Focus on: Nationwide launches reward scheme for card customers

Competition in the credit card market has stepped up a gear in recent months, but while balance transfer credit cards have been getting most of the glory, if you use your plastic just for spending purposes, you don't have to miss out.

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Already well-equipped with spending benefits, the Nationwide Select credit card has added another string to its bow through a new reward scheme offering discounts at a number of retailers, restaurants and travel companies. Here, we take a closer look at what's on offer.

What's the deal?

If you have a Nationwide Select credit card sitting in your wallet (if you don't, you may soon want one), you will now have access to the building society's new Simply Rewards programme. 

Unlike most reward schemes on the market, you don't need to collect reward points on your card to qualify for the discounts. Instead, all you need to do is log on to the Simply Rewards website by entering the first six digits of your card number and you'll then be able to choose from a wide range of deals.

Offers change on a regular basis, but at the time of writing, customers could get their hands on discounts such as 12% off at Interflora, 30% off online at the Body Shop, 15% off at Cafe Rouge and 5% off Virgin Holidays.

The discounts can usually be claimed through printing out a voucher or using an online voucher code, but you'll always need to make your purchase with your Nationwide card.

It's worth noting here that the rewards programme is open to everyone with a Nationwide credit card (or debit card) – not solely those who have a Select credit card.

However, if you use the Nationwide Select credit card for your spending, your rewards will stretch even further as you will receive 0.5% cashback on purchases. In addition, you won't have to pay any interest on your spending for 12 months.

The card is also a welcome addition to your wallet if you're planning to go on holiday as, unlike the majority of credit cards, you won't be charged for spending on your card overseas.

On top of that, the Select credit card offers 20 months interest-free on balance transfers with a reduced fee of 1.55%.

Any catches?

One of the main catches of the Nationwide Select credit card is that you'll need to hold a Nationwide FlexAccount to qualify and have paid at least £750 a month into the account for the last three months. If you don't have the account, you'll need to open one. 

The card is also not market-leading in any one camp. The Tesco Clubcard credit card easily beats it for interest-free purchases, offering a 0% period for 16 months.

And for cashback, you can earn 6% cashback on your five most expensive purchases in the first three months with Barclaycard or 5% cashback on all purchases in the first three months with American Express.

For balance transfers, the 25-month 0% period on Barclaycard's Platinum credit card with Extended Balance Transfer easily pips the Nationwide card to the post, but it does come with a hefty 3.2% fee.

Be aware if you don't pay off your balance in full before the interest-free periods end, the Nationwide card charges a representative annual percentage rate (APR) of 12.9%.

What's the verdict?

It may not be market-leading, but if you have a Nationwide FlexAccount, the Nationwide Select credit card is a great all-rounder. Not only does it allow you to enjoy a year of interest-free spending, but you'll be able to earn cashback and have access to exclusive discounts on top.

It's also a great choice if you regularly travel overseas and while its 20-month balance transfer offer can easily be beaten elsewhere, its big selling point is the low 1.55% fee. On a debt of £5,000, that works out to be £77.50 compared with the £160 you'd pay with Barclaycard's 25-month deal.

Top tip!

Remember that the best credit card deals are reserved for those with an excellent credit rating. It's therefore worth checking your credit score before applying for a card. If you make several card applications and are rejected, this can damage your credit rating and increase the chances of you being turned down for credit in the future.

That's why it's worth using MoneySupermarket's SmartSearch tool as it will tell you how likely you are to be accepted for certain credit cards and won't leave a footprint on your credit file.

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. We’re free, independent and compare all UK credit cards, as well as offering exclusive deals you can’t get anywhere else. Contact MoneySupermarket.com at Moneysupermarket House, St David’s Park, Ewloe, Flintshire, CH5 3UZ. © Moneysupermarket.com Ltd 2013.

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