“ Online account management. 3 ways to pay: in branch, by Direct Debit or phone. Free purchase and fraud protection. Helpline available 365 days in a year. „
The Post Office Mastercard works as any other Credit card in most respects and I am not reviewing all aspects of the card. I would like to tell you about the advantages to using the Post Office Credit Card abroad.
I learnt to take notice of the small print after one expensive trip abroad! And I'm sure I'm not alone! Banks and Credit card companies charge a number of fees when you use your Credit and Debit cards abroad, but if you use the Post Office Credit Card carefully you can get away with paying no fees.
- Firstly, there is NO cross border fee - this is a fee which the majority of credit cards charge you simply for using your card abroad. The cross border fee is often hidden in the exchange rate so that you don't notice, but it can be found in the small print (e.g. Lloyds TSB Airmiles Duo account charges 2.95%).
- The second advantage is that if your account is in credit you will not be charged a cash advance fee. This includes when you use your card abroad. So if you preload your credit card account with your spending money before you go abroad you can withdraw it as and when you need it, and (so long as you stay in credit) you will not be charged anything by the Post Office (individual cash machines can charge but they will tell you before you withdraw. This charge would be relevant to any card used).
You may be wondering - If to take full advantage I have to already have the money in my account, why not stick to a debit card?
Well, most banks will charge you for using your debit card abroad.
For example - If you use a Lloyds Debit card you will be charged a 2.99% foreign exchange fee.
Plus if withdrawing cash you ALSO pay 1.5% (minimum fee of £2.00, Maximum fee of £4.50).
One exception is Nationwide, who do not charge for using a debit card within Europe but they do pass on the Visa charge for outside the Visa Europe Region.
-If you go over your budget (so that your account is no longer in credit) and continue withdrawing cash it gets pricey (you will be charged the Cash Advance fee plus interest from the transaction date). So it's only any good if you can keep track of what your spending.
- The online banking is a bit slow! I used the card abroad and on returning wanted to use internet banking to check how much I had spent. The transactions took weeks to show up on my account online, in fact I received the printed bill through the post (showing all transactions) whilst online it still said I'd spent nothing!
I also dislike the online layout (although that is just my opinion!) so I tend to use other cards for purchases in the UK and only use this card when going abroad. This also ensures that when it comes to holiday time my account will be in credit!
I applied online for the card as it came with 0% on balance transfers for 12 months. It was a quick procedure, the usual questions, that took around 5 minutes to answer.
I received confirmation immediately afterwards that my application was successful, though i wasnt sure how much i had received. Within 4 days, i received the relevant documentation in the post, which stated the credit limit, all seemed in order, and i was pleasantly surprised by how much i was granted.
I transfered my balances at the 0% rate, which you have to do within the first 3 months by the way and had no problems doing so. Within a few days i had a mastercard sent to me, and everything has been great since.
I receive my statements online, and have 24 hour access to my account online. I havent received any annoying sales calls, and when i did have to call up to check a transaction, the phone was answered really quickly, and the lady i spoke to was very polite and efficient at her job.
I would definetely recommend the post office card. I have been told they also have free fraud protection, which is an added bonus.
My card is a lovelly shiny silver, they do come in other designs though.