Advantages It's a MasterCard, Quick Turnaround
Disadvantages Variable APR, Add on Extras YOU Don't Ask For
|Efficiency of service|
|Competitiveness of charges/rates|
|Promptness of service||Good|
|Online - Content/organization of site||Average|
|Online - Reliability/speed of site||Good|
|Online - Ease of applying for products||Good|
Recently, my husband and I have had need for a credit card, not because we tend to spend on it, but because we hadn't had one for a long time, a couple of years maybe.Having not had a credit card for a while, we took a friends recommendation on a credit card, seeing as balance transfers and 0% rates weren't going to be applicable to us, we decided to apply to Capital One as they were offering 0% on balances & 0% on purchases both running until November 2008, so, as you can see, we went with completely the opposite to what we needed. The APR after the terms is a 'typical' 15.9%, I'll come on to this 'typical' rate later....
Balance transfers rates range from 1.7%-3%, depending on the card type.We applied online and it was fairly simple, we had to tick boxes before proceeding to the application that were:protection & card insurance questions? There was also a choice of card designs available, Tigers, Pigs, Dogs, Cats, we opted for the Tiger.
The application was very easy, maybe a bit too easy, but within 5 minutes I was done and had my decision, a YES from Capital One. It then advised I would receive a credit agreement in the post and then my card in a further 7-10 days. Excellent.Within 3 days, the agreement came and this is where I noticed that things weren't quite all they seemed.
For a start, I didn't want purchase protection at 79p per £100, the box I had been careful to say I didn't want it online, had been ticked by Capital One and so had the £18 annual card protection policy. I crossed them out in pen and wrote not required on the agreement. Then I noticed that the 'typical' APR wasn't the 15.9% promised rate, it was actually 18.9% and a close look at the wording said they can change the offered rate at any time. In any case, this isn't something I was worried about, it was our intention to generally pay off the balance in full every month after the 0% term; we simply wanted this for security purposes and for using abroad. Having talked with hubby about it, we decided to go ahead with the application and popped it back in the post with the freepost envelope, marked 'Priority Handling' on the front.Returning home, after posting the letter, we waited for our card and PIN.
Our PINS came first, the next day our cards came, within 7 days of posting the completed agreement back to Capital One; we both felt that this was an acceptable amount of time to have waited.Our credit limits were clearly marked on our card letters, we had £2000 available to spend, a limit which was more than adequate for our needs.
As the primary card holder, I had to call to activate the cards. The number is an 0845 number, a pet hate of mine and I ended up tapping in numbers left right and centre before speaking to Jeffery, who didn't sound much like a Jeffrey and who also sounded like their contact centre wasn't in the UK. Nevertheless, Jeffrey was extremely efficient and courteous for most of the call. I say most because after going through everything he needed to go through with me, he asked me questions about my employment, my age etc, and then he asked me to get a pen, I enquired as to why and he said it was to give me my purchase protection payment policy number, something which I had never agreed to, something twice I had declined and something I now felt I was being 'tricked' into. However, I did make it clear that I did not require the policy and he said it was fine but did warn me that I would be responsible for the repayments if I fell ill or lost my job. Then, another small issue arose; I had to use the card within 7 days. As I hadn't planned to, this was annoying and I asked why, he suggest that on my 4th statement, I would be given a credit limit increase if I did, also they 'needed to verify I was using the card properly', hmmm, I'm not sure of that one. Jeffrey did go into what dates my statements would come out (17th) and when payment was required (by the 5th of the next month), which I then marked in my diary.I went back on the Capital One website and noticed that there was an online facility for monitoring and viewing your account, which I signed up for and was in action within about 10 minutes.
I also made a small purchase of £15 that day.Within 4 days my purchases was credited off my card and I called to pay it off, straightaway, as there are no online card payment facilities, only online banking, Direct Debit, Phone or Post. I got through very quickly but I found I was unable to pay due to the fact it hadn't been credited off my card at their end, despite it showing on my online account. I had to wait until my statement came, a good 17 days later, before I was able to pay. Now, I know I had 0% on purchases, but I don't like having things outstanding for too long.
Another shock also hit me when I got my statement, an £18 purchase for Card Protection, again something I declined more than once. A swift call to Capital One failed to resolve the situation and I had to wait for a letter from the card Protection Company, before I could cancel, then get my refund. Capital One had no intention of sorting this out, even though I feel it was Capital One who instigated the Card Protection in the first place.I did complain, by letter, and got a £12 credit to my bill but no apology, just blame that I should have made it clearer on my application I didn't want the policy. I'm not sure HOW much more clear I could have made it, but I was satisfied with the response and I did get a refund and £12 refund from Capital One, so I came out with a profit in the end, but I have been left deeply uneasy about Capital One since.
I've now had my card 3 months and although it is handy to have a card that can be utilised for emergencies and for the added protection a credit card can offer you, I feel that maybe this isn't the best card in the world. I also don't want to change as I don't want to make too many credit searches in a short space of time, which leaves me with Capital One until November at least.I cannot wholeheartedly recommend them, I feel the service is a little lax to say the least and bordering on the fraudulent. I had to admit though, that all the statements have been on time and accurate, so far.
Overall, yes, handy to have but next time, I would do my research and maybe use one of the price comparison sites to find a better card deal. In my opinion, there is just too much going on at Capital One that as consumers, we are not aware of.My advice, research and weigh up if this is the right card issuer for you and be on the ball with your statements.
Thanks for reading- my review was first published on dooyoo.
Capital One Card Services
P.O. Box 5283
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