Virgin Australia’s Velocity Global Wallet debit card is in for an overhaul, with points cut on purchases made in Australia, many fees removed, but other fees increased for some customers.
Global Wallet forms the back of many Virgin Australia frequent flyer membership cards, with these changes all taking effect from May 4 2020: here’s what you need to know.
Velocity Points cut on purchases
Using your Velocity Global Wallet card to make eligible purchases in Australia currently generates one Velocity Point per $3 spent (0.33 Velocity Points per $1 spent).
From May 4, this changes to one Velocity Point per $4 spent (0.25 Velocity Points per $1 spent).
That’s a 25% reduction in points earned, and on the surface, brings Velocity Global Wallet into line with the competing Qantas Travel Money card (formerly Qantas Cash), which similarly provides 0.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent.
International purchases made using the Velocity Global Wallet card will continue to earn 2 Velocity Points per A$1 spent.
However, Velocity Global Wallet is clamping down further as to the types of purchases that qualify for points to be earned, both at home and overseas.
From May 4, only purchases made in the "travel", "entertainment" and "everyday shopping" merchant categories will earn points. Whether or not points are awarded will depend on the "merchant category code" assigned to each business' credit card processing terminal.
This means there's no way that cardholders can confirm precisely where they can – and cannot – earn points, other than by making a purchase and checking to see whether points are credited.
Currency conversion, ATM, and supplementary card fees axed
From May 4 2020, cardholders will no longer be stung with a 2.25% currency conversion fee when spending in a currency other than one held on deposit: for example, spending in Euros when the cardholder only has US dollars in their account.
The current $10 fee for requesting a supplementary card – a second debit card attached to the same Velocity Global Wallet account – will also be removed from the same date.
ATM cash withdrawals both in Australia and overseas will similarly see the current $1.95 charge per withdrawal waived, although any fees imposed by ATM operators will continue to apply, and Velocity Points are not earned on cash withdrawals: only eligible purchases made using the card.
'Inactivity fee' tweaked
Velocity Global Wallet customers who leave their account dormant for 12 months or more – by not making a purchase, withdrawal or top-up during that time – are currently charged a $1.95 ‘inactivity fee’ every 12 months.
Inactivity fees levied on and after May 4 will instead move to a percentage-based charge, being 0.5% of the total balance held, or $1: whichever is higher.
This means inactive cardholders with a balance of $390 would continue to be charged $1.95 in fees every year, while those with higher balances will be charged more, and those with smaller deposits charged less.
Fast top-ups using Visa, Mastercard credit and debit cards
Need a fast way to top-up your Velocity Global Wallet balance on the fly? From May 4, you’ll be able to add up to $500 to your account using a credit card or another debit card (Visa and Mastercard accepted).
Velocity Global Wallet won’t charge a fee if that money is loaded straight into one of your foreign currency wallets, although a 0.5% charge will apply if that top-up goes into your Australian dollar balance.
Recharges using Visa and Mastercard are limited to $500 per person per six months, and will be processed as a ‘cash advance’, not as a ‘purchase’.
This generally means you won’t earn frequent flyer points via that other card – that is, you can’t double-dip by topping up your Global Wallet account using a points-earning credit card, and then making purchases using Global Wallet to earn a second serve of points.
Further, if your top-up comes from a credit card, your other bank may also charge you a cash advance fee, along with hefty interest charges from the day you make your transfer.
This makes Visa and Mastercard top-ups best-suited to those who need to get money onto their card quickly, and who use a Visa Debit or Debit Mastercard (attached to a savings account) to fund that payment, rather than a credit card.
All funds deposited onto Velocity Global Wallet cards are held by Cuscal Limited, the issuer of the product and an "authorised deposit-taking institution" in Australia.
Funds are not held by Virgin Australia or Velocity: Velocity instead acts on behalf of Rêv, a third company which supplies processing services for Global Wallet, and pays fees to Cuscal.