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Two million Virgin Money credit card holders forced to app banking

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Virgin Money credit card customers will need to download its app from January as it will withdraw the online service option due to “reduced interest”.

Virgin Money confirmed it is making changes to its credit card offering as it looks to turn off the online service on 31 January 2021, forcing its two million customers to use its app instead to manage the account.

The credit card app was launched in February 2019 and Virgin Money said since then, it’s seen an increasing number of customers using it to view their balance, transactions and statements; freeze cards, move money and set up regular and one-off payments.

Meanwhile, customer interest in its online service for credit card customers has reduced in that time, with only around 10% (200,000) currently using the web platform to manage their accounts.

Less tech-savvy credit card account holders and those with older smartphones may be worried about the move to app banking, as was the case when Al Rayan switched off online banking as it steered customers to its app earlier this year.

For others, concerns centre around the data format of statements within the app.

One customer posted on Twitter: “With you switching to app-only servicing for your credit cards how am I meant to get statement data into my accounts spreadsheets when you only offer PDF downloads from the app?”

Another customer wrote: “I need to be able to obtain CSV or XLS downloads of my credit card statements for expenses claims or I’m not going to able to continue using my Virgin credit card; this is a really user-hostile move. Why should *we* have to convert files around?”

And another Tweeted: “I’m going to be going back to paper statements. I prefer, for security reasons, not to tie anything financial to something I can lose as easily as my phone.”

Customers will need to download the app on to compatible devices – this means at least version 10 (iOS) for Apple iPhone (iPhone 5 and newer handsets) and version 5.0 (Lollipop) for Android.

Even if you already have the Virgin Money current account app, you’ll need to download the separate Virgin Money credit card app as part of the changes.

Virgin Money added that it’s preparing to make PIN available in the app and it is due to launch new features to enable customers to manage all features of their account via the app.

But it is also creating a ‘forms library’ via the app and online where customers can request simple changes such as payment due date or credit limits without needing to call customer services.

Further, it will create a ‘credit card hub’ online with information customers need to manage their account. But for those who prefer to speak to someone, its contact centre remains open and it is planning to launch live chat.

Virgin Money confirmed there are no changes to other products and added that for credit card customers, their options from January include the virtual assistant, live chat, contact centre, help portal and forms without the need to download the app.

A spokesperson said: “Since the launch of our credit card app in February 2019 we have seen a significant increase in the number of customers choosing to use it to stay in control of their spending and borrowing. As well as viewing their balance and transactions, customers using the app have easy access to monthly statements, they can freeze their card, move money and make both regular and one-off payments to their balance. Customer interest in our online services has continually reduced, and now only a small percentage of our customer base chooses to use only our online services to manage their accounts.”

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