Finangel – A Review

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UPDATE 26/07/19: Finangel have issued an App Notification to inform customers that they will cease trading.

One of the consequences of doing lots of research about cashback and points, is that you end up being targeted for a lot of ads for finance products. Last week I saw an attractive, but seemingly quite obscure offer on Facebook. A new card/account called ‘Finangel‘ which promised £50 cashback, just for loading £50 into an account and spending it. So, I gave it a try… however, before you get too excited – I should start by saying that shortly after I applied they closed the offer to new applicants. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new offer soon, so thought it was worth sharing my experience.

What is Finangel?

To me Finangel essentially appeared to be a prepaid Mastercard – you ‘load’ money onto it from another MasterCard or Visa and can then spend it online or in person via contactless/chip and pin. You can also withdraw up to £200 cash per month (see here for tips on how to use that to earn rewards and cashback on cash withdrawals). It’s currently in beta testing and it looks like future plans may be aimed at positioning it more as a current account (they promise IBAN transfers will follow soon).

However, from what I gather the ‘USP’ they are offering is that via partnerships with a range of retailers (of which there are currently 200+), you can effectively get interest free credit by splitting your purchase with select retailers over three payments – loading the payments onto the card each month. Their business model appears to work on the basis that these retailers pay commission for transactions. They call their product a ‘zero interest installment card’. Your eligibility for split payments is based on your credit score, and payment record with Finangel. They include major retailers such as eBay, Hewlett-Packard, Zara and Adidas.

In addition, you can also organise to ‘split’ charges, for example a restaurant bill or taxi charge, with friends, by sending a request via the App (although this is a featured already offered by other online accounts).

What was the offer?

Quite simply, and quite impressively, you could get £50 credit once you’d spent £50 on the card with any retailers. It only excluded ‘cashlike transactions’ (gambling, financial institutions, cash withdrawls, etc.). It could be spent in one go, or via multiple transactions.

You can find the details here – sadly it does confirm that for now the offer closed on 5th May.

The offer was apparently a limited one, aimed at building a customer base during the beta test, but it’s quite likely that further incentives to sign up will follow.

What was my experience?

I signed up via the App, I had to submit an image of my ID and a photo (as you would for a current account) and I was then approved immediately. I also had to load some money on to it before I could confirm and order a card – a minimum of £10. I loaded this from a reward visa card, and was awarded points on it as if it was a purchase. I imagine you’d also earn points if you loaded money from a reward credit card and then withdrew it as cash.

The card came 5 days later, and I quickly activated it via the App and received a pin code via SMS.

I spent £50 over multiple transactions, but initially no cashback appeared. I left it 5 days and then used the ‘support chat’ function in the App. I received a reply a few hours later, confirming I’d met the terms of the offer and the cashback then appeared minutes later. Slightly strangely it appeared on the App as if it was a payment from the customer services contact personally (i.e. ‘name’ has sent you £50).

Anything to be aware of?

This is clearly a small start up, and at this stage there is very limited information about them available. In fact, besides a few reviews on their Facebook ads I couldn’t find anything else – which is why I thought it was worth reviewing.

They have a very limited social media presence (17 Twitter Followers!) and I didn’t get a response when I emailed them about reviewing the card. They do however appear to be active on Facebook via their ads – and they responded on the App support chat. Their information (here) says your money is held by Decta Limited, who are regulated by the FCA, and when questioned by someone on social media they confirmed that they have offices in London. I’d also imagine that you’d need to meet some requirements in order to be able to issue a MasterCard.

Their website, and the App itself, appear to have all the necessary security features (option to freeze the card, pin/fingerprint login), but they are clearly in their early stages of development. Also some figures are quoted in Euros, others in GBP.

Conclusion

Personally, I was happy to load £50 onto a card and give it a try. In my experience it worked fairly smoothly, the card was accepted everywhere I tried and I did get the offer as promised. Personally, I also quite liked the plain, but slick matt white card. I might perhaps be wary of loading very large amounts on its early stages, but the £50 cashback offer was worth a try. Some people may also find the split payments very useful and, if you have a points earning Visa or MasterCard, potentially loading £200 to your Finangel card and then withdrawing it as cash could earn points and avoid cash fees on the credit card.

Using it to spend £50 I would have been spending anyway, meant it cost me nothing to potentially earn £50.

It’s one I’ll keep in my wallet whilst keeping an eye on how the model evolves – if you’re considering it though, I’d be inclined to hang on and see if another offer follows.

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Disclaimer: This is an amateur, personal blog and this review is based on my experience of using the card. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances, and that you access the full and up to date information.

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