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John Lewis opens Partnership Card to all as it defends NewDay provider

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21/09/2022
John Lewis has rolled out the Partnership Credit Card to new customers as it defended its collaboration with new provider NewDay following backlash from existing users who were rejected or had their limits slashed.

New customers can now apply for the John Lewis Partnership Credit Card offering points on spending after it was initially only available to existing users with the HSBC-backed card.

After John Lewis announced it was ending its partnership with HSBC in favour of NewDay, it invited existing Partnership card holders to apply for the relaunched product – they weren’t automatically migrated.

However, YourMoney.com received a spate of emails from furious John Lewis customers ranging from business owners to high net worth’s, to big spenders, retirees and those who always paid off their balance in full but who were rejected or had their credit limits slashed.

‘Am seriously confused and disappointed’

One reader, who wanted to remain anonymous, emailed: “I am a managing director of my own company. I am a high net worth individual with no liabilities and a six-figure income. Held the John Lewis card for 18 years. Have a maximum credit limit of £25,000. Always paid my statement balance off in full every month. Have an Experian credit score of 999/999. Have no dependents.

“NewDay decided to reduce my credit limit to £1,300. Shocking reduction of nearly 95% with no explanation.”

Another YourMoney.com reader Oliver told us: “I am a long-standing customer, spend thousands in Waitrose, have a healthy income, very little mortgage left and paid off my credit card every month. My credit rating with Experian and also through Lloyds is excellent, almost 100%.  I have cards and accounts with American Express, Barclays, Lloyds, LV and Santander amongst others. Am seriously confused and disappointed.”

Ann emailed: “I am someone who has held a card for at least 15 years and have been shopping in John Lewis for at least 50 years. I received my invitation to apply with a code and applied with the link that used the details automatically supplied by John Lewis, filled in my income – which is probably more than it was when I initially applied – assuming it was a straightforward transfer from one provider to the next and was shocked to be refused.

“Perhaps being of retirement age is the trigger. We use the card for most of our bills and pay it off each month and now I have been refused the card, it will mean I have to answer ‘yes’ to the ‘have you ever been refused credit?’ question when I apply for another credit card through no action of my own.”

‘Very sorry to see any customers disappointed’

Speaking exclusively to YourMoney.com after we shared reader experiences and asked why loyal and elderly, high net worth and big spenders were rejected or had credit limits cut, Amir Goshtai, director of John Lewis Financial Services, said 84% of customers have been offered the same or a higher credit limit

He said: “96% of customers who have reapplied so far have been accepted, so while those who are declined represent a very small percentage of applications, we are very sorry to see any customers disappointed.

“Our desire is for every loyal customer who wants to continue to use the Partnership Credit Card, to be able to do so. Our Partnership Credit Card rewards our customers for shopping at John Lewis and Waitrose, so they are really valued customers.”

He added that John Lewis “understand the reason that an application is declined very clearly”.

Goshtai said: “This varies from a mistake on the application form, to not easily being able to demonstrate affordability or a change in financial circumstances since they first took out a Partnership Credit Card. While NewDay cannot offer credit to someone who they do not believe can repay it, we have worked very closely with them to find ways of helping customers through the application process and demonstrate their affordability.

“The feedback we have had from customers who have been declined along with our own analysis has been very helpful.  As a result, together with NewDay we have made some changes to the application form to assist customers when entering details about their income. NewDay have also increased the credit limit for some customers where they now have more information on their affordability, and a select group of customers have been invited to re-apply where NewDay believes that the information they hold on them does not fully reflect their financial circumstances.”

Meanwhile, when asked about the process to find a new credit provider and why John Lewis selected NewDay, Goshtai told us: “We selected NewDay from a long list of fully regulated credit providers. They share our drive to innovate and have already worked with us to develop a much improved new app and website for our customers. They’re also one of the most inclusive lenders in the UK.”

Relaunched John Lewis Partnership Credit Card

The current form of the John Lewis Partnership Credit Card will stop working at 6pm on 31 October 2022. See YourMoney.com’s John Lewis Partnership Card to close in October for more information.

But for new customers to the offering, the first step in the application process is an eligibility check, which is a soft search of an applicant’s credit record which gives an indication of whether someone is likely to be accepted before going through the full application.

John Lewis said: “This first check does not impact a customer’s credit score and we communicate that on the application form to give customers reassurance.

“If a customer passes the soft check they will be asked if they want to proceed with the full application. Should the customer complete the full application, a hard search of a customer’s credit file is undertaken.”

Once accepted, customers can earn five points on every £4 spent with John Lewis or Waitrose, or one point on every £4 spent elsewhere where Mastercard is accepted.

This means at least £1 must be spent in a single transaction (or 80p elsewhere) to qualify to earn points.

However, for those who apply on or before Saturday 31 December 2022, customers can net triple points for the first 90 days on eligible in-store or online purchases at John Lewis or Waitrose.

For every 500 points collected, you’ll receive a £5 voucher which will be sent three times a year in February, June and October. The maximum number of points that can be earned in any calendar year is 100,000 points.

The card has a representative APR of 21.9% for new customers, and it offers 0% for six months on purchases.

Another perk is the My John Lewis & myWaitrose prize draw. New and accepted applicants will be automatically enrolled into the competition offering four gift vouchers of £2,500. The loyalty scheme gives treats such as hot drinks and cake, personalised discounts and money-off vouchers, as well as members-only events.

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