Balance Transfer Incompatible

I was looking for a 0% card to transfer a balance from an American Express account and a MSE soft search indicated I had a 90% chance of being accepted for the Sainsbury's 29 month 0% interest credit card.

I completed an application for this card and was successful, only to discover after completing the application that Sainsbury's cards are not compatible with Amex for balance transfers. I had no other use for the card so declined to accept the card. Upon speaking with a representative from Sainsbury's I was told that certain types of Amex card are not compatible while others are but that it's not possible to indicate this before the application stage. I was offered no explanation as to why this is the case, despite asking repeatedly. Furthermore I was told that this would still count as a hard search on my credit report and that nothing could be done to change this (I knew this was the case when I applied: but my assumption would be that the product would be worth it - I didn't envisage having to apply for another product for the same purpose, which I now will have to).

It seems to me to be incredibly unfair (and misleading on the part of Sainsbury's) that customers can be landed with a hard search record for a product that is totally useless to them and for which they would not have applied if all the information were available to them. My application was not rejected, but it will still be recorded and may impact my ability to get credit elsewhere. I would not have considered applying in advance had I known the product would be unfit for my intended purpose.

Is there anything that can be done about this? I presume not, but it would be useful to know in any case.

Many thanks. :)


  • No.

    It's nothing to do with Sainsbury's cards being useless. It's to do with whether another card can accept a BT payment. Those that can't, such as some Amex and store cards will have the same issue with all cards.

    In those cases, you need a money transfer option.
  • dac79
    dac79 Forumite Posts: 2 Newbie
    Thanks. But I've previously completed a Balance Transfer, with the same Amex card, from another MasterCard credit card, so I don't think it's that.
  • WillyWonga
    WillyWonga Forumite Posts: 324 Forumite
    From my experience the American Express cards operated under license through other banks like the old Virgin Atlantic AmEx and Visa would allow a BT (was handled by MBNA) But trying to BT from Amex themselves is not possible like BA Premium credit card.

    Most cards will offer a money transfer rate even though billed as a BT card.
  • ncjharris
    ncjharris Forumite Posts: 21
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Hi; I've discovered this today as well.
    The Sainsburys customer rep told me that it is a technical issue with Amex whereby they are unable to accurately transfer amounts between Sainburys systems and their systems. It is something that solely affects Sainsburys cards, but is Amex issue to sort out. They have been waiting 'weeks' to conclude it apparently.
    I am assuming that American Express will be in no hurry to resolve it, if it is only one other provider,

    It annoyed me as there is nothing at all on their website to indicate this and - like the OP - I have had to open and close a credit card account in a week. Something that will no doubt be on my credit file.
    A simple one-liner on their application process would have saved us all a bit of time.

    I will ring the credit card provider in advance next time to ensure compatibility, but won't be using Sainsbury's bank again!
  • ncjharris
    ncjharris Forumite Posts: 21
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker

    Looks like it isn't quite as recent as the chap I was speaking to made out!
  • MallyGirl
    MallyGirl Forumite, Senior Ambassador Posts: 6,317
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
    Senior Ambassador
    I successfully transferred Amex debt to MBNA via BT
    I’m a Senior Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the Pensions, Annuities & Retirement Planning, Loans
    & Credit Cards boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected].
    All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • Mr_Noodles
    Mr_Noodles Forumite Posts: 10
    Sixth Anniversary First Post Photogenic
    I'm in a similar situation. It's because American Express cards aren't credit cards - they are "travel and entertainment cards" - the card number starts with a 3.

    Unlike Visa or Mastercard, they are not linked to a bank account.
This discussion has been closed.
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 338.9K Banking & Borrowing
  • 248.6K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 447.6K Spending & Discounts
  • 230.8K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 600.9K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 171.1K Life & Family
  • 244K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards