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A few weeks ago I was shopping in my local Virgin store on the weekend when I got approached by one of their staff who asked me if I’d like some free virgin vouchers. Free vouchers of course I replied. She then proceeded to ask me a few questions, which were something like: -
Do you have a full time job? Are you on the electoral register? Do you have a cheque guarantee card?
When I answered these questions she told me that I had qualified to apply for the Virgin Mastercard credit card which earn me points when I shopped in Virgin. I was in quite a good mood that day so I decided to go through the questions with her for the card. She did not provide me with any real information about the card such as interest rates but I decided that if I did not want the card I could always not take it up if they offered me one.
The questions that she asked were pretty standard for any credit card application and included things like salary, time at address etc. Whilst these questions are pretty harmless some people may not be comfortable giving out this information in a crowded store,. As well as this information she asked for my current bank account details. Whilst I was happy to give the name of the bank and the time I had banked there I did not see how the details were relevant to my application and was not happy to give them to someone in a shop on their say. She advised them that I would need to give my bank details for credit checking otherwise I would not get the card. As I have worked in the industry I know that a bank account number is not necessary for a credit check and refused to give it. I pointed out that they had a home and mobile telephone number for me if they did require any further information and that I would happily provide this over the telephone. She then handed me some credit information and advised that I would hear from them shortly,
Just over a week later and I get a letter through my door telling me that I had been accepted for the virgin credit card and that I would get the card and pin number shortly. There was no mention of what my credit limit would be on this card.
Sure enough the next day I received my pin number, followed by my card the next day, an introductory letter, information about rates, my limit and activating the card. I activated the card by telephoning a free phone number and found the staff there to be friendly and helpful.
When I read through the information about my card I found that there was an introductory period where you had to pay 0% interest on balance transfers. I called about transferring my balance, gave them the amount, card number and company details and they advised that they would sort this out for me. My balance transfer would be interest free for 6 months and the return to the normal interest rate.
I then called up to arrange to pay my bill by Direct Debit. I requested that my Direct Debit was taken at about the 1st of the month which they agreed to and also asked whether I would like my cycle changed to coincide with my pay days too. I found then very willing to help. My card start date will now be the 1st of the month, I will get my bill by the 3rd of the following month and have to pay it by the 1st of the following month – nearly 2 months without paying.
For research for this opinion I visited the virgin money site to look at the different credit cards that they have on offer. The site was quick to load and simple to use. They have a card chooser there where you can answer a few simple questions and it will suggest the best credit card for you.
You can apply for cards online but I do not have the personal experience of this. There are 3 different ready made card options that you can choose and you can pick from 5 designs on your card. However these are all basically different mixtures of a red and black background and really are not that interesting. If you choose the reward option you will earn one point for every £1 you spend, which you can use in an exclusive online virgin shop.
When you get your card you can visit the cashpoint to change the pin on your account to a number of your own choice. You can also withdraw cash from your credit card account. However, you're charged 2% (min £2, no max) of the amount you withdraw from cashpoints,
Option 1 0.0% p.a. on Balance Transfers for 6 months 15.9% APR (variable) on card purchases With reward points No annual fee
Option 2 0.0% p.a. on Balance Transfers for 6 months* 13.9% APR (variable) on card purchases Without reward points No annual fee
Option 3 10.9% APR (variable) on card purchases With reward points No annual fee
All In all I feel that I have experienced excellent customer service from this company and they have told me that I can call up and change the design of my card or the option that I have selected at any time at no charge.
However, I strongly suspect that unless they really do impress most people they will continue to move their balances around cards making the most of the introductory 0% offers that most cards seem to offer at present.
Virgin card is run by MBNA Europe Bank Limited who are part of MBNA Corporation, the world's largest independent credit card lender, with over 50 million customers around the planet.
Virgin Credit Card
– track your application 0800 0567 686 – activate your card 0800 0150 307 – Members Shop 08456 10 2000 – card servicing 0800 0687 768
NB: I realise that this opinion is not yet complete, and I will update it regarding the bill, processing time etc as the month progresses. I have spoken to friends about this card and they have advised me that there are many Virgin offers on at the moment such as free vouchers and leaflets offering free stereos if you take out a card. I thought I’d review the card application process to give others the opportunity to try it.
PS – I got my Virgin vouchers for taking out a card in the post this morning – that may have persuaded me to write this op too!!!
got a call last night asking me if everything was ok with the card and if I was happy with the way the application had gone through - I'm impressed with their customer service!!!
update July 03
Well the bill arrived ok and was clear and easy to read and listed the payment due and stated that the mobet would be collected by direct debit. It was a small bill £30 which would come out of my account in full. I filed it away and thought nothing more of it. I then received a letter telling me that as I had not paid teh minimum payment (approx £6) I was being charged £30. I called up Vrgin and told them that I had set up the direct debit within 2 days of having the card and had recieved a statement stating the amount was to be taken by Direct Debit. They advised that the Direct debit was set up but that as teh payment date was changed at the same time it wasn't soon enough (it was well over a month before the due payment date). As the statement had told me to pay nothing due to the direct debit they agreed to remove the charge from my account. Even though I was complaining they were very friendly and helpfull. I paid the amount in full in my bank and will be checking my bank next month when the bill is due out.