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.
September’s credit card & BNPL update video
I go into more detail on some of this month’s updates in this video.
September’s credit card & BNPL news
Big Amex fee refund changes
From October you’ll no longer be able to get a partial refund on American Express annual fees when you cancel, which has a big impact on the welcome offers available from some cards.
This is already the case for all cards opened since 1 June 2023, but will apply to older cards from 2 October 2023. You can still get a pro-rata refund before this date for any unused months.
I’ve covered this in detail in my Amex fee refund changes: what is means for you article
Amex introduces a minimum income on all cards
Back in June, a few people have reported in our Facebook group that their American Express application has been rejected due to their salary. At the time I asked Amex if there were new minimum salaries and was told this wasn’t in place.
That line has now changed. Their press office confirmed to me last week that the majority of cards require you to earn at least £20,000 a year, while a handful have a higher threshold of £35,000 a year. Here’s how that breaks down:
- British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card: minimum income £35,000 per year
- American Express Platinum Card: minimum income £35,000 per year
- American Express Business Platinum Card: minimum income £35,000 per year
- British Airways American Express card: minimum income £20,000 per year
- American Express Platinum Everyday Cashback card: minimum income £20,000 per year
- American Express Platinum Cashback card: minimum income £20,000 per year
- American Express Nectar card: minimum income £20,000 per year
- Marriott Bonvoy American Express card: minimum income £20,000 per year
- American Express Rewards card: minimum income £20,000 per year
- American Express Basics card: minimum income £20,000 per year
- Any other American Express card: minimum income £20,000 per year
It’s important to note that is is based on an individual salary rather than overall or household income.
Earn extra Amex cashback via Cheddar
The cashback app Cheddar now works with American Express cards, so it’s worth adding your cards, along with any Visa or Mastercard, to the app.
The idea is you’ll earn money at participating retailers when you use your connected card (similar to how Airtime Rewards works). But don’t expect to earn huge amounts just yet.
My total is just 3p in three months! But apparently some changes to the retailers is coming this month so it might be easier to earn.
Amex direct debit issues
I shared in a “Month in Money” article and podcast episode earlier in the summer how I’d been forced to download and print a direct debit mandate for my American Express credit cards. I quiried this on live chat and I was told this was the only way to do it.
That didn’t seem right. I’ve only got a printer because it’s really old – it never gets used. So I asked the Amex press office if this really was the case. It took a while for them to respond but they told me I’d been told the wrong information and customers should be able to set up a direct debit without the need to print out a form.
As to why it happened to me – the vague reply was in that case more information was needed. I’d be interested to know if you’ve had any issues or whether it was just bad luck.
One in five use BNPL for essentials
The Money & Pensions Service (MaPs) has reported how more than 10 million UK adults use Buy Now Pay Later service, with one of five of those (around 2 million) using it for essentials including groceries, bills and fuel.
They also found more than half of all BNPL users have one outstanding payment at any time, while a third have two or more. For at least half of these people that was worth at least £100. For some, 14%, it was over £500 owed on BNPL.
And though the majority of people thought BNPL was a good thing, and said they were able to manage it ok, a third of people had either missed a payment or had a late fee – often because they had other debts to pay, they didn’t know they had a payment to make or they owed more than they could afford.
There are plenty of other stats in the report, but another important one is how two in five people spend more than they planned because they could spread the cost out.
The crux is that if you’re having to use BNPL to afford some of these basics, it’s likely just a short term fix. The underlying problem, for most, will still be there – you’re just delaying it, especially if you repeat it so you’re always borrowing on BNPL to get by.
So rather than continuing to use it, you might be better off seeking independent advice from charities such as Step Change or Citizens Advice.
Curve relaunch Flex
While we’re talking about BNPL, Curve emailed customers last week about a new service called Flex. Well, they said it was new, but it actually launched almost two years ago in late 2021! You can read more about it in our Curve review.
September’s credit card special offers
Asda Money offers up to £50 back for newbies
If you’re a new customer who opens an Asda Money credit card before 28 September 2023 you’ll get an increased 5% cashback on Asda spending for 90 days. This is capped at £50. More info on the card itself here.
Amex introduces 60,000 Avios BA Amex Premium Plus welcome deal
At the start of the year a huge 70,000 Avios offer ran, and a similar deal is now back – but only if you apply via the free British Airways Executive Club.
You’ll need to have not had either BA Amex card in the last two years, but you can currently hold or previously have held any other American Express card. Then if you’re accepted for the card, you’ll need to spend £5,000 in three months to trigger the bonus – which is a fair whack.
There’s also a £250 annual fee which you won’t be able to get refunded (as per the rule change mentioned above). But if you swap all the points you earn into Nectar points, and then deduct the fee from that total, you’re still making £200 profit.
It’s a limited-time offer, that runs only until 10 October. Here’s more on the deal.
Virgin Atlantic bonus of 30,000 points
Another offer to return this month is on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card. You’ll get 15,000 points when you first spend with the card, and another 15,000 when you spend £3,000 in the first 90 days. On top of that you’ll earn 1.5 points per £1 spent, giving you a total of at least 34,500 points.
You can use these towards flights or redeem for things like Virgin Wine and train tickets or spending at Greggs and Costa. The latter would be worth 0.5p per point, so roughly £172.50. Of course you can keep spending with the card to earn more points.
There’s a £160 annual fee. Offer ends 2 October 2023. More details here.
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.
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 (September 2023)
Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s award-winning podcast. Episodes every Tuesday.