“ Prepaid credit card. „
I have an appalling credit rating. Family that live miles away and no car. A basic non debit card/direct debit providing bank account. I also like to buy things. I have pay as you go wherever possible. I like to pay these things online if possible.
2 years ago, I took out a cashplus. I am now on my second. I took the credit builder for my 2nd year. It made no difference. But I must add my address credit score is shockingly bad. The 1st card I started on the 99p per transaction. Halfway through the year I changed to the monthly rate. As a fairly regular user it is worth it.
This card is a prepaid credit card. The accompanying web site has a slightly dated feel to it. Despite having undergone a major facelift. But it does most of the things you would want it to. Check balance and transactions and you can do it on your phone too.
The site is aimed at new users and would benefit from having a forum for us already registered and a bit lost. As one of the reviewers mentioned the customer service is a bit hit and miss and very expensive.
What I haven't seen mentioned here is the cashback offers. they have a site where you can get cashback. Simple.
Except its not.....
I wanted a card to buy coach tickets online. I can go through the cashplus cashback site which lists National Express. I earn cashback. That works.
I wanted to pay for a mobile broadband package the site has several mobile broadband providers but..... I can't.
It doesn't work.
I Wanted to order a payg dongle (for cashback as listed on cashplus cashback) I can't. I have the cash on the card. But I can't.
Let me explain...On the cashback site they claim t-mobile offer cashback. I went along to the T-mobile site and was rejected as they do NOT accept cashplus cards. So they advertise T-mobile as offering cashback on purchases made with the card, the card that T-mobile do not accept. Hmm. They list 3. Who also do not accept cashplus cards. See I Am always adding to this list of people who dont accept it. o2 also don't accept cashplus . Nor The Link.
But ALL feature on the cashback site.
It would appear that despite having a UK site and being advertised as a UK card. It is not accepted by major companies on account of it not being a UK card.
Lovefilm national express and the train companies DO accept it. Play.com and amazon accept it.
My major gripe with this card is that it is damn near impossible to find out how to pay for certain things. It says you can set up regular bill payments. I have not found out how to do this yet.
It says it can be used as a bank. I haven't worked out how. There are some pdf forms online (standing order put cash ONTO the card).
But the 'cashplus bank' details needed to use this card as a pseudo direct debit (found online but look very hard)To pay regular bills are confusing. Or rather Ive not made them work yet.
Confusingly they DO state you must add your card number as a reference when arranging to pay bills regularly. WHERE? most direct debit forms and most bank detail input forms do NOT have this extra box for a card number as a reference.
In short it is a useful card I can't deny that But there are issues. Or perhaps I expected too much. The NON UK card issue with the mobile companies has really irked me. It has been rejected in a fair few places. But the lack of acceptance by the big mobile companies is not encouraging.
What would be useful is a list of companies who DO accept cashplus.
Or the name of a prepaid card I can use to order mobile broadband prepaid dongle online?? Have you used a ppcard to pay a mobile company?
NB I emailed the cashplus cashback website about the T-mobile furore. Received a response the same day(which always deserves a mention) Informing me that the cashback would be applied if customer used a different card to pay for those things that won't accept Cashplus Mastercard. So long as card had been registered or purchase was made through the site. Evidently its a normal cashback site then.
Which is good because i love all of my cashback sites and there's always room for a new one!!
After a lot of hesitating whether or not to try this card, I took the plunge and paid the initial £15 or so which they asked for. Time will tell whether or not it was worthwhile. The main and probably only reason I actually invested in the Cashplus Gold Card was to make use of its so-called 'Creditbuilder' facility. While I very rarely use the card itself to make payments, I have never encountered any problems during transactions in any shops. The card itself is a beautiful gold MasterCard, and with the exception of the somewhat tacky 'Gold Card' printed in the top left hand corner, it is aesthetically very pleasing. The card comes with an online self-service, which I must say is excellent and beats some of the banks I've dealt with.
Having a poor credit history to say the least, Cashplus and their Creditbuilder option definitely appealed to me. The thinking behind it is that, regardless of your own credit history, you pay £4.95 a month for use of the card which acts as a repayment of a small loan over a year. When repayment is complete, your credit file will show 12 green repayments on time. I have not yet completed a year, but when it is finished I will be very interested to see what happens. It must be emphasized that Cashplus only credit report you to Experian, not Equifax or Callcredit. So while it is very good, it is not a flawless system.
If you're interested in this method, one massive warning is that once you have your card account, you then have to visit the Creditbuilder website and then print off and send away the application form for Creditbuilder. Signing up for the card itself does not automatically make you eligible for the faux loan.
My only criticisms of it would be that while I was trying to register the card on Paypal, it was not accepted. Whether this is a problem exclusive to me, I don't know, and while it is not a huge problem personally for me it could be a waste of time for others. My second criticism is that the company, APS, billed my bank account of the initial fee literally within seconds and I had not even fully completed the application process. So once you're there, there is no way back.
As a pre-paid card, this one is probably the best. If you've got past defaults and such, and cannot get a debit card, I highly recommend you give this a go. Aside from a nominal monthly fee, what have we got to lose?
The CashPlus Mastercard is just one of a swathe of pre-paid Mastercard or Visa cards that one can use. It has its advantages and its disadvantages.
First, to address a point made in a previous review, CashPlus (now) only charge the monthly fee of £4.95 if you have a positive balance with them. So it shouldn't now be possible to run up a debt with them. However if you're using their "CreditBuilder" option then you do need to make sure you pay the £4.95 each month otherwise it may count as a missed payment!
The main advantage of CashPlus over other prepay cards is that they offer Purchase Protection that is claimed to be similar to that provided by credit cards (under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act). There is precious little detail on this, though, but if one uses the card for larger purposes (including holidays) then it may offer more protection against suppliers going bust or supplying dodgy goods than one would get with a debit card.
Anyhow, I've found my CashPlus card fine. I can top-up at a local shop for free and the cash is in the account in minutes.
Now if only they accepted topup online by debit card (as some other cards do) then this would be a genuinely good card.
And don't use it for guaranteeing hotel bookings either as the hotel's initial "hold" on the money doesn't seem to be re-chargeable and you end up paying again. The "hold" then falls off a week later, but until then you're out of pocket. Customer Service say that it should work fine, but it doesn't.
Unlike some of the other posters on here, I'm not going to tear into my Cashplus card. Since I first got it 5-6 months ago I've found it to be a very useful tool in managing my finances that little bit better. As someone who has a couple of defaults on their credit history from my time as a student and has moved house *a lot*, this was pretty much my only choice for online shopping.
My card arrived quickly enough (with a week) and the costs (£9.95 setup/£4.95 monthly) while not great are at least competitive with the market. Costs are clearly stated upfront and the terms and conditions on the back of the contract make more than clear your obligations as regards topping up/cleared funds etc.
I maintain it so that I can purchase items through my favourite websites and for the odd shop/foreign purchase where cash isn't an option.
Their website is reasonably good for providing details of your balance etc. and the FAQ sections aren't bad either. I have had to call them once and although it was a charged call, the member of staff I spoke to was pretty helpful and sent out duplicate documents without much convincing.
One final point of interest as regards the Cashplus card that I should probably mention is the 'Credit builder' facility that is offered as a 'free' extra once you have a card up and running. In essence, the issuer lends you the fees for a year (£4.95*12) as a one-off payment that shows up on your transaction history as a credit followed immediately by a debit. Then all you need to do is to keep the card for a year and continue to pay the fees each month.
In exchange for this, the issuer reports the fee payments as positive payments towards the loan with the credit reference agencies. In time, this should improve your credit score and help those who've been less than great at managing their finances in the past to start building up some positive credit history again.
**The loan can be paid off interest free at any time if you decide to cancel the card, but *never* miss a payment. The loan is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act and doing so can worsen your credit history.**
My decision to get a prepaid credit card was simple; I loathe actual credit cards with a fiery passion, as they encourage excessive spending and the interest is ridiculous. However, when setting up in business I found a lot of services won't access a Visa Debit card, it's MasterCard or Visa only. I was told it is possible to have a credit card but without the actual "credit" facility, instead just putting on the amount you need the using it like a debit card. I did a websearch and up popped Cash Plus.
Sign up was easy and took all of five minutes, filling out basic details like name, address and contact telephone numbers at the website. The card costs £9.95 as a one-off set up fee and then an extra £4.95 as a monthly fee. I paid this with my debit card and received a confirmation email within seconds, telling me my card would take five to seven working days to reach me.
It actually took 16 days. Not exactly a good start!
HOW IT WORKS
With this particular card, you pay the flat monthly fee of £4.95 no matter how often you use your card. You can use your card exactly like a normal MasterCard, so anywhere you see the MasterCard symbol, as well as online.
To use the card, you need to have 'loaded' the money on to it beforehand. You can do this in a variety of ways.
It's free to top up to £500 at a Post Office or up to £5,000 at a retail outlet (there's a postcode search to find your nearest) and the funds can take up to two business days to load (I often found it went on almost immediately though). You can also have your wages paid directly into the account, or pay £2 per top up at an ePay outlet, but this does guarantee your funds are available within 30 minutes. When the balance is loaded on your card, just use it like a normal credit card until the balance is gone.
I loaded money on mainly by paying a standing order from our business account directly into the card account. This does take up to five working days but we usually had plenty of time before our purchases to get things ready.
The actual process of loading the money onto the card and then shopping with the card was relatively hassle free. The online account facility means you can check when the money has become available.
This is excellent for people like me who loathe credit cards or who have a low credit rating, as no credit check is involved in obtaining a card. You keep a tab on what you're spending and the online account system is quite good at updating each transaction in good time.
Of which there are many, I'm afraid.
The £4.95 monthly fee is very high and I resented paying it for the months when we didn't use the card. Obviously, if this is your main card that wouldn't be a problem, but for an occasional user such as myself, it got annoying very quickly.
After reading a lot of small print, I discovered you can just pay the usage fee per transaction. It equates to around £1.50 per use and there is no monthly fee. However, Cash Plus REALLY don't want people to do this and hide the information as best they can. I assume they're hoping people will forget about the card and they can still collect the monthly fee, which is debited from your card's balance (more on that in a moment).
Secondly, Cash Plus are near enough impossible to get hold of. When I wanted to switch over to a pay-by-transaction usage, I spent literally hours on hold, only to be cut off when I finally spoke to someone. I did eventually get through and was told I needed a different department, which was another hour on hold. From what I've read on the internet this is not an uncommon problem for Cash Plus. However, I did eventually get through and requested a switch over to the pay-by-transaction method. I was told this was done.
Oh, and their customer services is an 0871 number. Total bill for trying to switch plans? £11.75. Lovely.
Several months passed when we had no need to use the card. Then I went online to make a transfer onto the card and discovered the card's balance was minus £64. Horrified, I called Customer Services, having no idea how it could have happened. When I eventually got through, I was told my monthly fee was still being applied and I was also being charged for going into debit funds. They claimed to have "no record" of my call requesting a transfer.
A rather long battle ensued in which I point blank refusing to pay them a penny. I provided a copy of our phone bill so they could see I had made a call, but they argued that could have been for anything, not just for switching to a different pricing option. All of this arguing took a ferociously long time because I refused to call them (pricey!) and communicated only by letter, and it would sometimes take them weeks to respond.
In the end, they sent us a default notice and threatened court action, but there was no way I was paying and we had to go through the financial ombudsmen to get the matter settled. When the ombudsmen found in my favour, I never heard from Cash Plus again - not even an apology.
Prepaid credit cards most definitely have their place in the world and are extremely useful. I opened a new one with PayZone after this dispute and haven't had a problem in over a year of using it.
Cash Plus, however, are not who you should get a prepaid card from. The customer services' is terrible, the rates are very high (not just in the monthly fee. For my PayZone card the setup cost was £5 rather than £9.95, for the exact same service) and they don't give a jot about their customers. All of the benefits of Cash Plus are available from many different companies, so I would strongly recommend you go with one of their competitors instead.
I had an account with Woolwich which supplied me with a visa electron card but when they were bought up by Barclays I was automatically given a standard Barclays savings account which meant I wasnt supplied with a new debit card and so I looked around for a pre paid credit card after hearing about a number of new cards coming out around the time. After a short time looking at the various options I then found a prepaid cashplus card from Mastercard which I decided to get.
The great thing about the signing up process is that you don't need to have a credit check, you just fill out the application form online and then you will get a quick response from them once you have filled out everything required and your form has been sent you will get an email response which will tell you that you will be sent a letter in the next week or so which you take to the post office and pay the joining fee of £9.95, you can also add any money you want to be on your card account when you have received your card and you also pay the first months fee of £4.95 which you pay at the end of every month. You will then receive you card in the next few days and your pin information and you are free to use your card for online and store purchases.
Basically what you get with the card is the ability to use your card for online purchases and store purchases. You cannot however use your card at ATM Machines unless you upgrade your account which will need some identification to be sent but I woud recommend trying it out as an online purchase card first and then decide after a few months whether you really need your card to be able to withdraw money at ATM Machines.
It is very easy to top up your prepaid mastercard as all you need to do is take your card to one of the places listed on the website and hand your card over to the cashier with the amount of money you want to upload onto the card.
At The Post Office
You can top up anything from £10 to £999 for FREE and your funds will be ready on your account within twenty four hours. There are quicker alternatives to this though as shown below.
At a cashplus retail outlet
You can Top-up for FREE any amount from £10 to £5,000. This will be on your account much quicker than via the post office and you will usually be able to use your funds in about 30 mins from when you top up.
At an e-pay outlet
If you visit an e-pay outlet you can top-up any amount from £10 to £150, in multiples of £10. The e-pay outlet will charge you £2 per top-up and your money should be available in 30 minutes
For me the only real drawbacks about this card are that you need to upgrade your account if you wish to use the card at ATM Machines and if you would like to have balances up to £5,000 instead of £1,500 for the no frills account. To me these won't affect most people as most people who use this card will have another card account which they can use at an atm.
You can use this on every website you see the mastercard sign and of course in any shop that has this sign. This card is great for people who have a low credit rating or if you just want a card that you can limit to transactions that you actually need to take out of another account to use. This will be a great thing for people who spend too much on their debit card and they can only use it when they have some money on it.
You can also use your card to setup standing orders if you need to pay bills or if you would like to setup a feeding system from another card which will put say £20 for instance into your prepaid account from one of your cards aswell as being able to pay your salary into this account which you just need to give your employer a form to sort this out.
If you are interested in getting one of these cards for yourself then the website you need is www.mycashplus.co.uk and there you will find all the information you need about the card and once you are logged in you will be able to review all your transactions and see your account balance which makes everything clearly laid out.
This is a great way for people to get the benefits of shopping on the internet without spending more than they can afford. If you don't have the funds then you won't purchase something as it won't let you do it. A great way to budget your money too and the benefits of upgrading could make this card even better.
A new unique idea for a credit card - one that you can top up and spend as you wish so you won't be in major debt. A brilliant idea in theory, however if you do not provide the address you're registered to, they still give you a card and then ask you to upgrade your account as you can basically do nothing unless it is upgraded.
I used my uni address to get a card and then had to provide a bill and certified copy of my identity to upgrade. They didn't believe that the certified copy of my passport was real because the solicitor hadn't put their phone number along with her name and the address.
I phoned them up (at cost) to complain and ask what they could do to help me. They wanted another copy of my passport, so I decided it would probably be easier to have my money returned to me. I've been told it will take 3-4 weeks. How can it take that long to move money from one account to another?
Anyway I think it's better to just get a real credit card, or use the registed address next time.