Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Money Matters

You may recall that I was having a little local difficulty with my credit card provider some time ago., and that I sent them a rather lovely letter.

In case you missed the whole sorry saga: I'd received a refund for some online purchases, and Cahoot chose to regard this as my payment for the month, and didn't take the direct debit payment I had set up. No credit card payment = interest due....

Unfortunately, Cahoot didn't see it that way, and informed me, in summary, that this was perfectly normal behaviour from a credit card provider. I didn't have to pay interest because I had spotted the problem and paid it pdq, but the gist of their communication was that I could expect a similar occurrance every time I received a refund for goods paid for with their Visa card.


So, I went looking for a better deal.

Please note: I am not a financial adviser, and I don't play one on TV! This is my experience of looking for terms that suited me.

The decision-making process went something like this:
Q: What do I use my card for?
A: Buying online, holiday spending sometimes, general shopping.
Q: Do I need a low interest rate or balance transfer rate?
A: No. I pay my card in full every month, and have no outstanding balance.
Q: What features do I therefore need?
A: Commonly accepted type (not Amex), low commission on currency conversions, low commission on cash withdrawals overseas.
Q: What features would be nice?
A: Ability to pay the balance in full by direct debit to avoid forgetting. Some sort of reward scheme, as I'm not going to benefit from a low interest rate if I pay it off each month. Internet banking.

The Yorkshire Building Society offers a Visa card with a reasonable interest rate, amongst the lowest I could find for foreign currency conversion, and cashback!

I used the Money Supermarket to compare cards, but then went directly to the Yorkshire Building Society's website to apply as Money Supermarket suggested that you couldn't apply directly online.

The card is actually provided by the Co-Operative Bank, and I'm not altogether happy with their internet or telephone banking security procedures, so I'll try to log on as seldom as possible.


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