I have been unfortunate in my life to accumulate a number of credit card and loan debts. I have been struggling to pay these for the last four years, although I have now reached a point where things are getting much easier to handle, and the total value of my debt has decreased significantly.
When I realised there was a problem, all my credit cards were cut up and returned to the respective creditors. However, this of course left me without a credit card. Initially, this didnt seem to be a problem, as quite frankly I had had enough of them! However, when my bank decided to withdraw my card as well, things took a turn for the worse.
In this day and age it is increasingly difficult to be without either a debit or credit card.
Because of this, I have tried continuously over the last couple of years to apply for both credit cards. However, due to my seriously damaged credit history from defaults, CCJ’s and arrears I have found it impossible to get approval for any kind of credit.
That is until a friend of mine recommended me to Vanquis. He explained how they had approved his application for a credit card when he had had no credit history and referred me to their website.
Curious, I took a look and was shocked by the high interest rates that they were quoting, however they claim that because of the high interest rates, they are able to offer credit facilities to a wider range of people, especially to those who normally stand outside the normal credit scoring process used my high street lenders.
I am not too worried about the high interest rate as I intended to pay off the full balance of the card each month, using it only where necessary and for such things as ordering from the internet, where it is near impossible to do this without a form of plastic payment.
However, based on my past credit history, which I am keen to change, I had resigned myself to believing that I would not get approval, even fromo Vanquis, so shelced the idea.
A couple of months lateer my friend enquired as to whether I had been able to obtain a credit card from them. I told him that I had not even applied and he rung their number straight away and passed me the phone!
I went through a very short application over the phone, and to my surprise, once this had been completed I was told I had been approved for a credit card with an initial credit limit of £500!
My card and pin number arrived soon after and I have been enjoying the pleasure of internet shopping again ever since. I have now had the card for nearly a year and am very pleased with the level of service that Vanquis offer.
The interest rate on the card is very high at 39.9%, however, Vanquis claim that this will be reduced year on year provided you have maintained a good record with them. As I pay off the full balance each month, I rarely pay any interest, and any that I do pay usually comes in at around £1 per month. A modest amount for the privileges that I am now enjoying again.
I would say that if you only plan to pay the minimum amount each month, then this is perhaps not the right card for you as you will pay consistently high interest charges.
There are no reward schemes such as those offered by other credit providers (points schemes, cashback etc). However, you can use your card to obtain cash from a cashpoint although the interest for cash withdrawals is higher and subject to a cash handling fee.
The other disadvantage with the card is that there is an annual fee, currently £30 payable on your first statement and every year after that. Late fees and overlimit fees also come in at £30 each.
The application process is very simple, just give them a call and you only need to answer a few questions. If accepted a credit agreement will be sent to you in the post.
As with most other credit cards, there is a telephone number you can call to get your balance, credit limit, recent transactions, last payment etc, and also to speak to an advisor.
Vanquis are generally very friendly, that is, until you miss a payment.
I missed one payment, purely because I forgot to pay it, and ended up receiving multiple phone calls (7 in one day!) from them chasing for payment, and also a number of letters in the post. However, this situation was soon rectified after I sent them the payment as promised.
In summing up, I would say that this is an ideal card for those in the same position as myself or any others that plan to pay of the full balance each month. If you are only going to pay the minimum payment each month and your balance is £500 you will pay approximately £19 per month in interest charges. Obviously if your credit limit is higher, the interest charged each month will be proportionately higher.
In general though, I would recommend this credit card provided you are sensible with it.