Bad Credit? E-Platinum Plus Card Warning!
Please read this article BEFORE even thinking about paying £79.95 upfront for the E-Platinum plus card as it’s NOT as it first appears and IT’S NOTHING LIKE A PLATINUM CREDIT CARD!
The E-Platinum Plus card is certainly very cleverly marketed and is exclusively for residents living in the UK. It is issued by a company named, “E-Credit Plus™ Shopping” who run a credit shopping catalogue at http://www.ecreditcatalogue.co.uk. With the card they claim to offer 0% APR, a guaranteed approval with no credit checks and a quote, “credit line of £5000″ with increases available. Their card homepage is titled, “get the credit you deserve” and they go on to quote, “receive all of the privileges of platinum with the E-Platinum Plus Card!”. It all sounds too good to be true for someone who can’t normally get credit easily, but it is in my opinion purposely deceptive and horribly tempting for people on low incomes and/or with a bad credit history. Notice they quote, “all the privileges of platinum” which means virtually nothing as it’s NOT, “all the privileges of a platinum card”. I’ve actually read about real people who have been fooled into thinking they’re paying for a platinum credit card who are calling it a scam. Also notice that they use quote, “credit line”, which isn’t the same as a credit limit. They may charge 0% APR, but there’s no mention of all the other fees that they charge instead while also making massive profits at your expense by charging high prices for the only products you are really allowed to buy using your £79.95 card.
UPDATE 20/09/10 – They’ve modified and simplified their home page since the original time of writing. They now advertise a smaller “£2,500 Credit Line” which is halved and some of the misguided wording has been removed including the quote, “all the privileges of platinum”. These advertising changes are probably due to complaints where people have wrongfully believed that the card is similar to a platinum credit card. I’m pleased to see these changes, but I’d like to see them go even further as in my opinion there will still be some people who will wrongfully assume they’re applying for a platinum credit card without firstly reading their terms and conditions thoroughly. Apart from the halved credit line, the card itself is exactly the same!
My article reveals the real E-Platinum Plus Card and also includes my personal opinions on the product. The real information about the card is also detailed in their terms and conditions (UPDATED AS LINK CHANGED: 4th Nov 2010) which unfortunately most people fail to read, instead they fall for the marketing hype that confuses them to believe they’re getting similar to a platinum credit card and are then later shocked to find what they’ve really let themselves in for after paying for the privilege. Unlike the front page of their website, the terms & conditions are in fact clear and aren’t deceptive in any way if only people would choose to read them. These terms and conditions protect the organisation from any legal action by dissatisfied customers as they will always bring them to the customer’s attention if you they attempt to complain about being mislead. In short, always read the terms and conditions very carefully before buying any financial product even if they are long and laborious, otherwise you might well be very sorry.
Incidentally, they do have an affiliate program, so expect some very good biased reviews.
REASONS TO AVOID GETTING THIS CARD:
LARGE UPFRONT FEES:
Firstly to get an E-Platinum plus card, there’s an upfront fee of £79.95 when signing up on the official site at http://www.e-platinumplus.co.uk/, but if you’re unlucky enough to sign up at http://rt.e-platinumplus.co.uk/ instead, it costs £99.95 as you’re obviously giving £20 to a middle man.
Be warned that if your initial payment of £79.95 fails to go through properly, they can choose to attempt to take £39.95 instead by direct debit at the earliest opportunity. The £39.95 card will have a much reduced £1250 credit line (NOT a credit limit). They state in the terms and conditions that they won’t be responsible for any bank charges because of this, so be warned as many banks charge £30+ for failed direct debits. This is in my opinion very sneaky and wrong as if the original transaction fails at £79.95, the person may not want to spend half the amount for a quarter of the spending limits (UPDATE 20/09/2010 – The standard credit line is now only £2,500 instead of £5,000 as before).
Out of the £79.95 upfront cost, £65.95 is the enrolment fee, while £14.00 is the application fee. The application fee is normally never refundable unless you cancel during the legal UK mandatory cooling off period of 14 days, but you must cancel in writing and I recommend you use recorded signed for mail.
I suspect you actually discover exactly what products you can really buy with your card and the likely extortionate prices after the 14 day period, but conveniently by this time it’s impossible to claim back your entire fee and it’s also very awkward. You can choose to cancel after 14 days, but within 30 days, but you will lose your £14 application fee and your account must be settled in full while all your documents and card is returned. If you choose to cancel during this period, you must read the small print of the agreement very carefully as not complying precisely could invalidate your cancellation. You must obtain a “Return Authorisation number” first from the company before returning all your documents. In my opinion the cancellation procedure is designed to catch many people out and if your cancellation becomes invalid, you probably won’t realise until it’s far too late to attempt another cancellation. You’re normally held to a 12 month contract after 30 days and you will then have to pay the monthly fees for at least this period.
In short, my advice is ideally don’t pay anything or certainly don’t pay a significant amount up front to get credit. If you have to pay a lot of money up front to get credit, then it’s usually an extremely bad deal or in some cases it’s even a con or scam to trap people with low credit ratings who can’t get credit using normal reputable channels. If you can’t get credit using the normal channels, then I strongly recommend you do without. The E-Platinum card isn’t really a scam, it’s just a poor and misleading deal in my opinion, but there are some awful scams out there that charge money up front for so called credit. A friend of mine with a bad credit history once paid a different company for what he thought was a guaranteed credit card acceptance, instead he was offered a My Cash Plus prepaid card after paying about £40 for the privilege. Anyone can buy a My Cash Plus prepaid card for £9.95 with no credit checks and there’s a guaranteed acceptance as it’s not really a credit card at all. He complained, but never got his money back, so please be warned of similar.
EVEN MORE FEES:
The card claims to have a 0% APR that is fixed forever, yet instead of paying interest you have to pay other fees instead as well as your £79.95 up front fee.
There’s a £4.95 a month maintenance fee which works out at another £59.40 a year. If you account is inactive, you have to pay another £9.95 a year.
There’s a reasonable £5 charge for a late payment (about the only reasonable thing I’ve seen with this card in my opinion).
CASH ADVANCES ARE NOT AS GOOD AS THEY SOUND:
You have to earn the right to a cash advance by first purchasing items from the catalogue. You are then allowed to have a cash advance up to 50% of the total item purchases which is added to your balance and paid back in the same way. This is the only real perk of having this card, but in my opinion it’s just not worth it as you’re likely to have already spent close to the cash advance in extra costs for the over priced items, not to mention the rest of the fees. If you are charged say £500 for an item, you could have a cash advance of £250 which you will have to pay back, but if the item is £300 in the shops, you would have had £200 to spare from £500 anyway which is almost the cash advance offered in the first place.
HIGH MONTHLY PAYMENTS ON YOUR BALANCE:
With most genuine credit cards at the time of writing you can pay a minimum of 3% of your balance a month in the UK. With the Platinum Plus Card, the minimum monthly payment is 15% of your balance or £12.50 whichever is the greater. This minimum amount is 5 times higher than most genuine credit cards. If you owe less than £12.50, then you must pay off the final balance in full. What’s worse is unlike credit cards, the minimum monthly payment doesn’t reduce as your balance is paid off according to the terms and conditions, so if you owe £150, you will have to make 10 x £15 payments. Paying a lot more a month isn’t always a disadvantage as it forces you to pay off your debt quicker and you are less likely to get into as much debt. It however works out much better for the company as quicker payments vastly reduce their cost of providing the credit which increases their profits even more.
IT’S NOT REALLY A CREDIT CARD AT ALL:
The Platinum Plus Card is NOT a Mastercard or Visa card, it’s certainly NOT a platinum credit card or anything even the slightest bit like it, in fact it’s not really a credit card at all. Instead applicants are really signing up as a member of a credit catalogue company as the ONLY products you can purchase with the card are the products they choose to offer you at the expensive prices they decide, apart from indirect purchases if you later apply for a cash advance. The card itself is really just a membership card as it’s not really physically required to make these purchases.
NO UPFRONT CATALOGUE PRICES USUALLY MEANS OVER PRICED PRODUCTS:
As I said above, you can only buy the products they choose to offer using your card. Before signing up, you can’t even see examples of the prices you will be actually paying for these products, so they can choose to charge what they like and you can be almost certain that the prices will be very high and not in the slightest bit competitive as otherwise they would surely be shown upfront. So with very expensive overpriced products, one could say that a very high APR is included in the price along with all their other fees, but officially it isn’t and they can continue advertising 0% APR. The company is really onto a winner, they charge expensive joining fees and other fees, then they make an enormous profit on any products they choose to offer. If you don’t like the prices, you still lose your expensive membership fees, plus any monthly charges so far and it’s very debatable whether you will see the catalogue prices in time to cancel using the 14 day cooling off period.
WHAT IF I HAVE DIFFICULTIES PAYING?
If you get into too much debt or your circumstances change for the worse, how understanding will the company be? Well it’s not always the case, but most companies that lend to people with low incomes and/or with a poor credit history have harsher methods to reclaim back any unpaid balances and are less understanding when people get into difficulties that are often of no fault of their own. I cannot however say that E-Credit Plus Shopping will be any more difficult to deal with than for instance a high street bank as I haven’t had any personal experience.
According to the terms and conditions, the company has a security interest in the items until the balance is paid in full, this means that they’re likely to try and reclaim their goods on non payment.
IF YOU STILL WANT THIS CARD:
Okay, after understanding everything about this card, there’s a small chance you may still wish to get one, if so please visit:
(NOT RECOMMENDED BY PJCNET!)
LOANS AND GRANTS FOR PEOPLE ON BENEFITS:
If you are in receipt of Income Support, income based Job Seeker’s Allowance, income based Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit you may be entitled to an interest free Budgeting Loan from the Social Fund. To apply, please click here. There’s no credit checks.
Alternatively if you are claiming any of the above benefits, you may in some circumstances be eligible for a community care grant, you don’t have to pay these back, for more details please click here.
If applying for a budgeting loan, please ensure you can easily afford the repayments which are normally taken directly from your benefits. Always ensure you are completely honest when filling out any benefits applications including Budgeting Loans or Community Care Grants, or indeed any credit application as knowingly falsifying any information is a criminal offence.
Please also read the comments below this article for advise on the following:
1) Time Scales for Money From The Social Fund.
2) Obtaining Emergency Crisis Loans from the Social Fund.
3) Cancelling your E-Platinum plus card within 14 days or within 30 days (further help).
4) The Incapacity Benefit Stinger where people are often excluded from help in a loophole.
5) Poor credit history credit cards (credit building credit cards) and what you can do even if you’re refused these.
The purpose of this document is NOT to offer financial advise and we are NOT financial advisor’s or qualified in this field in any way or form, for any financial advise we strongly recommend you contact a professional independent advisor or your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
This article is without prejudice to E-Platinum Plus. The purpose of this article is to do no harm. The article is a personal opinion only and shouldn’t be taken as definite fact.
PJCNET will not be held responsible or liable for any direct or indirect actions of a anyone through the information included in the article. Entering a credit agreement is solely the persons responsibility and is entirely at their own risk.
My full legal disclaimer applies to this article, any comments and all other articles on this website.
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