Norwich & Peterborough 90% balance transfer cap

After reading on this excellent site that the N&P were offering fee free, 0% for 6 months balance transfers, I decided to apply for an N&P card.

When the card arrived, I immediately rang to activate it and request a balance transfer. However, I was told that I could only transfer up to 90% of the cards credit limit. This was bad news as I had budgeted to transfer 100% of the limit.

I spent the next hour talking to a number of different departments to try and find out why.

I was told by various people that;


1. "It's a standard limit that all of the credit card companies apply".

However, on previous occasions, I have successfully tranferred 100% of a cards limit using Barclaycard, Egg, HSBC, Virgn, and M&S More cards, so this is patently not the case.


2. "It was necessary to leave a 10% buffer so that if I incurred any fees or interest, I wouldn't exceed my credit limit".

However, the card is fee free, and no interest is payable for 6 months. After making the minimum monthly payment for 6 months, I would have plenty of space capacity on the card to deal with any interest payments once the interest free period was up.


3. "The 90% transfer would leave 10% available for me to spend on purchases".

This at least was more honest, but naturally, the fact that purchases would accure interest payments until I had paid off the 90% balance transfer wasn't mentioned.

4. "I could apply for a limit increase that would cover the amount that I needed to transfer, whilst still remaining within the 90% rule".

I was put through to the special lending department. They said that they could 'investigate' to see if I could have a limit increase. I explained that according the rules posted on their website, no credit limit increase would be considered until 6 months had passed. The person I was speaking to then told me that the investigation consisted of checking my postal application to see if I had made any mistakes. As I had completed the application via the website, and had triple checked all of the information that I had given, we agreed that there didn't seem much point.


One of the people that I spoke to at N&P head office informed me that the N&P cards were administered by HBOS (Halifax & Bank of Scotland). They also said that they (N&P) weren't aware that this 90% cap was being placed upon N&P credit cards. They were however extremely helpful, sending long and detailled emails to various departments, and arranging for people to call me back with explainations, (which, to their credit, they did).

The upshot appears to be that HBOS are in charge, and N&P are powerless to change the limits imposed upon the credit card by HBOS. I made the point that the 90% limit was not mentioned on their website, or the credit card agreement form, or on any paperwork, or in any small print (and believe me, i've looked!), or even on this MSE website, all to no avail.

I am now waiting for a call from HBOS, but was told that I shouldn't hold out much hope for a favourable resolution.

What annoys me is that despite careful financial planning and budgeting, I now find myself paying interest on the amount that I was unable to transfer.


Martin, if you're reading this, please can you amend your credit card recommendations to reflect this 'new' rule, and maybe find out why the 90% rule is in place, but is not made clear to N&P customers?

Cheers,

Cyman
«13

Replies

  • I'd like to reply to some of your points - I'm a Senior Manager in a large cards issuer (not this one) and this is an area in which I've many years experience.

    1) This is really not the case across the industry. Specific lenders may make this choice, which I personally think is sensible. See 5.1 from the T&C's from their website
    5.1 We make a handling charge of 2% (at least £2) for cash advances. We may also limit the amount you can take out as a cash advance to a percentage of your overall credit limit. We will tell you what this cash limit is when you open your account. We will also tell you if the percentage changes at any time

    This percentage may vary based on each customer, or it may be a blanket rate, but given that this is in the terms and conditions then you will have been aware before signing the legal agreement. Also charges can be incurred - see later.

    2) If you miss a payment, then you will incur a £12 charge on this card - see section 4.1 of the Terms and Conditions

    4. KEY INFORMATION
    4.1 We will charge:-
    £12 each time you do not make a minimum payment by the payment date.
    £12 if your account balance is over your credit limit on a statement date.
    £12 each time a direct debit, cheque or other item is not paid, including a cheque which you write.

    The fee free part relates to the balance transfer fee, not any other charges that may be incurred. Some lenders also remove the 0% rate if a customer defaults and I'm not sure with this one.

    3) As you say, sensible

    4) Also true, but if they did not grant you a higher limit in the first place, I would not say it were likely that this would be the case

    It is unclear on whether the N&P or HBos own the lending decisions from their website - I would say on balance it looks like HBoS.

    I think it's a real shame that this organisation has not given you consistent information, and it appears that there is a lack of understanding of the process within the Building Society. I don't think there is an easy way round for you, sorry.

    Hope this helps

    Dave the Ginger Cat
    So many glitches, so little time...
  • YorkshireBoyYorkshireBoy Forumite
    31.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Forumite
    Dave,

    The 5.1 condition you refer to specifically relates to cash advances, not balance transfers.

    It's fair to say that the 90% BT restriction is not, to the best of my knowledge, publicised by HBoS, and it's only through anecdotal evidence that we found out about this particular HBoS policy.

    However, all may not be lost for the OP. I have seen reports of second BT's being possible, enabling 98% or more to the transferred to the card. From memory, this involved actioning a telephone requested 90% BT and then doing an additional BT online via the HBoS secure area.
  • Well done on all the info gathering mate mucho impressed by your perserverance!

    However Just do 2 BT's? to get most of the credit. BT the remaining cash available on the card

    EG. Credit limit = £10 000
    BT Transfer 1 = 90% x £10 000 = £9000
    BT Transfer 2 = 90% x £1 000 = £900
    Total £9 900 so only £100 left on card

    + you could do it again if you wished so only a £10 on the card

    Thats what im in the process of doing

    thanks

    /beastie
    -34k to 0 from september '05
    Debt Free, Stoozing King, Shrewd spender
  • Hi All,

    Thanks for the comments.

    Dave, as Yorkshireboy says, the The 5.1 condition doesn't cover balance transfers, only cash advances, which I don't need. The 10% buffer limit is a red herring, as i'm only trying to do a balance transfer, and no fee or interest is applicable for 6 months, by which time i'll already have paid off a substantial chunk of the balance.

    It's fustrating to talk to the N&P, only to realise that they don't know about such a fundemental condition, and even after investigating, are completely unable to provide an adequate reason why the rule exsists, or why it isn't being brought to the attention of potential customers at the application stage.

    Yorkshireboy...I don't have any login details for the HBOS secure area, but will look into it.


    Debeast...the limit is 90% of the credit limit, full stop. I can make multiple balance transfers, so long as the total of these balance transfers don't exceed this 90% limit. I'd be very interested to know how you get on...I hope they don't reclassify your second balance transfer as a cash advance, and start charging you interest! Keep us informed....

    I think i'm going to take this further...I don't see why I should be inconvenienced because poor organisation / training / communication of HBoS / N&P. Does anyone have any advice as to who I should talk to next? Banking Ombudsman? N&P Chairman?

    Thanks,

    Cyman
  • Result!

    So, I called the Customer Services number on the N&P website. Someone from the morgages department answered (!) so I asked for the name of the Customer Services Manager (because I like to know who i'm dealing with). I explained that I needed the name of the manager to address my letter to. After an eternity on hold, and asking for a managers name 3 seperate times, I was transferred to an HBoS credit card representative in Dublin.

    I kept my head.

    I explained the problem that I had with the 90% rule. He told me that the 90% rule was made clear in the credit card agreement that I had signed. I told him that it wasn't. Cue another 10 minutes on hold whilst he went off to find and read a copy. He then came back and admitted that I was right.

    Then, he told me, contrary to what everyone else in his organisation (and N&P) had said, that I could make another transfer...(i.e. 90% of the remaining 10% of the credit limit), fee free, and interest free.

    I made the second transfer. I also requested a letter confirming the status of the transfer, and stayed on the phone until I was sure it has been sent. Then I set up a direct debit for the minimum monthly payment.

    Job done =)


    Gah! Why didn't thay tell me this days ago and save me hours on the phone?

    Debeast, looks like you were right all along!

    Thanks for the advice...MSE forum 1, N&P 0


    Yours gratefully,

    Cyman

    P.S. apparently, my initial complaint has been sent to head office, so i'll let you know their response (if I get one!).
  • Dave,

    The 5.1 condition you refer to specifically relates to cash advances, not balance transfers.

    It's fair to say that the 90% BT restriction is not, to the best of my knowledge, publicised by HBoS, and it's only through anecdotal evidence that we found out about this particular HBoS policy.

    Fair comment - it was late at night!

    I'm pleased you resolved your issue, though, as it does trouble me when information is not clear to customers or conflicts.
    So many glitches, so little time...
  • GHGH Forumite
    366 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    I've just had the very same - been accepted for the card but with the 90% limit applied. Does anyone know if I can do a free SBT with N & P?
  • emcwillemcwill Forumite
    1.7K Posts
    GH wrote:
    I've just had the very same - been accepted for the card but with the 90% limit applied. Does anyone know if I can do a free SBT with N & P?

    No you need to use Egg Money. They state that you can't BT to current accounts. (They also say you can't BT to leave a +ve balance on a card but I'm just ignoring that and getting it off Egg Money ASAP!)

    I'm in the same boat with 90% cap - so frustrating! It's OH's card to be honest so I'm waiting to make first min pay after statement comes in then will get OH to ring up and try to BT 90% of remaining credit to Egg Money.

    I've tried doing BTs to Egg Money and PO card using the N&P online area but the site wouldn't accept the card nos.
    'In penguins and pearls we'll drink and we'll dance, 'til the end of our days, 'cause it ain't left to chance that we win...'
  • GamblerGambler Forumite
    3.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    emcwill wrote:
    No you need to use Egg Money. They state that you can't BT to current accounts. (They also say you can't BT to leave a +ve balance on a card but I'm just ignoring that and getting it off Egg Money ASAP!)

    I'm in the same boat with 90% cap - so frustrating! It's OH's card to be honest so I'm waiting to make first min pay after statement comes in then will get OH to ring up and try to BT 90% of remaining credit to Egg Money.

    I've tried doing BTs to Egg Money and PO card using the N&P online area but the site wouldn't accept the card nos.

    Just ring N&P, they were very helpful and efficient.
  • emcwillemcwill Forumite
    1.7K Posts
    Gambler wrote:
    Just ring N&P, they were very helpful and efficient.

    Gambler, did they let you BT more than 90% of your limit? Certainly the last time my OH called they were very strict (in fact they only let him transfer 89%!) but he called the 0800 number they gave to activate his card and did the BT then so I can't remember whether this was N&P or HBoS.
    'In penguins and pearls we'll drink and we'll dance, 'til the end of our days, 'cause it ain't left to chance that we win...'
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