When I first opened my account with Halifax, I requested a basic account. After having got into (and got out of) financial difficulties many years back I have never been one to take out credit, either with loans/credit cards or overdrafts. Even when I bought my new car, I saved up the cash and took it in to the dealership. (Not the most sensible thing to do I agree). So I simply said that I wanted an account that only allowed me to stay in credit, gave me a visa debit facility and also allowed me to take out cash from the branch or wall. In return they gave me a cheque book, electron card and no overdraft. Lovely jubbly - or was it?
Well at first it was. I could write cheques out and send them away. That was okay, although there was not a cheque guarantee with it. I could get money out pretty well anywhere. Superb. But come to pay with this over the net or on the phone, this is where the problems occurred.
It appears that because younger people can use this card, anything that might be classed as 'over 18' might be rejected. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't buying naughty magazines or anything (lol) but I did occasionally wish to make a gambling transaction. I also like buying shopping (including wine) and I do trade financial markets. All appeared a big no no. There were also a lot of companies who weren't registered to take the transaction.
Personally I found this embarrassing. I had money in my bank. Tried to make payments, and then told it was declined. Many occasions the employees working for these companies must have thought I was skint or something, because although the transaction would appear to go through, it would come back as declined, or refer to bank. Other more knowledgeable employees knew the genuine reason why.
The final straw came a couple of years back when Halifax informed me that I could no longer pay/withdraw money over the counter, if I had an electron card. Second class citizen or what? I'm not sure why they changed their policy but these added another nail to the coffin. I immediately requested a standard visa debit card, which I was given.
If there is a benefit to this card, it must be that the banks give them out like confetti. It is normal for no credit search to be carried out, and youngsters can find they get into little trouble. There are a few issues with this card though. Although you are not meant to be allowed to use it if you have no money on it, you can occasionally still use it. n example would be if you went to Tesco Self Service Petrol and only had £5 in your account. It will automatically authorise £99 refill. So maybe not as watertight, as it may seem.
Hope this helps you make a decision, when deciding what type of card you would like.
--- Plus Points ---
The Visa Electron card was my first bit of 'plastic' as they say and whilst it wasn't exactly a golden ticket, it did make spending money a little easier...though this isn't always a good thing! The positive thing about the Visa Electron card is that it doesn't let you go overdrawn, quite simply, if the money isn't in your bank account then you can't spend it (a god send for shopaholics). The card is also fairly widely accepted now within the UK (in my experience). A Visa Electron card is basically a key to the funds in your bank account at that time, no extra money you'll be borrowing from the bank and paying back with interest like with a credit card. In a sense it helps you to control your spending.
--- Negative Points ---
It is not accepted everywhere, Wikipedia states that it is not accepted in Canada, Australia, Ireland and the United States which is a bit of a bug bear if you are traveling abroad.
--- Overall ---
A great, easy access card that is fairly widely accepted in my experience but it is probably best to carry a credit card 'just in case' as some online and retail stores still do not accept it.
I got a Visa Electron as my first useable debit card. At the time I was aroudn 15/16 something like that. It was great being able to pay for things without carrying cash and withdraw money etc. The fundamental downfall of the Visa Electron card though, is the fact that there is quite a lot of shops and certain internet retailers that do not accept it. It might not hit you at first but if this is the sole card you rely on you have no idea how frustrating it is when you come across somewhere it is not accepted.
The Electron card does have a plus point in that it will not let you withdraw funds or spend funds that are not available in the account, you won't go into negative figures with it. Well this is what happened when I last used it, embarrassing if trying to pay for something!
The worst that happened to me was on the train home from school a few years ago, I asked for my ticket and proceeded to pay with the Electron card. "Sorry we don't accept that". Well isn't that great, I had no money. It wasn't a problem asking my friends for some cash but it's an embarrassing situation all the same.
My advice would be don't bother wasting your time with Visa Electron cards, just go the whole hog and get the fully kitted real Visa cards. Far greater range of features with them and they're accepted everywhere.
Unfortunately not all online shops accept visa electron card. I found this website which shows which ones accept: http://www.shopspree.co.uk/shops-accept-visa-electron.htm
Visa Electron is a debit card introduced by Visa in the 1980s. Unlike the Visa Debit card, Visa Electron claims to only allow payments if the funds are available at the time. Visa Electron is also linked to the PLUS interbank network which means you can withdraw funds from your bank account using any ATM that displays the PLUS logo.
I first had a Visa Electron card with my Barclays bank account about 15 years ago. The thought of being able to sign for my purchases was all very grown-up and bohemian. In reality, I struggled to find anywhere that accepted Visa Electron. A friend who also had a Visa Electron would often tip me off if she saw a sign in a shop that accepted Electron. Unfortunately, the choice was limited and the novelty of owning a debit card quickly wore off as we found ourselves using cash for 99% of our purchases.
As I grew older, I progressed through the Visa ranks from Electron to Visa Debit to a Visa credit card. More recently though, my credit rating has regressed and when I opened a basic bank account with The Co-operative, I was presented with a rather tasteful green Visa Electron card. Fortunately for me, though perhaps unfortunately for my bank balance, many retailers now accept Visa Electron.
In comparison to when I first owned one, the increase in the number of shops that accept payment by Electron has been significant. Even in the time I have been with The Co-operative, new stores have begun to accept Electron. Believe it or not, Aldi have only added Electron to their list of accepted payment methods in the last year or so. It wasn't that long ago that I had the embarrassment of unloading and packing a large trolley full of shopping only to be told that Aldi didn't take Electron.
Nowadays, I don't even think to check whether somewhere accepts Visa Electron. Admittedly, I prefer to keep close tabs on my spending by sticking to cash where possible, but I've found Electron is accepted whenever I've tried to use it in a shop or restaurant. I was quite disappointed when I tried to pick up some bargains in the M&S online sale only to be told they didn't accept Visa Electron. Instead, I saved my money and haven't even looked at M&S online since. As I see it, if they don't want my hard earned cash, I'll simply take my custom elsewhere.
So for the negatives, there are certain places where Visa Electron can't be accepted due to the nature of the Electron system. Offline locations such as trains or planes are unable to check the availability of funds in your account so you won't be able to pay by Electron there. There are also some retailers who still don't accept payment by Electron, despite the fact that Visa Electron was introduced in the 1980s. Also, despite the claim that using Visa Electron prevents you from going overdrawn, this simply isn't the case. It has only happened to me once when I made some purchases on a Saturday and a cash withdrawal. On Monday I still had available funds but a couple of days later, I found myself overdrawn. Fortunately, The Co-operative refunded the £20 they had charged me for becoming overdrawn but I have now learnt not to trust the ATM balance and to keep an even closer eye on my money.
On the plus side, I can use my Visa Electron to withdraw cash anywhere. I can use it in virtually any high street store to make purchases and it does what it says on the tin. I have quick and easy access to my money. My card still has chip and pin and is as secure than any other form of debit or credit card, perhaps even more so since it can only be used to spend what little funds I have in my current account! I can also use it online and when paying for some penny flights with Ryan Air recently, I didn't have to pay any processing fees as I was using a debit card. This means I've treated my friend and myself to a trip to Dublin for just 4p return for the two of us, saving all the unnecessary fees that credit card users would have to pay. Because I'm trying to clear my debts, my Electron keeps me in control of my money. I'm only spending money that is mine so my debts can only decrease now. As long as the popularity of Electron continues to grow, I will continue to be happy with it.
For UK customers this is not an attractive option. I was sold the card with the assurance that I could get ´cash back´ in shops abroad. This was not the case. When I complained to the agent who sold me the card (Going Places), they did not even deign to reply.
I also have a Nationwide BS flex account, which allows withdrawals on the continent with no charges and a very competitive exchange rate (if you choose an appropriate institution in Europe (and here I can speak only of Spain), again there is no charge.
I have found the card useful for on-line purchases in euros, otherwise it appears to be a distinctly inferior product, with non-existent customer service.
I have used a visa electron for the past 5 years, and I find it easier to manage than a normal visa. The great news is that the Visa Electron looks like a normal Visa with a chip and PIN.
But lets get to the point: with a visa electron you are not untitled to any overdraft. The money you spend or withdraw is automatically deducted from your account straight away, so there are no bad surprises at the end of the month. If you want to purchase something make sure you have enough in your account otherwise the transaction will not be accepted.
It taught me to manage my account and to not overspend and yes it was hard at the beginning with all the bills to pay, the rent, travel but I am so glad I do not to live on any loans or credit card.
The visa electron is widely accepted in shops (H&M, Tiffanys and Co, Sainsburys the list is endless) and restaurants. They usually display the visa electron logo (which looks like a normal visa blue logo with ELECTRON written on it, very easy to spot). However, I had a few embarrassments in the past at the cashier so my advice is to ask at the till first if they accept the card! (I know for a fact that, Boots, for example doesnt accept it.)
With a Visa Electron you can also purchase online. The major electronic outlets accept the card (Ebay, Paypal, LastMinute.com, Ryanair, Amazon to name a few) but then again check if they display the Visa Electron logo. British Airways for example do not accept the card. The good news though is that you can use your card everywhere in Europe, from buying goods to withdraw cash at any cash point.
Here are some of the countries I know for sure they accept the Electron: Sweden, France, Germany, Andorra, Spain, Scotland, Italy, and Netherlands.
If you are interested in a Visa Electron, talk to your bank, they all mostly do it (except Nationwide).
Overall it is a great card, sadly not accepted everywhere and not as flexible as a Visa card, but you will be sure to be in complete control of your finance. I think it is a great start for anyone who wants to open an account.
Then if your credit rating is improving, you can easily switch to a normal Visa. But then be careful!!