Halifax claims its new Clarity credit card is simple, transparent and a way to cut the cost of travel money. And I’m inclined to agree, but it’s not for everyone as we’ll find out.
The Clarity card is a Mastercard credit card with a typical interest rate of 12.9% APR on purchases, cash advances, balance transfers and cheques. Halifax says this rate will be offered to two thirds of applicants, but those who don’t qualify will be offered rather less attractive rates of 17.9% or 21.9% APR.
There are no annual fees, nor fees for making cash withdrawals or spending abroad. But you’ll be slapped with a £12 fee if your monthly payment is late/bounces, or you exceed your credit limit. And cash withdrawals incur interest straight away.
If your card is lost, stolen or used by someone else without your permission then Halifax says you won’t ‘generally’ be liable for any losses, but it does guarantee you won’t lose out if the offending transaction(s) is covered by distance selling regulations (i.e. it’s online or by phone).
If you have a Halifax current account and pay in at least £1,000 per month you’ll also benefit from monthly cashback of £5 if you spend £300 or more on the card each month.
So bearing in mind the above, is the Halifax Clarity card a good deal?
Well, generally yes, but it really depends on what you want from it.
If you’ll use the card to borrow, i.e. you won’t pay off your balance in full each month, then opting for (and, if possible, rotating) 0% credit card offers is likely to be the better option. Nevertheless, this rate is competitive for purchases and very competitive for cash withdrawals.
If you’ll pay off your balance in full each month and are likely to spend a fair amount overseas then the Clarity card looks a decent deal. You could even consider getting this card specifically for overseas spending if your current card(s) charge the usual 2.75% or more on foreign transactions (just remember cash withdrawals incur interest straight away).
While the £5 cashback for qualifying current account holders works out at a generous 1.67% if you spend £300 per month, it starts to fall behind the better competitors if you spend above £500 per month. But it’s paid monthly whereas most competitors only pay cashback annually.
All in all this is a good credit card, especially if you like spending overseas. While it doesn’t excel in any one area, there are no hidden faults either. Just beware if you don’t qualify for the 12.9% APR interest rate, as borrowing could start to prove very expensive.