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As with most people these days I was finding managing a mortgage/credit card and loan debts quite overwhelming. I earn a good wage but never seemed to have any money. I saw the Virgin One account advertised a few times, but couldn’t quite suss it out. Money and me don’t work very well and it would have to be explained at a very simple level for me to understand it.
So I went onto the webb site www.virginone.com to have a look and try and get some info. The site itself is very informative, however to get a good idea of whether this is the account for you, you need to have some figures available, debts, incomings, outgoings that sort of thing, and a good half hour to go through the screens.
So, having got half way through filling in forms I decided to phone Virgin One instead, and I am so glad I did. Each person I have spoken to has been so helpful, extremely pleasant and brilliantly patient with my never ending questions. So I signed up for an account.
The whole process took about one month, the only thing I needed to pay for up front was the evaluation fee – this cost me £139, but I think it can vary depending on the area you live in. Other fees were solicitor fees, again about £140, but that can go out of your One account.
Once the account was set up, Virgin sent me a list of all direct debits and standing orders I had on my old account and all I had to do was tick the ones I wanted to be transferred across and they did all the work for me. I paid off all other debts owed so I only had the one, rather huge, debt left to pay. Yet my outgoings had reduced by nearly £400 a month! (it takes some getting used to when you get cash from a machine and your balance says £50,000 over drawn!)
My wage gets paid directly into the account, which is all knocked off the amount owed immediately, thus lowering the interest, then you sort of reborrow through the month as you spend your money. So the idea is you set up your direct debits to go out just before your next wage comes in, thus leaving the borrowed amount lower for longer. You get all the usual things, cheque book, switch etc and on the surface it seems to be like any other bank. The difference is, you can phone at anytime to check a balance, pay a bill, transfer money or you can go online and see how it is all working, see how much you owe, whether you are ahead of target or need to spend a little less next month. You don’t have to pay them money back, as they are already getting it from your wage, they suggest an amount to be left each month to ensure that the debt is paid off over the term agreed. Leave more than this amount in and it is paid off earlier. Very simple to use.
The interest rate depends on how much you borrow, compared to the value of the house, and as you pay off more money, the interest can be reduced too – mine is currently at 5.4% which sounds good to me.
One thing that really made me laugh and I thought was a fabulous touch – small things amuse me – I set up a standing order to give my daughter some pocket money each month. The idea being if it goes into her bank account, she might actually save some Ha ha ha. Anyway, when I set it up, with a very helpful chappy over the phone, he asked what I would like to appear on the statement. Not really sure what he meant, so he explained – and now, when my daughters next bank statement arrives, all the money that comes from me will actually say – Love Mum X – as I said, small things but such a nice touch.
This account might not work for everyone, it is a mortgage, not a bank account, but it is the best thing I could ever have done. If I am sensible and don’t over spend, I could own my own home by I am 45 – now that sounds jolly good to me. But if in a few years I fancy a new car, well I can go out and get one without having to apply for a loan – the only commitment I make is that I have to pay off all monies owed in the 25 year term.
Excellent – wish they brought this out years ago – definitely the bank of the future.
Sounds wonderful and a very good rate to boot - I currently have quite substantial tie ins on my mortgage, not to mention a substantial mortgage - but certainly one to consider in the future - £400 a month - thats a BIG saving.
MarkKerr 22.05.2002 17:15
Excellent op and useful as am currently toying with the idea of opening one of these.