Beware of 28 Degrees Credit Card

This pains me a little to post, I've been a big fan of this card and have recommended it several times on here and to family/friends IRL.

However, this is no longer the best international fee free card to use. A change in ownership (GE sold it to Latitude Financial Services) earlier this year has only now introduced a few sneaky (predatory?) tricks to weasel fees from users.

28 Degrees card is usually combined with a a range of insurances ('shoppers protection' and 'travel insurance').
To avoid paying fees, you must pay your card off in full before the statement date, otherwise you'll be charged for the insurances.

Changes introduced by Latitude Financial Services (so far).

  • As some of you noticed, Latitude has introduced a fee for paying by bpay recently. Infact, the only way you can avoid fees, is by paying by their 'preferred method' of using the online portal.
  • The online portal has a hidden caveat, that you can not pay more than your account balance.
  • Policies and procedures have changed (more on this later).

While annoying, none of these seemed like that big of a deal.

Where it all goes wrong

Allow me to walk you through my experience over the last statement period.

A few days before the statement period, I noticed my balance was $2000. I also know that I have a regular bill of $20 due on the statement date, which I should account for.
I want to avoid fees, and use their preferred method of payment, so dutifully log into their online portal to manually make the payment that way.

About a week later I receive a letter advising me that my payment had been rejected. Strange. But I log back into the online portal, quadruple check my details, and make the payment again.

About a week later I receive a letter advising me that my payment had been rejected again. Very strange. I log back in and find approximately $100 in fees and interest charges (5 (FIVE!) seperate items!) on my account for the non-payment. This has gone from strange to annoying at this point.

I phone 28 degrees, 45 minutes and 4 transfers later, they tell me it is a problem with my bank and I should call them.
Phoned my bank, they can't see any payment requests, and confirm the money was available the whole time.
Back to 28 degrees. Another lengthy wait, but this time I google around while I'm on hold. That's when I see other people posting about the same issue. Their conclusion… Any payments made on their online portal that were more than the balance outstanding, were being rejected by 28 degrees system.

I double check my account, and yup. That $20 bill on the way was rounded down to $19.95 this month. I had been overpaying my account by $0.05 and the online payment system was silently rejecting the payment.

I bring this up with the next agent (supervisor) I am transferred to. He has an 'ah huh' moment and says yes, this was an issue on their site.

Fantastic, we had solved the issue, and it was not my fault. It was a known issue that was not mentioned on their website at all…

(A side note, just to compound this issue… As I had an additional card holder, we both make seperate payments to cover our individual spend. Last month we discovered that multiple payments can not be made within 3 days of each other. So when my additional card holder made a small payment to cover her charges that month, it rejected my attempt to pay the remaining large amount until 3 days had passed. As we make our payment just before the statement date, I incurred fees and charges for that month too!)

Where it goes REALLY wrong.

The supervisor advised me that despite all of this, he could only offer me 0% refund on some of the fees and 50% on others (a total of ~$25 off the $100 in fees).
I kindly reminded him what we had discussed, they confirmed that my payment had been attempted before the due date, it was for the entire amount (and 5c) and that there was a known issue with their payment system that silently rejected this payment… He then went to a script, pretty much saying that it was the policy of the company to not offer full refunds for these types of charges.

I want to stress here, that the supervisor was definitely on my side, and was speaking as though the company had a gun to his head.

Summary

28 Degrees have a very laggy timeframe for charges to reach the account.
If using insurance with 28 Degrees, you must pay your account BEFORE the statement date to avoid fees.
28 Degrees have recently introduced payment fees to all methods except if paying via their online portal system
The 28 Degrees online portal payment system, has a known (but not disclosed) bug which will silently reject any payments which are greater than the outstanding amount).
Latitude are enforcing a policy of not refunding fees, even if they are demonstrably at fault.

Conclusion

Their are many things wrong with this, but allow me to focus on a few that really bug me.

28 Degrees appear to be attempting to prevent users from overpaying their account in order to extract additional fees from them.

  • Charges are laggy to appear on the account.
  • Users have to estimate the exact figure their statement will be, before the statement is generated (to avoid paying insurance fees).
  • If the estimate is a few cents off (overpaid!) the payment will be silently rejected by their defective system.
  • Communication from 28 degrees is delayed in order to apply additional fees.

Up until this month, I have over paid this (and my other) credit card. Sometimes it was just to round the figure, other times it was because I knew I'd have a large spend next month.

Options

While fee free foreign transactions was nice, at some point they intend to catch you out if you pay with their online system. A $2,000 debt incurs ~$100 worth of fees in a single statement period. This undoes any other savings almost instantly.
If you choose to continue paying by bPay, this card is no longer free fee, as it will be costing you ~$12 per year in fees. While this isn't terrible, it is no longer the best option for fee free banking!

Please have a look at other options before considering this card. Bankwest and Citibank products are also well regarded around here.

If you have been charged fees due to their faulty website as well, I'd suggest taking it to the Financial Ombudsman for review.

Related Stores

28 Degrees Card
28 Degrees Card

Comments

  • My goodness. I have never used the price protection/insurance. But quite right, it may not be the best card for free foreign fees, if it trips or try to trip you up easily. Sorry for your experience, and thanks for sharing.

  • Their practise of letting you enter ANY BSB and account number in order to pay your balance is incredibly stupid.

    • If you're fine with easily being caught out attempting to commit fraud.

      • This is my concern as well.

        But I just took an amount out of my girlfiend's account, with her verbal permission. She was not contacted by her bank.

        Should I be worried about being contacted about fraud now?

        • No, there should be no issue with that (unless things turn sour between you and your girlfriend.

          What I mean is if you put in some random persons account details to pay your account. They notice it, report it to their bank. Their bank contacts 28 degrees and all of a sudden you have a big herring over your account.

        • Are you frauding your gf?

        • @tomsco:

          Right, that's what I thought, but it concerns me thati now need to check my savings account for some one else debiting from it.

          Fair enough I have to check my statement with my credit card, but now also with my savings account?

    • Amex has it too now for me

    • Hold up. I'm not familiar with this product. Are you saying they can simply debit any bank account? Meaning giving out one's BSB and account to an untrustworthy source could results in potential headaches?

      • Give out the details of an online savings account (eg UBank) if you have one. Cannot debit it from one of those accounts.

        • Thanks for the tip.

        • @peterpeterpumpkin:

          I learned the hard way.

          When I got my first house, I put down a ubank account for the mortgage repayments. First ever repayment was dishonoured.

        • @tomsco: Not surprising. Most of the high interest saving accounts (and perhaps most saving accounts?) do not allow direct debit. Transaction accounts, generally, are not a problem.

          Which is a bit of an annoyance, really, since I don't keep much funds in transaction accounts. And therefore, cannot use direct debit (unless it is a direct debit from a credit card).

          Does anyone know of saving accounts that allow direct debit. Would appreciate any feedback. Thanks in advance.

        • @bluesky:

          ubank and their 'sweep' feature essentially give you this ability

        • @SBOB: Yes, good point! Thanks. So they will never reject the payment, as long as you have at least that amount in the Usaver (be be swept across)?

          • Is there a max limit of sweep you can set? Or it is basically limited to $ in the savings account?

          • Associated question: Seems like increased security risk, if someone gets hold of your Ubank card. Can they go on a spending spree, using paypass without pin, as long as all the purchases are below $100?
            Edit: Just realise - the card must also has a daily limit, so it is not unlimited. Will go and check what that is.

        • @bluesky:

          yep, as long as sufficient funds to 'sweep'
          there is some daily limit but Im not sure what it is.. regular bills would never be an issue though

          and yep, technically a security risk, but its not 'your' risk, as they (like all banks) would cover unauthorised transactions (just the hassle of claiming them if they occurred).

        • @SBOB: Make sense, very practical. Going to go set up some direct debits :-)

  • +1 vote

    Will 28 degrees reject a deposit say $1k so that I can withdraw the funds at an overseas atm. I do not owe any money on the statement.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Yes.

    • +7 votes

      Yes - +1
      Use the Citibank debit card instead - we used that overseas with fee free withdrawals in USD - worked faultlessly all but once . We withdrew the single transaction limit from both cards within a short period so the fraud protection blocked the cards but a quick phone call sorted that out.

      • 6 Month rule on no use got me on P&O cruise last year i buy cheep stuff now with at supermarket.

        • what is the 6 month rule?

        • +2 votes

          @chickenface:

          if you dont use your citibank visa debit card within 6 months it gets put on hold, meaning you need to call them and have them re-activate it
          If you try to use it without doing so, like say on a P&O cruise in the middle of the ocean, it wont work

          Re-activating only takes one phone call and a few minutes, and you can also tell them about overseas travel destinations while doing so, to reduce the likelihood of any fraud prevention blocks being put on your card while travelling

        • Smart traveller always does a local withdrawal to test the card before using overseas.

        • @greenpossum: P&O was nice about it it very much last min trip oversea.

      • AFAIK they charge you $1, which is very small fee but it's not free.

        Please correct me if I'm wrong here.

    • You can do it via BPay for 95 cent fee

    • Even if it is available via BPAY, I'd recommend against it because ATM withdrawals are treated as cash advance.

      Citibank Plus indeed. Or next best alternative is ING DIRECT.

      • If you top up $1000 of your own money, and withdraw $1000 overseas …

        Don't you just pay $4 or so per withdrawal?
        And there is no conversion fee or cash advance interest?

        • Are you talking about 28 Degrees, Citibank Plus or ING Direct?

          The (3) cards do not impose any currency conversion fees and they use either Visa or Mastercard rates.

          Citibank Plus (debit) - no charge for overseas ATM withdrawals from Citibank's end, however the bank operator of the overseas ATM you're withdrawing from may impose a fee. This is usually displayed on-screen before you proceed. Also fee free overseas purchases.

          ING Direct (debit) - $2.50 overseas ATM withdrawals. 2.5% on overseas purchases. See more here

          28 Degrees - Cash advance fee applicable for withdrawals. Fee free overseas purchases.

          That's pretty much my knowledge. Can't be bothered looking up 28 Degrees but if you have different information otherwise please do share. I think any withdrawal would be treated as a cash advance whether it is topped up or credit (for a credit card).

        • @sky blu: yes I was wrong. Their old FAQs gave a fuller description.

          "Will I be charged a cash advance fee if my card has a positive balance?

          Yes, you will still be charged a cash advance fee if you withdraw cash from your 28 Degrees MasterCard even if the card has a positive credit balance. We do not recommend that you load your card into credit as this is not the intended purpose of the card".

          The cash advance fee is the greater of $4 or 3%.

        • @grasstown: Good info. That brings the ranking as:

          ATM Withdrawals:
          1. Citibank Plus - free
          2. ING Direct - $2.50
          3. 28 Degrees - greater of $4 or 3%

          Overseas purchases:
          1. 28 Degrees - free (use credit card first before your own money)
          2. Citibank Plus - free
          3. ING Direct - 2.5% of transaction amount

          Savvy

        • @sky blu: Citibank Plus is the only way to go for international travel now I guess!

        • @sky blu:

          Bankwest Zero Platinum doesn't make the cut?

        • @pilchard: 0h the above are what I'm currently using so I have not looked into Bankwest product.

          Can you please add to that list how Bankwest stacks against others?

        • @sky blu:
          Shitake I never knew Citibank had 0% on overseas purchases. I have only ever used it for ATM withdrawls at Citibank ATMs…
          Thanks for that learn something new from OzB Community everyday.

        • @peter.ngo93: why u no gimme + bro!?

        • @sky blu:

          It seems Citibank Plus will be changing to 2.5% international transaction fee in march 2017

          https://www.citibank.com.au/global_docs/pdf/Feesandcharges.p...

        • @Autonomic: Wow indeed. Do you recall when you received that notice? I don't think Citibank has sent this to me.

        • @Autonomic: much of that excludes the transaction plus account. From a quick look, I think the relevant exclusion is in the second blue bar on page 5

        • @sky blu: grasstown's right. Sorry guys.

          Should never read documents on a mobile.

        • @grasstown:

          Ah I see. My mistake.

        • @Autonomic: The ranking as stated above is still valid. Should be good til end of 2017 and see what changes.

  • The 28Degrees card was the go to card for overseas travellers and net shoppers a couple of years ago.
    But the change of ownership seems to have brought an arrogance and desire to rip off loyal customers.
    The fact that the fee free period for those who pay off their balance each month has now been drastically shortened by the requirement that customers use a direct debit option is a disgrace.
    As BluBoy has suggested I shall be cancelling my 28 degrees card and looking elsewhere.

    • But the change of ownership seems to have brought an arrogance and desire to rip off loyal customers.

      I'm not sure about this. Offering free international transactions and cash advances was always going to be a loss-making proposition - given a) cross-border assessment fees levied by the schemes and b) money laundering risk associated with cash advances.

      Seems like the new owners are trying to salvage the core 28Degrees proposition (free international transactions on credit) before the product becomes so unprofitable that it has to be quarantined.

  • I just use bpay, still love it. Use price protection all the time, has netted me much more than the $12 a year of bpay fees.

    • True, I can't fathom why it gets so much hate, to the point you have a 1 page essay here.

      it is only 12$per year. I know we are on OZbargain but also on whirlpool too, people just spin this into all sorts of things to play down the card's benefits (while the price protection is really second none… oh wait second to Coles card).

      The point is, it is still a good card. Cancelling is up to anyone, but I do suggest keeping it around to take advantage of the all the insurance policies it offers, which are always longer than the counterparts from other cards of other banks. Especially, price protection is for 6 months, it is great for when you miss out a deal and you know the deal is on every few months. You won't have to wait.

      • Hmm just had a look at the Coles one, didn't realise they didn't have a limit on how much of a price drop! I thought 28degrees was the lowest at 10…although I have had the card for like 9 years now. Seems like it's underwritten by latitude as well.

      • True, I can't fathom why it gets so much hate, to the point you have a 1 page essay here.

        it is only 12$per year. I know we are on OZbargain but also on whirlpool too, people just spin this into all sorts of things to play down the card's benefits (while the price protection is really second noneā€¦ oh wait second to Coles card).

        The point is, it is still a good card.

        I agree, I think it's still a very good card, and has saved me a considerable amount in currency conversion fees over the past few years when paying for domestic flights in the US, overseas accommodation in a number of countries, online and in-store international purchases etc. I don't have a problem with using the OSC for payment as I no longer use the price protection on the 28D card, I cancelled that option when I took out the No Annual Fee Coles Mastercard (which has the 2-year price protection period) and if I want to "preload" the 28D card to cover some transactions when I'm travelling and don't have access to online banking, I'll just use Bpay and pay the fee (if I can afford an OS trip, I can afford a 95c fee for heaven's sake). I also have a Citibank Plus account for withdrawals from international ATMs and also as a fee-free backup for overseas transactions if needed.

        But each to their own - if people want to cancel the card, there are some alternative options available these days, as mentioned in other posts here.

        • I know, to each their own. I am only a bit annoyed by how people seem to very much negatively react to what is only minorly changing with 28 degree card. Mostly I have seen reactions on Whirlpool and it seems to be spilling over to OZbargain.

          Bankwest and ANZ counterparts are really good at what they offer, but it doesn't negate the validity of 28 degree existence though.

        • @dennis3107: I agree - the extreme negativity from a lot of people on WP really surprised me too. I think the 28D card is still an excellent option for many people, either on it's own or used in conjunction with other cards/accounts such as Citibank Plus. I certainly don't intend cancelling mine any time soon!

      • Dunno about you but I make many regular payments to the card and don't pay it all off once each month, so it's more.

        • That is a different story then. However it is rather counterintuitive to do so though, wouldn't you say?

          Take you time and depending on the amounts of your regular payments, you miss out on some interests.

        • @dennis3107:

          Each to their own. I'd rather pay early rather than forget and damage my credit integrity for late payments.

        • @watwatwat:

          Just set a Google Calendar alarm.

        •  

          @dennis3107:
          when the following are true then the $1 per payment is unfair

          For people paid weekly
          and
          cannot pay their account infull on a weekly salary
          and
          Accruing interest on the credit card.

          It means if you were to save all your salaries to pay monthly (end of month)
          you would incur 3 weeks of Interest that may or may not be significantly large amount.

        • @carlb:

          The entire complaint actually emanates from the fact that everyone doesn't want to pay even the slightest fees, including the insurance fee which is not exactly much considering the benefits.

          Anyone could set up direct debit and insurance fees will be the only thing that you will have to worry about. When you think about it, even coles cards actually charge 1% of the balance as opposed to 28 degrees which only has .5%. I am not speaking for everyone, but to me, price protection alone is worth shelling out a little.

          You think it is unfair to the consumers, but do you think it is fair for the provider who has been so far (i dont know about the future) seamless in terms of insurance claims (I have had to claim for a few items, so I always am happy to pay the insurance fees and let direct debit do its things)?

        • @dennis3107: There's a lot of me me me me me going on here, unfortunately.

        • @eug:

          I know. Coz I felt I couldn't speak for everybody else so let just take myself as an example.

    • What do you actually use price protection for? I have price protection on a couple of my cards and it's always seemed like it would take a bit too much effort to claim.

      edit: reading a bit further, looks like the 28D price protection is substantially more generous than most…

      • I've used it on the Coles card numerous times. It was always a painless process. Send details of the claim online and done. The merchandise protection should also be noted. The best use of this was when my tablet screen broke. Sent in my claim with the quote I was given by a local shop to fix it ($500+!), within a week I was reimbursed the full amount of my purchase price of the tablet ($350). The tablet still works fine!

      • I have claimed over 500 dollars from them and I am not even being as diligent as I should be, only started in the last 2 years with the claims despite having the card for 9 years. Things I have successfully claimed on, clothing (work clothes from forcast.. They regularly have end of season sales 30-50% off), games (Nintendo, pc games etc), computer parts (graphics card - pay slightly higher price for use when it is new… Claim the price when it drops due to new tech), camera…. Lots of stuff. It does take effort to claim because you have to be diligent in looking over your receipts and checking whether prices had dropped, but the claim process is less than 5 mins (takes only 2 mins for me now) and $10/2 mins is pretty good rate compared to my wage!

        • I have a few questions about the Coles credit card. Can I claim a price protection for online purchases like say, from android enjoyed? And is there a caveat that price protection will not be offered on products that costs more than $600?

        • @edrenalin: if it is like 28 degrees, then it's not a 600 limit on price purchased but the discount for example if you bought a TV for 3000 and it dropped to 2000 you would only get max 600. If android enjoyed is Australian then yes you can claim as they only approve items ought from Australian stores, so like kogan phones for example most receipts will say hk so they won't. I bought a breastpump from what I thought was an Australian site but on my statement it came out as Singapore so I didn't claim that one either.

          Edit: I have also heard of people being able to claim on kogan if it came out as kogan au on their statement

          P. S definitely keep all receipts and screenshots of discount for big purchases so you have evidence in case they ask for proof.

      • i claim them mostly for console games, 2 years for a game price drop is well worth it! Also if my partner really needs work pants, shoes etc, we dont have to wait for boxing day sales. I have even claimed for a Sistema storage container from Woolies before :)

        what i do is, create a folder in my Notes phone app (i have an iphone) called Price Protection Coles/28 Deg, and for each thing I buy thats 'claimable' I write the date, place, price and take a photo of the receipt.

        i havent tried Merchandise protection though, when I looked at the form they implied damage from fire or something, not accidental damage :s might give it a closer look later.

        • Which card allows a 2 year period for a price drop to happen? That's pretty damn generous!

          [edit] Looks like it's the Coles card. Nice!

        • @44sunsets: yup! I just applied for a Coles one recently as well :) its good cause it gives you flybuys points as well, but I keep my 28deg for my occasional international purchases.

        • Can i ask if you can claim multiple times on the same item? For example, today you filled a claim for that item and 3 months later the price dropped futher, so can you claim the price protection again? I am thinking to apply the Coles card. Thanks.

        • @divious: You can, at least with 28 Degrees I know you can. I did 3 claims in 3 weeks for a TV I bought last October. Got a total of $560 back so far.

        • @divious: yup, there is a box you can tick if you have claimed before. Once I did tick that for something I claimed but they just gave me the difference in original price? So not sure if I was meant to change the amounts if I have claimed something before, because they never asked/checked it.

        • @kza2610: just happened to me for a claim I did on Monday. It was my second claim for the item and I ticked the box as claimed before. Today I got the approval email and it seems that the guy did not bother checking out past claims and reimbursed me the difference from the original price.

        • @Colombian:
          The price drop needs to be the same place you bought the item from isn't it?
          3 price drops in 3 weeks!!??

        • @sheepy: Yes, should be in the same place you bought the item, and yeah, it was crazy, I bought a TV and SoundBar mid October and by December I did all sort of claims. I also took advantage of the 20% ebay discount.

  • Would I be right that setting up direct debit for full amount each month solves the problem.
    I didn't read fully what you wrote.

    • Direct debit solves the problem if:
      (a) you are not signed up to the price protection, or
      (b) you are signed up, but do not mind paying the fees.

      As OP explained:

      To avoid paying fees, you must pay your card off in full before the statement date, otherwise you'll be charged for the insurances.

      With direct debit, it is done on the statement date, so you won't be able to avoid the fees. This is my understanding (unless I am wrong).

      • Just found this thread as have been using the card for around 5 years and since day 1 I have paid the full balance via direct debit each month. Just checked my last few statements and can't see mention of any fees for direct debit. I am going to call them up and check and will report back.

        • Just called them up and confirmed the methods that are fee free to pay your balance are :

          Direct Debit.
          Online Portal.
          Calling up and paying over the phone.

        • Indeed, there is no additional fees for using direct debit. But if you are signed up for price protection, then there is price protection fees. Using direct debit, you cannot avoid price protection fees (if signed up). In your case, like me, you are probably not signed up for price protection. Then, direct debit is a good way to pay statement off.

  • i too use the card. ty for the advice. FOS was a useless organisation for financial industry scams but may be better for credit card unethical practices. they are very legalistic and side with suppliers mostly. their mediators were untrained and unskilled. you cannot appeal any decisions on fact or law with them. I suggest citibank debit card. not sure if their credit cards have the fee free forex as well.

  • +6 votes

    I cancelled mine last month

    Never used the price protection, and the bankwest platinum zero is just as good for o'seas use and much easier to avoid fees/interest with

    • Found out that the FXchange rate is better with 28D than bankwest zero though.

      • hasn't been my experience

        they both use the mastercard rate

        • This is my understanding as well.

          Both 28 Degrees and Bankwest use the standard Mastercard rate, with no fees or charges on top.
          Citibank Transaction Plus (VISA debit) uses the VISA rate, with no fees or charges on top.

          The VISA and Mastercard foreign exchange rates are usually similar, with the chance of one or the other marginally infront depending on the day.

  • Ok i didn't sign for price protection and pay by direct debit full balance.
    Okay to keep this card for occasionally online purchase non AuD and purchase during overseas trip?

    • Then it should be fine. I didn't sign up for price protection, use occasionally for online purchases.
      And pay the exact statement amount from the online portal. So far, this seems fine too.

  • +1 vote

    I've just checked my statement and those fees are there starting about three months ago so Yes, attraction has evaporated. I'll be cancelling the 28 Degrees and using the Citibank until we find a better card

  • Thank OP for your detailed information.I was just going to apply for a 28 Degrees card but not going to now.

    • Me too. Right in the middle of an application - they're waiting for my ID details to be sent. Looks like I'll be applying for a Citibank Plus account now.

  • I haven't used my 28 degrees since last may - I've also got a citibank debit card which I've been using for overseas cash withdrawals. Which card is better for overseas purchases?

  • I like to think of myself as a true Ozbargainer, but I quite happily pay the $11.40 per year (in fees) for the convenience of the card and the benefits it brings.

    I find it hard to justify cancelling the card and finding another provider for $11.40 per year.

    • Citibank Plus accounts are still excluded from the changes. It's stated in the updated Citibank documents