A football club-branded credit card could end up being a financial own goal

It may be a great talking point when you get your football club plastic out in front of your mates, but these deals aren't the best option for all fans

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The Independent Online

With the new Premier League season kicking off today, football fans across the country will be donning new replica shirts and scarves, while some supporters will take loyalty further by carrying a club-branded credit card.

It may be a great talking point and often a bit of a wind-up when you get your football club plastic out in front of your mates, but these deals aren't the best option for all fans and by choosing the wrong card you could end up scoring a financial own goal.

MBNA remains the primary provider when it comes to football affinity credit cards, currently behind the deals for almost 30 clubs – not just the premiership big boys, but also some of the cash-strapped lower-league teams.

Creation is the other influential company in the area and currently has cards for six football league clubs, although its financial terms are less attractive.

A prime example is that even though the 0 per cent balance transfer term is a mere six months on the Creation football cards, the one-off balance transfer fees of 5 per cent are way out of line compared with a market average of 2 to 3 per cent.

So sign up for these particular cards, by all means, if they're linked to a club you support – but make sure you steer clear of the Creation balance transfer deals as they are more Football Conference than Football League.

Aside from the pride of carrying your club colours in your purse or wallet, simply spending on your football credit card can deliver a welcome cash injection to the coffers of your favourite team.

 

The funds donated from the cards make a vital financial contribution to the grass-roots player development of your club, thus helping the first-team players of tomorrow. If you sign up for a card the youth training academy at your club will receive up to £20 when you first use it and there's a further contribution every time you spend on the card. In the past 14 years the partnership with MBNA has resulted in more than £10m donated to teams.

The interest rates at 18.9 per cent APR representative are in line with the market average but if you can't afford to pay your balance off in full each month you would be better opting for a cheaper deal such as the Halifax Low Rate credit card at 6.4 per cent APR or MBNA's own 6.6 per cent low-rate deal, and making a separate donation to your club.

MBNA Football Credit Cards offer 24 months interest free on balance transfers, a full year less than the best non-football cards. However you can transfer cash from the cards direct to your bank account for a one-off money transfer fee of 4 per cent – which could prove to be a low-cost way to clear a nagging and expensive overdraft.

For fans who always pay their statement in full every month, these cards won't hurt your finances and can get you decent discounts in the club shop and the chance to win "money can't buy" and VIP days at your club

Some of the Creation deals also allow you to spread the cost of your season ticket over nine months, interest free, which could prove a useful option when funds are tight.

However, if you keep a big balance on your card, then look for a lower rate non-football card and don't be blinded by club loyalty as it could cost you far more than the value of the benefits you receive.

Andrew Hagger is an independent personal finance analyst from www.moneycomms.co.uk

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