*** Disclaimer. This is not financial advice! ***
My friend Paul Sheriffs asked for opinions on the Capital on Tap Credit card, None were forthcoming so he took the plunge and gave it ago. I asked if he’d do an impartial review about his experience, which he agreed to, so here it is (at the end he also shares how you can get a free £75 to get started 🙂 )Go Paul:A couple of months ago I applied for a Capital on Tap (CoT) credit card in order to grow my Amazon business. Here is my experience of it.
Firstly, for those who just want to just cut to the chase, here it is:
- A CoT card is an excellent way for small businesses to get their hands on capital. The application process is quick and easy, and they seem more willing to lend to small businesses.
- Appealing features include 56 days interest free, no fees on foreign transactions, and a choice of cash back or Avios reward schemes. Customer service is also very good.
- The ease with which you can borrow, together with the possibility that they may require a personal guarantee from you, does mean that you need to give thought to how much you can afford.
- Scroll to the bottom for a referral code giving you £75 when you sign up.
- QUICK APPLICATION PROCESS AND DECISION. This is one of the things that is attractive about it. It only took a few minutes to fill in the form, and I received a decision very quickly – within about ten minutes if I remember correctly.
- THEY DON’T PLAY GAMES WITH YOU OR MAKE YOU SECOND GUESS. When trying to raise the credit limit on a business Barclaycard they make you name a specific amount that you want. If you ask for too much they’ll give you nothing. If you ask for too little then you’re left wondering whether you could have got more (and you can’t apply again for three months). If you manage to speak to someone they refuse to give you an indication of what would be a good level to request. Why do they do this?!? It seems unnecessary and almost like they enjoy wielding this power over applicants.
CoT, on the other hand, specifically state that if you ask for more than they are willing to give they will still make you their best offer. They don’t make you play games. I found this so refreshing. I asked for £8,000 and they gave me £4,100.
- APPLYING DOESN’T IMPACT YOUR CREDIT SCORE because it is not a credit card. (Technically it’s a pre-pay debit card). That removes one of the barriers for some people.
- THEY SEEM MORE WILLING TO LEND MONEY TO SMEs THAN TRADITIONAL LENDERS. There are reports of people getting credit with only a few months of trading.
- THERE ARE NO PARTICULARLY TRICKY QUESTIONS IN THE APPLICATION FORM. And, significantly for many of us smaller sellers in the FBA game, there is no need to write a business plan. Barclays have been trying to sell me a business loan for ages. But they say I’d need to submit a business plan with the application. Doing that has put me off, as may be the case for others who haven’t run businesses before.
- TRUST PILOT SCORES ARE VERY GOOD, which I found reassuring
- Be aware that even if you’re applying as a Limited Company THEY MAY WELL ASK FOR A PERSONAL GUARANTEE which I guess would effectively nullify the limitation of liability specifically for CoT. I was ok with this, but weigh up your own circumstances and habits.
- A DECENT (UP TO) 56 DAYS INTEREST FREE if you pay off in full.
- NO FX FEES ON FOREIGN TRANSACTIONS. Used it for paying a supplier in the States, via PayPal. I added the card to my PayPal account and opted to pay in USD (rather than paying in GBP and letting PayPal handle the conversion). Consequently it cost me £2,328.00 instead of £2,428.72. So that’s a £100 saving right there.
- A DECENT REWARDS SYSTEM, although there is an optional fee for this. If you want cashback then you can pay a £99 annual fee to get 0.5% on your spend, or a £249 fee to get 1%. And you can get a signup bonus of £50 or £200 respectively if you spend £5,000 within three months.
If you prefer to collect Avios points you can get 0.5 points per £1 for the £99 fee, or 1 point per £1 for the £249 fee. The signup bonuses are 10,000 and 20,000 points respectively.If you’re not already in a rewards scheme then this could be good. Spending £2,075 per month on it will cover the £249 annual fee, and if your spend is bigger than that you’re quids in. Spending £1,650 covers the £99 fee.
- Apparently HMRC accept CoT, so YOU CAN EARN REWARDS ON YOUR VAT BILL!
- Note that if you opt for one of the rewards schemes, the annual fee you pay is exempt from VAT, therefore you can’t claim VAT back on the £99/£249
- Once you have your card your credit limit will automatically reviewed after either 3 or 6 months. You can’t request this review, so you just have to be patient and see what happens. Bear in mind that if your circumstances or usage warrant it they could reduce your limit (although I’m hoping that they increase mine).
- CUSTOMER SERVICE IS VERY GOOD. I’ve contacted them a few times and they are always easy to get hold of and responsive (by phone or chat). They answered my queries, even ones I thought a typical company might not.
- AN EASY CONNECTION TO XERO. My accountant is happy with this. Much smoother than my Barclays connection.
- AN EXCELLENT WEBSITE. Nice design, easy to navigate, and does everything you’d expect. By contrast, the Barclaycard site has been ‘experiencing technical issues’ for over a year now, meaning I sometimes have to give up and come back later.
- BUT THE WEBSITE DOES JUST HAVE A SIMPLE LOGIN. There’s no secondary password or code, which seems unusual these days for a financial account.
- THEY (FINALLY) HAVE AN APP. They only released v1.0 of their android app on 31st July 2019. It seems like a clean reproduction of the website. I haven’t used it enough to know if it’s buggy, but an early review average of 4.4 is encouraging. I’m not sure about an iOS app.
- Even the way that they present your card shows that THEY THINK A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY from the traditional big lenders, and perhaps have more in common with a disruptor type of mindset. I thought it was a nice touch.
As mentioned, you can GET A £75 BONUS when signing up if you use this code: 1REFJ737X19. I was about to chase mine up when I saw it had come through on my statement. But you have to actually use the card before it’ll be paid. You can signup at Capital on Tap
If this seems like an overwhelmingly positive review then that’s because it reflects my experience. I’ve not come across many negatives. They have given me access to capital to grow my business that others may not have – certainly not with such ease.
Thanks again Paul for sharing this, much appreciated. If anybody else would like us to share an impartial review that will benefit our audience please get in touch. I am happy to share them here and on the main site.