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The only thing that differentiates RBS Advanta from other cards is that it is slow and disorganised for the most part, and the perks of having the card aren’t that great. Post application telephone customer service staff are quite good, but it’s not something that I really need.
I saw the ads for it and it sounded great-0% interest on both balance transfers and new purchases, free travel insurance if you purchase a holiday on your card and a whole list of other things, as well as having the security of knowing that it's from the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Unfortunately things started going wrong from the very start. I found the web site (eventually-after going in circles round the Royal bank of Scotland site) and looked at all the benefits (the most useful of which are detailed above). It sounded great so I clicked on “Apply now” only to discover that the online application form had not been set up, but you could request a pack on the website. Although this should have been the first warning sign, I thought this was a little odd as most other cards can be done on line, but seeing as credit card companies will eventually need your signature anyway I thought it would be OK. After waiting two weeks, no pack had arrived, so I rang up the helpline and got one sent out to me.
I filled out the form and sent it back. I heard nothing. I actually forgot about having applied until a conversation at work about credit cards reminded me. So, about six weeks after I’d sent my signed form back, I rang up to see what was going on.
Me: “What’s going on?”
RBS: “We’re a little behind on the applications due to the huge demand. I see here you’ve only been at your current address for address for 7 months, so the credit check will take a little longer. You’ll probably hear from us next week.”
This was a bit dodgy because I’d applied for an Egg card after I’d just moved into my new address and that had only taken 4 weeks. (Ok I’ll admit it now, I’m a serial credit transferrer and I needed to shift my Egg card balance).
Shockingly nothing happened in the next week.
Or the week after.
I rang back. At this point I got the same conversation above almost word for word. I gave up and applied for a Virgin card.
Then the week after my RBS Advanta card appeared out of nowhere! Two weeks, later a letter from Virgin arrived saying I just needed to sign and I’d get a card. I now have two new credit cards when I only needed one-I may just let a balance sit on the RBS one until the 0% interest runs out, shift the whole lot again and never use the RBS one-they’ll probably just make a loss on me.
Anyway, I’d already transferred money on to the RBS card before I got the Virgin one. The transfers went through OK, they only took a week.
Access to the account is by phone and letter. I really do prefer online, but the telephone centre claims to be 24 hour (I’ve not crawled in drunk at 3 am yet, so I can’t vouch for the 24 hour thing). I have to admit the telephone service is quite good. The automated part is basic, you can get automated balances and not much else, but you can speak to a person quite easily who can tell you things like transactions. On the whole I prefer automated service (no waiting), the HSBC one is very good, which is probably why I think that this one is very basic. The one thing I’ve noticed is that you do almost always get through to staff without queuing, even on a Monday morning (same can’t be said for HSBC).
The other perks of the card are quite minimal and are much the same as other credit cards. I asked about the travel insurance and discovered that you’d still need to buy a comprehensive policy to get luggage cover and medical cover-so what’s the point of it. Also there is the usual cross selling of services/items with your bills (you can get you phone service through them)
Overall the card is the same as everyone else, the application is slow but the customer service after you do get it is quite good.
I used to have an RBS Platinum card in the days before on-line applications were the norm, and I think it took about a month to process the application which was initially for the normal card. I found the service from them was outstanding until I started asking for preferential rates to transfer a balance over as I didn't owe them anything - I told them other companies do it for existing customers (MBNA are excellent for it) - so I closed my account, one week later they sent me an advert offering me 4.9% on balance transfers for about 9 months - hmph. As for Egg, it took me nrealy two years to get a card from them - swings and roundabouts methinks.
chunka 26.08.2002 15:26
Yeah, and allow it about 1 month to get you seriously in debt! LOL! Chunka!
LostWitness 26.08.2002 14:17
I had a RBS Advanta card for years and seldom used it after a very poor service experience.