Focus on: Sainsbury’s improves Nectar Credit Card

Sainsbury’s Bank is offering some early festive cheer to anyone considering applying for its Nectar Credit Card by upping the 0% term on new purchases and reducing its annual percentage rate (APR).

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Card users can still collect the same double Nectar points too. So is this the deal for you? We take a closer look…

What’s the deal?

Previously, the Sainsbury’s Nectar Credit Card offered a 0% introductory rate on balance transfers for 15 months and for six months on purchases, but it has just increased the 0% period on purchases to 15 months too.

After the introductory period ends, the card previously had a representative annual percentage rate (APR) of 17.9% (variable), but this has been reduced to 16.9%.

You need to have a Nectar card to apply for this credit card. Nectar is the loyalty scheme for Sainsbury’s shoppers, and enables you to earn points each time you shop at the supermarket. Points can either be used to get money off your Sainsbury’s shopping, or you can put them toward free cinema tickets, meals out, days at a theme park or other experiences.

When you use the Sainsbury’s Nectar Credit Card, you will collect double Nectar points on your Sainsbury’s shopping. So, for example, if you spend £300 on shopping at the supermarket using your credit card, you’d earn 1,200 points, compared to just 600 if you only swiped your Nectar card and paid another way. You collect two Nectar points per £1 spend on Sainsbury’s fuel, and one Nectar point for every £5 spent on your card elsewhere.

The card does not have an annual fee.

Who’s it good for?

If you shop regularly at Sainsbury’s, then even if you pay your balance off in full every month, this card is a great option as you can double the amount of points you earn.

The 0% introductory rate on both balance transfers and purchases will suit those who want to pay off existing debts and who don’t want to pay any interest on new spending for a set period of time – which could be especially useful over Christmas.

As the APR is relatively competitive at 16.9% after this, this card is also a good option for anyone who falls short of clearing their balance in full by the end of the introductory period.

Any catches?

Although this card still offers generous double Nectar points on Sainsbury’s shopping, it also used to offer 10 Nectar points per £1 you spend at Sainsbury's for the first 3 months from account opening (capped at £1,000 spend per month), but this initial bonus has been removed.

If you are transferring a balance onto this card, then there is a 3% balance transfer fee to factor in, which is more expensive than the fees charged by many alternative cards.

For example, if you’re confident you can clear your existing balance within 12 months, then Fluid’s Low Balance Transfer Card offers 0% on balance transfers for a year, with a market-leading 0.75% balance transfer fee. After 12 months, this card has a representative APR of 18.9% (variable) so it is important to clear your balance before the introductory period finishes. You can read more about this deal here.

However, unlike the Nectar card, you cannot earn rewards when you spend.

What’s the verdict?

Sainsbury’s re-vamped Nectar Credit Card is great news however you plan to use it. If you want the card to collect Nectar points on all your festive food shopping then the rewards can soon mount up thanks to the double points offer.

The lengthy 0% introductory rate on purchases is likely to prove useful for those who want to spread the cost of Christmas, while those who want to transfer debt also have the opportunity – albeit for a 3% fee.

But there could be better deals. If you want a card for both balance transfers and new spending and aren’t fussed about earning Nectar points, then Halifax’s Online All in One card is worth a look, as it offers 0% for 15 months on both, and has a low 0.8% balance transfer fee. The card then has a representative APR of 17.9%, which is higher than Sainsbury’s APR.

Similarly, NatWest’s Platinum Balance Transfer and Purchase Credit Card also offers 0% on both balance transfers and purchases for 15 months, with a 0.9% balance transfer fee. After the introductory period finishes, this card has the same 16.9% representative APR as the Sainsbury’s Card.

For those who aren’t so concerned about the balance transfer fee or about collecting Nectar points, the longest combined transfer and purchase card, which is exclusive to MoneySuperMarket customers, is Barclaycard’s Platinum Purchase Offer.

This has a 0% introductory rate on balance transfer for 17 months, subject to a 2.9% transfer fee, and 0% on purchases for 14 months. After that, the card has a representative APR of 18.9%.

Top tip!

Remember that you are only likely to qualify for the very best credit card deals if you have an excellent credit rating. It is therefore well worth getting a copy of your credit report before you apply, so you can see whether there is anything on your report which could reduce the chances of your application being accepted.

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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