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Idea for 0% credit card to pay bills via direct debit

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Idea for 0% credit card to pay bills via direct debit

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deskmtbdeskmtb Forumite
1 posts
Hi, I recently received a 0% credit card. I have a very good credit score and am not in debt. I want to use this card for all of my everyday spending and ideally bills. However some of my bills can only be paid by setting up a direct debit from a current account.

I have a starling current account, which I can top up using apple pay which I should be able to link to my 0% credit card. As far as i'm aware I can then pay off the bills through a direct debit, and there shouldn't be any additional fees for this.

This would then allow me to save more of my salary without spending it on bills. Would there be any disadvantage to this idea?

Many thanks,

Replies

  • Terry_TowellingTerry_Towelling Forumite
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    Firstly, you'd still have to pay the bills eventually by paying your credit card off.

    Secondly, are you completely sure the top-ups wouldn't be processed as cash transactions?

    Thirdly, do you have enough bills and a high-enough credit limit to make it worthwhile? What you are suggesting is akin to stoozing where you gain a bit of interest on cash saved whilst borrowing at 0% and making minimum payments but would the interest made be worthwhile.

    Fourthly, if you are truly able to transfer from a 0% credit card into your current account with no fees (which I doubt) why not just forget all the fancy manipulations, keep paying your direct debits as normal and just transfer your entire available credit to your current account and then stick it in a savings account?
  • crumpetmancrumpetman Forumite
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    To top up Starling from a debit card there is a limit of £250 per day. I haven't checked but this limit probably applies to top ups via Apple Pay.
  • Ben8282Ben8282
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    Just out of curiosity, what type of 0% credit card do you have?
  • edited 27 March 2019 at 11:27AM
    fworfwor Forumite
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    edited 27 March 2019 at 11:27AM
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  • fworfwor Forumite
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  • GinCoGinCo Forumite
    7 posts
    I'd say the second point made by Terry Towel is the most important stumbling block.

    Given that credit card companies charge more interest on cash advances, and they are treated as a credit-rating red flag indicating someone having financial trouble, obvious routes to by-pass an actual money transfer are likely to be closed off.

    In similar situations I've stuck to things that allow direct payment by credit card, so definitely are 'purchases'.

    In the 'bills' category I've done things like pay telephone line-rental for a year and gone for similar options with subscription services.That can often be significantly cheaper than using direct debit anyhow, and even if that's not available some let you pay by monthly charge to a credit card rather than direct debit.

    I'd suggest looking at any bill that will accept credit card payment rather than only cash/debit and see if it makes sense for you to pay an extra lump sum (putting your account significantly into credit, that you can draw down).

    Beyond that, you could consider other forms of pre-payment that will shift your usual spending past your 0% on purchases deal. I've only done that when there's been an extra incentive. With groceries, I know that Tesco and Morrisons offer 'Christmas saver' schemes where you get a bonus for topping up their loyalty cards. In Tesco's case that's been £12 for £200-360, with the bonus only valid from issue in November until the end of December but the top-up amount in vouchers good for ordinary shopping for 2 years.

    Iceland's 'Bonus Card' operates as a year-round pre-pay system, adding £1 per £25 to what you put on it at their tills with no expiry. They've had promotions doubling that for top-ups in short periods pre-Christmas/Easter.

    Amazon let you create or top-up a 'gift-card' balance by credit card and I'd expect there are similar opportunities with other companies.

    Obviously, you are always tying your money down to future spending with whoever you do something like that with and it isn't secured like an actual savings account. If they change their terms or go bust you could lose out badly, and should check the terms and conditions thoroughly at the outset anyhow. Even without catches on what you can buy, paying prices that aren't competitive and/or splashing out on things you wouldn't buy anyway could mean you're actually making a loss.

    Likewise, it's clearly a bad idea to load on to the credit card anything that you can't be reasonably sure you'll be able to clear in time to avoid interest. As per point 4 above, any gains you make can easily be more than wiped out if you can't.

    Hope that's relevant and helps. All the best.
  • You cannot top up a Starling account with a credit card linked to Google Pay, so I'd be very surprised if you can do this with Apple Pay.

    The simpler route is to use a Curve debit card instead.

    A Curve debit card can be used to top up any account that accepts debit card topups, including:

    Starling (£250 per day), Monzo (£100 per day, max. £500 per card per month), Dozens (£250 per transaction, max. £5000 per day), Revolut (not sure - I don't really use it) etc.

    The first issue you face is that your underlying credit card may recognise these as cash transactions. This is completely card dependent, so it is VERY important that you do a test transaction first before doing any significant transactions.

    Having said that, credit cards that I have used successfully (i.e. that recognise current account topups as purchases) with Curve as a debit card topping up Starling/Monzo/Dozens include:

    Halifax, Lloyds, HSBC, aqua, MBNA

    Entirely your own risk if you want to try this though!

    Tesco charges these as cash transactions.
    There are reports on forums that NatWest do the same.

    The second issue is that Curve itself has card limits, which start off very low (max. 10k). You need to fit their "spending profile" for higher limits, which basically means using Curve for everyday spending. This is not very hard and will build up your stooze balance anyway. Once you've maxed their higher 50k annual limit though, you'll probably have trouble getting a higher limit, unless you've kept up regular spending on Curve.

    This method has been so successful for me that I can shift any limit I'm offered to cash within weeks.


    Another benefit of Curve is the "go back in time" feature.

    My most recent stooze round looked like this:

    Lloyds 0% purchase
    Bank of Scotland 0% BT
    MBNA large artificial purchase balance via Curve (deliberate, topping up current accounts within the previous 14 days, each transaction under 1k limit for go back in time)

    Step 1
    Balance transfer MBNA balance to Bank of Scotland

    Step 2
    Go back in time on MBNA purchase on Curve to Lloyds

    Step 3
    Call MBNA and get the credit balance sent to your bank account.

    End
    MBNA balance now as BT on Bank of Scotland card AND as purchase on Lloyds card.

    Cash from MBNA and as topups into current account = double cashout from a single balance
  • edited 14 April 2019 at 11:57AM
    jtgaolerjtgaoler Forumite
    33 posts
    edited 14 April 2019 at 11:57AM
    Of course, I still have to pay off those two balances at some point, so you'll have to decide yourself - depending on the deals you get - whether it's worth it. :)
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