Marks and Spencer’s is one of the great British shopping institutions and regular shoppers may choose to use a Marks and Spencer’s card. There are three variations of plastic available issued by HSBC. There is the regular store card which can only be used when shopping at M & S; there is the credit card which can be used elsewhere and for cash advances; and credit card holders have the option to sign up the premier club which gives additional benefits, for a price.
Comparing the store card and credit card side by side the terms and conditions are the same. However the interest rate on the store card is much higher than on the credit card, at 23.9% compared to 15.9% APR. The cash advance APR on the credit card is the same as the APR on the store card at 23.9%.
The credit card is by far the better choice of the two cards as it offers 0% APR for the first 10 months on purchases. Balance transfers carry a fee of 2.9% and the introductory APR is 0% for 6 months. Late fees are a typical £12 and both cards levy a £5 for copy statements.
Both the M & S store and credit card offer a rewards program of 1 point per £1 spent which are redeemable in the form of M & S vouchers, sent out quarterly. However when the credit card is used elsewhere customers receive 2 points per £1 spent. The cards offer free foreign exchange transactions to customers both online or in the M & S Bureau de Changes. Online orders can be home delivered.
M & S credit card holders may choose to sign up to the premier club, but should evaluate if the cost is worthwhile. Customers who opt in will be charged £15 per month which is hefty fee of £180 per year, reduced for the first 3 months to £10. The benefits of being a premier club member could be worthwhile if the offer of worldwide multi trip family travel insurance issued by AXA is taken free through the club, and if you regularly shop at M & S.
The benefits are triple points on card purchases which are not in itself worth paying £180 for. However customers who stop for at least a weekly hot drink in store will be able to make use of the 48 hot drinks vouchers which total £124. Additionally premier club members will receive extra vouchers worth up to £40 or treats, plus a £10 birthday voucher.
Those interested in signing up should work out if the benefits, which are worth a potential £504, are worth the annual charge of £180: if the annual travel insurance appears useful I would advise pricing up an equivalent policy first and ensuring the AXA one meets your requirements. M & S do advertise that it covers winter sports amongst its coverage which can be a pricey addition to insurance policies.
The store card has limited use compared to the credit card which can be used elsewhere with a lower APR. The premium club is an expensive addition to the credit card but could be worthwhile for shoppers who would make use of all the benefits rather than just signing up for triple points and free vouchers.