M&S Bank has thrown down the gauntlet to bigger high street banking rivals with the launch of its lowest-ever personal loan rate.
Customers can now borrow between £7,500 and £15,000 at the rate of 4.7% APR - but the catch is that they have to be existing M&S current account, credit card or loan customers.
New customers instead can get the same loan amount at 4.8% APR, providing they meet the firm's lending criteria.
M&S also said it is rolling out its lowest-ever personal loans for those borrowing between £5,000 and £7,499 - at 6.1% APR. Its 6.7% APR on sums of between £15,001 and £25,000 is also a lowest-ever rate.
Find the best loan for you
Taking a three-year borrowing period as a guide, M&S's new rates are not the lowest on the market –Sainsbury's Bank's 4.6% takes the top spot on comparison sites such as Moneywise.co.uk/compare. But the M&S loan slots straight into second place.
Reduce the cost
Colin Kersley, M&S Bank chief executive, said: "Being conscious of the need to reduce the cost of borrowing, we are always reviewing our rates to ensure that we're offering the best rates we can; something we've once again been able to do for both new and existing customers."
The firm offers personal loans from £1,000, though the rate on smaller loans is high, at 18.5% for sums of £1,000 to £2,999.
While M&S Bank operates its own Board of Directors, the firm is 100% owned by HSBC Bank and operates as a joint venture arrangement between HSBC and Marks & Spencer.
HSBC's personal rate for loans of between £7,500 and £15,000 over three years is 4.8% APR%.