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Sainsbury's Bank starts offering credit cards to self-employed borrowers again after lifting coronavirus restrictions

Self-employed borrowers can once more take out credit cards with Sainsbury's Bank as it has reversed temporary coronavirus lending restrictions, which saw it stop issuing new credit cards to the self-employed. Here's what it means for you.

Sainsbury's Bank first introduced a ban on lending credit cards and personal loans to the self-employed in July 2020. It blamed significant financial uncertainty stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. But while many other banks tightened their lending criteria, Sainsbury's Bank was the sole provider we know of to introduce this type of blanket restriction.

It began to relax its rules in November 2020, when it allowed self-employed borrowers to once more apply for personal loans under £25,000, while as of 25 February, self-employed borrowers can now apply for credit cards again. Some of Sainsbury's Bank's credit cards are among the best buys, so it means self-employed borrowers now have more choice - although it still won't lend personal loans of £25,000 and above to the self-employed.

This change also doesn't mean self-employed borrowers will now automatically be accepted for credit cards - you'll still be assessed based on your credit history and on other factors, such as your income. The change just means you can now apply for these products. Use our Eligibility Calculator to check your likelihood of being accepted for credit cards, including those offered by Sainsbury's, in advance of applying. 

Existing Sainsbury's Bank customers aren't affected

Sainsbury's Bank's temporary ban on self-employed customers only applied to new loan and card applications - including applications for new products that were made by existing self-employed customers. 

Those who were self-employed and already had a Sainsbury's Bank credit card or loan didn't see any change. 

Sainsbury's Bank offers top credit cards

Below, we rundown some of the best Sainsbury's Bank credit cards you can now apply for if you're self-employed. Of course, with all credit cards, make sure you repay the balance in full every month after any 0% period to ensure you never pay any interest.

  • Joint longest 0% purchase card: Sainsbury's Bank Dual Offer Credit Card. This card offers the joint-top 0% purchase period – you can get up to 20 months interest-free, though you could also be offered 12 months. After the 0% period, it's 21.9% rep APR. If accepted, you'll also get 750 bonus Nectar points (worth £3.75) each time you spend £35-plus at Sainsbury's (excluding fuel), up to ten times in the first two months (max 7,500 points, worth £37.50). If you're doing a big shop, split it into smaller £35 chunks to max the bonus.

    However, Virgin Money's offering guarantees all who apply are accepted with 20 months of interest-free spending, so if you don't mind giving up the bonus Nectar points, it's the better pick. After the 0% period, it's 21.9% rep APR. For more on 0% cards and a breakdown of the best options, check out our 0% Credit Cards guide.

  • Longest balance transfer card: Sainsbury's Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card: This card offers the longest 0% period but it charges a 3% or 4% fee (min £3) to transfer a balance depending on your credit score. Poor scorers may also be accepted but offered 25 or 21 months at 0%. After the 0% period, it's 21.9% rep APR.

    Alternatively, Virgin Money's offering guarantees a 0% balance transfer period of 28 months to all who are accepted with a lower fee of 2.7%. After the 0% period, it's 21.9% rep APR. Check out our full Balance Transfers guide.

For information about personal loans and a full breakdown of available rates, check out our Cheap Personal Loans guide. 

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