Nationwide revamp cash back scheme

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NATIONWIDE have revamped their existing reward scheme, giving customers the chance to earn cash back at a rate of between 1% and 35%, the building society has announced.

In many cases, Nationwide debit and credit cardholders only need to visit the Simply Rewards website to become eligible for cash back when spending with selected retailers.

John Crossley, Nationwide's Head of Credit Cards and Personal Loans, said that the new offer means "customers no longer have to obtain a discount code or show the offer to the merchant to be eligible".

Too good to be true?

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Considering that the best cash back cards tend to offer a maximum return of 5%, Nationwide's top rate of 35% cash back seems too good to be true.

In some ways it is.

For starters, customers must "meet an agreed amount of spend" to earn the advertised rate, and this varies depending on the particular retailer.

The second restriction is that only certain retailers are included in the scheme, so the places where customers can earn as the spend are limited.

Some of the merchants who've signed up with Nationwide for the launch include Argos, Emirates, Reebok, Adidas, Harvester and Hilton - none of which are likely to be used by anyone on a daily, or possibly even weekly, basis.

Nevertheless, the building society says that more retailers will come on board and that subsequent offers will be tailored to customers' shopping habits.

Customers will be able to personalise the range of offers they get by giving a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" for each of the currently available offers. Deals will also be filtered based on our purchase history.

Show me the money

To benefit from the scheme, Nationwide credit and debit cardholders need to register at the Simply Rewards website.

This is simply a matter of entering an email address, password, postcode and 16 digit number from their Nationwide debit or credit card.

People who have both a debit and a credit card can register only one for use with the scheme, so it's worth thinking about which will have the greatest earning potential.

As soon as they've logged in, cardholders will automatically become eligible for most of the available cash back rewards .

We say "most", as some of the deals do still require activation. Nationwide say all that's needed to do this is to click a red "start activation" button

Providing cardholders then make purchases above the minimum amount at the right places, they'll automatically earn cash back.

The money - which is tax free - will automatically be credited to their Nationwide current or credit card account within five days.

Some of Nationwide's customers could earn even more, though. Existing Select Credit cardholders will be able to boost their earning potential by 0.5%.

And new cardholders are being offered an additional £25 cash back if they spend, or transfer a balance of, more than £25 within the first 60 days of opening the account.

Bucking the trend

By scaling up their range of perks, Nationwide are going against the majority view that credit card rewards are a thing of the past.

In recent months we've seen a number of banks and card issuers reduce or limit the rewards available on their credit cards, or raise fees without raising the incentives that come with their products.

Among those affected are the incredibly popular Santander 123 current account and credit cards, which will see fees rise in the New Year, and a £9 per month limit brought in on cash back earned through credit card spending.

From the start of this month, Tesco credit card holders have received just one Clubcard point per £8 - half what they used to earn - on spending made somewhere other than Tesco.

And earlier in the year, Sainsbury's and British Airways slashed their reward schemes, while card providers such as Capital One and Aqua drastically reduced their cash back offers.

The problem, say providers, is a new law regarding interchange fees. By the end of this year, the European Commission will have capped the amount that card companies can charge for debit and credit card transactions.

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