Review your Direct Debits in a few lines. :)

(Allie) #1

Inspired by the number of DDs threat by @HoddzDJ, I thought short reviews of your direct debit companies would be interesting:

  • Bristol Energy - AMAZING.
    – Customer service done right
    – Not the cheapest but pretty cheap and I’m on a green plan.
    – Highly recommended.
  • Vodafone - Good, could be better, could be worse.
    – Customer service is excellent
    – I wish they supported VoLTE and WiFi calling on unlocked Android phones (at least the Pixel series, come on…).
    – The network is… great in some places, ok in others.
    – Even on iPhone, WiFi calling bizarrely doesn’t cover SMS!
  • American Express - the best rewards around.
    – The Rewards Credit Card is a great deal. Membership Rewards points (convertible to Delta SkyMiles) on a free card. Can’t beat that!
    – Customer service is mixed. At times great, at times horrible.
    – Hope your card never gets a fraud block - most card companies are polite, apologetic, and professional in dealing with these. Amex is at best okay but bizarre (it feels like itself is phishing…), and at worst (I’ve had two, so comparing only two) absolutely rude (implicitly accusing you of being an identity thief before getting any info) and horrible.
  • Aqua - decent starter card.
    – Okay to terrible CS
    – Bizarre ban on contactless overseas
    – Easy card to get
    – Relatively good rewards
    – No FTF.
  • MBNA - great customer service, great (but discontinued) product. No complaints!

As a bonus, I’ll add Relish - who won’t switch my DD to Monzo. They have a terrible network, performance issues, poor hardware with security issues in the default config, etc…


I think we have a different understanding of the term “one line reviews”.


  • EE
    • Works really well
    • Has good speed in pretty much all areas
    • The 100GB offer I got when I contracted for my iPhone 8+ was good.
    • Supports WiFi calling fully on the iPhone (very useful with the free London Underground WiFi)
    • Includes a few extra countries in the free roaming.
  • PayPal
    • Nothing needs to be said. Fairly expensive, but no other options, really.
  • eBay
    • Same as PayPal, really.
  • Barclaycard
    • High interest rates
    • Fully contactless compatible (defaults to offline)
    • Relatively good app
    • Apple Pay support

(Adam Williams) #4
  • Amex - to pay off the balance in full each month. I have a cashback card.
  • ISP ( - FTTC
  • Three - unlimited data contract.
  • Bulb - electricity.
  • Water company
  • Nationwide - I have a Visa Credit card with them since it has better acceptance than Amex. This DD pays the balance every month.
  • PayPal

(Allie) #5

I meant on one bullet point without sub headings. Of course, I may have cheated a bit and just hurt readability looking back :laughing:

Better now?

  • Andrews & Arnold (ISP/mobile carrier): brilliant service, nothing bad to say :+1:t2:
  • Capital One: good service considering it’s a legacy bank; their app is actually quite decent and customer service is okay, though last time I lost my card and due to my recent change of address they first wanted to send me a bunch of paper for me to sign and send back to “prove” my address, of course I declined but I think it was just the advisor having a tantrum as the next person I called happily sent me a replacement card no questions asked. :slight_smile:
  • Virgin Media: normally wouldn’t do business with them but have no choice given my location. Service has been okay so far but despite paying the bill by card they still attempted to direct debit that same amount a few days ago, fortunately it declined. No IPv6 though which is a joke in 2018. :sob:
  • Virgin Mobile: took them out for a try and now regretting it - they promised a good deal given I was a Virgin Broadband customer but their system didn’t actually apply the discount, and constant issues with data (Siri is voluntarily censored, and big sites such as Google seem to also be censored during peak hours - a malfunction of their throttling/traffic management system?) - formal complaint raised by snail mail and the direct debit will eventually get blocked as they don’t seem to want to respond. Customer service is useless just like you’d expect from any consumer-grade telecoms provider. :joy:


I thought Aqua only issued non-contactless cards? I’ve never had a contactless card from them.

(It doesn’t matter now, as I’ve closed my account with them, however all Newday credit cards I’ve had haven’t been contactless…)

(Allie) #8

They now issue contactless cards, but the contactless interface has Application Usage Control set to domestic only. And, before anyone says ‘that just means all overseas transactions have to go online because online authorisation can override Application Usage Control’ - it goes online, and Aqua promptly declines.

(Brandon Billingham) #10

How’s did you swindle 40GB for £7?!


Some companies are desperate and happy to sell capacity their network would not be able to handle. Good luck actually using those 40 GB when you need them the most. :wink:

(Jamie 🏳️‍🌈) #13

I changed SIM last week. I’d use Virgin mobile as I’m a Media customer, but I need WiFi Calling, and they don’t support that.

(Allie) #14

But it isn’t even their wireless network (wireless being the most expensive and capacity strained bit). It’s EEs.

Do they throttle you harshly like GiffGaff does? Compare GiffGaff to O2 speeds…

Be glad you don’t use Android… I love Android, but British mobile networks don’t like us Android users. They seem to have a total aversion to allowing unlocked phones, even the Google Pixel, to use their VoLTE and WiFi Calling…


Virgin mobile is not about throttling, it’s about complete and total network failure every few days. You will randomly not be able to establish a PDP context (data session), and when you can they will randomly drop connections to popular sites (Google, etc) based on the hostnames in the TLS handshake (you get a TCP RST right after the Client Hello message).

It is in fact their network that’s failing, as they own the GGSN and everything after that and that would be the part causing the above issue. Maybe they didn’t pay Ericsson enough and so didn’t get enough magic in their « magic box » that’s supposed to terminate those PDP contexts and as a result it frequently goes down? :joy:

When it works it’s still slower than EE, and again customer service is actually the shittiest I’ve ever seen so far, even worse than O2 (never thought I’d say that :joy:)


Please don’t. Got fooled into that thinking it’s backed by EE and so the wireless part of it must be good and everything else is a solved problem so it would be fine… I was wrong, indeed the wireless part is good but the connection towards the internet (handled by Virgin) is awful. I didn’t think it was even possible to F this up but Virgin were like « hey hold my beer! » Just sad really.

(Brandon Billingham) #17

Meh, I’m on EE now and I find most of the time its awful so can’t really get much worse!


But I bet you don’t get « PDP authentication failure » pretty much every day during peak hours when attempting to use data do you? :wink:

(Brandon Billingham) #19

I just get ‘this page cannot be displayed’ whenever at a busy transit hub or in the centre of Brighton where I live :wink:

They also seem to claim amazing 4G coverage but other than towns and cities (where everyone else has 4G) I’m not seeing the difference.

(Allie) #20

Wow! That’s the part that’s difficult to get wrong. I’m not surprised tho.

  • Their cable they insist on calling ‘fibre’ (it isn’t, people! It is DOCSIS cable) is terrible.
  • Their Tube WiFi is an ad-ridden joke that even blocks some Google services like the Google Play store… And rarely works.

(Brandon Billingham) #21

Can’t say I’ve ever had an issue using their DOCSIS cable or the WiFi.

(Louis Otto) #22
  • EE - £8 a month for unlimited and 5GB of data, can’t complain

  • WWF - Good cause, can’t argue with helping them

  • Marine Conservation society - Same as above

  • Barlcays home insurance - Hope I never have to use it, but reasonable price

  • Sainsburys pet insurance - Same above, but HAVE used it and it is fantastic. Highly recommended.

  • Barclaycard - low, low interest rate and decent website