How do mule cards work?

Hello all,

I've been seeing a few mentions around here of using an MBNA card as a 'mule' to transfer a positive balance, and I was wondering what the idea is (I've done some googling and searching of the forums, but haven't turned up an explanation of the basics).

I understand that the idea is to put the money-transfer card into positive balance and then transfer this positive balance to a current account - but how do you get the original card into positive in the first place? Doesn't that require bringing in money from your bank account, in which case what's the point?

Obviously I am missing something, but would be very grateful if anyone could explain what. Thank you!!
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  • adindas
    adindas Posts: 6,803
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    edited 4 February 2017 at 1:49PM
    jamesallen wrote: »
    Hello all,

    I've been seeing a few mentions around here of using an MBNA card as a 'mule' to transfer a positive balance, and I was wondering what the idea is (I've done some googling and searching of the forums, but haven't turned up an explanation of the basics).

    I understand that the idea is to put the money-transfer card into positive balance and then transfer this positive balance to a current account - but how do you get the original card into positive in the first place? Doesn't that require bringing in money from your bank account, in which case what's the point?

    Obviously I am missing something, but would be very grateful if anyone could explain what. Thank you!!

    You do a BT from 0% credit card on BT to this card, You then request to be transferred to your Current account.

    It is working the same way with money transfer (aka super BT) you just need to add temporary container in the middle which is this mule card.

    When you do a BT request they do not really check whether you have balance to clear or to reduce.
  • YorkshireBoy
    YorkshireBoy Posts: 31,541
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    jamesallen wrote: »
    but how do you get the original card into positive in the first place?
    You transfer a ficticious balance from the mule card to a 0% BT card.


    Not without risks though!
  • TheShape
    TheShape Posts: 1,775
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    You transfer a ficticious balance from the mule card to a 0% BT card.


    Not without risks though!

    I know I've asked questions re stoozing, Mule Cards, +ve balances a number of times but what are the specific risks to avoid?

    I'm looking to transfer balances from two cards and use an MBNA card as a mule in the very near future (timing the 90 day balance transfer window to allow me to transfer from a card I will use abroad at both the end of this month and the start of May). I'm aiming to transfer as much as possible as I've currently got room for approx £10k in 3%+ accounts.
  • molerat
    molerat Posts: 31,504
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    The big risk is that by putting your credit card into a positive balance you are breaking the T&C's. The mule card could simply reject the payment and send it back to where it came leaving you with the BT fee to pay. They could also close the card for breaking the T&Cs.
  • YorkshireBoy
    YorkshireBoy Posts: 31,541
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    The above is why I'd never pay a BT fee! I only use fee-free deals.

    But in addition...

    If a purchase transaction appears on the account just before a +ve balance is actioned, your account could go into -ve balance with the MT, meaning a (c. 4%) money transfer fee could be applied.
  • TheShape
    TheShape Posts: 1,775
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    molerat wrote: »
    The big risk is that by putting your credit card into a positive balance you are breaking the T&C's. The mule card could simply reject the payment and send it back to where it came leaving you with the BT fee to pay. They could also close the card for breaking the T&Cs.

    I intend only to try this with a no fee BT card in order to avoid any fees. I suppose there is a risk of card/account closure but that is a risk you can't avoid if you are using a card as a mule card.
  • TheShape
    TheShape Posts: 1,775
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    The above is why I'd never pay a BT fee! I only use fee-free deals.

    But in addition...

    If a purchase transaction appears on the account just before a +ve balance is actioned, your account could go into -ve balance with the MT, meaning a (c. 4%) money transfer fee could be applied.

    I thought that could also be a problem so will not make any purchases/check all purchases are accounted for before trying this. YB, I seem to remember another thread (I can't find it to link to) where there was a mention of a card perhaps making a 'test' transaction prior to a balance transfer, I imagine this could also cause a problem if not spotted.
  • Ben8282
    Ben8282 Posts: 4,821
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    edited 5 February 2017 at 7:31PM
    TheShape wrote: »
    I know I've asked questions re stoozing, Mule Cards, +ve balances a number of times but what are the specific risks to avoid?

    I'm looking to transfer balances from two cards and use an MBNA card as a mule in the very near future (timing the 90 day balance transfer window to allow me to transfer from a card I will use abroad at both the end of this month and the start of May). I'm aiming to transfer as much as possible as I've currently got room for approx £10k in 3%+ accounts.


    Why the need for the mule card? Why not just transfer the balance directly between the two cards?
  • TheShape
    TheShape Posts: 1,775
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    Ben8282 wrote: »
    Why the need for the mule card? Why not just transfer the balance directly between the two cards?

    I'm looking to do both. I've got room for 8-10k in current accounts at 3%+ and can also top up my S&S ISA by replacing some of my cash funds with stoozed funds so I'd like to maximise the transfer using the mule card on top of the transfer.
  • faddy
    faddy Posts: 508 Forumite
    The above is why I'd never pay a BT fee! I only use fee-free deals.

    But in addition...

    If a purchase transaction appears on the account just before a +ve balance is actioned, your account could go into -ve balance with the MT, meaning a (c. 4%) money transfer fee could be applied.

    On the whole amount transferred, or just on the resulting -ve balance ?
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