In May 2006 my garage selling Chrysler cars offered me a Halifax Platinum Card at 14.9% APR.It changed to a straightforward Halifax Card in September 2008 and since the the interest rate has increased to 22.95% APR!. Since the Government forced LLoyds Bank to take over Halifax, I believe an usurious system is now in place. If I only pay the minimum amount each month, as I cannot afford to pay more, each month the capital sum is increasing. This means that the the £6,938 owed on this card increases over a period of time to a level where I will not even be able to afford the minimum monthly amount. This is from a bank where the majority shareholders are us, the taxpayers. This is a disgraceful situation for which the Halifax can offer no help.
This bank appears not to pay attention to maintaining courteous professional customer communications. I bank with First Direct who are excellent at customer services and put Halifax to shame. Also Halifax seem very poor at structuring their processes and systems to make things easy for the customer & I would not recommend them. I have had my Halifax Platinum Card for about 6 months and have experienced a number of frustrations, all down to poor marketing processes and written customer services. These include but are not limited to ? Security is overtight & setting up the online statement was very frustrating. Once you have your card you apply at the relevant web page, choosing a user name and password. Then they write to you with access codes to insert at the log in screen along with the user name. Trouble is they don?t e-mail you the user name you selected and the letter with access codes took 2 weeks to arrive, by which time I had no idea as to my user name. They had to send out another letter with more access codes, causing more delays. Another time I called to make a query on my account. The agent who answered had to take me through security ? I was asked all the usual post code, date of birth, mothers maiden name and memorable questions / answers & the agent (more likely their computer) was still not satisfied, so they asked me where I used the card last and how much I paid last month. These details I provided did not meet the agents script /satisfaction & we reached a deadlock! ? the agent had no more questions, but could not let me in. I said it was over secure to the point of being a joke and the agent replied ?I know, I bank elsewhere and I agree with you. I have heard many people make your comment?? Customer Services and payment departments numbers are revenue share 0870 & 0845 numbers so for every minute you?re on the phone they make a few pence! No wonder they take 10 mins + for an agent to answer (many
times I have called it has taken over 10 mins to get through). Since this is not primarily an online account I think this is wrong. Another time I asked to take out a 2nd card (to keep my work expenses and private expenses separate) and was told I could only have 1 card. It was the way I was told that annoyed me, rather than the rejection. Halifax have used the kind of language and tone with me that you might expect if you were an unruly 16 year old. I wonder if this is their target audience? As to having a 2nd card, Halifax have given me a £7k limit that I don't need on the 1st card, I have every bank in Europe bombarding me with mailers offering me seemingly unlimited credit cards and I have no other debt other than a small mortgage and yet Halifax said "NO" with no real explanation. This month I missed my payment date by 4 business days (statement didn't arrive) and received a rude letter saying I was in arrears and they were reducing my credit limit to £3k "to reflect more accurately the present position on your account.." The full payment due was only £500. The tone of letter was like they were "slapping me on the wrists". This is the straw that broke the camels back. I'll close my account once I get a new card. Finally they are not the worst and the customer agents are courtious and pleasant. I still would not recommend this company. From my experience they appear to be poorly run and do not deserve business.
Only got the card for 0% on transfer balances after Egg period was expiring. Called customer services a few time to get an answer on interest charges which took 3 calls. Had the misfortune to forget to send in a £80 payment one month because I was away on business and got a most aggressive letter from Collections department. Call Customer Services and told collections that I was paying in £2000 immediately online and the guy kept insisting about it (this was a first late payment with no previous history) as if I were some deadbeat customer. In terms of Customer Relations, this is the Ryanair of financial services (with the difference that Michael O'Leary is quite funny and openly says that customers should be treated like scum).
For those of you matching my requirements of: - no fees - high cashback on every purchase - online statement - reasonable interest free period ?I can recommend the Halifax Platinum card. It?s great if you are one of those people that pays off their card each money religiously (otherwise go for one of the low rate cards). I?ve had this for a couple of years now with no problems at all. You?ll earn 0.5% cashback until spending reaches £12,000, and 1% thereafter (sounds a lot, but most of us put quite a bit on the card these days). The cashback is awarded once a year on the anniversary of taking out the card by simply crediting the cash to your account. The online service is sparse, but quite useful. It isn?t the fastest of sites, or the prettiest, but you can easily access the information you need - statements for the previous 2 months, recent transactions (appear next working day after they go through the system), and account totals (including cashback points accumulated ? 1 point=1pence). Those of you paper junkies will appreciate a printed monthly statement posted free as part of the service. This is one of the only cards that I?ve actually kept. Recommended. More details on their website at http://www.halifax.co.uk/creditcards/cashback_platinum.shtml
Credit cards are part of our national make-up. A fact of life along with buses arriving in threes and manufactured pop bands dominating the ratings, credit cards allow huge swathes of the population to buy now, pay later. Should you be one of the few that doesn't possess a plastic friend then dipping into this already very crowded market can be a little intimidating. I mean, there are affinity cards, cashback cards, balance transfer deals, flat rate cards and the list goes on. However, if you are one of the growing breed that looks to get the cheapest deal possibly by, primarily, dealing on the Net then look no further than a comprehensive offering from HBOS. Before going on, I need to point out that Credit Card providers do segregate offerings based on demographics. In it's most rudimentary form, gross annual income is taken and, as a general rule of thumb, standard cards are offered at an annual gross of up to £19999. £20000 sees a Gold card offered and those lucky enough to earn £25000 are eligible for a Platinum Card (indicative only: various providers will apply different criteria e.g. higher/lower income bands and there are further types available e.g. cobalt!). The difference comes in the shape of the APR charged and the "goto" rate after any special introductory rate has finished. Most cards now offer some sort of special rate and in our case I am concentrating on the Platinum offering albeit with a view to highlighting the latest online offering - H2X. H2X is the latest generation of online credit card for the astute individual that uses a bit of nouse by exploiting the cost benefits of the WWW. As mentioned above, this card is only available to those folks earning £25000 or more per annum. If you don't fall into this income bracket then don't lose heart because the credit card market is a cut throat world and by looking at the web sites mentioned below, you should be able to pick a competitive deal to suit your
circumstances. The headline APR is 9.9% and applies to both purchases and balance transfers. An incentive to bring balances across from othe r cards means a 0% deal for the first 5 months. If you are one of the 50% that subsidises everyone else by paying interest on your outstanding balance then you really should be thinking about getting that interest-bearing burden across to a deal like this one. There is an online calculator that allows you to calculate potential savings by tapping in the card issuer and balance outstanding. This may or may not convince you to make the switch. The deal can only be offered in this way by restricting maintenance to the web so you won't have access to branches. Needless to say, all the facilities that you might expect are online including viewing monthly statements. Payment is by direct debit, which may put one or two off who prefer to have a say in when payments are sent, but, on the other hand, at least you won't have to remember to send a payment off. Other features include: No annual fee Up to 59 days interest free credit as long as the balance is cleared in full each month Free purchase protection covering most major items against theft or damage for up to 100 days Up to £100000 free travel accident cover when booking the tickets using the card Things to watch for: £3 charge for paper statements Phone calls to H2X charged at premium rate. The preferred method of contact is by e-mail. There is a link to the Halifax Shopping Extra site, which may entice you to part with more money via discounts on shopping, travel and leisure. How to apply ----------------- If this is for you then application is,surprise, surprise, via the website at Halifax.co.uk. As with all credit based products, there will be a credit search so you'll still need
to be aware of possible rejection if either your credit score is low or you have a poor credit history. You'll get a choice of cool blue or hot orange colours and the questions are, as you'd expect: name, address, tel.no., employment details etc. All being well, if you are accepted then the H2X card is dispatched from Cardiff although delivery does vary between 7 and 14 days subject to post and postcode. H2X won't suit everyone. Personally, I love the cashback concept as I always clear my balance in full every month. My recent cashback at the end of November was £115, which went very nicely towards paying for Christmas. As it stands, there is no advertised cashback on the H2X deal so it will be more suited to folks wanting to switch balances at the 0% offer and turned on by the low APR as they have no intention of clearing the balance each month. There are other online offerings from companies such as the ubiquitous Egg (APR 12.3% typical) but they do seem to have hit a brick wall in terms of service and rates so you might want to shop around before making a decision. Cahoot are advertising an aggressive APR of only 7% but the interest free period is only 46 days as opposed to the 59 here. If cashback is your thing then the standard Platinum card via HBOS still pays 0.5% rising to 1% after a £12000 pa spend. In this case, the APR is 17.9% (Special intro rate of 3.9% for first 5 months). This is a new offering so it's too early to tell what service back up will be like but HBOS has a good reputation online through it's other dealings so there should be no need to worry on that score. As ever, there is a plethora of decent financial sites that can help including the reverential MoneyXtra.com amongst others. Now is a great time to revamp those musty old, overused pieces of plastic in your purse or wallet so take advantage of the break and start the New Year with a clear conscious by redu
cing your outgoings by either applying for H2X or finding a suitable deal for you from the online resources available (try the comparator at http://www.moneyxtra.com). Thanks for reading and a Happy New Year. Marandina
I switched from the Egg Card to the Halifax Platinum card in December 2001 and have not looked back. The better cash back scheme offered by the Halifax was a major incentive as I do spend a lot of money via my card. Egg changed their cash back from 1% to 0.5% while Halifax offer 0.5% cash back on the first £1000 and then 1% thereafter. You get your cashback balance added into your account on the anniversary of opening your account. My move to the Halifax has meant that I earn over £70 more cashback per year than if I had stayed with egg! I'm all for saving the environment but I do need paper statements to claim expenses back at work. The Halifax statements are posted out monthly and they accept payment easily from any debit card. On one occasion I had to change the billing period so that I could get my bills earlier in the month. I found the customer service telephone line very helpful with this. I've had to ring a couple of times and have never been on hold and always found the people helpful. Also the website is robust. I had noticed with Egg that sometimes I could not log in and often the site was very slow. Halifax while not being as "glossy" is very comprehensive, reliable and quick. The shopping offers on Halifax are not as good as with Egg but that does not bother me. Halifax does have some affiliations with online shops and also draws for members. Thumbs up from me!
I always look for the best deal around. I must have been one of the first to get hold of the egg card when it came out and used it to pay for just about everything. When they recently changed their cashback from 1% to .5%, I knew that it was time to move. There are several cards offering cashback at the moment. I pay my balance off every month and so I was not looking for a low interest rate. The Halifax Platinum Cashbak Card was clearly the best one about. Cashback is given at the rate of .5% on the first £1000 spent, and 1% thereafter. It is amazing how quickly the cashback amount builds up. The other benfits of having this card are that there is no annual fee to pay and you can manage it on-line. You still get a paper statemnet (unlike with egg). It is really easy to set up your account, and you can even apply for the card on-line. You don't even have to be an existing customer. So if you pay off your balance each month, this card is for you.
Although I was able to get a Platinum card from Halifax, my comments are applicable to all Halifax cashback cards - indeed I'm not even sure what added benefits the Platinum card gives. My requirements are (in order): 1) Card with no fee 2) Cashback (NOT points for toasters!) 3) Paper statements 4) Good website, with as near to realtime updates as possible (AMEX are the best at this). 5) Good customer service - although preferably I'd rather have no reason to call! 6) A decent interest-free period I've already had a rant at the inadequacies of the egg card, and I'd already tried the A&L card, which has reduced the benefits available. I was prepared to put up with egg until I found another provider offering 1% cashback, and I found it at Halifax. I'm a newish customer to the card and have had it since the start of 2001. Application through the net was painless, but the paper application form took a while to arrive and the card was also a little slow too. You'll have to suffer pictures of the Halifax staff who have been doing those awful ads recently - do they only employ tone-deaf people with weight problems (maybe I should apply...)? An irritation was that for some reason you are unable to use the website facilities you have reached until your first statement date. For this reason, I kept my use of the card to a minimum in the first month, but luckily it is worth the wait. The website isn't a 'hey-wow' experience, but is clean, simple and easy to use. You have access to recent transactions, your current statement and the 2 previous before that. The only other facilities are a useful account summary, a 'contact' form and the facility to make payments using Switch/Delta cards (currently out of action). Overall it is a clean, functional site which does exactly what you want. Thank heavens for that! With Halifax, you still get
paper statements, which are necessary for record keeping and for checking your bills (you do do that, don't you?). You get around 21 days after your statement date to pay your bill. Not sure yet how the cashback refund works - I'll try to update when I know. Customer service have been fine when I have contacted them, with phone wait time reasonable. One problem I have had was trying an online purchase (from British Airways) which failed with my Halifax card. I went through OK on my egg card. I have made one subsequent online purchase with the card, so this may be an isolated incident. All in all, a card that give me everything I want, although even more cashback would be welcome!