Now tens of thousands are turned down for a John Lewis credit card


John Lewis has declined tens of thousands of applicants who applied for its new reward credit card.

Nearly 600,000 applications have been successfully processed after it moved its provider from HSBC to NewDay. Around 4 per cent have been turned down for it — including some reapplying.

This could amount to as many as 25,000 failed applications, although the retailer refused to reveal the true number due to commercial sensitivity.

Rewards: The John Lewis card offered five points for every £4 spent, which could be exchanged into vouchers to spend in store

Last week, we reported how John Lewis and Waitrose irked loyal customers by making them reapply for its reward 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 in John Lewis and Waitrose, which could then be exchanged for vouchers to spend in store. It has dished out £250 million worth of these in the past five years.

Since then our postbag has been inundated with emails and letters detailing problems people have faced after being promised a simple process of filling out a form to get a new card.

The majority who wrote to us are over 70, pay off their balance in full every month and have near perfect credit scores. Many have asked whether their age has been the main reason for rejection.

John Lewis has denied this claim, stating the acceptance rate for retired customers is higher than for customers who are not, and it has taken on someone who is more than 100 years old.

It adds that NewDay has a regulatory responsibility to check the creditworthiness of customers and to perform a suitable affordability check, and this is why some customers have been rejected.

Aside from complaints about being rejected or having credit card limits reduced, our mailbag has been full of other problems or changes you’ve encountered with the Partnership Card.

These included the repayment period on the new card being slashed from 25 days to 15, giving customers less time to pay their outstanding bill.

One reader bemoaned the firm appearing to prefer new customers over existing ones. 

All change: John Lewis says nearly 600,000 applications have been processed after it moved who provides its plastic from HSBC to NewDay and that 4% have been turned down for it

All change: John Lewis says nearly 600,000 applications have been processed after it moved who provides its plastic from HSBC to NewDay and that 4% have been turned down for it

This was after he received a leaflet from John Lewis in the post that suggested existing card holders 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 applies to new customers, not those reapplying. 

We received several letters from readers who say they were unable to get a new card as they are not online or don’t have a mobile phone.

The card, which offers reward points for each 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 post.

John Lewis says that customers can add their new account to their digital wallet or use a temporary card in order to use the Partnership Card before a physical one 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 is Sir Anthony Holland, 83, who held the position of Financial Services Authority complaints commissioner for a decade from 2004. 

He and his wife had a John Lewis credit card for 20 years but were turned down when they tried to reapply in store.

The couple, who live in London and Bristol, spent £12,300 on the card last year. He says: ‘I fully expected to be rejected for the John Lewis card. 

The repayment period on the new card has been slashed from 25 days to 15, giving customers less time to pay their outstanding bill

The repayment period on the new card has been slashed from 25 days to 15, giving customers less time to pay their outstanding bill

I’d heard about the problems from a couple of friends. But my wife was spitting pin tacks when we left the shop and said that she would never cross the floor of a John Lewis or Waitrose shop again.’

Sir Anthony says he was not told in store why he was rejected but was promised he would receive a letter explaining the decision.

NewDay have since called him to explain that there was a rogue credit mark on his file from a previous credit card company.

We sent a dossier of your letters to John Lewis and asked it to help resolve problems. 

On Sunday, the company put out a statement promising to reform the application process further. 

It claims customers have been rejected for a number of reasons, including incorrectly completing forms, poor credit history and a change in circumstances.

Amir Goshtai, director of John Lewis Financial Services, says: ‘We’re very sorry that any customer has been disappointed. 

‘We’re listening to feedback and working with our new credit provider, NewDay, to do all we can to help while still lending responsibly.’

If you are having problems applying for the Partnership card, contact the dedicated customer services team on 033 0165 4868.

a.cooke@dailymail.co.uk

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