Advantages website easy to use, great introductory offer
Disadvantages hiking up interest to an extortionate 34.9%!!!
|Competitiveness of APR|
|Quality of Customer Service|
|Security and Privacy|
|Ease of Application|
Oh dear, where do I start?I applied for a virgin credit card shortly after I returned from my world travels, id been working a bit abroad but id still managed to rack up a bit of debt along the way, plus id started a new job and had bought a car, the deposit of which went on my old credit card.
Adverts for virgin were everywhere offering a 0% balance transfer rate, it looked pretty attractive, so I went for it and transferred my balance.VIRGIN WEBSITE
Colourful and certainly attractive, getting and remembering a username and password is also really simple - no complicated ID numbers etc that some websites insist on.Once you have logged into the website, it gives you the summary of your account, listing what you have available for purchase, pending transactions, and your credit limit. Beneath this, it lists the total minimum payment due, any overdue amount, last statement balance and last payment received. It will also show you current rates and recent activity on this page for quick viewing.
The next tab is Statements, surprisingly enough, a tab where you can view your statements! It will list the last six months worth. The next tab is "Manage Account" which will give you the numbers you need to contact virgin with any issues, your contact details and access for changing any of your details.The last tab is where you can make a payment towards your balance. Again this is also really simple to use.
GENERAL VIEW OF VIRGIN AND ITS SERVICES....Ok, so Ive now had my virgin card for four years, admittedly for alot long than id planned, as well as going way over my time of 0%. However, I happily carried on paying my balance by direct debit each month at the increased rate of 16.9% or something similar, had no problems with Virgin at all and planned, in the very near future, to pay it off or move it to another 0% card.
However. three months ago, my views of Virgin have changed dramatically. I received a letter from Virgin to tell me that they had decided (on what basis its unclear) that my new interest rate was to be upped to a MASSIVE 34.5%!!!!! In absoloute shock, I then discovered that my minimum payment of £60 a month, which in the first place was hardly going towards my balance anyway, was now being increased to £82, with the interest on this being £78!!In absoloute shock, I did burst into tears. I know most people will say (and I do agree to a certain extent) that I racked up the debt, therefore its just tough, and I should pay it, its whats owed. Well, yes, but paying at that rate every month is hardly going to achieve anything towards paying off is it! I might as well throw my money down the drain every month for all its doing to clear my debts. Despite the fact that I could barely afford to pay £82 a month on top of other bills etc anyway. Impossible!
I called customer services, and to their credit, they were very helpful at first, and tried to help, offering me a (very slightly) reduced rate. After working out what percentage id be paying every month towards interest, it still didnt seem fair. So I declined.Since then, I have stopped my payments to virgin, which to be honest is very frightening for someone who has always paid on time! I've written them a letter to explain why my direct debit has been stopped, and to say that I do want to pay but that i want a reduced monthly repayment and a 0% new customer offer for a year to help me clear the debt I owe (approx 3.5K).
I had a phone call from a not very nice man from virgin since then to say that it is my responsibility to repay (um, yes I know, thats not my point) and that Virgin could not do anything more for me and that if I didnt pay Id have the bailiffs round. I now get phone calls every four days from a member of MBNA to ask for payment and ask why I havent paid. At present, Ive only missed one payment for August, and incurred a late fee of £12 and a fee of £12 for a returned direct debit. Im due to pay the next month in a couple of days time.After speaking to several people about my situation, Ive decided to stay firm on my decision to not pay, im waiting to see if ive been accepted for another 0% card which will solve the issue (for now!) but otherwise, ill hold tight and see what happens. I dont own my house, as I rent, I dont have a car, and I have no assets to speak of, plus the fact that Ive offered to pay off my debts and Im not refusing to pay completely, so Im hoping if things go really bad and Im taken to court, things may go in my favour. Im simply holding out on payment as I know it will be swallowed up in interest.
CONCLUSIONFair enough, this is the credit card business and everyone knows this is how they make their money. However, Id ask people to think very carefully before getting this particular card if you arent able to pay your debts off after the introductory period. After investigating on some websites online, I have found lots of people in a similar predicament to me, people who have serveral thousand pounds worth of debt with MBNA/Virgin and who pay regularly and on time by DD the minimum amount and who believe that Virgin are targeting us specifially to boost their interest they can get out of us.
I have also seen plenty of reviews from satisfied customers, so my advice would be - if you need to do a balance transfer for 0% and you are good with your finances, virgin do have a very good offer and generally speaking they are a good company. Just make sure that after this 0% period, you shift it again to another card, because you never know whether you will get a letter through telling you they have hiked up your interest, basically because they felt like it.
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