The latest news to help you get the most from your credit card.
Here’s my monthly update sharing changes for leading UK credit cards, as well as some of the relevant articles you might have missed on the blog.
April’s credit card update video
I go into more detail on some of this month’s updates in this video.
April’s credit card news
Credit card use see a surge
With costs increasing everywhere we look, latest figures from the Bank of England show people are turning to credit cards to get by. In February total credit card borrowing reached an all-time high of £1.5 billion
It’s a good reminder for those with balances they can’t clear to look at 0% balance transfer cards, or for new spending a 0% purchase card – though be careful with the latter that you don’t build up unmanageable debts.
Barclaycard launches new Avios cards
Big news in March came with the launch of two new Barclaycard credit cards that earn Avios points. You might at first dismiss these if you don’t collect Avios, but since these can be switched into Nectar points they can actually be used for everyday spending at Sainsbury’s, Argos and eBay.
If you do this, the free card will earn the equivalent of 0.8%, while the paid card is 1.2%. There are also hefty welcome bonuses. Here’s my full analysis.
Amex boosts referral deals
Until June and July there are some increased welcome bonuses on some American Express cards – and they can be huge. Here are the details of all the offers and a referral link.
My pick is the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card, which will earn 35,000 points via a refer-a-friend link if you spend £3,000 in three months. Converted to Nectar points (via Avios) and it’s worth £280. This runs until 19 July 2022. Here’s my review of the Gold card.
Or you could look at the Platinum card. You don’t need a refer-a-friend link to get an increased 60,000 points, though if you do have one you’ll get 65,000. This offer ends 7 June 2022 and could be worth £568 in Nectar points, though it does come with a £575 annual fee (reduced if you cancel once you get the bonus). Here’s my review of the Platinum card.
Amazon to close Platinum and Classic credit cards in 2023
If you’re a regular Amazon shopper and Prime member, the Amazon Platinum credit card has been a top earner, with 1.5% back to your account on your spending at Amazon.
However, the Platinum and the Classic Amazon credit cards will close in January 2023 and you’ll be moved over to a NewDay Pulse credit card (NewDay issue the Amazon cards).
The Pulse card isn’t available yet, but it will offer 1% back for the first three months, then 0.25% after that, with an annual cap of £150. You’ll keep the same credit limit and there won’t be a credit check.
Rght now as it’s not clear what will happen to the points you earn. To get a £10 Amazon voucher you need 1,000 points, and there’s a risk you’ll lose all the points if you have less (hopefully not, but there’s a good chance). So the question is should you stop using it now or not?
To give you an idea of how realistic it is you’ll reach 1,000 points, Prime members with the Platinum card will need to spend £66.66 to get 100 points. If you think you’ll spend enough to reach 1,000 point threshold it might make sense to keep using it until you trigger the voucher.
I stopped using in Amazon at the start of 2021 and I frustratingly have 300 odd points stuck there. I’m hoping I get a partial payout when the card closes. I’m not going to close my card down though – I’ll wait for the transfer to NewDay to see how that pans out. The initial 1% for three months could be handy as my Chase cashback will have ended a few months earlier.
Just a reminder, there are also plenty of better cashback and reward cards for all non-Prime spending.
This also doesn’t affect the Amazon/Amex business credit cards, and I wouldn’t be suprised if we don’t see a new offer from Amazon in the new year (Visa perhaps?).
SCA rules in full force
New rules known as Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) are now in play which means you card provider (credit and debit) will need to get an extra approval for online payments (it’s been in place for contactless for a while).
This is usually via your card app or via a OTP (one-time passcode) sent to your phone or email, though some might want you to use the dreaded card reader. If you haven’t already, make sure all of your banks have the right phone number and email address to contact you for approval.
Though it’s good for security, it is a bit of a pain if you don’t have your phone with you when spending. Realistically if you’re spending online you’ll have signal or access to wifi, so that shouldn’t be an issue for most people. If you don’t have a smartphone a handful of banks will give you the option to send the code to your landline.
I’ve also heard a few stories of some purchases failing thanks to this. Personally, I couldn’t use Amex on Premier Inn’s website as Premier Inn hadn’t yet set up its systems to send the necessary request to American Express. However, problems like this should get sorted over time.
It might be that payments under £25 don’t need authorisation, but cumulative spending above £85 could trigger a request. If you are regularly using the same retailers it’s worth seeing if you can add them to a trusted retailer list for your bank.
This month’s best credit cards
As always when talking about credit cards the best credit card for you will depend on your credit report and why you need one.
Make sure you read my rules for having and applying for a credit card. You’ll also find my list of the latest offers in the same article.
But assuming you’ve got a great credit report, don’t need one to clear existing debts and will clear the balance completely each month, these are my top picks:
Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s twice-weekly podcast. Episodes every Tuesday and Friday.