Members of M&S’ loyalty club will this year be able to pay online or via the M&S app using a new digital credit option from M&S Bank.
The retailer says it will launch the option as an easy payment solution for members of its Sparks loyalty club later this year. The solution will not come with a card, but will be available as an extra payment option on the M&S website and in its app. Shoppers will only be able to use it to pay at M&S rather than at other retailers.
The new credit option will come alongside a new rewards credit card. This has been designed in consultation with its customers and is designed to give extra flexibility to Sparks club members who, M&S says, are among its most loyal – along with customers of M&S Bank. The card, it says, will enable customers “to access a range of new and digitally-focused benefits, specifically designed to support how customers are looking to shop today”.
The news comes as M&S Bank says it will close its current accounts and 29 in-store bank branches and take account servicing online-only. The bank will offer loans and a credit card that can only be serviced online or via the telephone. It will also offer fast click and collect for travel money, with collection for currency ordered via smartphone in as little as 15 minutes.
M&S Bank chief executive Paul Spencer says: “We have developed the next phase of our transformation programme to enhance the M&S shopping experience, with an expanded range of payment solutions which are increasingly integrated with M&S – both in-store and online – offering customers a more seamless shopping and payment experience.” He said more details would soon be available.
He added: “As we adapt to meet the changing needs of our customers, and we deliver some new – more digitally-focused products and services – it does regrettably mean we will move away from branch-based servicing and the 29-in-store bank branches and associated current account will close this summer. We’re now firmly focused on supporting both our customers and colleagues through this change, and the delivery of our transformation plans, which will create new and rewarding payment solutions for M&S shoppers, both in-store and online.”
Kirsty Ward, director of bank and services at M&S, says: “M&S was an early pioneer in retail financial services, and the rapid transformation in how we spend, borrow, save and protect has never been more exciting. We are striving to bring our customers the very best financial products that meet their needs today and in the future – and our priority, as set out today, is making it even easier and more rewarding to buy the things they love from us.”
M&S Bank operates as a joint venture between Marks & Spencer and HSBC, although it has its own banking licence and board. It stopped offering mortgages to new customers in March 2020 although it does continue to support existing customers.