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Firstly of all i would like to point out that i currently work in Debenhams and therefore i know more about the advantages/disadvantages of having a debenhams card than some people who have written their reviews on the site so far. Also there have been a few changes particularly to the "account cover" side of things over the past few months so it is also worth considering those.
Opening your account It is extremely easy to open your Debenhams account, in fact every member of staff who serves you at the till point WILL ask you if you would like to open one (it is a test shop requirment...if we dont ask then the consequences are rather grim when the test shop results come through) the form that takes about 10minutes to complete has now been thrown away and we use a system called E-Apps which is all done over the tillpoint and takes about 5minutes for the whole process to be completed and for you to have a fully functioning account and temporary card. The only details we need from you is a valid form of ID (the best thing to use would be your most frequently used credit card) your full name, address and how long you have lived there (we will need your previous address details if you havent lived at your current address for a period of three years) your date of birth (must be 18 or over) and that is literally all we need to complete the application.
Account Cover During the completion of the E-Apps form you will be asked if you would like account cover (which is the recently updated aspect of the card) this part is completely optional and as a member of staff we have to be completely impartial and cannot do anything to influence your decision other than to point out what the facts are. There are two aspects of the account cover 1) Price Protection - this is the part that could potentially save you alot of money, take this scenario, you buy something on your Debenhams card and it costs you £100, now if in one of the many sales that Debenhams has this item is
reduced (its happened to all of us, you go back a week later and its half price) and goes down to £50, you will be kicking yourself over the fact that it has gone down and youve lost out on £50 - WELL with this aspect of the cover you dont have to worry about that, you can claim back the difference as long as you have kept your reciept - and the change that has been made recently is that there is no time limit in which to do this, and you can claim everytime the price goes down!
2) Balance Cancellation Cover - this is the second option on the account cover, this aspect automatically comes with the price protection or you can choose to just have this option on its own. What does this do then? Well if you are offsick for a period of a month with a valid doctors note etc... and cant afford the repayment, for the first month Debenhams will pay the minimum payment for you - if you are still off sick after the next month (subject to various criteria of course - which im not 100% sure of) the whole remaining balance on your card is written off.
Cost of Cover - to get the standard cover option which is both of the above mentioned aspects it will cost you 1.5% on your outstanding balance on the card at the end of each month, so £100 on your card will cost you £1.50 - if you have no balance it will not cost you anything! If you just opt for the balance cancellation cover on its own it will cost you 1.25% of your outstanding balance so £1.25 for every £100 on your card - again no balance: doesnt cost you a penny.
Standard Card/Mastercard There are two types of card you can get when you apply for your card you will either be offered the mastercard (you can ask for this to be downgraded to the standard storecard straight away) or the standard storecard. What are the differences between the cards? The storecard can only be used in Debenhams stores wheras the mastercard can be used in any store and typically has a lower rate of APR - also with the mastercard everytime you use it you earn reward vouchers which you will be sent periodically depending on how often you use the card.
Benefits of having a card You will get 10% off everything you buy in any Debenhams store for the first week of opening your card (you will recieve a temporary paper card when you open your account) after this the benefits do not stop, you will be sent regular invitations to sale preview evenings, where the store will be open late and you get the pick of the items before anyone else, also during our "megaday" sales you will recieve money off vouchers which vary depending on how much you spend typically a scale such as spend £30 get £5 off, spend £60 get £10 off spend £100 get £15 off etc... also by having a Debenhams card you will get a PERMENANT 10% off in any of our cafes and restaurants.
Gold card You will be invited to become a gold card member - your account will be exactly the same as your normal one (your credit limit is likely to increase) this depends on how often you shop in debenhams with your card, if you spend £500 on your card within 6 months this is usually the criteria. With the gold card you will recieve 20% off in all of our cafes and restaurants permenantly, you will have access to a gold card lounge (which is better than what us staff members have access to) where you will be able to have complimentary refreshments - coffees teas etc... and have leather sofas and magazines to read. And one of the new features of the gold card is that you can get completely free alterations on anything you buy on your card in debenhams, and free home delivery from the website and debs to you ordering service.
Charges and interest rates There is no charge to having your card other than the interest rate, the interest rate is now an average of 18.9% variable, and being a member of staff who opens alot of accounts i find that this is the rate that most people are offered, i believe the rate goes upto 29.9% and down to about 16.9% this is subject to your credit status and other criteria that i know nothing about.
Paying off your card There are many options in paying off your account - the simplest being to pay over the counter in any store - you will need to bring in your statement though or know how much you would like to pay off as there is no way of us knowing how much is outstanding on your card - you can pay by cash, cheque, or debit card. You can set up internet banking, pay over the phone, in any bank branch or via direct debit.
Finally As has been mentioned in other reviews on the site there is a tremendous amount of pressure placed on the staff to open accounts with barely any reward for actually getting them. If we open a standard account we get nothing, however if we open an account with cover we recieve £2 in capital bonds which can be spent in various stores. However not opening accounts or not asking for them is seen as quite serious as 80% of Debenhams revenue is earnt through cardholders and cardholders tend to spend on average 50% more in store than regular customers. So please dont get annoyed at the staff for asking - it is a requirement of our job, however you should only be asked once and not pestered into opening an account - if this is not the case ask to speak to one of the managers. One last thing, as with most companies now the call centre is based somewhere in India - which can be extremely frustrating not only for cardholders but for us staff who also have to call them as well, please dont complain to the staff about this - it annoys us just as much as it does you - if not more because normally im dealing with the person on the phone and an annoyed customer at the same time which is not an ideal situation to be in.
Hopefully i have been able to give you more of an understanding about the card and process that goes along with it, i have written all i know about the card but do not hesitate to ask any of the sales advisers in store if you need anymore information - half of our training is based around the accounts side of it so all staff should have a good working knowledge of the system