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Righty ho then! After I read the op on pennies slipping through the fingers by SueMagee I thought I’d give it a go…. Especially since Sue asked so nicely! I think we all need to write a bit less on lush and more on finance … ‘LOOK YOU LOT… stop throwing rotten tomatoes and booing at me! You can write about Lush if you want, I was only kidding!’
I think I’ll start with my Smile credit card, one of many in my lovely little black purse! First off it is a very attractive light musky pink metallic card – very attractive indeed! They also offer a gold card for you snobs out there!
The reason I applied for this card was due to me growing up and finally taking control of my finances. I realised I was paying far to much interest 18.9% to be precise, this was with HSBC – I know it’s convenient to have everything with the same high street account you’ve had since you were 5 but you really should consider it. For example on my £2000 balance I could save £145.40p in a year and that’s not including the 6 months interest free period you get for the first 6 months. They don't have an annual fee either.
Smile has an APR of 10.5% currently on its credit card – this may vary. I am also currently opening a smile account to get that dropped to 9.9% and then also gain interest of 3.04 gross on a my current account balance. I’ll write about this as soon as all the cards arrive.
Back to the advantages of the Smile card, it also offers 0.5% cash-back on all purchases, the cash-back is paid one month in arrears and automatically deducted from your balance. So if you pay the balance in full and buy a lot through the month on the credit card this could be the one for you!
You get 46 days interest free if you pay all balances in full, you also have the option of payment protection too… I’m afraid I’m not that sensible yet! – Doubt I will be, I think it’s a waste of money! You can also request an additional card for the other half or you mate (Hmmm, I’m not that stupid either!)
Any loss over £50 for fraudulent transactions will also be covered by Smile, this is usually the standard for all bank s and credit cards though different circumstances will make a difference.
You also get a small book of cheques, which could be handy but these have the same charge as a cash transaction so not such a good idea, this is £2 or 2% which ever is the greater.
The payments required can be taken by Direct Debit and they require 3% of the balance of £5 which ever is the greater. Alternatively you could pay the outstanding balance.
Now the application process isn’t that bad, it’s fairly quick and downloads the application so it is secure, it will depend on your computer or browser so you may have to be patient. If you have any problems they have a technical help line that is open from 8am till 10pm seven days a week. You go through the application quite quickly, they require 3 years worth of addresses and details of your income, working in a bank myself there is a rumour that unless you take home over a £1000 a month you will be declined or referred and they may need further information. You will also need to have security information handy such as your first school, last school, and memorable name. I have forgotten these once and they were very quick to unblock the account but took longer to answer the phone!
The website is bright pink so don’t forget your sunnies!
You find out the result once you have applied by getting an enrolment number, you have to log on with this and they send you a secure message that will tell you if they need any further information or if your account has been accepted.
Now I must say that I was declined – not that I expected anything different! So I went through the appeal process, I sent off 3 months bank statements that will show that I have not gone over my overdraft limit and I don’t have any unpaid items. It will also show a regular income. I must say from application to actually receiving the card took me about 3 months! They were very busy and I did have to send another for of ID, as one was not acceptable. This would be the one thing that I would have to complain about, they do take a long time to complete the application if any further investigation is needed. If you do appeal you may find that you will not hear anything from them, if you mail them they will tell you what date they are working from and when yours will eventually be looked at!
The statements are shown online and are fairly clear to see. You receive an email every month to tell you when this is available. You can also send and receive secure messages to Smile if you have any queries. They usually take around 48 hours plus to respond. Not the quickest response times around but if it’s urgent you can call them. But then again it was voted the best credit card at the Guardian Consumer Finance Awards 2002, can’t be bad, maybe that’s the reason for their busyness?!
I also completed two balance transfers which took around 4 days to complete, not as good as Egg but I’ll get to them another day! You can do this online, which is very easy and convenient, not like any other credit card I have.
Altogether I would really recommend this card, the interest is fab, the website is much easier to use than Eggs but their response times are not the speediest in the world! But it depends on what you’re looking for. I have only ever needed to contact them when I was getting fed up with the wait! You can apply for other accounts and ISA’s there and not have to fill in another application form! Woohoo!
Well thank you for reading, we’ll soon see about those pennies….. Lets see if financial matters send you all to sleep!
Been looking into other cards for the same reasons as you-having had my Barclaycard for a while now it has only just dawned on me that they charge a small fortune in the way of APR. I've just been refused an Egg card for some unknown reason (perhaps it's the 'student' thing) and am tempted to try this one... Sootica XXX
delawney 04.01.2003 00:12
I'm a Smile afficionad too, and I love the credit card too - especially the cashback! ;)
WormThatTurned 15.11.2002 19:33
Never get stuff on credit unless its interest free and never own credit cards, most people don't need them and are putting themselves into debt unneccesarily :) Jay