Focus On: MBNA improves football credit cards

The end of another Premier League season is upon us and whether your club has been good, bad or just indifferent, you can guarantee it will be trying its best to get you to renew your season ticket so you can go through it all again in 2014/15.

And if you’re wondering how you’ll fund it, MBNA’s new-and-improved range of football credit cards could be worth a look – especially if you are an Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United or Tottenham fan.

What’s the deal?

MBNA has improved its range of football credit cards to offer a competitive 29 months at 0% on balance transfers (up from the previous 24 months) as well as three months at 0% on purchases. All cards will revert to a representative APR of 18.9% (variable) thereafter. The balance transfer fees on the deals have also been pegged down to 2.89% (from 2.99%) of the debt you’re transferring. 

Unusually the cards also offer the same 29 months’ interest-free on money transfers, meaning you can take credit from your card (up to of 95% of your credit limit) and get it paid straight into your bank account. Fees for money transfers are higher at 4%. 

The football cards also enable you to rack up reward points at a rate of one point for every £1 spent on the card which you can redeem against club events and merchandise. And every £50 you spend on your Manchester United card, will see you entered into a free prize draw where you can win private tours of the club and even the chance to watch the players train – back of the net!

Who’s it good for?

These cards are, first and foremost, targeted at fans of these six major football clubs. But if you’re looking to shift debt to a 0% balance transfer deal, they stack up well in these terms alone, regardless of the footie-related benefits. And if you’re also looking to make a relatively large purchase, but one you’re confident of paying off within three months, they are also useful. 

The money transfer facility at 29 months’ interest-free also gives you the chance to clear other more expensive debts such as loans, overdrafts, store cards or car finance – or pay for even next season’s season ticket.

Any catches?

Knowing how the minds of a football fan works, the main catch with these cards is that they’re only available in the colours of six Premier League clubs – ArsenalAston VillaChelseaLiverpoolManchester United and Tottenham Hotspur – and so will be a definite no-go for fans of Everton, Man City and West Ham to name but a few. 

And while the money transfer option could come in handy, it’s worth bearing in mind this comes with a 4% fee. So if you’re looking at buying an Arsenal season ticket at £1,900, for instance, you’ll incur a fee of £76 – which would probably just about cover the cost of a pie and a pint at the Emirates

If, on the other hand, you’re a Liverpool fan looking to spend £850 for a Centenary Stand season ticket, you can expect to fork out an extra £34 if you pay for it using the money transfer facility. 

Furthermore, if you’re looking to transfer debt from another credit card, make sure it’s not one of the many issued by MBNA as you won’t be able to transfer it on to one of these cards. 

Finally, these offers are only available until the end of May.

What’s the verdict?

In short, no matter what the deal, these cards will appeal to a section of fans simply because they carry their club’s badge – even so, the balance transfer and money transfer offers are among the best out there. 

If you want a longer balance transfer period though, Barclaycard’s Platinum Credit Card with Extended Balance Transfer offers 0% on balance transfers for 31 months for a fee of 2.89%, before jumping to a representative APR of 18.9% (variable). On Friday 9 May, Halifax also improved its Balance Transfer card to match its rival's 31 months 0% offering, though the fee is slightly higher at 2.99%.

And if you’re looking for a card with a long interest-free period but a lower transfer fee, take your pick from the Lloyds Platinum 24 Month Balance Transfer Card, the Bank of Scotland Platinum Credit Card and the Halifax Credit Card all of which offer 24 months on balance transfers and come with a fee of just 1.5%. 

Once the interest-free period is up on these cards, the representative APR jumps to 17.9% (variable) on the Lloyds and Bank of Scotland cards and 18.9% (variable) on the Halifax card. 

If it’s just a money transfer you’re after then the MBNA Platinum Credit Card offers 30 months for the same 4% fee. Meanwhile, the Virgin Money Credit Card offers 29 months for a 4% fee – but under a different brand. 

Both of these cards revert to a representative APR of 18.9% once the promotional periods end.

Top Tip!

A money transfer facility if something that very few credit card providers offer, but it is a useful way to pay off other debts and take advantage of a long 0% period. 

However, before you make any money transfer, be sure to factor in the 4% fee and make sure the money is used correctly – don’t be blowing it on a season ticket if it’s meant to be paying off a loan. 

And remember that because what you pay for with this money will be coming out of your current account, you won’t benefit from the added consumer protection that you’d get had you paid with the credit card direct.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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