John Lewis to offer new credit card

29 March 2004
Retailer John Lewis has unveiled a credit card for customers, in addition to its store account.

The firm has joined forces with HSBC and will initially offer it to staff and current John Lewis and Waitrose store card holders.

John Lewis has offered a store card service for more than 40 years, but the new credit card offers a more competitive interest rate of 13 per cent.

Store cards have come in for serious criticism in recent months for charging shoppers high rates of interest. Some store cards have interest rates of as much as 30 per cent APR.

The Office of Fair Trading has referred store cards to the Competition Commission after its investigation of the £4.8 billion sector found that finance firms locked some retailers into 10-year deals.

The OFT launched its inquiry following an investigation into store cards by an influential committee of MPs.

Marks & Spencer recently ran into controversy when it automatically upgraded people from its store card to its new credit card. However, John Lewis will be sending customers an application form asking them if they want to upgrade their store card.