December 2021’s credit card news & round-up

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.

December’s credit card update video

I go into more detail on some of this month’s updates in this video.

December’s credit card news

Credit card interest rates reach 23-year high

According to Bank of England figures quoted in The Guardian, the average credit card interest rate is now 21.49% APR. That’s the highest since December 1998. And it’s at a time when base interest rates are at an all-time low of 0.1%.

More increases are on the way. American Express will push rates up on cards from 22.2% to 24.5% in February. They say it’s to fund the offers and promotions it provides. And others could well follow with their own hikes.

Of course, I’m always at pains to say clear your credit card completely every month so you don’t get charged interest. Setting up a direct debit for this to pay the full amount will mean you don’t forget.

However, there will still be a huge number of people who have overspent and can’t afford to do this. Or have already built up debts.

If this is you, then try to shift that debt to 0% cards, or at least look for a low APR. If you need to borrow, look at 0% purchase cards or cheap personal loans.

Avios to Nectar transfer issues

A lot of you with cards earning Amex Reward points or Avios points will be planning on transferring them to Nectar points. I’ve had a few readers get in touch saying they’ve had issues converting Avios to Nectar, with the site and call centre not working.

I looked last night and it was working, but today the site is down again. And some are worried it won’t return.

I got in touch with the BA press office (who manage the conversion), and they said it’s just technical issues and it will come back as before.

Creation close cards for Curve users

Something worth sharing with you is news from Creation Finance, which issues the IHG Rewards Club card, who has closed credit cards for some customers who used it via Curve.

It seems they stopped allowing people to use the cards via Curve in September, but then in October and November it began cancelling the cards. Apparently this was down to misuse. HeadForPoints wrote this could be down to people using Curve to add money to NS&I savings accounts via the credit card, and earning loyalty points as a result.

Some people haven’t had refunds on the fee, but Which? reports that customers should be able to request a pro-rata refund on this. There’s a lot more detail on how customers are dealing with the cancellations over on the Curve community board.

Amazon ditches Visa credit cards

From 19 January 2022 you’ll no longer be able to pay on Amazon with a Visa credit card. Visa debit cards will still be accepted, as will any Mastercard and American Express.

The reason, according to Amazon, is too high fees. Though it seems weird that Mastercard and Amex haven’t been ditched too. It could all be a negotiating tactic, and it’ll go back on the decision if Visa reduce their fees.

And of course, Amazon does have a Mastercard and a business Amex you can get, so it could just be a push to get people to sign up to those!

There is an offer running on Amazon to add a non-Visa card to your account and get a £10 voucher (£20 if you have Prime). I’ve written about a potential hack if you don’t currently have a Visa credit card on your account here.

Amex Shop Small is on

As expected, the American Express Shop Small promotion is back until 13 December 2021. You can earn £5 back for each £15 you spend at up to five participating small businesses.

That five shop cap means the most you can make is £25 – a big difference from recent years where it could be ten lots of £5. And as with the extra edition in the summer, you’ll notice the increased spend by £5 from the usual £10.

Here are all the details you need in my extensive Shop Small article showing how to boost your return.

Free Apple streaming for Barclaycard customers

Good news for anyone with or who opens a Barclaycard. You can get some free Apple streaming services. If you’ve not had a subscription to each individual one before you’ll get five months free. If you’ve had the free trial and no longer pay, you’ll get:

  • Apple Music for two months.
  • Apple News+ for four months.
  • Apple Arcade for four months.
  • Apple TV+ for five months.

I got an email with details, so check for that in your inbox. Once you have claimed the codes they expire on 19 August 2022.

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:

Andy’s Top Three Credit Cards (December 2021)

  • Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Card for the welcome bonus (read more)
  • Amex Nectar for ongoing cashback (read more)
  • Barclaycard Rewards for 0.25% cashback and fee-free spending overseas if you don’t want a Chase current account

Andy’s podcast

Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s twice-weekly podcast. Episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

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