The Fall and Rise of MasterCard

MasterCard seems to be making a lot of good choices recently with its branding showing up in a lot of high-profile cards.

Monzo, Revolut, Starling, Curve, Tide, and more are all MasterCard branded.

I used to have a MasterCard Credit Card by (IIRC) MBNA (remember them?) which I took out initially because I was going to Germany and back then (early noughties), I was advised that MasterCard was more prevalent in the European continent than Visa was, so make sure I had a MasterCard handy in case I ended up in a place that did not take Visa.

I didn’t even use that card.

Fast forward several years later, and suddenly I got a letter saying MBNA were transferring me onto Barclaycard Visa — which was the same as the other credit cards I had. So I ended up with multiple Barclaycard Visa cards, and no MasterCards.

The fact MBNA transferred me off MasterCard made me wonder why. Was there an issue with MasterCard? Were they like AmEx and causing problems with merchants? I shall never know.

I’ve been with Visa pretty much my entire adult life, and aside from that period above where I had a MasterCard, never had a MasterCard.

Eventually I decided to look at Monzo and Revolut, getting accounts successfully setup in both. Both issued MasterCard Debit cards. Starling’s app wouldn’t run on my device.

Monzo is rapidly becoming my main day-to-day account, whereas my Barclaycard is for things like larger purchases, bills, fuel, etc.

It’s strange since my last MasterCard experience, they’ve gone and pretty much disappeared, to coming back and almost every new card out there is MasterCard Debit….

Why I don’t use Public Transport to travel to work

People tell me I should use public transport to save on money, so I decided to check cost differences.

To use buses only, would take me 2 hours on a good day, and on a bad day, possibly 3 hours to get from one end to the other. A single bus fare would cost me £2.40 (2 buses), costing £24 a week.

To use underground only, would take me 1.5 hours to 2 hours on an average day. I have to travel from Zone 5 to Zone 1. I travel during the peak so that costs me £4.60 each way, total of £9.20 per day, or £46 per week.

If I wanted the flexibility of using both, a monthly season ticket between Zones 1 and 5 costs me £205.10 or £51.28 per week.

Buses, so far are the cheapest option, but they are the slowest (at 2-3 hours) and are most prone to have disruptive commuters (school kids, drunks, smokers)

But what about if I use a car? In a car it takes me 30-45 minutes to get to work in the morning, and about the same to get home. If I hit a peak of traffic, it maybe, at worse, 1.5 hours. Compare that to a 1.5 hours BEST case on the underground and 3 hours WORST case on the buses.

Here’s my breakdown of costs:

Diesel: Approx £16 pw — I fill up every 3 or so weeks, and on everage, it is about £16 per week of fuel

Road Tax: £0.39 pw (£20 per year)

MOT: £1.05 pw (£54.85 py)

Service (Full): £6.05 pw (£314.36 py) — including work done. If no work actually needs to be done, then this is much lower.

Tyres (4): £4.58 pw (£238 py) — assuming I have to change all tyres at least once a year. Not likely as I don’t do too much mileage, and I have only had to change the tyres once since buying the car.

Insurance: £8.65 pw (£450 py)

Total Cost Per Week: £36.72

So, even with the worst case scenario (lots of work to do on the service and yearly replacing of the tyres), my weekly running cost is STILL less than a season ticket on the Public Transport (and I also get to and from work a HELL of a lot faster).

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