If you live close to one of the 15 Intu shopping centres dotted around the UK, including the mammoth Trafford Centre in Manchester, Lakeside in Essex and the Metrocentre in Gateshead (the UK’s largest by size), there’s a nifty way to bag yourself up to £60 in gift vouchers without changing your spending habits.
It’s all down to MBNA’s latest offering – the Intu credit card. It essentially works as a cashback card, which comes as retail gift vouchers, not cold hard cash. While this is a disadvantage, the sums are appealing compared with current cashback rates – especially if you aren’t a huge spender.
What the Intu cashback card offers
There are three tiers of cashback – here’s what you get in year one.
- Within 90 days of getting the card, if you spend £250 you’ll earn a £20 gift voucher to spend at any Intu shopping centre across the UK – that works out as a whopping 8% cashback.
- Spend £3,000 (including the original £250) during the first year and you’ll earn another £20, making it 1.33% cashback on a £3,000 spend. (You’ll earn £10 on a £3,000 spend in subsequent years – equivalent to 0.33%.)
- Spend £5,000 and you’ll bag a final £20, meaning a possible £60 over the first year. Overall, that’s 1.2% cashback on a £5,000 spend. (You’ll earn £10 on a £5,000 spend in subsequent years, so a maximum of £20 in total – equivalent to 0.4%.)
The Intu credit card is refreshing as its low-spending requirements and tiered rates of ‘cashback’ mean you still get a good return if you don’t meet the top £5,000 spending requirement.
So how does it compare?
To do a comparison, we need to know what else is available. Our top-two alternative picks are the Amex Platinum Everyday, which pays 5% cashback (max £100) for three months and up to 1% after, though you must spend at least £3,000 a year to get any cashback. The Amex Gold (technically it’s a charge card, not a credit card) pays £100 in retail vouchers (or 20,000 Avios or other reward points) if you spend £2,000 on it within the first three months. Therefore…
- For spends below £2,000 in year one, the Intu card wins, as you won’t trigger the attractive rates on the two Amex cards above, as long as you spend £250 on it within 90 days. On just a £250 spend, you’d get nothing on the Amex cashback card and just 250 Avios or reward points on Amex Gold.
- On spends between £2,000 and £2,999 a year, the Amex Gold is the top pick as the £100 worth of vouchers beats Intu (provided you did £2,000 spending in the first three months), yet at this level you won’t get anything on the Amex cashback account.
- On spends between £3,000 and more a year, the Amex cards will almost certainly beat Intu. We’ve already explained the Gold card above, which will get you at least £100 worth of rewards, and with the Platinum Everyday on most combinations we worked through it beats Intu, unless you fail to make the most of the 5% in the first three months.
- Yet consider the fact the Intu’s a Mastercard and so more widely accepted. If you’re unsure about hitting a spending trigger, the Intu certainly gives a wider safety net with its tiered rates of cashback.
For a full list of cashback cards available, see our Cashback Credit Cards guide.
What’s there to look out for?
As mentioned, cashback is in the form of shopping gift cards, not cash, yet thankfully Intu’s 15 shopping centres are widely spread across the UK – though sadly there aren’t any in Wales or Northern Ireland.
It’s also worth noting that to claim the voucher, you first receive a code, which is emailed within 60 days of you hitting a spending trigger. Annoyingly, this code has to be taken to the customer service section of an Intu shopping centre within 90 days, which is then redeemed as a gift card (valid for one year). You can, however, spend the gift card on the same day as redeeming the code, so no need for multiple trips.
The gift card can be spent at any retailer in an Intu shopping centre so long as it accepts Mastercard. As a worldwide payment processor, this shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance.
The Cashback Credit Card Golden Rules
As always, before considering this card, remember the following:
a) Always repay IN FULL, preferably by direct debit, to avoid interest, or it dwarfs any cashback.
b) Use to replace cash, cheques and other cards for all normal spending to max gain (not an excuse to overspend).
c) Don’t use them to withdraw cash – you don’t get cashback, you’ll pay interest and it can hurt your credit score.
d) Pay for goods costing £100 to £30,000 on a credit card and under Section 75 laws the card firm is jointly liable with retailers if something goes wrong (or the retailer goes bust). A hugely powerful extra protection.
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