Last month, it was revealed by Saga that its popular Platinum card was going to be axed in two months’ time, on 28 March.
Customers of the over-50s specialist were told they would have to clear any debts and charges on the card – operated by Allied Irish Bank – by that time or else the debt might be transferred to a third party.
Saga told This is Money the Platinum card ‘consists of a small portfolio of customers, of which only a fraction have outstanding balances.’
However, one reader contacted us stating the closure raised a number of issues for cardholders.
Saga’s Platinum Card was popular with holidaymakers because of travel discounts and fee-free withdrawals and spending abroad, but there are some alternatives now it’s closing
Most importantly, customers lost a card with benefits that are hard to recreate elsewhere.
The Platinum card offered no fees abroad, 55 days of interest-free cash withdrawals, discounts on Saga holidays and cruises, alongside a competitive APR of 11.9 per cent.
What’s more, the card was open only to over-50s – and the reader raised the question of whether retired or semi-retired customers would be able to qualify for replacement cards.
Andrew Hagger, of personal finance site Moneycomms, told This is Money that ‘just because someone is over 50 it doesn’t mean they won’t be eligible for a mainstream credit card – as long as they have a decent credit rating and a regular income.
Saga said it ‘believed the vast majority should have no problem obtaining a card with similar credit facilities elsewhere.’
The company added it is working on a new card, but while we await more details, This is Money has run the rule over cards that might potentially be a viable replacement, even if the benefits aren’t exactly the same.
Halifax Clarity Credit Card
One of two cards recommended by Hagger, this card has no annual fees and comes with a rate of 18.9 per cent APR.
It doesn’t offer any interest-free withdrawal period, but you won’t pay any charges when you spend abroad, whether that’s paying by card or taking out cash, and whatever you spend is converted to sterling at a rate set by MasterCard.
When it comes to requirements for applying for the card, Halifax doesn’t specify a minimum required salary but you will need a credit check, while the bank says that ‘at least 51 per cent of successful applicants will get a representative rate of 18.9 per cent APR.’
The rest get a rate of 25.9 per cent APR, so bear that in mind.
Barclaycard Platinum Cashback Plus
Hagger’s other recommendation, this offers the same headline benefits of no fees on non-sterling purchases and cash withdrawals with no annual fee, but that is currently only until 31 August 2023.
The card has a slightly steeper APR of 21.9 per cent, and Barclays recommends it is ‘best suited for customers who have an income of at least £20,000’, but it does come with another perk.
It offers 0.25 per cent cashback on all spending until the same date, while it also gives £15 back if you spend £1500 in the first three months.
Santander Zero Credit Card
The clue is in the name: zero annual fees, zero foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad in the local currency, and zero cash withdrawal fees ‘anywhere in the world’.
This is a decent card choice if the main attraction of the Saga Platinum card was the ability to use it abroad without incurring charges, but aside from that it is a little bare bones.
That means there also appear to be zero other benefits, including no interest-free period on cash withdrawals. It also requires you to have an income of £7,500 a year if you want to be accepted for it.
Tandem Cashback Credit Card
The most important thing to note is that Tandem Bank is a mobile-only bank. If you’re an over-50 Saga customer then you’re far less likely to bank this way when it comes to your day-to-day banking, and it’d certainly take some getting used to.
However, don’t let that necessarily put you off and Tandem’s offer sits in This is Money’s ‘five of the best holiday money deals’ for a reason.
Its Cashback card has an identical headline set of stats as Halifax’s Clarity card, with an APR of 18.9 per cent and no fees for making purchases abroad or withdrawing cash abroad.
On top of that, it gives you 0.5 per cent cashback on every purchase above £1 at home or abroad.
On the downside, it doesn’t offer a fee-free period on withdrawals in the UK, and comes with a £12 charge if you make a late payment.
Creation Everyday Card
Part of bank BNP Paribas, Creation is also partnered with the likes of Asda, Currys PC World and Marriott Rewards to provide a variety of cashback and rewards cards.
In this case, its Everyday card offers the closest APR to the Saga Platinum, at 12.9 per cent.
It also comes with no annual fees, no fees on spending or cash withdrawals abroad and no fees on cash withdrawals in this country either, which might make it an attractive proposition.
THIS IS MONEY’S FIVE OF THE BEST HOLIDAY MONEY DEALS