While Christmas is likely to look a little different this year, many people are still set to do some festive spending and may benefit from cashback and reward credit cards to make their money go further.
Used responsibly, credit cards can be a good way to spread out your spending, and going for a deal that offers rewards or cashback means you’ll get something back for what you pay out – be that gift vouchers, reward points or cashback that reduces your credit balance.
Here, Which? reveals some of the best credit cards for cashback and rewards, so you get something back on what you spend.
What’s happening in the credit card market?
Banks haven’t been spared from feeling the effects of COVID-19, with some choosing to wind down their rewards ahead of a festive spending spree – and others trying to attract more business with new offers.
According to data from Moneyfacts, the number of reward and cashback credit cards has been in decline for some time now – a trend exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis. This year we’ve already seen cashback credit card closures from both Asda and Tandem – with more changes to come.
|October 2019||March 2020||October 2020|
|Number of reward credit cards on the market||57||56||47|
|Number of cashback credit cards on the market||9||8||8|
Which? anaylsis of Moneyfacts data
Pre-Christmas cashback closures
Anyone who has a Nationwide Select credit card will no longer be able to earn cashback from 1 December this year.
It currently pays 0.25% cashback on purchases – which cardholders can continue to accrue until 30 November.
The credit card has been closed to new customers since 25 November 2019, but still reportedly has 960,000 cardholders that are eligible to earn cashback.
The credit card itself won’t close; you just won’t earn cashback from December onwards.
New reward offers
It’s not all doom and gloom for spenders, as other providers choose to improve their offering ahead of the festive season.
The John Lewis Partnership Card – which recently changed its reward points system – is offering a £20 bonus voucher to new customers who sign up before 31 January 2021 and spends at least £250 with John Lewis or Waitrose in the first 90 days.
Beyond that, the card offers 1.25 points per £1 spent in John Lewis and Waitrose, and one point per £4 spent elsewhere. It has a representative APR of 18.9% plus 0% on purchases for the first nine months and 0% balance transfers for the first 18 months (minimum £5 for a 2.9% fee).
Elsewhere, the Sainsbury’s Bank Nectar reward credit card is offering 10,000 Nectar points (worth £50) to new customers who spend at least £400 in the first two months of getting the card. Normal spending gives you three Nectar points for each £1 spent at Sainsbury’s, Tu Clothing or Argos, and one Nectar point per £5 spent elsewhere. The card is fee free, and has a 20.9% representative APR.
The best credit cards for rewards
Nectar Credit Card from American Express offers one of the most generous rewards around, and American Express rated highly in our latest credit card survey, making it a Which? Recommended Provider.
The Nectar Credit Card offers a minimum of three Nectar points for each £1 spent with Nectar partners and two points spent elsewhere.
For new customers, you can earn 20,000 bonus Nectar points (worth £100) if you spend £2,000 in the first three months of getting the card.
However, there’s a £25 annual card fee to take into account (although it’s free for the first year) and has a representative APR of 27.3%.
The best credit cards for cashback
The American Express Platinum Cashback Credit Card offers new customers 5% cashback on purchases for the first three months – up to £125. After that, it pays 1% cashback on all purchases if you spend up to £10,000 or 1.25% cashback if you spend £10,001 or more. You can also get supplementary cards for family members. It has a £25 annual card fee and 27.3% representative APR.
Elsewhere, Santander’s All in One Credit Card allows you to earn up to 15% cashback through its ‘Retailer Offers’ available through online and mobile banking, along with 0.5% cashback on all purchases. Aside from this, it also offers 0% on balance transfers and purchases for 26 months, there are no foreign transaction fees and you can get up to three additional cardholders to share the perks. The card has a £36 annual fee and 21.7% representative APR.
How to pick a new credit card
Of course, it’s not all about the rates and perks – before you commit to a new credit card, you should make sure the provider fits the bill for all the services you want, such as customer service.
Our guide to the best and worst credit providers can help give you some insight.
Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Money Compare is a trading name of Which? Financial Services Limited.