I'll be honest, I never for a moment considered opening any sort of an account with Cahoot. Their savings account only offers so-so interest rates. I'm really not looking for another current account, certainly not in order to change from my existing bank. I definitely don't need another credit card, at least, not a standard credit card that is. On the face of it Cahoot had nothing to interest me.
Until, that is, I read a small article on the Web. It was one of those regular articles that bemoan the insecurity of doing any sort of financial transaction online. Now, I don't know if you are like me but I must admit that buying things on the Web does fill me with a certain nervousness. Revealing details of bank accounts and credit cards, as you have to, is not something that I do without considerable thought. I have to be pretty sure that I can trust the other party and even then I have this feeling at the back of my mind that I am taking a risk, even with so called reputable organisations. After all, financial organisations as well-known as Nationwide have been known to let their customer's details get into distinctly suspect hands.
What the article discussed was a facility that took away all the risk and seemed so simple and obvious that it was a surprise that no one else had thought of it. It was a credit card designed specifically for the web. A Webcard.
The way that the Cahoot Webcard works is that it is a "virtual" credit card. It does not exist in a physical form, only as software. What makes it secure is that you can only use it once. So, what use is that if you have to apply for a new credit card each time you use it? Well, actually, that's not how it works. What can only be used once is the credit card information; the credit card number, the expiry date and the security number. After that is used to buy something, the next time you want to use your Webcard the software generates a brand new set of details.
So simple, so obvious. Effectively what the software generates for you is a one-time transaction number, tied back to your Cahoot account, the details of which are never revealed. Brilliant! I want one of those!!!!. But how to get hold of one? And that is just the start of what has been one of the most frustrating and lengthy processes to apply for anything I have ever had to suffer. So, let's start at the beginning.
First of all you have to visit the Cahoot website (www.cahoot.com). Cahoot is actually a subsidiary of Abbey, itself now owned by the Spanish Santander Group. On their Home Page there is no mention of the Webcard. To find details of that you have to click on "Other Products". Here you find options of the Webcard, Insurance and Sharetrading. You are informed that the Webcard is "The virtual online payment card" with which you "Never expose your Cahoot current account or credit card details over the web" and with which you can "Shop anywhere online without your plastic"; exactly what I needed. So you click on "More info". Here you find out (as it now says) that in order to apply for a Cahoot Webcard you must apply for a Cahoot Current Account or a Cahoot Credit Card account.
As I say, that's what it says now. When I started applying for my Webcard it then simply said you needed to have a Cahoot account. It didn't specify if that had to be a current account or a savings account. As I didn't really need a current account I decided to apply for a Cahoot Savings Account. I didn't really intend to use it but if that's what was required in order to get my Webcard that that's what I would apply for.
You do this online and in order to do so you have to set up all the things you will need for online banking account access. This includes choosing a Username, a Password and providing a number of "memorable" facts that will be randomly chosen when you log on as additional proof of identity, such as Memorable Date (year), Memorable Place, Mother's Maiden Name (an old favourite - I hate it when they ask for that because it's the first thing an identity thief will try to find out) and so on, about five of them in all (to have to remember!). When you log on using these details, apart from the memorable info question you are asked also to supply two characters of you password, using a drop-down box to select them rather than by typing them in, so avoiding them being captured by keylogger spyware. I like that. It's a pity my bank doesn't do the same although they do at least ask for three of the characters.
The website has now been changed and specifically states that the account must be a current account but it didn't then. So I went through all of the hassle of applying for what turned out to be a completely useless account. It took weeks to get the savings account set up, including having to send current utility statements as proof of identity. When it was finally set up, only then did I discover that I couldn't apply for the Webcard! I phoned Cahoot to find out why and then was told the bad news. I would have to apply for a Current Account.
Actually, the website is still wrong. It says that you can also get a Webcard if you apply for a Cahoot Credit Card account. However, what it doesn't tell you is that Cahoot no longer offers a credit card account to new customers! If you already have one then you can still use it and, presumably, you can use it to apply for a Webcard, but you cannot apply for a new Cahoot Credit Card. Mistake after mistake! Not a good sign.
So, about a month has gone by and I have a savings account that is completely useless to me and now have to apply for a Current Account as well in order finally to get my Webcard. Even though I have already supplied all of my identification documents in order to open the savings account it still takes nearly another month to get the current account set up. Along with the current account I get sent to me a Debit Card (with yet another PIN number to remember, although I am unlikely ever to use it anyway so perhaps that won't be a problem) and a Paying-in Book to get money into the current account. You can do this with a cheque by post or at the Post Office or, of course, any Abbey branch. I will be using inter-bank transfer from my existing bank.
Finally you are in a position to be able to get your Webcard. This just involves downloading a little piece of software from the Cahoot website to your computer. This only takes a moment. Having installed it, to use it you have to log in to it with your Cahoot Username and Password and the answer to one of your memorable questions.
If you want first to get an idea of how it works then you can access a demo on the Cahoot website. To use it you indicate that you want to make a purchase by clicking the "Pay now" button and then on the screen all the numbers of the card image (it looks like a normal Visa credit card) like the card number, expiry date and security number start rapidly changing, almost like the numbers on a slot machine, until finally they settle to a unique set of information for this transaction. Around here you also get to specify the maximum amount associated with the transaction so no one can add an extra zero onto the amount to inflate the price! Good move.
At this point you transfer the information to the transaction form on the website where you are making your purchase. The Webcard application already recognises a number of websites and so a single press of the "instant form fill" button auto-completes the form for you. For other websites it's a simply matter of drag-and-drop.
Of course, there is no reason why the use of the Webcard needs to be limited to electronic transactions. If you are making a purchase over the phone then you could follow exactly the same procedure and simply read the generated information out to the agent taking your order.
The Webcard is actually associated with your current account Debit Card and so payments will come out of your Cahoot Current Account so you need to make sure that you have sufficient funds in it. Cahoot does give you a buffer of £100 before they start charging you overdraft fees. If you have a Cahoot Credit Card then you can choose under Options to associate the Webcard with that instead.
One thing you can't use it for is for purchases via services such as PayPal. Here you have to pre-register your credit or debit card details and PayPal make a charge if ever you want to change them, so using the Cahoot Webcard is simply not a practical or economic option. I suppose we have to trust PayPal to keep our financial information secure and secret don't we?
The Cahoot Webcard is a brilliant idea and it is a big surprise that no one else offers this facility. Maybe Cahoot has patented it? I'm sure it must be the one single reason why potential customers must be flocking to Cahoot's website. Whether that also results in additional business in other areas for Cahoot I can't say. It's unlikely to result in me using Cahoot's other services even though I now have their current and savings accounts. Of course, if they decided to offer a competitive interest rate then I might well use the latter.
As it is, I will be using my Cahoot Webcard for all eligible web transactions from now on.
Four stars only because of the hassle in trying to get hold of it. It would have been five otherwise!
cmh4135 asked for an update once I had actually used the Webcard. So, what has been my experience in practice? Well, mixed but all of the problems I have discovered don't appear to be with the Webcard itself but with other aspects of using it.
First of all, avoid using Firefox when using the Webcard to carry out a transaction. Use MS Internet Explorer as it appears to be the only browser that works properly. The problem, specifically is when copying the credit card details from the Webcard application to the form on the vendor's website.
You'll remember that I indicated that you can either click the "instant form fill" button or else drag and drop the details into the appropriate fields on the webpage. Unfortunately Firefox doesn't process the Drag and Drop correctly. For some reason I haven't resolved, Firefox seems to assume that if you click on any details in one application and drag them to another window that automatically what you are trying to do is copy a URL. It takes the details (say the actual credit card number) and automatically generates a URL in the form - www.1111111111111111.com - and inserts it into the address toolbar and then tries to find that website! This is not a lot of use for filling in forms.
I haven't investigated whether this is to do with a Firefox setting but I will look into it. Suffice to say the IE processes the action correctly. Firefox may do so if you use IETab to change the Firefox rendering engine to the IE one (whilst still staying in Firefox) but I haven't experimented with that yet.
The other problem I found was when trying to buy AA European Breakdown Cover on the AA website. All went smoothly until I came to enter the credit card details. I dragged and dropped the information into the webpage form and then pressed "Proceed". I then got a message in red saying that the transaction could not be processed and telling me to ring a freephone number for help. As it was out of office hours I was unable to do so but I did the following morning.
Incidentally, just as an aside, there is an error on the AA website anyway. In the details of the credit card it asks you to fill in Start/Expiry Dates in the format MM/YY. This is actually incorrect. There are in fact two boxes for each date. What you actually have to do is put MM in the first box and YY in the second. Of course, if you are trying to drag and drop a date in the format MM/YY, this is not a lot of help! Second black mark against the AA.
I had to go through all of the details again with the AA's agent but when it came to pay I gave him exactly the same credit card details as I had tried to enter on the website. This time the transaction went through without any problems. Remember, these are one-time-only details so that confirmed that they hadn't already been used but were still valid.
I have no idea why the transaction wasn't accepted online but was accepted over the phone. Maybe there was a delay in posting the generated details on whatever database Cahoot uses and the merchant accesses to validate the details. If so, that isn't good news. I shall enquire if this is possible with Cahoot. However, what it does prove is that you can use your Webcard for phone transactions as well as online ones, which is good news.
UPDATE - Oct 2009
The Cahoot Webcard is no more!!!!! Just learned, after trying to use it, that Cahoot has now withdrawn it's Webcard service. There now seems little reason to have a Cahoot account at all. I certainly shall be dropping mine.
Cahoot says that something new is coming to replace it. Don't hold your breath.
Cahoot - They rip you off
Give you initial low interest rates then gradually over the last year they have increased it by 100%, my loan started at 6.9% and they have increased it gradually and now they have increased it to 14.9%. They welcome you as a new customer then increase charges and interest once they have you - my advice stay away and look elsewhere. They may offer you a good service but it never what it seems, I have heard them do this to so many people. Bad service!
You know the NatWest adverts, where customers 'enthuse' about how their bank has cut their service levels 'in order to provide a better service'? Every time I see or hear these, I think of my experiences with Cahoot. The thing with Cahoot is, I don't think it's fundamentally a bad product. I like the convenience of their online banking, their interest rates are good and when it works it's a well-executed service. When it works. And herein lies the problem, because they really do seem to have cut costs right down to the bone on customer service, so when there's a problem and you actually need to speak to someone, it becomes incredibly frustrating and tedious. You can email them, but if you want an immediate reply this is obviously not much use, and if your query is longer than 500 characters (why?) then tough - that's their self-imposed limit. When you do get a reply, don't expect to be able to reply back - for 'security reasons' they can't discuss your account over email. You get the picture? All of this is not to say I don't rate the product. I realise that to provide the competitive rates that they do, they have to claw back costs somewhere else... and it would seem they manage this by providing minimal customer service. Sure, they mess up (it may be an internet bank but its still run by us fallable humans, just like every other bank), but if you need their help to sort out the mess... well, good luck!
Being a bit of an internet junkie, if there's anything I need the net is always the first place I look. CDs, books, games... and bank accounts. I'm fed up with paying Lloyds TSB £5 every month for 'extras' that I don't want, and I'd also like a bigger interest free overdraft than the hugely generous £50 they give me. So I thought I'd check out some of the internet based banks out there, to see if any of them took my fancy. Among others, I went to the Cahoot website. It all looks pretty good at first glance, until you take a closer look. Here's some of the not-so-good bits I've found out about Cahoot: As far as I can tell from the website, they don't offer a branch banking facility. I know they don't have any branches, but other online banks (eg Smile) allow you to do all the things you should be able to do. For example paying in cheques, or making large cash withdrawals (just how DO you do that if you're a Cahoot customer?) The other thing I noticed was that for cash withdrawals from a hole in the wall they charge you 1.5% (or a minimum of £1.50) for each withdrawal! Who in their right mind would want an account like that? Perhaps I'm missing the point, please feel free to correct me here if I'm wrong... but £1.50 every single time you take out some cash? Do me a favour! So, not wanting to dismiss them out of hand, I sent them an email from the *very* annoying "Contact Us" part of the website. It says "Would you like to know more about", followed by 3 columns of different subjects that are all 'clickable'. Whichever one you click on, all it does is fire up your email client with an email to "email@example.com" - what is the point of that? So anyway, I digress. I emailed them with my questions, mainly because I was tempted by their £250 interest and fee free overdraft facility (but only
if I'd misread the bit about the £1.50 withdrawal charge!). Two days have now passed since I sent the email (and a follow up email yesterday), and I've not had so much as an automated reply from Cahoot. Needless to say, they have been scrubbed off my list of potential new banks. What kind of internet bank can't even be bothered to respond to what could be a potential customer? Not the kind that I want to trust my money with, that's for sure.
With Cahoot's Webcard you get a new credit card number for every purchase and what's more, YOU control how much money can be charged. Each Webcard is only valid for a month & once it's used it is invalid. An old Webcard is no use to hackers or dubious traders, and it's easy to check if a payment has been taken. The Webcard is an optional extra feature with Cahoot's regular credit card. Once you've signed up you download a browser plug-in (uses flash). Run the software to display a virtual credit card on your screen, log in and specify an upper limit and it will generate a valid number, expiration date etc. These can even be dragged and dropped onto your order form. You can apply for a Webcard when you sign up for a cahoot's credit card, or afterwards at www.webcard.cahoot.com (you can find the software and full details of the Webcard there too). Oh yeah, they have a very reasonable interest rate too - 7% last time I checked and options to suit most people, whether you just pay the minimum, or clear your balance monthly. And you can configure your account to automatically direct debit the outstanding balance on the day you chose. See www.cahoot.com for full details.
I am one of those people that will change banks or credit cards at the drop of a hat, there isn't anyone out there that seems to care about loyalty or even basic customer care, so why should I have any to them. So when Cahoot began their online banking system I thought I will give this a go and see what is was like. I filled in all the online questions and submitted it like a good egg I am and waited I had my account details and conformation password within days and within days of confirming my password I had my debit cards for myself and wife. These you had a choice of 3 designs which I thought was a simple but good idea, just a pity they weren?t a little snazzier. What amazed me was that I had a £250 free overdraft from day one without putting any money in at all; very generous I thought and like a good egg spent it before putting any in. I have been with them now 12 months now and have had no problems accessing money and transferring to other accounts or paying bills made life a lot easier I took the no cheque book option as it gave a better rate of interest on your money which as I type is 4.1 % AER You can put money in at the post office or at any High St bank in the little money envelopes that are provided. As with all banks there are other items you can have i.e. deposit account, credit cards, loans and mortgages but as I have not tried them at present I cannot give an op on that side. As current accounts go and you want one you can access on line I say it would be hard to beat and it is always worth a try if your not happy with you own bank.
Don't quite understand why everyone hasn't got one! - Advantages: Simply the best deal out... none of this Egg style introductory rates which then shoot up after a few months, only 8% APR, and loads of flexible options on payments / fees / etc, At the moment they've got a 5% balance transfer offer on too! - Disadvantages: No loyalty scheme yet
In my other opinion on the subject of Cahoot finance, I praised their responsible attitude to tempering loan requests with a degree of realism, i.e. I wanted to borrow £11,000 for a new car purchase, and they would only lend me £8,000, presumably on the basis that they had never heard of me! Anyway, I took the loan out, and paid for the balance of the car partly by savings and partly by credit card, thereby racking up a fair few Air Miles into the bargain. I was, therefore rather surprised when, three months into the loan, what should drop onto my mat but an invitation to have a Cahoot Credit card, and waddya know, the credit limit was preset at £3,000. This was precisely the amount they had held back from the loan application. Normally, such invites go straight in the bin, arriving as they do at the rate of two per week (almost as often as exhortations to join AOL!), but since my other dealing with Cahoot had shown that a punitive APR was not necessarily the norm, I read on. The card also had an APR of 7%. This applied to borrowings, transfers from other cards and on purchases, pure and simple. I looked hard for the small print that said it was only an introductory offer, but no, it was for all time (or at least until all rates are reviewed). In the long term, this is probably a better deal than cards that give you 6-months interest free, only to climb to 14+% later. Then came the coup-de-grâce. If I arranged a balance transfer of up to £3,000 from another card, they would give me £75 reduction to the new balance on their card. That did it for me. I accepted their terms and set about effecting the balance transfer. This involved sending them a copy of my latest credit card statement with a request to transfer the balance. The paperwork duly returned, all I had to do was confirm, that the account was set up, by accessing my Cahoot on-line page, which already existed by virtue of the loan already in existence. <
br> There it was, £2,925 balance, all laid out with what the minimum payment needed was, and when they would debit it from my bank account. I then went into the account management feature and changed this for a somewhat larger fixed amount. It is surprising how much doing that shortens the loan period. Of course, it is only anoraks like me who use Excel to model this stuff that would know stuff like that! Anyhow, I don't anticipate leaving this ticking over forever, as at the moment, I am concentrating on getting rid of any finance with a higher rate than Cahoot, with a view to using this as my main credit card in future. Combined with the loan itself, I hope to up the payments by about £200/month next April when the mortgage is paid-off (whooo-hooo!). The drinks will be on me, but NOT until then!
I was attracted to Cahoot by an interest free offer and I am glad that I was tempted. I had reservations about Cahoot as I had previously had trouble with their parent company Abbey National. Cahoot has been one of the best financial decisions I have had the fortunes of making. I have had a situation where a supplier went bankrupt and I received my money back from Cahoot no problems. The refund procedure is quite lengthy and very investigative but I got my money back in the end. Cahoot card accounts are Internet based and not everybody will like this but it suited my needs. The website is easy to navigate and pleasing on the eye. You can set up your account to send messages to your mobile phone when, for example, you reach a pre-determined credit limit, or a large amount of funds have been requested. They do charge for the normal banking services such as paper copies of statements and some telephone banking services. The reason for the low APR of 8%, in my case, is that the administration is kept to a minimum by operating via the Internet. There are cheaper APR's for different forms of account. If you are interested in a Cahoot account, the latest information can be gleaned from their web site at www.cahoot.com. Below is some of the information from their web site. Cahoot offers 24-hour Internet banking. You can carry out online banking transactions whenever you want and it will not cost you a penny - except for your own Internet or telephone connection. If there is a charge, such as for a copy of a statement, we will let you know the cost up-front so that you can make an informed decision about your banking options. You can choose one of three credit card options; the choice you make should be based on the way you use your credit card. So, whether you always pay off your credit card balance, or never do, Cahoot can offer you the account option designed for you. If you typically settle th
e balance of your account in full within 15 days of the statement date, this is the best deal for you. Those times you do carry a balance over, you pay an APR* from 7.0%. If you frequently carry over a balance, this is usually the best option. You pay a monthly fee from £6.83, and the months you have a balance outstanding, you pay from 0.2875% interest. That represents an APR* from 6.3%. If you always carry a high proportion of your credit limit over, our fee-only option is probably your best choice. You pay a fixed fee from £13.65 each month - whether or not you carry a balance over. This fee is based on your credit limit and represents an APR* from 5.6%. Credit limit £3000 Cahoot credit card The Cahoot credit card can be used in millions of outlets worldwide and over 500,000 cash machines - wherever you see the VISA sign. VISA charges 1.5% of your withdrawal (with a minimum fee of £1.50) for using ATM services. If you use your Cahoot credit card abroad, you will also incur an additional 1.25% commission charge. Update:- Cahoot are now offering a very interesting loan deal at 8% APR too. They 'pledge' you the money and you only pay interest on the part that you use. So if you don't spend all of the loan at once, you don't pay interest on the part that you are not using seems to be an interesting new angle(pardon the pun).
After comparing interest charges and suchlike between various online credit cards, I decided to apply for a Cahoot card so that I could transfer the balance of my then credit card who were charging 19.00% APR compared to Cahoot's 7%. There are three types of credit card, each one with different benefits depending on your spending habits and how you like to use yours. One, for instance is 'interest only' another has a monthly fee but lower APR. Cahoot is the name behind the Abbey National credit card, so with that kind of guarantee, I felt I couldn't go wrong. So far, I've been proved right. The application system online for the credit card is simplicity itself. The site is fast loading and easy to understand. When you've finished filling out the form and submitted it, you are told that you will be sent an e-mail to say whether you have been provisionally accepted. You must have 128bit encryption on your Internet Explorer browser with its extra security, for the application to go through. The way to check this is to click 'Help' at the top of the page, go down to 'About Internet Explorer' and it will be marked quite clearly what kind of encryption you have, plus a button to click on, should you need to update it. If you have been accepted, more credit checks will take place at Cahoot's end and you will be sent the Credit Application Form to sign. I didn't receive word from them for a couple of weeks after the first e-mail, so I rang them up on their Customer Services number. I was told that Cahoot had been inundated with applications, so it was therefore taking a little longer than usual. Soon after this, I received the Credit Application form, which I had to read, sign and send off to them. I did this, and after a couple of weeks more, I received first the pin number, then a few days later the credit card. I was assured that applications would not normally take this long. I alway
s knew I could contact Cahoot whenever I had a query which was good to know. One gripe I have about this, is when I phoned the first time, the line was awful; far too loud and crackly and echoey. The man I spoke to told me it was because of their hands-free telephone system and adjusted it so the line was much better. When, however, I phoned a second time and got the same problem, the girl I spoke to that time just told me there was nothing she could do to. When I mentioned that I'd had the same problem before and the man adjusted his telephone, she just repeated that she couldn't do anything about it! (Time of the month, maybe?) I have had no problems - touch wood - accessing the site for statement details. The pages are quick to load, everything is to hand and very easy to find. The balance from my previous credit card went through smoothly and without any hitches. The Interest rate of 7% is excellent especially when compared with other online credit cards. I would definitely recommend Cahoot for their credit card, but of course there is far more on the site, such as loans, bank accounts and insurance. Well worth a visit.
Cahoot is an Internet bank part of the well known Abbey National group. Cahoot began in 2000 & offered only credit cards but recently has added other products to their range i.e current accounts & loans. They have no high street branches & only offer banking via the internet or telephone(at national call charges). Cahoot was one of the original companies to offer interest free credit cards for a set period of time, I can't think of any at the time that offered this facility it was set to become a trend. I first heard of Cahoot on a sky digital channel known as "Simply money" it was not an advertisement but a best buy, only being offered to the first 50000 applicants(I think, can't recall the exact numer of applicants). My experience with them relates to having their credit card & current account. The credit card I originally applied for offered an Interest rate of 0% fixed for a year, extremely competitive. I immediately transfered all my credit card balance from my original credit card with TSB & left it there occasionally paying various amounts so the balance would be more or less clear by the end of the year (although a small amount was also debited each month via direct debit as the minimum payment). I must mention that at the end of the period they did offer me an extra month at 0% interest. I recently applied for their current account which offered £250 intrest free overdraft which again is very competitve compared to other High street or internet banks. Since banking with them I have contacted them on three occasions via e-mail from their site & telephone on all three occasions their responses have been very good, although I have had to hold on their telephone line once for a about 10 mins but compared to other telephone banking services it was acceptable. I recently needed immediate cash on a Saturday evening I have a main current account with LLoydsTSB (into which both our salaries are paid) I c
ontacted their telephone banking service which refused to increase my overdraft limit & reffered me to my branch being Saturday that meant two days without any money, I then contacted Cahoot as to increase my overdraft I had used up the intrest free £250 (one of the main reasons in opening the account), I rarely deposited any money in to the account & had been overdrawn at the time I honestly expected them to refuse the overdraft but they agreed to increase it to £500 which was available immediately. To conclude- I'm satisfied with most of their services such as site navigation & telephone services but find paying cash/cheques into the account time consuming, cheques are deposited in to the account using envelopes they send out & the only way to pay cash is to transfer it from another account (which takes about 3 working days). As I have never sent cheques to them & prefer depositing them into a branch based account & transferring an amount when required. I personally would reccommend anyone having or thinking of opening a cahoot account to also open a branch based account. Finally their rates change often so do check their website for recent changes.
If you dont pay off the full balance of your credit card every month by applying for and using a Cahoot Visa issued by Abbey National you could save yourself a lot of money. The credit card is a fairly standard offering with the option to transfer your balance from another credit card, so far so normal, but the normal interest rate is an excellent 8% APR. There is a uniquely an option of how you work your account. You can opt for a pure interest rate – 8%APR, a flat monthly fee £15.60 or a combination 7.2% APR and a fee of £7.80. Because Cahoot is the web offshoot of Abbey National, you can access your account all year round from the comfort of your PC. Another good idea is the ability to have SMS messages sent to your home ie if your account is nearing its credit limit etc. Until the beginning of November every successful application will also receive a £15 pounds Amazon voucher. I just wish I had known they were going to run the promotion as I got my card a few weeks ago. Typical ! Because it is issued by Visa it has all the normal advantages -acceptable in thousands of places in the UK & worldwide, cash advances and so on. So far, I can find nothing to fault the process or card and have had no problems whatsoever. If it continue this way I will be well glad and may well keep this as my main card. As you might tell from the reviews I have written about credit cards I have had a few as I am a serial card hopper. If someone gives me a better rate or a good introduction gift,I am offski. A couple of drawbacks are trying to work out which fee structure is going to be best. Obviously the bigger the balance you have rolling over each month, the more likely the monthly fee options will be better for you but it will take careful calculation to work out which. Also the online application took me about 20 minutes to complete, a bit too long I feel.
After initially signing up to Cahoot for an interest only credit card account due to the initial offer of 5% cash back on balance transfers. For me this was a diamond offer I could not refuse, unfortunately they have not carried on with this offer so other Credit cards initial offers seem very attractive for a short-term debt transfer repayment. SO HOW MUCH ARE THEY RIPPING ME OFF FOR: The interest rate is very low compared to other online credit cards like Egg and especially high street Bankcards like Natwest. The fact is that the World Wide Web is open to intense competition due to its low cost of entry, companies’ want YOUR business! Opening up new credit card accounts just to save on the percentage rate when transferring funds gets tedious, with Cahoots’ low APR this makes the transfer process seem unfruitful. If you need to make a big purchase then use the ability to transfer between lenders, but if you are not using your credit card that frequently using Cahoot makes sense with its low cost of ownership. For medium-term borrowings you can pay a monthly fee to Cahoot to use the lower interest rate band for use with larger credit amounts. WATCH OUT YOUR IN THE SECRET SERVICE: Login into your Cahoot account is a lot simpler than Egg as you have to just enter your username, password and a choice between memorable year, place, and mothers’ maiden name. Why other online cards make login a pain is beyond me with a pin that you cannot even remember like Marbles or tons of useless easy to find out information like in Egg. The fact is the more data you have to manually enter the higher the chance of the right person making a mistake and having an account lock out. TRANSFERRING MONEY FROM ONE SCALLYWAG TO ANOTHER: Transferring balances online with Cahoot is non-existant, Egg is far superior and flexible in this respect. To transfer from another credit card you have to post the statement and amo
unt to transfer to the Cahoot Transfer team, this takes around a week to get done. I would suggest Cahoot should get their finger out and work to rectify this so that the transaction is online as they are lagging far behind their online competitors. As this is a newish financial account service compared to Egg it seems that the site clearly rushed and not thought out. THE MANAGEMENT: From the account manager standard account management options can be accessed like changing your direct debit repayments, account type (suggest you calculate how much you are borrowing and the likely monthly interest fees). You can view your statement but if only they would provide counselling and a double JD on the rocks to overcome my shock on viewing my statement. This would be a great extra service and providing real world account management advice on how to screw I mean use the system to our advantage, but then again they are a company and just want to rip you off like anyone else. PLASTIC WITH LEONARDO DA VINCI STAMPED ALL OVER IT: The credit card design is funkier compared to other cards, I have been told, “oh that looks nice” by a check out girl but I was not sure if she was just talking about me as I am just a sexual magnet. The card also incorporates a smart card chip and a digital signature on the back of the card. This prevents fraud supposedly if they try just to use your credit card number. However this really is not secure unless they use a full proof verification process like a retina scan or thumb print. LETS JUST THINK ABOUT WHAT I HAVE SAID TODAY Well Cahoot are not playing the advertising and attractive financial perks game like Egg et Al in the way they attract short term customers who want to transfer debt. What they do offer are the now transfer lazy persons service, with some common sense a quality package striking a balance between their online service and a persons medium term financial stra
When ? What do I remember ? I remember a sunny morning just over a year ago when a colleague told me about Cahoot, the Internet Bank launched by Abbey National that was offering a credit card with a 0% interest rate for a year !! I remember rushing to their website, filling in the application, waiting for the postman and then getting my hands on this new toy !! Now let me tell you a few things - I'm an accountant and I have a fascination with schemes and scams, particularly where money is concerned. I have or have had credit cards with most of the 'big players' and, to be honest (what, an honest accountant ? Well, I reckon you're more likely to find an honest accountant than an honest ... well I'd better not say !!) I find in the long run that there is very little really between them. (Yes I know, different interest free repayment periods, different rates, different credit limits, different incentives - OK so there is loads to differentiate between them !!) What I really mean is that when it comes to using them in a shop, taking them overseas, contacting customer services etc I've found that they have all been 'much of a muchness', and the things in the brackets above have been the 'little things' that make the difference. Now, having gone off the point slightly already, let me do a little background explanation - I like intro rates on credit cards (low intro rates to be precise). Why ? Do I owe a lot of money ? Well yes and no !! I owe a lot on my credit cards, but I could (if I had to) pay it all back tomorrow. What I do is I borrow the money at a low intro rate and put it in the bank, paying off the minimum each month till the intro rate is gone - then I pay it back, cut up the card and start again with another card !! Before you tell me it doesn't work or it won't work, I made over £400 last year doing just this. Now Cahoot was special, and remains so,
it was not only Low Rate, it was No Rate, so I took the card, drew the money from the cash machine and put it straight in the bank, setting up a direct debit to make the minimum payment each month. I also took advantage of my remaining credit (you can't withdraw all your credit as a cash advance) by using it for my spending and instead of paying off my bill in full making the payment into my savings account. Well, the year has passed and my No Rate period has just ended, so what will I do now ? Well, I was informed that firstly it was to be extended for a month or so and then I was to be given a 3% rate until December - so the borrow to invest scheme can continue a little longer. Is this the end of the story ? No, it's not, I've always been a little sceptical of high initial rates on bank accounts and all the fuss about internet banks and their higher rates left me a little cold to start with, but Cahoot has changed all that. I have been so impressed with their handling of the credit card offer that last week I took the plunge and started to transfer my current account to them. I'm convinced that if the internet is the future, then banks of the future need to look to emulate the performance, offers and rates of banks such as Cahoot if they want to retain customers and capture the next generation of customers. It doesn't need points, miles or other token gestures to capture customers - just good competitive rates that win customers over. The site is easy to navigate, requires user name, password and one of 3 pieces of informatin to gain access and I feel that little could be done to improve the interface which is shared with the banking interface (similar to egg). The sign-up was handled quickly online with the postal element being correspondingly quick and easy. The credit limit was fair (though I do have far higher elsewhere - but this was for an interest free loan !!) and the direct debits were taken
correctly and without fuss (you get a reminder to ensure funds are available). All in all, a credit card for others to live up to !!
You can't help switching loyalties with your credit card company at the moment, there are far too many tempting offers just now that will save you money, particularly if your balance runs into 4 figures! Having put a major purchase on my existing credit card and paying through the nose for interest on it, I was lured by the offer from Cahoot of taking off 5% on balance transfers (that's £100 for £2000 which is not to be sneezed at). There are a range of different credit cards that you can take out charging different fees and/or interest rates depending on how you use your card. For instance I was transferring over a large amount and wouldn't be using my credit card often at all, concentrating more on paying off the balance. They explain which each card means, and what is most appropriate for your circumstances so they truly try and tailor the credit card to your needs. There are other ordinary bank accounts available with them as well, being a part of the Abbey National means at least it's not a fly-by-night dot com that may go bust and can offer you other finanical services if you wish to take them up. Filling out the application form online was dead easy and I had no problems, however there was a great deal of toing and froing prior to Christmas in filling out the direct debit mandates and signing my contract with them. I was sent several copies and they never seemed to get my signed ones. After several emails and apologetic customer service operators, I finally got the account set up a couple of months later and just made the 5% offer and no more. Although it was a bit annoying that it took so long, the staff were always helpful and apologetic, and with such a prolific ad campaign, I imagine that they were rushed off their feet in the first few months with new applications. The online site is easy to use and naviagate, and with FAQs and email contacts help is never too far away. You can change your
personal details online, as well as the amount you pay by direct debit. The only thing which isn't so good is that for transferring certain balances, you need to print out a statement and send them to Cahoot, as opposed to just filling in the card and company details online as you can do with other online credit cards. This means that it can take even longer to transfer over, although I was impressed that it just took about a week or so to do, from me posting the statement to their transferring the balance over. I've phoned several times with both queries about my account, and technical queries and found the staff extremely friendly and helpful. I'd certainly recommend using them, although I think that the introductory deals are no longer available, but even their standard interest rate is one of the most competitive on the market at the moment. Mind you, just now you could literally swap your credit card balance every six months to other companies and not have to use the same one for years! A word of warning however.... I'm not sure whether it was Cahoot or my bank's fault, but apparently my direct debits weren't working (wrong account number, strange how the money managed to come out of the account though and then come back in 2 days later...). I only know this because I actually bothered to check my monthly statement when emailed about it. Cahoot do not tell you if there is a problem with your arranged payment. They charge you of course for missing it, but do not let you know that you've not paid. I had to arrange twice to send them cheques, and to fill out 3 direct debit forms - using the same details I always did....