Like phoebe1, we pay our credit card off each month (having at one time run up £11,000 in debt I can truthfully say, been there, done that) so we only use a credit card to assist cash flow. However, our average spend is around £600 a month and we could easily pay that off and stop using the card but choose not to because of the cash-back. Think of it this way. A £600 cushion sits in a cash ISA earning about 3.5% a year. Meanwhile, our monthly turnover of £600 on the Accucard earns 0.8% per month which as an annual rate is no less than 9.6%. Since our pension income covers the monthly settlement, we don't touch the cash so it means that in reality the £600 earns no less than about 13.1% PA! At the end of the year, we have a smaller settlement amount due to the cash-back credit, so that money (about £60) is added to the ISA which has itself earned around £20 which is a total of around 12.5%! Whoopee!
I registered with dooyoo expressly because I have been so impressed with the service from the people at Accucard that I wanted to tell everyone - I was astonished to see that they have such a low rating (not helped by one glowing review accompanied by a rating of one). "I would recommend this to my granny" may be a cliche and therefore have lost all weight, but how about "I work in customer support and these people put me to shame!"? I can't express how helpful the Accucard staff have been (I have used every aspect from technical support on logging in to customer services for credit limit increases and after accidentally exceeding my limit). My best stab would be something along the lines of they seem to start helping before you ask - they seem to come up with ways of helping that are unthinkable. For example a very large auction site's previous own brand payment scheme very kindly decided to obtain a reservation on my credit for an amount that I was paying then tell me that it was declined (with no specific reason given at the time or after), so I tried again (typing every digit as if my life depended on it) only for them to do the same again! This left me with £700 of locked credit out of a £1500 credit limit when they had it would seem (from my best reading a a very vague email) refused to pay the seller as they did not think his situation a good credit risk. I (rather hastily) asked Accucard to remove the reservations, which they rightly would not do, but they came up with a solution of a temporary £2200 credit limit which would automatically expire on the same day as the reservations. Repeatedly the staff at the help line have gone further than I could hope (and generally I am very demanding).
I signed up for an Accucard when it was newly launched, specifically to get the promotional "double cashback" rate of 1.6%. My intent was to pay for every thing I could with Accucard to generate cashback, which I did. Every bill, purchase, meal, present and glass of beer that I could pay for by MasterCard, I did. Each month I spent between £300 and £1000 on my Accucard, which was always paid in full each month by direct debit. This generated about £40 of cashback, which I'm looking forward to getting at Christmas 2003. So far so good? Not so! Two or Three months into this scheme trying to make a retail purchase using Accucard, *Boing* - my card was rejected. Slightly embarrassing in the store, so I made alternative payment. Full of rage I rang Accucard, and ask why they didn't allow this transaction even to go through, even though I was about £5000 away from my credit limit! They explained that a computer problem was to blame and this wouldn't happen again. I was persuaded, and continued using my Accucard. A few months later, trying to pay for a meal in a busy PizzaHut, it all happened again, much worse this time though. I gave the waitress my card, and waited for the bill. 5 minutes later she came back, and explained rather suspiciously that the card machine in the main part of the restaurant wasn't working correctly and that was why the manageress was disappearing towards the backdoor of the restaurant with my card so she could try a different card machine. Read into this "The card machine in the restaurant flashed up, please ring Accucard regarding the owner of this card". 5 minutes later (Although it seemed like 10), the manageress arrived back at my table wanting security details from me, mother?s maiden name, date of birth, etc ... which I gave her. She disappeared again. By this time, my girlfriend had had to leave, because the movie we were going to see upstairs had begun. Incidentally
, I'd bought the movie tickets about 30 minutes earlier using Accucard without any trouble. I knew that the current balance on my Accucard was around £900, with a credit limit of £5500 so I wasn't sure why I was having problems using my card again. I had always paid my balance in full every month; I was a perfect customer surely? Apparently not. 5 minutes later (Although this time it seemed like 20 minutes, in a packed restaurant, with all neighboring tables privee to the security checks and questioning that the manageress was giving me), the manageress returned. This time she said that Accucard had refused to accept payment, could I pay for the meal using a different means, so I paid by cash. Missing the beginning of the film, and unable to concentrate on the film because of the rage building up inside me, I contemplated on the situation, and decided to phone Accucard at the first opportunity to discuss the evening. Getting back to my flat at around 11pm, I tried phoning Accucard, the recorded voice on the other end said "Sorry, we don't have 24hour customer service, please ring back during weekday office hours". By this point, my blood pressure must have been off the scale. When the morning came, I had calmed down. I realized that if I wanted my £40 cashback at Christmas, I couldn't cancel the credit card. Was it worth loosing the £40 cashback by canceling the card, just so I could vent my spleen at some poor person at Accucard? For I while I thought it was, but then the thought of this company putting £40 in my back pocket right at Christmas time got the better of me. I would just stop using the card, and wait for my cashback, then close the account. And that's what I'm currently doing. Last week, Accucard rang me.. "As a valued customer of Accucard..." he began explaining, they thought it wise that I should pay for Payment Protection on my Accucard. After politely explaining
why I didn't want it, i.e. I always pay my bill in full each month, I have a stable career, my personal finances are thoroughly optimized (Thank you Alvin Hall), he decided to give me the hard sell. Bad move. The floodgates opened, and I thoroughly blasted him with how bad my experiences with Accucard had been. He even tried to blame PizzaHut for not accepting my card. But why would PizzaHut want my mothers maiden name?? He soon saw he wasn't going to get a sale from me, so he sheepishly ended the phone call without any apology. All I want from a credit card, is that it is universally accepted and has some reward scheme that I can get wrapped up in. The 1.6% offer from Accucard was a great attraction, but now it's down to 0.8% it's not that much of a pull I now have an AMEX Blue as my main credit card (Still at 2% cashback), and my Egg VISA Card as backup (0.5% cashback), in case AMEX isn't accepted (Which is surprisingly frequently). I've had my Egg card since it was launched, and not once has it been rejected. The Accucard credit card is issued by Lloyds TSB, and is identical to some other cards on the market, like EasyMoney and the MoreThan card. I am giving all these companies a very wide birth now, just incase they have shared customer services with Accucard. (Which, they may not have). Paying with my Accucard was like a game of Russian roulette, and I never want to experience again. I realize I might have been unlucky with Accucard; I might be the 1 person in 100 that has had a bad experience with them, but that is no consolation. I associate Accucard with Stress and Embarrassment now, and unsurprisingly, I don't want to face these emotions when using a credit card.
If, like me, you are the sort of person who pays off their credit card bill in full every month then this is definitely the card for you. If you want to know about APR then this isn't the review for you. I would strongly discourage borrowing money on any credit card. Excluding introductory offers, all credit cards charge extortionate rates. You are much better off arranging a personal loan with your bank, given that you can't obtain a remortage. The Accucard normal cash back rate of 0.8 per cent is doubled for the first six months from when you open an account to a massive 1.6 per cent. Use your card for all your groceries, shopping, petrol and anywhere else where they will take plastic and the cashback will soon mount up. If, unlike me, you are lucky enough to have an expense account for work then put all these purchases on it too. I amassed around 100 pounds in my first six months of use and am looking forward to receiving my cheque through the post. Money is sent to you on the first anniversary of opening your account. Online application is quick and easy and there is no annual fee. Payment is normally due 25 days after the date of each statement, giving a maximum interest-free period of up to 56 days, depending on when you make your purchases. To make the double cashback period last longer, you could apply for one and then six months later your partner could apply, each of you asking to be additional cardholders on the other account! If you are not sure how to compare the different cash back rates, for every 100 pounds you spend you will earn: 50p on a 0.5% rate, 80p on a 0.8% rate, 100p on a 1% rate, and 160p on a 1.6% rate. As you can see, this means you will earn over 3 times more with Accucard than your present card if it has a 0.5% cashback rate. Even after your six months is up the normal cash back rate of 0.8 per cent is still very competitive. The best normal rate is 1 per cent elsewhere.
Customer service is prompt and efficient. Other good features include electronic statements which you are reminded of by email, and you even get to choose the colour you want your card to be designed in. I chose a lovely girlie purple one!
I applied for the Morethan Accucard (at www.morethan.com). The card is a self-designed card which offers to double your chosen cashback amount at the moment. APPLICATION The application procedure was easy and convenient. Morethan was set up by Royal and Sun Alliance to offer 'all round' financial solutions to customers offering insurance and credit. It's internet focussed, which means good value for money, and user friendly websites. The application was done on-line and I had to just sign a pre-printed form and return it with some form of ID (standard procedure). SECURITY With Morethan I had to register the card when I received it, which is a better security feature than most cards which don't tend to have this. I was also provided with a PIN, as is usual. To login, all I need to do is to enter my username and password. This isn't like Natwest where you have internet PIN numbers to use and consequently doesn't give the same feeling of security. DESIGN This is a fantastic feature where you can design a card within the parameters set below: Interest rate: APR between 9.9% and 17.5% Cashback: between 0% and 0.8% (double this for 6 mths) Annual charge: between £0 and £20 You can also design how to pay, and how to receive statements. I decided to maximise cashback, so I pay an annual fee of £0, the maximum interest rate and receive the maximum cashback (the more cashback, the higher the interest). CONVENIENT Obviously being an internet card, it's very convenient with online statements etc. One thing to note is that the Egg Money Manager doesn't seem to accept the card so you have to log in separately to view your statements (Egg Money Manager is a service provided by Egg which collates all your online accounts in one web page to allow for easier management). CUSTOMER CARE Their customer department is very friendly and can help with most things. H
owever, you do have to initially speak to a computer so it's not ideal. When you do speak to them, though, they are very friendly and the security is tight over the phone (You never tell them what your whole password is, just random letters). SUMMARY I really do like this card. I like the design feature which does give the card a distinct edge over other cards. The cash back of mine for the first 6 months will be 1.6% (double 0.8%). However, in terms of cash back generally, the best card is AMEX Blue (1% cash back).
I'll admit it. We were seduced. MyPoints wanted to offer us some points if only we would pop off to this website, have a look and possibly take out a credit card. I went. I had a look. The site was a little slow to load, but cashback at 0.8% and double cashback for the first six months sounded very good particularly when Egg was only paying a rather miserly 0.5%. On principle I won't pay cash for anything if I can pay by credit card and get cashback. In the meantime my money's in the Bank earning me some interest so more than trebling the cashback was a draw. There's up to 51 days interest-free credit too which is better than quite a few of the cards around. 'Feel you've had the wool pulled over your eyes with short-term gimmicks, leading to a painful catch?' says the website. Well, no we couldn't say that we had. Our finances are quite straight forward; whatever goes on the credit card is paid off when the bill comes in, so we didn't need to make much of an effort with regard to the different options offered. You can opt for the maximum cashback and no annual fee but if you don't pay off all your balance you'll pay a higher rate of interest. If on the other hand you're planning on making a major purchase then you can pay an annual fee (currently £10 or £20) and pay a lower interest rate. You can change your options in the course of the year, although you'll pay a £10 administration charge if you do it more than three times in the course of a year. The current interest rates can be as low as 9.9% but the site's a bit coy about telling you how high they can go. The illustrations demonstrate that it could go as high as 16.4%, but if you look closely at the screen you'll see that the rate could go higher. The rates, though, are probably not far off the industry norm. You can transfer balances from other credit cards but there isn't any interest-
free period so it's probably not worthwhile unless you're paying a swingeing rate of interest elsewhere, in which case I would think that there are many better options. You'll pay 6.9% per annum for the first six months and after that it's the same rate as for purchases. So an application was made, in my husband's name for cards for both of us. You need to have a permanent address in the UK (excluding the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man), be 18 or over, have a gross annual income of at least £5500 or over and to be free of any County Court Judgements. You get an agreement in principle (if appropriate) straight away and you're told what your credit limit is likely to be. Strangely enough the limit offered was only just over a third of the one offered by Egg some time ago, so don't be expecting them to be generous. You get to chose what colour card you'd like, but as the design is simply stripes in shades of a particular colour this seemed to me to be just a bit of an affectation. You can even change your choice later if you'd like, but there's a £10 administration charge. However, we chose our colour scheme. You need to have handy your Bank sorting code and account number so that payments can be collected. There's an option to receive paper statements, but we decided to operate the account online. Within about a fortnight we had our cards and had activated them. It?s a MasterCard issued by the London Scottish Bank plc and operates in just the same way as every other credit card we've ever had. We were notified by email that the first statement was available online. It checked out OK and I made sure that the full amount due was in our current account ready for collection. A couple of days after the due date we had a phone call. There was, said Mr Accucard, a problem. Our Bank account did not exist and Accucard's request for payment had been returned unsati
sfied. Would we mind checking that we had entered the details correctly? We checked. We had entered the details correctly and Mr Accucard confessed that the details had been entered incorrectly on their system. "Tell you what" said Mr Accucard "I'll refund the interest we'?ve charged you and we won't bother collecting this month's payment. We'll leave it over until next month." "No" said my husband "the money's in the Bank account. I'd prefer that you took it now then I know I'm straight with you." And so Mr Accucard debited out Bank Account as we requested. Life went on and the card was used. The next statement was received and the funds made available in our Bank account. Then another statement was received showing that no attempt had been made to collect the amount due the previous month and a rather hefty sum of interest had been added. We clicked the "Contact Us" button and headed the email "COMPLAINT" and opted to be rung in the evening so that the matter could be sorted out. A week later we received an automatically-generated acknowledgement of our email. I attempted to use the credit card, only for it to be refused. We sent a further email, complaining in rather stronger terms and asking why they thought we should continue to use them as our credit card providers. This didn't even provoke the automatic acknowledgement. The full amount (what we had spent, plus the additional interest charge) has now been taken from our current account. We've had no explanation, no apology and no assurance that our cards would be accepted if we were to use them. Everyone makes mistakes. The test of any business is not whether it makes mistakes but how it deals with them. The first mistake I can accept. A "4" was entered as a "1" - easily done if you are using a number pad. At that point th
e account should have been checked to ensure that it had been set up correctly to collect future payments, but this, obviously, was not done. Even that, I suppose, can be forgiven if you're feeling generous, but it is indefensible to allow letters of complaint to remain unanswered. Apart from this, would I be happy with the card? Well, no, I wouldn't. You see I'?m not happy that a third party with just a little bit of personal knowledge couldn't access the account online. On the login screen there is an option to reset the password. One day I entered the username and accidentally clicked this. I needed to know: ? First name ? Surname ? Date of Birth ? Postcode ? Mother's maiden name ? The last four digits of the card number. and bingo! I changed the password. There's none of that information that's exactly difficult to obtain, is there? I live in a village and I could probably provide the first five items for the majority of my acquaintances and I would only need sight of the card to be able to provide the sixth. I always advise people never to use their mother's maiden name on applications of this type. It is simply another password and anyone who knows my cousin knows my mother's maiden name. Be inventive. If you've always fancied being the Queen, now's the time to say that your mother'?s maiden name was "Thequeenmum". Just be certain you can remember it and don't tell anyone else. Make certain too that your username is not just your own name ? which is what a lot of people use. No, we're not happy with the card. In fact we'll be happy to lose the cashback we've earned to be rid of it. As the website says: 'Feel you've had the wool pulled over your eyes with short-term gimmicks, leading to a painful catch?'
I have had my Accucard for several months now, and I have now finally given up and closed the account. Accucard do not subscribe to the banking code, so you are not covered by certain safeguards that you would normally have taken for granted from other card providers. Several times I have paid up my full balance, and still been charged interest. My card was stolen with the contents of my wallet. I reported my card as stolen. A few days later I received by new card. When I got my statement ? I chose a postal statement ? but view my account online as well ? I found a £10 card replacement fee on my account. When I queried it that, I was told it was a standard charge for changing the design of my card. After half hour on the phone I got the charge removed. The Online services mean you can look at you account and that?s it. You cannot pay anything into your account. The last straw was when I sent of a cheque, have a direct debit come out of my bank account. My statement came through; I was £57 in credit ? with a £7.47 interest charge! My account is now closed. When I went to close my account no one even bothered to ask why ? my be it happens a lot during the day!
I was a bit reluctant to apply for this credit card as I'd not heard of the company, but my fears have been groundless. What attracted me was the combination of being able to choose the design of the card plus the money back percentage. As I normally clear my balances in full, I chose the highest interest rate and the highest cash back percentage (which goes up to 0.8%) with no annual fee. I'm a big fan of cash back, at least I know I get a return on using my credit card, just have to make sure I clear the account every month so the interest payments don't cancel it out. They also give you a lower interest rate if you pay by direct debit. I chose to service the account on line. You get a monthly email when your statement is ready and can then log on to check it and make a payment if you so wish. The web site is easy to use and comprehensive. I've had no problems so haven't needed to check the quality of customer service. When you apply for the card, you use three sliders to select your preferred combination of interst rate, cash back and annual fee. (e.g. if you don't normally clear the account in full each month for an annual fee of £10, they'll give you a lower interest rate). If you change your mind or your situation changes, you can alter it up to three times a year without charge. When I applied I had a phone call within a week to confirm I'd been succesful and inform me of my credit limit. They then send you a set of forms for you to sign and return before they issue the credit card. The interest rates are competitive (6.9% APR on balance transfers for the first 6 months, 10.5% APR normally, 14% APR on purchases) and the cash back goes up to 0.8% of value of purchases. I'd recommend this if you're looking for a cash back credit card. When I logged on last to view my statement, I see that they're now offering double cash back for the first six months for new applicants. Money for nothing can
't be bad!