I've had my egg money credit card for 3 years now and I wouldn't use anything else. The main reason is bacuse of the generous cashback rate of 1% cashback on all spends upto £20,000 per year (£200). I do all my shopping on it, then pay it back in full every month. It works out at out at around 50 days credit, with the Direct Debit coming out straihgt after payday. It makes managing your finances very easy, with a nice bonus once a year. The cashback is paid onto your credit card in March/April time every year. NB: This is only worth doing if you are going to pay off in full every month, as with an interest rates of 17.9%, it's an expensive way of borrowing. I also understand that new customers are charged a £1 monthly fee for the card - boo hiss.
It is easy to apply for the card online, you can also request an additional cardholder on your account (they must be over 18, but wont be credit checked).
It is easy to view your statements online by logging into the Egg website. You can also set up Egg money manager so you can view balances from other accounts in the same place. If you click on the account it automatically logs you in to the other banks online service. This is useful, and egg do guarentee security of your details, but may not appeal to the most risk conscious.
I have found their security to be very good. Should there be any unusual transactions, you receive an automated call from Egg to confirm the dates, retailers and values. This can be done by pressing buttons to confirm, or transferring through to an operator. I have also found their customer service very good. With promt and helpful responses via their secure messaging service.
Another great advantage of the Egg Money card is the ability to move around other credit card balances. It can be used to transfer an overdraft to a credit card, by transferring the value to from the new card to Egg Money, then transferring the balance to the overdraft. Which you are not charged a fee for. This is also useful for stoozers, who transfer the balance of a credit card, to an interest earning account, (as this can also be done via Egg Money).
Another advantage I have found useful is that Egg offer exclusive discounts for a variety of things, such as Airport Parking, that can be accessed via their website. And also instant cashback on a variety of retailers. Both of which I have used without any problems.
This is THE MUST HAVE CARD for anyone who enjoys making free cash from credit cards, otherwise known as STOOZING. The reason for this is that the Egg Money Card allows you to withdraw positive balances to your current account for free.
What does this all mean?
Stoozing is basically taking cash off your credit card on a 0% introductory offer and putting it in a savings account. Just before the 0% offer expires you withdraw the balance from the savings account, repay the card and the interest is yours for free. Due to the standard 3% balance transfer fee you need to be saving at a rate of more than 3% for this to even break even. Due to the historically low interest rates at present this is not an ideal climate for stoozing, it worked much better before the credit cunch where you could find rates of 7%.
The reason the Egg Money Card is a must have for stoozers is that it allows you to withdraw positive balances for free. The reason this is important is that most credit cards dont allow you to balance transfer to a bank account but only to another credit card. So if you had a new credit card and wanted to turn it into cash it would normally cost you 6% because first you need to transfer the balance for 3% to a card that lets you transfer to you bank account for a further 3%. Thus the Egg Money Card is the Stoozers dream since all you have to do is transfer the balance of the first card to your egg card at 3% and then you can withdraw it for free saving you 3%.
This is also a great feature if you cant transfer from one card to another because they are the same bank. For example, if you try and transfer a balance, from an RBS Credit Card to pay off a Natwest credit Card, you will not be allowed since RBS and Natwest are the same Banking Group. But if you have the Egg Money Card then you can transfer your RBS balance there, then withdraw it for free and then pay off your Natwest credit Card with the Cash.
To do the above it makes sense to maintain a 0 balance if you are using the Egg Money Card for these activities. However, Egg Money also offers 1% Cashback, upto £200, on all purchases. So basically spend £20,000 on your card in a year and get £200 (well £188 as the Card recently introduced a £1 monthly fee for new customers, but the card is easily worth that.). This by itself is very attractive and a reason to have the card irrespective of stoozing.
Egg Money is a first and foremost a Mastercard - Egg Bank has changed hands a number of times but is now owned by Citibank.
Is actually dead easy - go to the website www.egg.co.uk and click on "apply now". You will be asked to fill in the usual details about yourself and your income. Be honest as lying on an application is a criminal offence! Egg should give you a decision in principle within 60 seconds (unless your financial situation is a little complicated) in which case it will be 24 hours.
One thing that I liked about Egg is that they do not give out crazily high credit limits. I got £6000 initially but my sister who earns a lot less was only given £2,000. The company believes in responsible lending which has to be a good thing in this day and age.
You can have a joint card with a partner / family member if you wish.
Receiving the card
It will be sent by Royal Mail but cannot be used until you activate it (using your online banking facility which is automatically set up for you) so there is no risk of misuse of the card if it goes missing.
Once you do receive it either call Egg or go online to activate the card.
Using the card
AS you would with any other credit card - spend, spend spend!
What is good about the Egg Money card is that you are able to put as much money into the account as you like. You used to receive 5% interest on this - but of course now this has been reduced to 0.1% by the falling interest rates.
So why would you bother paying more in than you owe? Well if you go overseas and are in credit then there are no overseas fees for cash withdrawals which is good news.
The Egg site is very easy to use and you can pay your bills online, view your spending or contact customer services. It is set up for you automatically when you become a customer - you just have to set your security details.
There is a neat feature (for free) called Egg Money Manager through which you can download all your other internet banking details so you can see all your accounts in the same place. This does involve you entering your passwords and usernames so I haven't bothered doing this!
£0 - which has to be good
What is the best thing about this account is the fact that you receive 1% cashback on all spending (up to a maximum of £200 in a 12 month period) this is paid in the anniversary month that you applied for the card. So this February when my bill was quite big I received £200 back (hurrah)
This is only a benefit to you if you pay the bill off in full each month of course!
Additional benefits include extra instant cash back on spending with certain companies - for example I get 2% back if I use the card at a Shell station and 5% back on Figleaves.
0.1% on positive balances sadly reduced from 5%.
16.9% on negative balances (so pay off every month in full!!!!)
The interest free period is approx (up to) 55 days which is not bad!
Egg have one of the most vigilant security systems I have ever seen with a credit card. If there is any unusual spending on your account then they will alert the card and contact you by phone to discuss it. They stopped a fraudster putting a total of £10,000 on my mums cards using this method so it must work!
The only problem is that you are called by an automated system which asks you to enter your personal details - being a cynic I am always wary of this so call customer service myself. I have mentioned this to them and said - don't you think it is unwise to ask for details when YOU called ME? But no changes ..........yet!
Are friendly and helpful - their email service is slow but I recommend ringing them up!
Overall - a great card with good extras!
Egg Money is the brand name of a credit card operated by Egg Banking Plc.
Who are Egg Banking Plc? Well it's complicated......... first it was part of The Prudential Group, then it became Egg and now it's owned by the American company Citibank.
Egg primarily operate credit card and other accounts on line but if you wish you can telephone a UK based call centre and do transactions or ask for help and advice that way. I have found their call centre staff to be superb; they are polite, helpful and professional. The only other two companies which I have come across in recent years who are equally as good at customer services are Virgin Mobile and EDF Energy.
The Egg Money card itself offers the usual features of a credit card such as balance transfers, cash advances and goods and services purchases from retailers in physical stores, over the telephone or on line. You still have a plastic credit card and a pin number for cash machines but all statements are on line. You can set up a direct debit in usual way through your bank.
The rate for most of these was about 16.9% the last time I checked but it does change quite a lot. Cash advances have an additional handling fee and can be charged at a higher rate of interest. From time to time you get offered special promotional lower rates for balance transfers.
You get cash back credited to your account for purchases from retailers which varies in percentage depending on the exact nature of your card and its terms and conditions.
The big difference with The Egg Money card compared to any other credit card I have seen before is that you can deliberately load a positive balance onto it and you get paid interest on this money. You used to get 4% gross (tax deducted at source) but it's gone down a lot recently.
It's a very good card and the added feature of paying interest on a positive card balance is innovative and useful at times.
I have become rather attached to my Egg Money card over the years, and have no plans on walking way from Egg despite their bad press in recent times, most notably when they closed 160,000 accounts.
Egg is an internet bank, which should mean that they can offer lower rates to their customers as they have lower overheads etc, however recently rates have crept up, with rises announced just a few days ago. My APR has gone up 2% and whilst this is causing some people to walk away, I want to stick with it to the bitter end.
The biggest plus of the Egg Money card is the cashback, 1% cashback on all spend upto £20,000 (£200 a year). Cashback is accrued monthly and then paid out every March (March 4th 2008 was the last payment). Whilst 1% doesn't appear to be a lot, every little helps and it really is money for nothing.
You can use your Egg Money card as a conventional credit card or you can pre load it and have a positive balance on it. Personally I have never done this and just prefer to pay my balance off in full when the statement comes in. I think its important to pay in full as the interest charges are far higher than the cashback and therefore reduce the benefit massively.
You can also benefit from instant cashback promotions, where you get additional cashback credited to your account straight away, at the minute I get 2% off Shell fuel, however, getting it automatically has proved to be difficult and I have had to send them many a message asking them to apply the cashback. Its done eventually but its just a bit of a pain.
As Egg is an internet bank, you don't get paper statements, however, you do get emails to tell you that your statement is ready. It also means that if you do have problems, you cannot go see someone face to face which can be frustrating at times, especially because when you ring you have to go through go through an automated service, stating your name etc, which can sometimes take a while to be recognised.
The statements that Egg Money produce are really helpful, they categorise your spend so if you are trying to cut back, you can get an idea of where you are overspending (for me its eating out!) whilst this is only a guideline, it helps. The statement also gives you your monthly and cumulative cash back figure so you can keep an eye on how much you will get at the end of the year.
All in all, I love my Egg Money card and I really hope that the rumours about them eventually phasing it out or lowering the cash back are not true because I would be lost without it. Both me and my partner use our cards at every opportunity and it would drasically change the way we spend money if it was to be replaced by a 'lesser' product.
Egg.com is owned by the US based Citibank group and to use the first of probably many egg based puns they certainly got egg on their face the day they decided to withdraw credit from roughly 160,000 of their custumers - Citi bank claimed that credit was being with drawn from users with a risky credit profile. Unfortunately this turned into an eggceptionaly bad bit of publicity for Egg.com when it transpired that a lot of these so called bad credit risks were people like myself who used the card regularly and paid it off in full each month.
Now I like my Egg Money card as it pays cash back - 1% on all spending up to a maximum of £200 a year and nooooooooo I've yet to get the full cash back pay out! Now if only I could pay my mortgage, gas, electric council tax etc etc on it. I like a card that will give me something for nothing. Prior to my sandwiching my Egg Money card between my cash card and my Tesco's Clubcard I was an avid collector of Nectar points via the Sainsburys Bank Credit Card. Unfortunately due to them becoming rather stingy on how many Nectar points it paid out plus the situation that saw my Nectar card going into a negative balance - Yes I have a debit on a Nectar card! I gave up collecting Nectar points and went on the hunt to find an alternative and the card that eggactly fitted my needs was the Egg Money card.
Egg.com is solely an online financial institution, you will not receive a paper statement from them most communication can be done via their secure messaging system I have always found questions answered very promptly. Should you need to you can call their call centre which I have done on a couple of occasions you'll find that you are not on hold for hours and 99% of the time the Call centre staff can sort out your query there and then. The CCA that dealt with me when it transpired I'd some how managed to set up two accounts and get two cards in the same post was extremely helpful.
You could be forgive in thinking that the Egg Money card is a credit card it's actually both a credit card, a debit card and a rather poorly paid savings account all rolled into one - current interest rate on a positive balance is a paltry 4% gross. Now you might be wondering how it can be all 3 of these things plus pay out cash back Egg Money is a card that could be run similar to your bank account i.e. money is paid in, you spend it either by visiting the cash point to withdraw money or presenting it as a method of payment any place that accepts a Mastercard. Personally I couldn't be arsed to load the money I normally spend on my Egg Money card each month and it's much easier for me to sweep it into a linked savings account and transfer it back to my current account once the direct debit is due! Egg Money isn't well know for it's great credit limits this actually suits me down to the ground as it's used for every day purchases and paid off in full I have no need for a large credit limit on it unfortunately if you had been tempted to use it to transfer an existing credit card balance due to it's typical APR of 7.99% well under half the APR of some credit cards you could be disappointed by your paltry credit balance.
When I signed up for my Egg Money card it was a fairly painless process of filling out the online credit application, setting up a direct debit and hitting send to be told I'd been accepted in the next screen page. I was also told how much my credit limit was going to be. Once I received my card(s) and sorted out the minor problem of having two egg accounts I activated the card not online as is the norm with Egg but via the CCA who I'd rang to find out why I'd been given two cards! Once activated I found out my pin number via my online account being the kind of person that if I think about pin numbers I totally blank what the number might be I rather like the fact I can log into my account and once I've given additional security information I can find out my pin. Yes this might be questionable from a security point of view but in my mind so is waiting for that little paper envelope that everyone knows contains a pin number!
Spending on your Egg Money card is easy - you can either as I've said before load it via your direct debit or online banking with your own cash and treat it like a debit card or use it as a credit card either way it is a question of presenting the card when you make a purchase and remembering that darn pin number! I would never recommend anyone making cash withdrawals on a credit card but should the need a rise then cash withdrawals made via a cash machine attract the same debit interest rate of 7.99 (typical rate) unlike other credit cards which will hype up cash withdrawals to an often obscene level of interest. However it is worth noting that cash withdrawals attract interest as soon as you have made them i.e. you will not get an interest free period unlike transactions for goods and services.
Every month if you have an outstanding balance Egg will email you once your statement has been made up and it is a question of then logging into the site which unfortunately at times can be painfully slow to view your statement as I've said previously Egg will not send you a paper statement but you will find once you have successfully logged in you can view previous statements should you wish. All payments are collected via Direct Debit you have the option to pay in full each month, pay the minimum amount or make a set payment each month. You can also make additional payments via online banking but you can't send them a cheque! Direct Debits can also be changed to a different account very easily online.
Cash back is earnt at the rate of 1% and is applied to your account each month and paid out annually in March each year. To get your grubby mitts on the cash back you must earn at least £10 the maximum you can earn is £200 a year. Egg also have instant cash back with a number of suppliers I was under the impression to gain this instant cash back you would need to go via the links on the Egg site but I managed to earn instant cash back by just using my card on one of the sites. Instant cash back rates vary from supplier to supplier and can be as much as 15%. Obviously collecting cash back only works if you're not paying interest every month as even at 7.99% the interest will soon eat into any cash back you are getting! As I have said previously my card is paid off in full each month.
Apart from a few minor teething problems I would highly recommend the Egg Money card as it is relatively hassle free. Egg answers and deal with any problems very quickly, it has a very competitive APR and it gives me something for nothing, I'll keep on using it whilst they pay out cash back.
An Internet based credit card account which is great for people who don't want to buy on credit. But gives you the added protection of a credit card. This card has 3 interesting features:-
1) Pre-loading. This simply means that you do not actually have to use it as a credit card but like a normal bank account. You can set up a regular monthly payment from your current account and top up any time you like. As it is an internet only account you can keep an eye on your balance and make sure you never go into the red.
2) 1% cash-back on all purchases (more for some selected retailers such as 5% at Dixons and CDWow. - check website for latest offers)
3) 4% interest received on positive balances. Although it should be noted that this rate has not changed for some time despite interest rate rises elsewhere.
The website is easy enough to use though sometimes a little slow and remember that it is an internet only account so no paper statements, just an email alert when your statement is ready. If you have any problems or reasons to contact them this can be done by email or phone and they are usually helpful.
Of course when assessing any financial product it is important to ask yourself whether it is right for you. If you would use it as a normal credit card and pay off your bill every month then the pre-loading and interest received will be of no relevance. Also the cash-back element is only worthwhile if you pay off your balance in full every month as any money received would be cancelled out by interest charged (an typical rate of 7.9% APR). In fact if you purely want a cash-back card you can get up to 3% elsewhere. Check a good comparison website such as moneysavingexpert (see my earlier review) to find the best product for you depending on how you spend.
I would say that unless all 3 points appeal to you then this card probably is not for you but for the moment it is just right for me.
The Egg Money card has been available for some time and continues to give you 1% back on ALL your purchasing up to a limit of £200 from March to Feb each year (or in year of opening until the end of February).
Rather alarmingly Ive hit my £200 cashback limit and am having to use my daughters Egg Money card till the end of next month.
As with all credit cards you should endeavour to pay off your full balance each month, preferably by direct debit from your regular bank account so you dont forget. If you dont pay off the full balance you get clobbered for full interest on the entire balance outstanding until paid off. The Egg Money rate is currently 7.9% .You do get 50 days interest free credit between bills, which is about average.
The only way this card is different from other credit cards is that if you overpay or whenever it is in credit they pay you interest, currently 4% Whilst this could be handy, 4% gross isnt the best savings rate around so it is better to be organised and just pay off the full balance only when you have to alternatively keep it all in-house and open an Egg Savings account that currently pays 5.25% gross. Keep that topped up purely to finance the Egg Money card.
If you are in credit you can make cash withdrawals at ATMs with no service charges or fees.
A clever feature is that you can request weekly text alerts of you current balance, which some people might find useful/alarming/worrying/heart attack triggering.
The on-line services are excellent. You can have just the Egg Money account without any other Egg products and view it on line, or you can view it alongside your other Egg savings products.
With Egg there is a secure email facility, which I have used occasionally, if you tick the box they will acknowledge your question and email you when you have a reply, that you pick up by logging into Egg. My responses have always been within 48 hours.
Ive contacted them by phone and you do fairly quickly get through to a real human and they have always been courteous, polite, helpful and carried out a request without fail.
You can pay off your Egg Money account by BACS from your regular account, by DD as mentioned above or manually whenever you wish allowing the usual three/four days for it to arrive. Alternatively if you also have an Egg savings account you can just transfer the money, however still allow two days for it to credit the Egg Money account.
Another reason I like the Egg Money card is that I use it for card tarting. When I apply to take advantage of any 0% interest free credit cards I request the balance on the new card be transferred to Egg Money. The reason being I can just send a secure email to Egg to transfer out onto my savings account, no fees and no questions asked, mind you it takes up to five days. You cant do this on line for some reason.
The on line Egg Money Card statements are fairly clear, last statements and recent transactions are always available. Recently it has been difficult to print out as the printer-friendly button seems to have disappeared but just printing the whole webpage is good enough. There is a slightly gimmicky analysis of your statements, showing spend by: Household, Travel & Transport, Essentials, Abroad, Going Out, High Street & Web, Cash, Other Stuff bit pointless but fun I suppose.
Security of Egg website is probably as good as any others. To log into all services, you need to remember your first name, surname, postcode, date of birth, mothers maiden name and password - so you have got to be pretty unlucky for anyone to know all of those. You can amend your password on line and you can view your PIN. You can amend your PIN at most ATMs
There are three rewards for having your card, which you can check out but will probably quickly realise are of no use to you: Internet CashBacks, Unforgettable Experiences, and Privileges
The Internet cashbacks are 50% cashback at 0800flowers, 15% off Figleaves, 20% off buyagift, 10% cashback at Virgin Wines, 5% cashback at CDWOW, 5% cashback at Dixons, 10% off IwantOneofThose, 10% cashback at Trruprint. None of these have been any good for me, had better rewards for shopping through other cashback sites.
The current Unforgettable experience is chance to win a Valentine Day trip to Monaco. Still I suppose someone has to win
Privileges are 10% off Holiday Autos, 15% off BP Airport Parking, 5% off Thomas Cook, 25% cashback with an Airport Lounge Pass, £50 cashback at Virgin.net, 10% off Egg Home Insurance, 10% off Egg Travel Insurance, 0% interest on your Egg premium for Car Insurance. None of these offers have either been of any use to me or are highly uncompetitive.
The card can be used abroad as with any card, but the moral is dont because the transaction and currency conversion rate will be loaded. (Use the Nationwide debit card for foreign travel).
The only problem I occasionally have with the card is that if you take something back to a shop it sometimes wont accept credits back onto the card. This is an ongoing problem at our local Tesco, but now they know us they give us cash back anyway or occasionally I have had the credit put back on a debit card. This of course can be to your benefit as you will have earned your 1% cashback and wont subsequently lose it with the credit transaction.
So overall the BIG advantage of this Egg Money Card, a credit card which pays you interest on any credit balance, is the 1% cashback.
This is my regular card and is highly recommended. Long live the 1%
Egg's latest product is excellent, providing a all-in-one solution. It took me a while to get my head around how it works, but now I understand it, I think it's great!
Use it as a credit card:
Essentially, the egg money account is a credit card. You get up to 50 days interest-free and can pay off the minimum amount only if you wish. It offers 1% cashback on all purchases, which is guarenteed until 2007. Cashback is paid yearly directly back into the account. It is calculated at the end of Feb and get paid at the end of March. The credit level depends on your status, but tends to start off pretty low. You can apply to get it increased. See below for statements and payment options etc..
In addition, you can get further cahsback at a small range on online retailers currently:
5% at Apple, Itunes, Currys, and ASOS.com
20% at 0800 flowers, buyagift.co.uk and Trueprint
£50 off a new Virgin broadband connection
- not ones that you are likely to use that often!
Use it as an easy access savings account and debit card:
This is where the product gets interesting. You are encourgaed to have a credit balance on the card, as you will earn a decent amount of interest. Currently the rate is 4%, slightly lower than for example the 'Egg Savings' account, but not bad at all. Seeing as most people would keep their salary in a bank account which pays 0.5% or less it makes sense to transfer monthly spending money from your (low-interest) savings account to this one. When the card is in credit, it works more like a debit card. You pay with the card, and the money comes straight out the account. You still get the cashback. If you go into a negative balance, it automatically starts working like a credit card.
Uniquely for a Mastercard, the card can be used at Link ATM's without a fee if your account is in credit.
Payments to the card:
Egg has a fantastic website. It allows you to access all your other bank accoutns, both within Egg and external and see the balances on one page. Im sure there are other reviews on the website, it would be outside the scope of this review to describe it here, but having used a few online banks, Egg is the best in my opinion. You can pay money into the account from any account in a number of ways:
1) One off transfers from an Egg account
2) Transfers from non-Egg account (either via your bank, or through the Egg website)
3) Regular direct debits from your savings account (choose between fixed amount every month, minimum repayment for the credit card, or full credit card amount)
NB - You do have to set up a direct debit for one of these options. If you pay off the bill in full every month manually, or you are in a credit balance, and select the 'full credit card amount' no direct debit will be taken (as there is no balance to pay).
Interest on -ve accounts:
The quoted rate is 15.9%. There is no 0% interest free period at the beginning (at present)
There are no paper statements. However, you will obviosuly have a computer if you have an Egg account, and therefore it doesnt matter. You can view statements for the past 12 months online, and easily print the off. You will be sent a tax statement at the end of the tax year.
Yu can opt to get a free text alert every week with your latest balance. An excellent feature I think!
Egg have an excellent, friednly, UK based call centre for questions. If the website breaks down, you can also use the phone. They also have a secure email messaging system, whereby you can usually get a quick reply to your questions.
If you are like me and forget your PIN, Egg have a facility online where you can retrieve your PIN straight awayby inputing your logon details. Much better than having to await your PIN number to be re-sent out.
Because Egg isnt a clearing bank, it sometimes takes longer then you'd expect for money from another account to get into yours. A few weeks ago, a payment took 6 working days! It takes 2 days to transfer money between Egg accounts.
Easy on Egg.com. Short online form, then they send you forms to sign. Took me about 2 weeks from the day I applied online to the day I got my card.
Like all other card issuers, it is easy to apply for an extra card.
I hope I havent lost you here, it is quite complex. I certainly wasnt sure how it worked until I'd had it for a few months! But it's excellent. I'd reccomend it for people who:
- pay off their credit card balances every month
- spend a lot
- would be able to transfer the money sitting in their current accounts to this account every month
If you dont fit all three of the above you either wont get much cahsback, or will not benefit from the interest on +ve balances. In addition, if you are likely not to pay off the full amount every month I think the -ve balance interest rate is sky high, and you'd be better off with another card issuer.
It would especially suit people who
- have other Egg accounts
- are comfortable with online banking
- like green (the card is bright green - but I think it looks pretty smart)
Limitations of my review:
I cant comment on using the card abroad yet. Im off on hols next week (hooray!) and will hopefully update and let you know what the charges for use aborad are like.
A quick word on Egg
Part of Prudential, they have been around for quite a few years now. They are NOT an ethical bank unlike smile (co-op), which is a downside. They launched Egg in France but made a big loss, but it seems to be doing pretty well over here. I like them because they are innovative, have excellent customer service, and are a bit different.
Product info line: 08451233233
Head office : 02075265200
###### Pease note - I also publish as dan_ep on Ciao ##########
When it comes to financial matters I like to think of myself as a rather savvy consumer. I tend to shop around for good bank accounts and I make my money work for me.
Credit cards are no different. If you are disciplined your credit card can actually make you money (well, technically what I am about to describe will save you money) and you dont need to enter the tricky waters of stoozing* to do it. Assuming that you are not actually borrowing money on your credit card and can afford to pay off the full balance each and every month there are some cracking deals out there which will actually save you money on your everyday spend. Although, pound for pound, loyalty points often give a better rate of return, I am a real fan of cash-back credit cards. These cards reward your spend by paying you back a percentage of your spend (usually between 0.5 and 1%) at various points throughout the year. The cash is yours to do what you will with it.
The only trouble with cash-back credit cards is the fact that the rates of cash-back are forever falling or are capped and you find that you have to swap cards every year to get the best deals. Its an annoyance but hey!
I have a card that pays me 3% cash-back on petrol and groceries but only 0.5% on other purchases. I knew that I could better that. Thats how I came to deal with Egg Money.
Egg Money is a rather strange type of credit card cum bank account. It pays you interest at a reasonably attractive rate of 4% on any positive balances and you earn 1% cash-back on spends. Dip into the red and you are looking at an interest charge of around 7.9%APR though so its not a card for borrowers.
The basic idea is that Egg want you to charge up your credit card with money which will earn interest until it is spent and then use the credit card earning cash-back. Of course, Im sure that they are hoping that you overspend, thus incurring the interest charge. I guess that if you run a really strict budget then this might work (and Egg will send you text messages to let you know how much money you have left) but it does seem rather complicated to me and you can get far better instant access returns on your cash than the 4% that Egg are offering.
Personally, I use the card as a simple cash-back credit card. I dont pre-load it with cash.
Card acceptance is not an issue, its a standard Mastercard fitted with the usual chip and pin technology. Talking of chip and pin, Egg is somewhat unusual in that it lets you view your PIN online. Im not certain that I like that. In todays ever more security conscious world, the less information that is capable of being viewed online the better! It would certainly make me wary of accessing my account anywhere other than at home.
Like many credit cards and bank accounts you can view your details and transactions online. Unlike many credit cards, this is the only way you can operate your account. Egg do not send out paper statements, rather, they email you to let you know that your latest statement is available for viewing. Previous months statements remain online for you to refer back to as you will. I dont really like Eggs way of displaying your statement. Theres something about it that I find hard to read at a glance but I cant really put my finger on what it is. Purchases are categorised for you, so, for example, a purchase from IKEA is categorised as Household DIY and Furnishings and a purchase from Boots as High street and Web your Health. The categories of spending are sub-totalled at the top of the statement. This does make it possible to see, at a glance, what your spend in the various areas is. Inevitably there are some retailers that Egg cant work out and which are listed as Miscellaneous. Your statement will also give you a running total of your cash-back earned to date.
The online account management is easy to use and, in fact, you can link to other providers bank accounts to see all of your worldly goods in one place. This works but again Im not sure I like it from a security perspective. If your Egg account is compromised you may loose a little more than you bargained for! Weve since de-linked our accounts. Ive had no problems with the availability of the site and most of the things you would seek to do with or to the account can be done easily online. If you cant do what you want but dont want to phone Egg then you can even send them a secure message. Egg will also communicate with you through this medium so you do need to register an email address when signing up that you will check to see whether you need to log into Egg to pick up secure messages.
Cash-back is paid into your account each March based on your spend between March of the previous year and February. Cash-back is capped at £200 (£5 minimum) equating to a £20,000 maximum spend before your purchases no longer earn cash-back. In addition to this standard cash-back, Egg has a relationship with certain on-line retailers who will pay extra cash-back for purchases made with them. Examples at the moment include Dixons (5%) and Virgin Wines (20%). These enhanced cash-back amounts do not count towards your £200 limit and you still earn the standard 1% in addition. If you leave Egg you will not be paid any cash-back that has accrued but that has not yet been paid so, if you want to close the account it would be best to wait until March each year!
One of Eggs other quirks is that you must settle your bills by direct debit. You can easily set your account to allow Egg to collect the full amount outstanding, just the minimum balance, or, in fact, any other amount (capped or set) you chose. This makes it easy if you do pay your bills in full each month to pay off the account and not worry about it . At least thats what we thought .
Having set our account up to always pay off the full balance we had an issue when the bank from which the funds were being transferred made a mistake and refused the direct debit (another story entirely!). As soon as we were aware of the problem we decided to use a debit card to make a payment to Egg Money so that the balance would be cleared. A telephone call to Egg resulted in the late payment fee being waived and we were impressed. Not so fast .
The following month I was keeping a close eye on our accounts to check that further problems were not experienced. To my horror Egg only requested the minimum payment from our account meaning that, in theory, we were incurring interest on the remaining balance on the card (no small sum either). I checked online and the account details were still showing that we had authorised the full card balance to be collected. A telephone call to Egg left us more confused than ever. We were told that because we had made an additional payment on the card in the previous month, Egg automatically only sought to collect the minimum payment and not the full balance despite our instructions that they were to take the whole balance. A search of the terms and conditions on the account threw no light on why this was the case (there is a term which states that a payment within 5 banking days prior to the date on which the direct debit is due to collect may mean that they do not request payment via direct debit but this was not the case). We have been assured by Egg that they will refund any interest that the system charges on the account but its certainly not the way we would wish to operate.
Telephoning Egg is, in some respects, simple. We have never waited long for the phone to be answered and you do get to speak to a real person. One downside, however, is that you cannot set up a password on the account for additional cardholders to liaise with Egg. I usually look after all of our family;s financial affairs and, where I am not the account holder, my husband has set up passwords that allow me to operate the accounts by phone. Im an additional cardholder on my husbands account but Egg just wont speak to me. We even had a highly amusing three way conversation trying to sort out the direct debit issue where my husband and I were on speaker phone with the customer services representative. I had to tell my husband the questions which I had and he then had to repeat them to the rep who would answer! My husband is more than capable of asking his own questions, but, in this instance, I had a better understanding of the reasons behind the problems and had, in fact, used my own account to fund the additional payment. It was a farce.
All in all I think that this card has its place IF all goes well and you dont want to do anything interesting with it. The 50 day credit period is amongst one of the best in the market at the moment and with no annual fee the cash-back upside is there for the taking.
As with many cards, signing up can be done on-line and acceptance for many will be immediate. Youll then be sent some paper forms to sign and send back. Expect to go from start to card in about 2 weeks.
I wouldnt use the card to borrow on and I probably dont think that the credit interest rate is attractive enough to use it as it is intended. As a cash-back card I think it does the job.
* stoozing is the practice of borrowing money on a 0% interest credit card and investing it elsewhere to get a good return on money that isnt yours. Its legal but not something to be tempted by unless you are very disciplined and have a good credit record which you dont mind risking. If you NEED credit, its not for you.