These football-club branded products are an own goal

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soccer ball isolated on white...

They might sound like fantastic plastic for a loyal supporter, but these cards can be beaten.

You follow your club through thick and thin, or perhaps just thin. You've got the replica shirt, the DVDs, the photos on the wall... all to show your loyalty. You're thinking about applying for the club credit card too. But that's almost certainly an own goal on your part. Let me explain why.

Low down the table

Football clubs' financial products such as savings accounts and credit cards have a well-deserved reputation for mid-table mediocrity.

MBNA, the company behind many clubs' official plastic, has attempted to redress this by boosting the 'balance transfer window' (see what they've done there?) on five club cards.

The clubs whose cards are getting a mid-season overhaul are Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.

All will now offer 24 months with no interest to pay on balance transfers, in return for a (balance) transfer fee of 2.99% on the debt you're transferring.

In addition, for every £1 you spend you earn one point to spend on a range of club merchandise and 'experiences'. And MBNA will also donate money to the club every time you make a purchase.

So what's not to like?

Yellow card offences

For starters, despite being extended, the main selling point - the 0% balance transfer period - is nowhere near the top of the table for either duration nor the balance transfer fee that comes with it.

Here are the 0% cards with the longest balance transfer periods right now.

Credit card

0% period on balance transfers

Balance transfer fee

Representative APR

Barclaycard 30-Month Platinum Visa

30 months

2.89%

18.9%

Barclaycard 29-Month Platinum Visa

29 months

2.49%

18.9%

MBNA 29-Month Platinum Visa

29 months

2.89%

18.9%

Tesco Clubcard Credit Card for Balance Transfers

29 months

2.9%

18.9%

Santander 29-Month Balance Transfers

29 months

3%

18.9%



As you can see, you can have 30 months with no interest to pay and a cheaper balance transfer fee than any of the football cards via the Barclaycard 30-Month Platinum card.

In addition, there are several cards with excellent combinations of interest-free period and fee.

Credit card

0% period on balance transfers

Balance transfer fee

Representative APR

Fluid Low Fee Visa

12 months

0.75%

18.9%

Barclaycard 12-Month Platinum Low Fee Visa

12 months

0.79%

18.9%

Halifax All in One MasterCard

15 months

0.8%

17.9%

TSB Platinum MasterCard

15 months

0.8%

17.9%

Lloyds Platinum MasterCard

15 months

0.8%

17.9%

Tesco Bank Clubcard with Low Fee

12 months

0.85%

18.9%

Santander Credit Card with Low Transfer Fee

17 months

0.9%

18.9%

Lloyds Platinum Purchase

13 months

1%

17.9%

TSB Platinum 24 Months Balance Transfer Card

24 months

1.5%

17.9%

Lloyds Platinum 24-Month MasterCard

24 months

1.5%

17.9%

Bank of Scotland Platinum 24-Month MasterCard

24 months

1.5%

17.9%


So you can have 24 months 0% for just a 1.5% fee via the Lloyds Platinum, Bank of Scotland Platinum and the TSB Platinum cards. Champions League in comparison to the MBNA club cards.

Points deduction

If you're a dedicated fan, you might be swayed by the points offer. However, if you're after ways to cut the cost of your season ticket, replica shirt or end of season DVD, you can almost certainly do better with a cashback credit card.

For example, the American Express Platinum Everyday cashback card pays 5% on up to £2,000 of spending in the first three months you have it. It then pays up to 1.25%, depending on how much you spend in a year.

Or there's the Santander 123 card, which pays 1% on supermarket spending, 2% in department stores and 3% on petrol or train fares. However, this does have a £24 annual fee to take into account.

The key with cashback credit cards is to pay off your balance in full each month, otherwise interest charges will wipe out the cashback you earn.

So you can see that these football club credit cards are easily outscored by their rivals, home and away.

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