16 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • nosbort
    Love rating 160
    nosbort said

    @PooBah, there is a logical fallacy in your arguement, if I can always afford to pay everything off at the end of the month I can't be over spending. Over spending is defined in my mind as spending more than I have, therefore if I can pay for it I'm not. The savvy amongst us budget and then use the most cost-effective method of payment. Cash if a discount is offered, credit card if the points/cashback look better. Overspending is not a credit card trap, it is an attitudinal error.

    Report on 18 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  2 loves
  • PoohBah
    Love rating 23
    PoohBah said

    @Nosbort: My definition of overspending is not necessarily spending more than you can afford: it's buying things you might not really have wanted or needed, or buying something more expensive than you had intended - impulse buying, if you like. Using a credit card makes impulse purchases so much easier. Fine, if you have the self-control to overcome this tendency and plan all your purchases as you describe, but the card issuers and merchants who accept them are well aware of the phenomenon and take full advantage of it. Why else do you think shops were so keen to push their expensive store cards (before the rules were changed)? Sign up now, buy what you like at a discount, and take the goods home with you. You might carry only £100 in your wallet, but with a card you can easily spend £200 on a whim.

    Report on 19 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • princethorpeuk
    Love rating 1
    princethorpeuk said

    Overspending is what other people do. We make a good sound fianancial investment which goes sour due to events beyond our control.

    Report on 20 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love

Post a comment

Sign in or register to post a reply.

Our top deals

Provider & account name Credit rate (AER)
Based on £1
Overdraft
rate

Based on £1
Apply
now

TSB Classic Plus Current Account

5.0% 0% EAR Apply

Nationwide BS FlexDirect

5.0% 0% plus £0.50 per day usage fee Apply

Clydesdale Bank Current Account Direct

2.0% 9.9% EAR Apply
W3C  Thank you for using One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest