John Lewis card just preaches to the converted

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Consumers are spoilt for choice on credit cards, with hundreds to choose from. But John Lewis and Waitrose believe there is room for one more.

Consumers are spoilt for choice on credit cards, with hundreds to choose from. But John Lewis and Waitrose believe there is room for one more.

The John Lewis Partnership is launching the partnership card, charging 13 per cent interest on purchases. Customers also get six months' interest-free credit on balance transfers and 1 per cent back in vouchers on any purchases made in John Lewis, Waitrose or Peter Jones.

But while the John Lewis Partnership argues that the new piece of plastic will appeal to its 200,000 store card customers, it is not that attractive to others.

For a start, if you don't shop at any of these stores, you won't benefit from the 1 per cent back in vouchers. And while the 13 per cent charge isn't among the highest for credit cards, it's not one of the cheapest either.

Our "best buy" table reveals that a number of providers don't charge any interest for an introductory period when you get one of their cards - usually six or nine months. This is the same for balance transfers as it is for new purchases.

Even when this period has ended, and interest reverts to the provider's standard rate, all these best buys will still be cheaper than the John Lewis/ Waitrose product.

Halifax's One Visa, for example, the most attractive card on offer, charges 0 per cent on new purchases and balance transfers for nine months (the longest 0 per cent introductory period). The rate then reverts to 9.9 per cent, one of the lowest standard rates on the market.

If you are a John Lewis or Waitrose customer, spend a lot of money there every month and clear the balance on your credit card when the bill arrives, then the partnership card could appeal because of the vouchers. Bear in mind, though, that you will have to spend £400 to get £4 in vouchers, which also have to be spent in-store.

If you do spend a lot in John Lewis or Waitrose but can't clear the balance on your card every month, you could apply for a partnership card to earn your vouchers. And when you get the bill at the end of the month, transfer the balance on to the Halifax One Visa. That way you won't incur any interest charges for nine months.

You must remember to switch to another 0 per cent introductory offer at the end of this period, though, or you will incur interest charges.

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