Review of the week: The AA Credit Card

The AA has launched a new credit card which rewards you for spending and offers an interest-free period on both purchases and balance transfers.

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This new product is very competitive, but is it the best card for you? We take a look…

What’s the deal?

The AA has revamped its credit card offering with a new deal that charges no interest on any purchases for 10 months – one of the most competitive 0% purchase offers available (Tesco offers 12 months, while Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer also offer 10 months).

Customers also earn reward points every time they spend on the card and there is a 0% balance transfer period which lasts for 12 months.

Under the terms of the reward scheme, AA members earn two points for every pound spent on motoring costs, which include car servicing, tyres, MOTs and fuel. For all other spending, members earn one point for every pound. Non-members earn one point for every £1 spent on motoring costs and one point for every £2 spent elsewhere.

AA Reward points can be redeemed for a range of products including high street vouchers, travel essentials such as SatNav and luggage, AA home and car insurance, and breakdown cover.

The standard annual rate of interest, which will be charged once the interest-free periods end, is 16.90%.

If you use your card to withdraw cash from an ATM, you’ll be charged 27.9% and a cash advance fee of 3.00% (minimum £3).

Are there any catches?

In order to benefit from the 0% balance transfer offer, you must make a balance transfer within the first 90 days (although bear in mind than the interest-free period starts the day the account is opened so you won’t benefit from the full 12-month offer unless you take advantage of it immediately). As is the case with most balance transfer offers there is a transfer fee, in this instance 3.00%.

Because the 0% offers on purchases and balance transfers end at different times, you will start accruing interest on any outstanding purchases you have made after 10 months, although at that point your monthly payments will go towards paying down the transferred balance. It is therefore advisable to try and make sure your total debt is cleared within 10 months. And once the interest-free offers have ended, you should try and pay your balance off in full each month otherwise the interest you’ll be charged will outweigh the value of the reward benefit.

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The AA Credit Card is actually issued by MBNA which means you may not be eligible for the balance transfer offer. MBNA doesn’t allow debts to be transferred from one of its cards to another so if you are looking for a new credit card to transfer a balance over from, say a Virgin Credit Card (also issued by MBNA), this won’t be the deal for you.

Verdict

Reward credit cards tend to only be worth considering if you clear your balance in full each month because the interest you’ll be charged if you don’t will negate the value of the reward. However, with The AA’s credit card you have the added benefit of an interest-free period on both purchases and balance transfers, making it a very attractive proposition. That said, in order to take maximise the value of this card you should aim to pay your debt off within the first 10 months, otherwise you will start accruing interest.

The reward scheme is more generous if you are an AA member. This doesn’t mean it’s not worth considering if you aren't: If you spend a lot on petrol, for example, you will still accumulate points very quickly. However, there are other options you may want to consider such as the American Express Platinum Cashback card (although this has no interest-free period), the Tesco Clubcard Credit Card, M&S Credit Card or Sainsbury’s Credit card – much will depend on which reward scheme is most attractive to you.

If you decide The AA card is the one for you, be aware that this is a limited offer available to only 3,000 people, so you’ll need to act quickly if you want to take advantage of it.

Click here to apply for The AA Credit Card.

Top tip

With credit card and loan providers more choosy about who they will lend to it’s always worth getting hold of a copy of your credit file before you make any application for credit.

The AA Credit Card, along with other leading deals, is only available to those with excellent credit ratings. Checking the information on your credit file, will give you more of an indication about whether or not you’re likely to be accepted. You can also make sure all the details on there are correct and, if not, have them amended as that may mean the difference between you having an application accepted or declined.

You can apply for a copy of your credit file through moneysupermarket.com’s credit checking channel.

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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