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- - - - This Opinion has since been updated and I apologise for the misinformation. This card has been out for a while and not just recently, as this opinion previously implied - - - -
After turning 16 a whole new world opened up for me. I could legally smoke, enjoy myself with a lady (if you know what I mean) and I could use a debit card. My application for my debit card was processed instantaneously, as the bank holds records of my date of birth. I just had to sign a user agreement.
Within two weeks, my new debit card arrived, which replaced my bankcard. It was a Visa Electron card (the baby of the Visa Family), which had been out in the UK for a while and according to my introductory book I could use it in over seven million outlets in the UK and online.
The Visa Electron uses a system where you cannot go overdrawn as it checks your balance before payment when the cashier swipes it, and, except for Barclays, will not let you go overdrawn. (Barclays offers all Debit Card Holders a ten-pound leeway)
I was overjoyed and after one of those “be sensible” chats with my parents, I set out on my first shopping trip.
Upon arrival in the city centre I noticed the complete lack of Visa Electron signs in the shop windows, but I wasn’t bothered and carried on shopping anyway. I first entered Woolworth’s and upon payment was told they did not accept the card, only because that particular store had not been refitted and thus had the older tills.
It was a repeat problem in Vodafone, Superdrug, and TK Maxx. When I got home I decided to research into the card further. On the Internet I went…
I researched for hours into why the card was not accepted at very many shops at all and the problem is that the card was not properly launched and basically just “arrived on the scene”, which meant that many companies did not have the systems to use the card. I also realised that many Internet companies were not accepting the card because they had been informed by the card issuers that the customer had to be present – which is not true at all!
I have been able to use the card at places like www.amazon.com, www.ryanaironlineshop.com and www.towerrecords.co.uk, so I haven’t really been badly annoyed by the lack of acceptance of the card but the Woolworth’s group of companies (Woolworth’s, MVC, Big W, Streets Online) do not accept the card on their online stores because they are under the impression that the cardholder must be present to use the card.
Using the card is easy. You give the card to the cashier, who swipes the card and you sign against the receipt. Within the next couple of years though, a new system for Electron holders will be brought into practise where the cardholder themselves puts the card into a machine and types a four digit number instead of signing for the receipt. This is currently common practise online when the checkout on some online stores asks you for a security number.
TIP: On some online stores where they logos for the cards are shown, there may not be a Visa Electron Logo. Most online stores still accept them though. This is also the case for some high street retailers and also watch out for new or newly refurbished shops, because they are bound to now be able to accept it.
Overall, I think the lack of acceptance boils down to a lack of communication between the Visa Corporation and the card issuers and retailers. I would seriously recommend you avoid this card at all costs but if you are aged between 16 and 18, hold some sort of young persons account with the likes of Barclays or Alliance and Leicester, or have a bad credit history and are offered this card by your bank then tough!
I cannot wait till I turn 18, because I am changing my card for a Barclaycard instead.
PLEASE IGNORE THE RATINGS BELOW, THEY ARE TOTALLY IRRELAVENT
I have one of these and it's so annoying. Halifax told me recently it was recommended to change my account as so few places accept visa electron! I have been able to use it on Amazon, paypal and various online clothes shops but my wages go into that account and I can't be bothered with the hassle of changing the card - it expires next July and they don't issue visa electron any more apparently so when they send me my next card it'll hopefully be something remotely decent. Excellent review - very helpful! Thanks
NotChardonnay 05.07.2004 18:37
Very good presentation.
mattwood 21.07.2003 00:55
Good op. I have a Solo card instead, which I'm generally pretty satisfied with. Matt