John Lewis has turned down tens of thousands of applicants who have applied for the new reward credit card.
Almost 600,000 orders were successfully processed after it moved its provider from HSBC to NewDay. About 4 percent were rejected for it – including some re-applications.
This could amount to as many as 25,000 failed apps, though the retailer declined to disclose the true number due to commercial sensitivity.
Rewards: The John Lewis Card offered five points for every £4 spent, which can be redeemed for vouchers to spend in store.
Last week, we reported on how John Lewis and Waitrose angered loyal customers by having them reapply for rewards credit cards only to be denied despite perfect credit ratings. Some were offered lower limits.
The card was popular with customers as it offered five points for every £4 spent at John Lewis and Waitrose, which could then be redeemed for vouchers to spend in store. I got rid of about £250m worth of these in the last five years.
Since then, our mailbag has been filled with emails and messages detailing problems people have had after being promised a simple process of filling out a form to get a new card.
The vast majority of those who message us are over 70, pay off their balance in full each month and have near-perfect credit scores. Many wondered if their age was the main reason for rejection.
John Lewis denied the claim, stating that the acceptance rate for retired clients is higher than for clients who are not, and he took on someone over 100 years old.
NewDay, she adds, has an organizational responsibility to check customers’ creditworthiness and perform a proper affordability check, which is why some customers have been turned away.
Aside from complaints about denials or credit card limit reductions, our mailbag was full of other issues or changes you’ve had with the Partnership Card.
This included reducing the payment period on the new card from 25 days to 15 days, giving customers less time to pay their outstanding bills.
One reader bemoaned the company’s appearance of favoring new customers over existing customers.
All the changes: John Lewis says nearly 600,000 applications were processed after the company providing its plastic moved from HSBC to NewDay and that 4% were rejected because of it
This was after he received a post from John Lewis in the post proposing that existing cardholders get six months interest free on new purchases when they take out the card.
But when he called to confirm, he was told that this only applied to new customers, not those re-ordering.
We have received many messages from our readers who say they have not been able to get a new card because they are not online or do not have a mobile phone.
The card, which offers bonus points for every pound spent, has a three-point offer for 90 days.
However, one reader pointed out that this starts on the day of approval, not when the card is received in the mail.
John Lewis says customers can add their new account to their digital wallet or use a temporary card in order to use the partner card before a physical card arrives.
Others said they were rejected the first time but accepted when they completed a second application, adding to the confusion.
Among those who contacted us was Sir Anthony Holland, 83, who served as Complaints Commissioner at the Financial Services Authority for a decade from 2004.
He and his wife had had a John Lewis credit card for 20 years but it was declined when they tried to reapply at the store.
The couple, who live in London and Bristol, spent £12,300 on the card last year. “I fully expected to be denied a John Lewis card,” he says.
The repayment period on the new card has been reduced from 25 days to 15 days, giving customers less time to pay their outstanding bill.
I’ve heard about the problems from two friends. But my wife spat out pins when we left the store and said she would never cross the floor of a John Lewis or Waitrose store again.
Sir Anthony says he was not told in the shop why he refused, but was given a promise that he would receive a letter explaining the decision.
NewDay has since contacted him to explain that there was a sinister credit mark on his file from a previous credit card company.
We sent a file of your messages to John Lewis and asked him to help with the issues.
On Sunday, the company released a statement pledging to further overhaul its application process.
It claims that clients were turned away for a number of reasons, including incorrectly filled out forms, poor credit history, and a change in circumstances.
Amir Goshtai, Director, John Lewis Financial Services, says, “We are very sorry that any customer was disappointed.
“We are listening to feedback and working with our new credit provider, NewDay, to do everything we can to help with continued lending responsibly.”
If you are having issues applying for a Partnership Card, contact our dedicated Customer Service team on 033 0165 4868.
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