Advantages Improve your credit rating
Disadvantages high interest rates
|Competitiveness of APR|
|Quality of Customer Service|
|Security and Privacy|
|Ease of Application|
I was looking for a credit card about 6 months ago and went through a finance website directing me to The Associates. As i have a CCJ under my belt aswell as a largish default i was pleased to be given the opportunity to improve my credit rating. In the cut-throat business of credit cards more and more finance companies are looking to expand their profit margins by taking on more risky customers. However higher risk means higher interest rates.From the outset i decided that i'd avoid the high interest rates by paying my balance off in full at the end of every month. The initial £1000 credit limit i was given seemed a bit high and so did the APR of 29.9%. The plan to pay off the balance in full each month hasn't quite worked out as planned as i had a few cashflow problems. However, i have only incurred about £20 of interest charges in the 6 month period.
Last week i phoned up to pay off my card and then cancel it altogether as it had served its purpose in improving my credit file. My payment record will stay on file for 6 years. When i tried to cancel the card however i was offered a new lower rate of 17.9% as an enticement to stay. I thought "Why not?"and so I still have the card although i dont intent to use it for anything more than £100 per month. The key with these cards is self-control and usings them within your means.The major disincentive to not spending within your means and racking up large debt is the high interest rate and £25 late payment charges which could easily result in even more unmanagable debt.
I pay my monthly bill by PC banking which has been convenient via my current account. The main problem with this has been the inconsistency in the amount of time it has taken for my Associates account to be credited with the money. It has varied from immediately to 4 days. On one occasion i missed the payment date and incurred a £25 late payment fee. I phoned up Customer Services and this was immediately credited back to my account. I was impressed.The customer service on the whole has been good. The length of time i have to wait in the queue before the call is answered is lower than most call-centres i have experienced. Needless to say i will be phoning them back in a while to negotiate a new lower interest rate.
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