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The M&S store credit card used to be unique...but not anymore! Until March last year (2000) M&S were the only department store to REFUSE to accept any other credit card except their very own M&S credit card.
So what is special if anything; about their very own credit card, well not a lot, there were NO real bonuses or loyalty discounts for members* (such as Debenhams Cardholders). APR was a standard 21.2%.
Oh, hang on before I put down this card completely.. the "only" thing that is given to M&S Chargecard holders is a complimentary copy of the M&S magazine (normally £1-£2 to buy) and only recently they have started to offer £5 off vouchers off clothing only if you spend "at LEAST £50" on clothing and that’s about it!! Compare that to other store cards which offer 10% off on as little as £20 minimum spend.
These days whatever you do M&S vouchers are being thrown at you, by Insurance companies, by car dealers; if you get invited for test drives e.g. Citroen, Skoda, and if you buy a PC (from MESH computers)
Is it any wonder then that this retail giant has been in troubled waters since at least 1995. It's half yearly profits are down from £192 last year to only £150-160m this year till September.
There are not many real great benefits to having an M&S Chargecard other than it used to to be the only credit card accepted in M&S Stores, BUT all that has changed since March 2000. Whilst shopping in M&S you can pay using any of your credit cards and get the enhanced benefits, be it air miles, cash back etc etc associated with each of your individual credit cards.
M&S financial services~ Another very annoying thing about the M&S Chargcard is that you will get endless financial marketing mail from them offering you Pensions, life insurance, Personal Reserve cheque (loan) for £3000 and so on BUT NOTHING in terms of 'real' money off, genuine discounts in store. Statements are sent out to card holders every 4 weeks, not as generous as some credit cards where one has 56 days interest-free credit.
In my opinion and personal experience it is seems to be quite a useless credit card which you should only use if:
a) the condition of the vouchers states you have to use it in order to get M&S vouchers off your bill b) you really love M&S , so you will get a free M&S magazine...?
my personal recommendation is: If you already have one, keep hold of it as they are throwing money off vouchers at you if you spend £50 on clothing (get £5 off) or £20 in foodhall (get £2off!)wow!!!
Otherwise there is really no advantage on using this M&S credit card in store, you will earn much better benefits by using your other credit cards!
-This is a personal opinion of Connoisseur_Haggler on value of M&S chargecard-
The question is have M&S left it too late to accept credit cards etc into their stores, they became far too complacent in the marketplace, believing that their reputation for quality service and goods would see them remain streets ahead, wrong again - a lot of chain stores could learn something from M&S's experience. I was under the impression that John Lewis stores carried out a similar practice to M&S in not accepting credit cards until around the same time - useful op.
ICerva 20.12.2000 13:48
Honestly I did not feel that your opinion was lacking or missing anything, but rather that it had too much which distracted away from the core product. ICerva@aol.com
Connoisseur_Haggler1 20.12.2000 13:36
thank you Icerva for your comment, no offence taken. but I honestly cannot add any more info. on this M&S storecard, I have already listed the benefits, free M&S magazine, and instore vouchers FOR CARD HOLDERS..I could not see many more benefits from your own opinion M&S either..mmm maybe we both are missing something here..? thank you once again.