am an inveterate credit card churner. It seems the only way to get a decent credit card rate is to change it at a regular interval.
First of all it goes without saying it is simply not good money management if you have an outstanding amount on your credit card bill and have to pay interest. However there are occasions when even the most well managed household budget needs to spend money it does not immediately have to hand. If you do and you are caught make sure you have one available with low interest.
I had an RBS Advanta card because I had an RBS current account. I have now got rid of my RBS account for reasons that can be seen in my review of that Banks performance. I decided at the time to get rid of all RBS products and so the credit card has now gone. Next in line are the insurances we have with Direct Line. When I fall out with someone I do it big time. Of course the replacements will have to be cost effective but in what is still a competitive market that should not be a problem.
The RBS Advanta card is not attractive if you are beyond the introductory period with interest at 13.9%. Of course credit card suppliers tailor their interest rates to suit your personal circumstances so perversely the less credit worthy you are the more interest you will pay. I do not like the way they calculate interest either which is done on the statemented balance if not paid in full the previous month.
There is a website like all the others (www.rbsadvanta.co.uk) but it provides little personal information. You are better to go to the proper internet providers for that. All things considered the RBS Advanta card cannot be recommended. There is just no positive side to it.
In the competitive market of today the best offers are coming from the internet providers so I would recommend egg.com or cahoot.com as better providers.
Earlier this year, I applied online for an RBA Advanta credit card. They wrote to me in early February advising me that my application had been declined. After appealing against their decision, I received a letter from them at the beginning of March asking me to send my bank statements, which I did at the end of April when my bank statements would show annual bonuses etc. A few days later, I spoke to RBS Advanta by phone who confirmed that my statements had been received but had not yet been processed. At the beginning of May, I spoke to them again when they confirmed that my statements had been processed and that a decision would be made within seven days. In the middle of May, I received a letter confirming that my application was successful and that I should sign and return the terms and conditions. The T&Cs had the wrong APR (it should have been 0%) so I phoned them again, upon which they advised me to amend the T&Cs because of a discrepancy on the promised APR. I did so, and returned the T&Cs to RBS Advanta the same day. Since then, despite several phone calls, I had not heard anything from RBS Advanta. I therefore wrote to them asking for my bank statements back or to pay me £20 for each statement (as they were originals). Barclays cannot reproduce exact originals of my statements, only copies in a different format, so I do need the originals for any other credit card applications I may make in future. As RBS Advanta cannot find my statements, I have just received a cheque for £50 from them which I am happy with. However, they had the cheek to say that if I still want a card, I will have to start my application again and supply more bank statements. Unbelievable! If you do apply for one of these cards, don't send them originals of anything, as you may not get it back. Also, beware that RBS Advanta charges a hefty commission when you use their cards abroad or for any transactions not in Sterling. You will
pay 2.65% commission for any foreign retail transactions, a fee set by RBS Advanta, not by Visa/MasterCard. On top of this, you also pay another fee if you are withdrawing cash. Don't be tempted to use this card abroad in order to get cashback, because the cashback will be less than the commission you pay. If you need to use a credit card abroad, try one of these cards, which charge no commission or less commission on retail transactions: - Nationwide Building Society: 0% commission (and very low cash fees too) - Liverpool Victoria / Frizzell: 0% commission - Cahoot: 2.25% commission
RBS Advanta have lost their competitive edge and have joined the ranks of general card providers. This is a great shame as they used to offer a good service with a 24 hour helpline. The hook as with many card operators is a low initial interest rate and then higher rates after a few months. The higher rates used to be similar to the rest of the market so the effort to chop and change was too much like hard work. The interest paid is quoted on the statements as a monthly rate IE 1.49%, sounds quite good really except that this equates to 17.9%. I let things run and threw away without opening the regular infusions of junk mail from other card providers untill a recent offering by the Co-op bank caught my eye. Co-op bank are offering 8.9% fixed for 5 years. Too good to be true? Well this would save me a fair bit over the course of the year. Three minutes on the phone to them and it was a done deal. If you dont regularly clear your balance and are over 25 then this is credible alternative to RBS Advanta. Check it out for yourselves on http://www.co-operativebank.co.uk. Click on the link for the advantage platinum visa. I rang RBS to see if they were planning to reduce their rate and told a big NO. Adios RBS, its been nice knowing you..
RBS Advanta Platinum Reserve Mastercard -quite a catchy and to be fair they have been good. Run jointly by Royal Bank of Scotland & I know not who, I have held this little gem of a card for a a good few years now, dusting it off for the occasional sizeable purchase, it has sat and survived in my wallet whilst all its little friends have arrived, been chewed up, spat out and dispensed to that big credit card heaven in the Sky. Why you might ask. Well they have always been a quiet unassuming credit card company, they seldom bombard me with letters (although speculative loan application forms have been arriving recently), and NEVER EVER a marketing phone call. Application until recently was made by the now nearly out of date pen and paper/snail mail combination, although I do believe they are now offering internet application and the company provides a range of three levels, Classic, Gold and Platinum based on your income and other data they hold on you. Classic and Gold come in Visa form only, whilst for some unknown reason, Platinum is only offered in Mastercard. THEIR RATES All three cards offer a magical introductory rate of 1.9% until June 2002, and from advertising slogans I have seen that this remains competitive and is regularly updated. After this date, rates change to 16.9% APR for Classic and Gold, 15.9% for Platinum - well at least thats what I thought until I rang them this morning and they told me my rate was 16.9%, confused you will be. SO WHAT DO THEY OFFER THAT MAKES THEM DIFFERENT? Well in these competitive times, not a lot really - you can get interest free credit of UP TO 56 days if you pay off your bill every month, althought to actually get this, strategic spending is needed. To be fair, this is still better than most of the competition who are dramatically reducing interest free periods in order to compensate for the competitive introductory and longer term r
ates they offer. RBS Advanta Platinum offers an internet gurantee (I think they all do nowadays), free accident travel insurance, emergency overseas legal and medical protection, car rental discounts with AVIS (not the cheapest in the world), free room upgrades at SUMMIT hotels (who?), special free competition entries reserved for Platinum account holders, a travel service and a wine service, none of which I have ever tried to take advantage of. CUSTOMER SERVICE In fact I have never tried to take advantage (no pun intended) of RBS Advanta until today, when I rang them to ask if they would give me a special rate for a balance transfer like many of the competitors offer. I was advised that my rate was currently 16.9%APR fixed (should be 15.9% according to the literature), and was told that the only time the competition offers special rates was to new customers - wrong again RBS, MBNA offer special rates for balance transfers regularly to existing customers as do MARBLES. Their local rate phone number is always manned, and does not encounter encumbant pre-recorded security checks like many of the competition, the longest I have ever had to wait on the line is about 3 minutes before speaking to a human being although to be fair, contact is generally instantaneous. CREDIT LIMITS Not the most generous on the market, although this is not necessarily a bad thing, their maximum possible credit limit for platinum holders is £15,000, (£5,000 for Classic Cards, £10,000 for Gold). Minimum income requirement for Platinum Reserve is £20,000, although they do upgrade from lower cards without request for good customers. PAYMENT They do not currently provide an internet account base, and payment can be made by all the traditional methods including post, over the counter cheque/cash payment, direct debit and Delta/switch payments over the phone (credited to your account within 2 working days - cannot
be made after 11pm) - although indications are that this method may be soon to cease in line with new Government legislation. Minimum payment is 3% of the outstanding balance. Their Late payment charges are not publicised and luckily I have never had to encounter them, so know little about them. SUMMARY All in all, as I said above, a quiet unassuming company that up until now I have been suitably impressed with, they have won awards for being the best credit card provider, but they evidently have no customer loyalty and no overwhelming desire to hang on to long term customers. SUE
OK, my mistake, I forgot I had already paid my bill so paid it twice by accident. When I spoke to RBS they said they can only refund via cheque in post so I said fine to save argument. Weeks later there is no sign of a cheque, and yet they keep promising it's on its way. They also revealed they can actually sent the money direct back to my account but its too late now. Most annoyingly the cheque is so late they have deducted what is owed for the following month. When I pointed out that they would be charging huge penalties if the tables were turned, they coldly pointed out that they owed me nothing according to the small print of my application. Another minus point is the absence of internet access to the statement which is allowed for RBS customers only. And the number to services is 0870, which is not possible to call at lower rates via cheap and cheerful telcos. I shall be cutting my card in half very shortly.
So, what's this all about then ? Well, for anyone with a bit of discipline the RBS Advanta card offers an excellent money making opportunity. While other cards offer moneyback schemes or points schemes to encourage you to spend on their card the RBS Advanta card doesn't go for this. However .... there is a VERY nice little angle available on this card, and you don't have to spend to benefit. Many cards have an interest free period on spending, but don't have an interest free period on balance transfers - the RBS Advanta card isn't like that - it offers interest free periods on both !! So what do you have to do ? Well, it comes with balance transfer cheques, so open a high interset account, pay in up to your limit and wait for the bill to come in. When the bill comes in, simply pay it off in time and start all over again !! Simple. You invest their money and earn interest on it - for free !! So what's to gain ? Well assume interest rate of 6% (before tax - 4.8 % after) and you can have the money in for 4/5ths of the year. This means you can get about 3.6%. Assume a £5,000 limit and we are talking about making £180.00 a year, after tax, for free !! Sounds good ? Why not try it, good luck !!
The RBS Advanta card is absolutley aweful. It has a very low APR for the first few months - a "teaser" rate which in itself isn't bad value. Then it increases to an APR of 17.9% - not too bad against some (say Barclaycard) but not that great!!! The website(www.rbsadvanta.co.uk) is rubbish - you can't do anything like check your bills there or pay them off. However there is no loyalty points scheme and the staff are VERY rude on the phone. They messed up my Direct Debit too and got funny with me because the bill wasn't paid on time - which was their fault in the first place. Dreadful card - dreadful people!!!!
The RBS Advanta card was the second credit card and my motivation for doing so was primarily that I wanted a VISA card and they'd just sent me an invitation to apply. Really I should have paid more attention to the cards features, but as it is they're all pretty average, it's major selling point is the very low APR for the first few months of ownership. Initially they're offering an APR of 4.5% which I think is one of the lowest about, though obviously it doesn't last forever and returns to an APR of 17.9%. For a short while though you'll get low interest, but in my case this was of no use as I've always paid the bill off straight away. What else do you get? Not much really. The card now has a website like all the others (www.rbsadvanta.co.uk), but unfortunately you can't do anything like check your bills there or pay them off. Essentially it provides online registration for a card and the ability to look up the details on the card. Nothing really inspiring at all, especially not with so many other cards offering genuinely useful web based services. The extras that the website talks about are all things I expect as standard for a credit card these days (no fees etc). Really this sums up the card, it's just another unremarkable face in the crowd. So overall it's not a bad card, I've never had any trouble with it at all. They don't give out massive credit limits it seems, but that suits me as I never intend to use my card that heavily. There's no special gimmicks, except the low interest rate for the starting perod with your card which may be of use to you. I'm happy with mine, but it's nothing to write home about, given the choice now I'd probably get one of the cards with cash back in preference.