John Lewis has turned down tens of thousands of applicants who applied for his new rewards credit card.
Nearly 600,000 applications have been successfully processed after it moved its provider from HSBC to NewDay. About 4 percent were rejected for this – including a number of new applications.
This could amount to 25,000 failed requests, though the retailer declined to disclose the actual number due to commercial sensitivity.
Rewards: The John Lewis Card offered five points for every £4 spent, which could be exchanged for vouchers to spend in-store
Last week we reported how John Lewis and Waitrose annoyed loyal customers by making them reapply for their rewards credit cards only to reject them 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 exchanged for vouchers to spend in-store. It has paid out £250 million of that over the past five years.
Since then, our mailbag has been inundated with emails and letters detailing issues people have encountered after being promised an easy process to fill out a form to get a new card.
The majority who wrote to us are over 70, pay off their balance in full each month, and have near-perfect credit scores. Many have asked if their age has been the main reason for rejection.
John Lewis has denied this claim, stating that the acceptance rate for retired clients is higher than for clients who are not, and it has hired someone over 100 years old.
It adds that NewDay has a regulatory responsibility to check customers’ creditworthiness and conduct an appropriate affordability check, which is why some customers have been turned down.
Apart from complaints about rejection or reduction of credit card limits, our mailbag is full of other problems or changes you have encountered with the Partnership Card.
For example, the repayment period on the new card has been shortened from 25 to 15 days, giving customers less time to pay their outstanding bill.
One reader complained that the company seemed to prefer new customers over existing ones.
Everything changes: John Lewis says nearly 600,000 applications have been processed after the organization that supplies HSBC’s plastic to NewDay moved and 4% were rejected for it
This was after he received a leaflet in the mail from John Lewis suggesting existing cardholders get six months interest-free on new purchases when they remove the card.
But when he called to confirm, he was told this only applies to new clients, not those reapplying.
We received several letters from readers saying they couldn’t get a new card because they aren’t online or don’t have a cell phone.
The card, which offers reward points for every pound spent, also has a 90-day triple points offer.
However, one reader pointed out that this starts from the day of approval, not when you get the card in the mail.
John Lewis says customers can add their new account to their digital wallet or use a temporary card to use the Partnership Card before a physical card arrives.
Others said they were rejected the first time, but were accepted when they filled out a second application, adding to the confusion.
Among those who have contacted us is Sir Anthony Holland, 83, who held the position of Complaints Commissioner of the Financial Services Authority for ten years from 2004.
He and his wife had a John Lewis credit card for 20 years, but were rejected when they tried to reapply at the store.
The couple, who live in London and Bristol, spent £12,300 on the card last year. He says: ‘I fully expected to be turned down for the John Lewis card.
The refund period on the new card has been shortened from 25 to 15 days, giving customers less time to pay their outstanding bill
I had heard about the problems from some friends. But my wife spat pinpricks when we left the store and said she would never visit a John Lewis or Waitrose store again.”
Sir Anthony says he was not told at the shop why he was rejected, but was promised to receive a letter explaining the decision.
NewDay has since called him to explain that there was a rogue credit mark on his file from a previous credit card company.
We have sent a file of your letters to John Lewis and asked to resolve issues.
On Sunday, the company released a statement promising to further reform the application process.
It claims that customers have been rejected for a number of reasons, including incorrect form filling, poor credit history, and changed circumstances.
Amir Goshtai, director of John Lewis Financial Services, said: “We are very sorry that a client has been disappointed.
“We’re listening to feedback and working with our new lender, NewDay, to do everything we can to help while borrowing responsibly.”
If you have any problems applying for the Partnership card, please contact the dedicated customer service team on 033 0165 4868.
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