28 May 2017
Matt Scott

Matt Scott

Matt Scott - NCR Corporation

13Posts 64,379Views 144Comments

Trials and Tribulations with Prepaid Experimentation...

04 March 2011  |  4551 views  |  1

Ok, so I've had fun experimenting with the O2 Prepaid Card offering provided by O2/Natwest.

I noticed that Orange/Barclays were launching a new Prepaid Card with PayPass - excellent I thought - this must equal the strives and developments made by O2 - it must surpass them.

Unfortunately I was wrong.

Buried in the terms and conditions for the Orange Cash Card (provided by Barclays - powered by Prepaid Solutions - a JV between Edenred and MasterCard Worldwide) - you will notice an array of interesting items - including a 20p charge to change your PIN (which, incidentally, is a service provided for free on the O2 Prepaid Service).  In the literature provided with the Card they make a painful reminder to change your PIN - yet omit to remind the cardholder they will be charged for the privilege.

The main reason I obtained an Orange Cash card was to test the service, play around with the Contactless feature (yes OK I don't get out much).  So I opened the Card - obtained the PIN over the phone, activated the Card, registered for an online account.  I loaded an initial amount on the Card - intending to test it at a coffee shop tomorrow.  Imagine my surprise as my Current Account was Debited instantaneously but my Orange Prepaid Account balance remained at zero.

It must be a slight error I assumed.  So I gave it twenty minutes and logged back in to the Online Account Services.  Nope, Account Balance still zero.

I phone the automated Customer Service (which incidentally asks for your full PAN and PIN number - tres secure!).  Nope, Account Balance still zero.

I read through the paperwork and obtained the real customer service number (a 0906 premium rate number) - and bit the bullet and called for 3 minutes - to find that it "apparently" takes Barclays/Orange 48 hours to apply the funds to the account.  This is very interesting - perhaps they should contact O2 to find out how they magically apply the funds straight away.  In my mind, there can only be one reason for a 48 hour delay, and it is probably the same reason a Cheque takes 3 days to clear...

In my mind this is totally unacceptable - well enjoy the initial load Orange/Barclays - because once it's run out I certainly will not be repeating the experience!

Comments: (2)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 08 March, 2011, 10:00

Don't you just hate that.  Probably its the only way they can make money out of doing this.  O2 will not be sharing anything with the firm and Barclays just need an 'agent' to get to market.  So these companies are akin to Utilities Billers who sit between you and the service, taking some skin.

I guarantee you leave credit on this account - let us know.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 08 March, 2011, 12:40

Remainder is, by far, the largest source of income on Prepaid.  Typically Issuers set a very short Issuance Cycle and Terms & Conditions geared towards dwindling/eroding a inactive Account’s Balance down so the account can be closed and any remainder absorbed.  Clever Cardholders can request the Remainder be refunded but this is typically provided as a Cheque and has an administration charge associated with it.

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job title Chief Architect: Cards & Payments
location London
member since 2009
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Working on new and innovative software solutions for Financial Services organisations.

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