Post Office credit card: what's on offer?

post box

THE Post Office offer two types of credit card, the Matched and the Platinum, each with a very specific audience.

People who want to use their credit card to spend at home should focus their interest on the Matched card, with a long introductory 0% rate.

The Platinum card is aimed more at those who have dreams of spending abroad, offering fee-free foreign transactions and the promise of commission-free travel money when bought at the Post Office.

We'll start by looking at the Matched card - people who want to know more about the Platinum card can skip ahead.

Matched card

In a clear effort to cover multiple credit card categories, the Post Office Matched credit card offers 0% on purchases for at least 16 months, and a 0% balance transfer period of the same length.

There is a fairly standard 2.98% fee for balance transfers, and holders need to move the balance across within the first three months of holding the card to qualify for the interest free repayment period.

That makes it decidedly average as a balance transfer card - there are other cards with longer interest free periods, and cards with much lower transfer fees.

For full details of the cost of the credit and how to apply see below.

Post Office Money Matched credit card (Go to provider »)
post office money matched
  • 0% on purchases for the first 27 months
  • A transaction must be made within 3 months of account opening to qualify for 0% for the first 27 months otherwise a purchase period of 0% for the first 16 months will apply.
  • 0% on balance transfers for 16 months (If made within 3 months of account opening. A 2.98% fee applies)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% p.a. (variable), your representative APR will be 18.9% APR (variable).
Post Office Credit Cards are provided by Bank of Ireland UK. Post Office Limited is a credit broker and not a lender.

What's much more interesting - or not, as would be more accurate to say - is the 0% interest period the Post Office are offering for purchases made with this card.

Two years plus

Everyone who takes out the card will find they're entitled to at least 16 months in which they don't have to pay interest on purchases made.

That goes up to 25 months should the holder use the card to make a purchase within the first three months of having it.

Interest free purchase periods aside, the card has an APR of 18.9% representative (variable), which is also fairly standard at the time of this update.

What is slightly unusual, however, is that there's just one other rate available, for the customers who don't get the 18.9% rate - and that's 22.9% representative (variable).

Commission free - but beware

Another selling point as far as the Post Office are concerned is the fact that they don't charge commission or any kind of handling fee when card holders use the card to buy foreign currency from the Post Office.

Normal cash advances will be subject to a 2.5% fee, with a minimum charge of £3 per transaction - but this isn't applicable when stocking up on euros or dollars in our local branch.

Sounds good, but there's an almighty caveat users need to be aware of - and that's the interest charged on cash advances, wherever they're carried out and whatever the currency.

Such transactions are subject to much higher interest - of 27.9% APR - from the date the money is withdrawn to the date it's paid back in full, even if purchases or balance transfers are still covered by an interest free period.

There's more on these extra costs here.

Platinum card

The warning on commission-free currency also applies to the Post Office Platinum card, despite the fact that it's otherwise designed to be much more useful for overseas spending.

The highlight is the 0% commission on use abroad.

The transaction will be converted into sterling according to Mastercard Conversion Rates - and that's it. There'll be no extra charge - usually levied at up to 3% - for using the card abroad.

Good for use abroad

This is a real boon: credit cards offer real security when travelling abroad, but with most cards that security comes at a price.

Adding to the card's appeal is the fact that while the Platinum card comes with an APR of 17.8% representative (variable), there's no interest on purchases made within the first three months of having the card, wherever they're made.

For full details of the cost of the credit and how to apply see below.

Post Office Money Platinum credit card (Go to provider »)
post office money platinum
  • No fees on overseas purchases
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 22 months with no balance transfer fee (made within 3 months of account opening)
  • 0% on purchases for the first 3 months
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 17.8% p.a. (variable), your representative APR will be 17.8% APR (variable).
Post Office Credit Cards are provided by Bank of Ireland UK. Post Office Limited is a credit broker and not a lender.

That said, three months isn't that long.

It's enough to help people spread or delay paying for their holiday, trip, or other larger purchase for a little while, but users should plan to repay as much of the balance as they can as soon as possible to avoid facing a sudden increase in the cost of their borrowing.

Also note that applicants who don't get the 17.8% APR will be given a rate of 22.9%.

Good for balance transfers

Like the Matched card, the Platinum card tries to do two slightly different things. As well as being cheaper than many cards for using abroad, it offers new cardholders a quite attractive balance transfer deal.

Those transferring a balance within the first three months of holding the card will pay 0% interest on that balance for the next 18 months.

As with the Matched card, there's a fee of 2.98% - but the Platinum card has another trick up its sleeve.

People who make the balance transfer within the first 90 days of having the card will have that fee refunded - so they'll effectively get the transfer free of charge.

At the time of this update there are a couple of fee free balance transfer cards with longer 0% interest periods, but it's one of the better deals available.

Note, however, the difference between the time frames for the interest free transfer and for the fee-free, interest free, transfer.

Depending on when in the year the card is taken out, three months is slightly longer than 90 days. The best way to avoid getting caught is to make the balance transfer as soon as possible.

All in all

The Post Office offer two very different cards designed for two very different markets, with only the balance transfer deal and commission-free foreign currency in common.

As we've covered, the commission free currency isn't all that great a perk - the cost of the interest will quickly outweigh the benefits of escaping commission.

And as with other cards trying to do a few things at once, neither card makes a particularly good job of combining them.

Those looking for a good card for purchases should focus on the Matched card - but it's decidedly average for balance transfers.

The better balance transfer deal is found with the Platinum card - but users may have to choose between using it for that, or for foreign spending.

We compare the Post Office Platinum card with another good option for using abroad, the Halifax Clarity card, here.

Comments

1
26 September 2016
David Burdon

Very poor customer services. The online interface is terrible. I set up a direct debit by phone and this was never activated, causing a £12 penalty payment. I'm struggling to close the account despite paying off my complete balance.

2
17 January 2016
Brian Taylor

I've had a Post Office Platinum credit card for 18 months now, great at first. Sadly Post Office changed the rules during 2015 so:-
- when I was in Gran Canaria the card was refused thoughout my visit there. I couldn't find out why when I was out there, as unless you have all the login and security info with you, they will not talk to you on the phone.
When back in UK I called, and after 15 minutes plus, found out that
- you now have to register every overseas trip you make with Post Office upfront, or the card will not work, and they do not have an online way of allowing you to register dates and countries, unlike Barclaycard.

So you have to call, and there is no menu option to allow you to register this info, so you have delve through how to speak to a person, spend 15 mins plus, to tell them you are going overseas - crazy system
Post Office also claim they will call you about denied transaction, but they didn't.
So my car rental, hotel and other bills was only paid as I had my Barclaycard with me. Post Office card is sadly useless if you have to rely on it and you haven't set up usage before you go.

- today 17th Jan 2016, tried paying a series of maintenance fees for overseas apartment, first OK, then denied. No call from Post Office.
On google seems there might be daily limit but Post Office will not say what it is
When paid before with Barclaycard, they either pay, or call you straight away to check, so much better system, and I've never had a Barclaycard declined when I've been abroad.

Post Office seems great rates for abroad, but concerned about reliablity and whether you can ever got to use it abroad. Even the call centre agent acknowledged the system does not cope well with informing Post Office about overseas use.
So I'm reluctantly looking to get another card for overseas and cease the Post Office cards.

3
26 May 2015
Mrs Blackburn

I am looking for a credit card that does not charge a transaction fee when used abroad.

4
11 May 2015
Mrs M Chamberlain

I am looking for a card with 0% transfer and no fee to transfer £2,000 from another card paying £100 a month to clear it.

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