icount Current Account – The Review
We provide a review of the icount current account that was previously branded as the ClearCash Prepaid MasterCard covering such things as who can open an account, how to apply and we highlight some of the services and benefits that are provided. It is one of several accounts available in the UK that are suitable for people with a bad credit rating as no credit check is undertaken.
There are two tariff options available – Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go.
Who is allowed to apply to open an icount?
In order to open an account you must be at least 18 years of age and resident in the UK. So, for instance, if you are employed, self-employed or retired you may be interested in this account. You can apply for an account even if you have a poor credit history such as having defaults and county court judgements (CCJs) registered against you as well as being either a discharged or undischarged bankrupt.
An account can only be opened in your sole name although up to 4 additional cardholders can use the account as long as they are at least 13 years of age. It is worth noting that account details (sort code and account number) are generated straight away – as long as verification checks are successful.
How can you open an account?
You can apply online with the application process usually only taking a couple of minutes. You are provided with the account number and sort code instantly (subject to terms and conditions). Once the application process has been completed you should receive your black glossy icount prepaid MasterCard within 3 to 5 working days.
icount will need to verify your identity and address and they will endeavor to do so by electronic means (at point of application). However, you may be asked to provide them with documents to confirm either or both of these (this would be the case with any UK high street bank). Once the above information has been verified you will be provided with a “Total Access” access account enabling you to fully use the services provided, of which there are many including having your salary/benefits loaded as well as make and receive bank transfers. Until verification has been completed, you will have to wait for your account details and send certified documents in to them. Once documents are sent in, allow for between 5-10 days for your account to be upgraded.
What services does the account provide?
With Total Access you will be able to have your salary, wages, benefits and/or pension paid directly into your account. You can use PayPal and bank transfers to pay money into your account. Those wanting to link with PayPal, ensure you have funds in your icount account BEFORE linking.
You can pay cash onto your icount Prepaid MasterCard card at any UK Post Office branch and the funds loaded will appear instantly. You can also load funds onto the card through over 1,600 Cashplus stores around the UK. Cashplus is the service provider.
You cannot pay cheques into the account.
You can set up direct debits and/or standing orders to pay regular household bills from your account such as mortgage, rent, utility bills and home insurance. You can also make one-off payments. If a direct debit is due to be paid and there are insufficient funds in your icount to cover it you will be notified by SMS and email to give you time to add further funds into your account. Also, with Debit Protect, if you were unable to pay monies in to cover the direct debit, you may qualify for an emergency one-off loan up to a maximum of £1,000 to cover the payment. They also have an overdraft facility of up to £250 available but this is subject to acceptance.
You can use your icount Prepaid MasterCard to withdraw cash from ATMs both in the UK and worldwide. Please refer to the company’s website for details of the cash withdrawal limits and charges that apply.
You can use the card to purchase goods and service either in high street retail outlets, online or over the phone in the UK and overseas (wherever you see the MasterCard Acceptance Mark) and also benefit from free Purchase Protection, safeguarding you and your purchases
You can access and manage your account online via the “Members Area” and utilize a mobile app.
Creditbuilder could also help improve your credit rating.
The Cashback Rewards scheme provides cashback onto your card when you make certain purchases online through an exclusive shopping discount website, icountcashback.co.uk
It is possible to switch between the Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go tariff options (every 90 days)
You do not get a cheque book and no interest is earned on any credit balances.
How much does the account cost?
For both the Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go options there is a card issue fee of £4.95 (£5 if you pay by SMS) plus a fee of £5.95 for each additional card. This can be paid by debit card, credit card and also prepaid card. Alternatively you can pay later at the Post Office.
There is a management fee of £9.95 per month for the Pay Monthly option but no such fee for the Pay As You Go option. However, you may wish to monitor the transaction fees as it may be more cost effective to be on the Pay Monthly tariff.
For each ATM withdrawal in the UK there is a fee of £0.50 for the Pay Monthly option and only £0.75 for the Pay As You Go option.
For UK purchases in Sterling made using your prepaid MasterCard there is no transaction fee for the Pay Monthly option but a 2.5% (minimum 25p each) transaction fee for the Pay As You Go option.
The icount current account can usually be opened simply and quickly by most people looking for a bad credit current account as no credit checks are carried out on applicants. The account should enable them to manage their day-to-day banking effectively. The Pay Monthly option may be more suitable for people that will use the prepaid MasterCard on a regular basis and the Pay As You Go option may be more appropriate for those wishing to make occasional use of the card. Full information can be found on the website of icount.