The Santander Credit Cards

The Santander Bank offers two credit cards, the Standard and the Zero. The Santander Standard card is a competitive choice for those seeking a balance transfer card with a long term zero percent APR of 17 months. The Santander Zero card is only available to existing Santander current account customers of at least three months standing, or to those in the process of switching current accounts to Santander through their dedicated switching service.

Although it is generally perceived as a hassle to switch bank accounts, it is actually worth switching to Santander for the benefits the current account offers. The current account pays interest at the current level of 5%, outstripping the majority of dedicated savings accounts on the market. Consumers that switch are rewarded with a bonus of £100, subject to conditions being met, plus a free prearranged overdraft facility. Additionally the Santander Zero credit card is worth considering, although there is no associated cash back of rewards programme with the card.

The Santander Credit card is not limited to existing customers. It has little to recommend it as a general credit card, but is a good choice for those seeking a competitive balance transfer term that plan to use it solely for balance transfers. Standard fees include up to 5%, with a minimum charge of £5, for balance transfers; cash advances at 3% with a minimum of £3; foreign exchange fee 2.95%; and £5 for a copy statement.

Cardholders should be aware of the £10 dormancy fee and check with the bank how often it is imposed, before applying for the card. The typical APR is 17.9%, with purchases attracting 0% for just three months. The cash advance APR is 27.9%.

The Santander Zero card offers 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for six months. Balance transfers are fee free if opted for on opening the card. The typical APR on the Santander Zero is 19.9%, and 27.9% for cash advances. Cash advances and foreign exchange are both fee free.

The clarity of the information Santander provides is exceptional. Many consumers fail to appreciate that interest is charged from the moment a cash withdrawal is made, but Santander makes it clear that although this service is uniquely fee free, transactions will be charged at the APR of 27.9%. More commonly credit card providers do not draw attention to the APR levied on cash advances, apart from in the terms and conditions which many consumers fail to study.

The best features of the Santander Zero card are undoubtedly the fee free balance transfer offer which can represent an excellent saving for anyone transferring a high balance. The free foreign exchange is also a draw, though there are a number of other UK credit cards offering this service. The lack of a rewards programme limits the cards appeal, but the potential savings to be made on the fee free balance transfer outweigh this in monetary gains. Taken in conjunction with a switch to the Santander current account, the Zero Card is definitely worth considering for anyone who meets the criteria.