A golden Mastercard with no annual fee, free use at home and abroad and the option to pay for purchases in instalments: this is how Advanzia Bank advertises its "No-fee Mastercard GOLD". No strict application’s requirements and suitable for freelancers and self-employed, Advanzia Bank offers a revolving credit card which seems promising.
But doesn't there have to be a catch? We asked ourselves the same question and therefore subjected Advanzia Bank's fee-free Mastercard Gold to a detailed test. Read our Advanzia credit card review and find more information about how it works and how to benefit from it.
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The bank behind the fee-free Mastercard Gold is Advanzia Bank, which is based in Luxembourg. It was founded in 2005 and has a German banking licence. Advanzia Bank is not a bank in the classical sense, but a digital bank. This means that Advanzia Bank does not operate its own branches and conducts its business purely online.
Advanzia credit card is a competitive product. This is not only proven by the results of our test or the reviews of Advanzia customers published on the common rating portals but also by independent tests. The Advanzia credit card was rated "very good" in the foreign credit card category in a test by the Handelsblatt newspaper in 2019. In a test of 57 credit cards conducted by the news channel n-tv, the Gebührenfrei Mastercard landed in first place as the best credit card.
What you can find in our review:
How did we test?
For our test of the Gebührenfrei Mastercard Gold, we first looked at the credit card application and carefully studied the general terms and conditions, the pre-contractual information (SECCI) and the price list of Advanzia Bank.
In addition, we searched for and analysed reports on the experience of Gebührenfrei Mastercard Gold on independent rating portals. Finally, the experiences of our customers were also included in our final evaluation of the free of charge Mastercard.
Even if the website seems a little out of date at first glance, you can easily apply for the fee-free Mastercard Gold online - without any annoying paperwork. In order to be able to start the application process, you will need to fulfill two basic requirements:
In the following you can find the application process explained in detail.
In the first step, you have to enter some basic personal data such as your name, address and date of birth. This basically completes the Advanzia application.
However, in the next step, you will have the opportunity to positively influence the credit limit that is available to you at the beginning - Advanzia Bank calls this step "limit optimization".
Here you can voluntarily enter additional information about your income, profession or marital status. We recommend that you provide all the information completely and truthfully - this is the only way to secure the highest possible credit limit for your fee-free MasterCard right from the start. However, you also have the option to skip this step directly.
In addition, you have the option of taking out "Advanzia Bank payment protection", which is basically a residual debt insurance. This serves as additional protection against risks such as death, incapacity to work, serious illness or unemployment through no fault of your own. In the event of an insured event, the insurance would take over the open negative balance of the last credit card statement - at least up to an amount of 10.000,- Euro.
The premium for this insurance is 0.89% of the credit card balance per month. For a balance of 250,- Euro, this would be 2,23 euros, while for a balance of 1.000,- Euro, the monthly premium would be 8,90 Euro. You basically have to weigh up for yourself whether such a protection is worth this price.
After the application, you first have to wait. First of all, Advanzia Bank will ask SCHUFA and other credit agencies to assess your creditworthiness in addition to the data you have provided.
If your SCHUFA is clean, you have nothing to fear from this step. However, even soft negative features such as completed negative entries are usually no problem. With hard negative features, however, there is no chance of a positive response. Therefore, the Advanzia credit card is not an option for a credit card without SCHUFA.
If everything goes smoothly, you will receive a welcome email from Advanzia Bank directly after the credit check. Your card will then be sent to you by post, which unfortunately can take 2-3 weeks.
Together with the card you will receive the credit card contract and an activation card. You will need to sign this and return it to Advanzia Bank by post. As soon as the activation card has arrived at the bank, you will receive a short confirmation by e-mail that your fee-free MasterCard is now ready for use. You will receive the PIN by post a few days later - and can finally use your fee-free credit card to its full extent.
A free revolving credit card which you can use everywhere. Advanzia credit card’s conditions are attractive. But in the end, you will want to know how good the Advanzia Mastercard credit card is for your daily usage. Here you will find our detailed review and assessment. In addition, you can get an idea about who could be an Advanzia credit card useful for.
For an increase of the credit limit with the Advanzia credit card, the duration of the customer relationship is decisive in the first place. Therefore, it may take some time before the credit limit of your Advanzia Mastercard is increased. In our Advanzia test, we were able to find out the following empirical values regarding the credit limit:
|After 3 months||€3.000,-|
|After 8 months||€5.000,-|
|Long-term customer||€10.000,- / €20.000,-|
|Highest credit limit*||€23.000,-|
*Highest credit limit based on our research
In our research, we even came across people who believe that they can "train" the credit limit of their fee-free Mastercard and thus maximise it in a comparatively short time. However, a blueprint with which every Advanzia customer can maximise their credit limit does not seem to be derived from this.
Nevertheless, we can give you the following tips to help you increase your Advanzia credit line quickly:
Advanzia offers a no-fee Mastercard Gold with no yearly and cash withdrawal fee. However, customers may ask how the Advanzia Bank earns money with its credit card. That is why we took a close look at the price list in our test.
|Fees for card usage||€0,-|
|Domestic payments (EU)||€0,-|
|Payments with foreign currencies (EU)||€0,-|
|Payments with foreign currencies (worldwide)||€0,-|
|Fees for cash withdrawals|
|Within European Economic Area||€0,-|
|In foreign currencies (EU)||€0,-|
|In foreign currencies (worldwide)||€0,-|
|Fees for services|
|Fees for using the credit line|
|Effective interest rate when using the credit line for purchases (payment within 7 weeks)||0%|
|Effective interest rate when using the credit line for purchases (outside the interest-free 7 weeks)||19,44% APR|
|Effective interest rate when using the credit line for cash withdrawals (from transaction date)||19,44% APR|
|Exceeding the credit line at the time of the monthly statement by more than 3% or at least €50,-||€3,-|
The table above shows it in black and white: paying and withdrawing cash with the Advanzia Mastercard is free of charge all over the world. So what's the catch?
You may have already noticed it yourself: at almost 20%, the debit interest rate for using the credit line is very high, even by credit card standards. If when paying your card, you have an interest-free period of seven weeks, you have to keep attention at withdrawing cash because this does not apply. When paying with your Advanzia credit card within the 7 weeks-period, you will not be charged any interest rate. On the contrary, when using your credit line to withdraw cash, you will be instantly charged an interest rate (even within the 7 weeks-period!).
Although cash withdrawals with the Advanzia Mastercard Gold are indeed free of charge worldwide, there is still a catch: the interest that accrues on the amount from the day of withdrawal. The easiest way to avoid unnecessary costs when withdrawing cash with the Advanzia credit card would therefore be not to withdraw any cash at all with the card. However, as there may be situations in which you need to withdraw cash with your fee-free MasterCard, we will show you how you can avoid unnecessary costs.
Cash withdrawals with your Advanzia credit card should be settled as quickly as possible by transfer to your Advanzia account, so that only little or ideally even no interest accrues on the amount used.
If you know in advance that you will be using your Mastercard to withdraw money, you can set up a scheduled transfer for that day in your online banking - and clear your credit line on the same day.
With this in mind, wouldn't it be possible to "park" money on the Advanzia credit card - i.e. bring the credit card account into the black by transferring money - and then withdraw this money at an ATM if necessary? In principle, yes - Unfortunately, this is not possible with the Advanzia credit card, as any overpayments are transferred back to you.
This is a pity because such a buffer would be very useful, especially when travelling. If you have to withdraw money abroad instead, depending on the duration of your trip, you run the risk of a hefty bill waiting for you on your return - at least if you don't have access to your online banking. Since deposits to the Advanzia Mastercard are only possible by bank transfer, alternative payment methods like PayPal or Stripe as well as cash deposits at ATMs are not possible.
In the beginning of 2022, Advanzia has finally published an app to manage your credit card. The Advanzia app comes with basic features such as overview of past transactions, the possibility to transfer money and to always see your current limit in realtime. While it is good to have an overview of your card at all times, the first version of the app is really very basic and not something that changes the experience. The only relevant change we've found is the possibility to confirm your ecommerce or online shopping with the more secure 2-factor method ("Mastercard Securecode").
For our test of the fee-free Mastercard, we searched the web for Advanzia experiences from customers, examined the costs in detail and brought possible weaknesses to light - and how you can avoid them.
Are you still unsure whether the free Mastercard Gold from Advanzia Bank is the right credit card for you? Then we have good news: because in the following section we will show you briefly and concisely in which cases the fee-free Mastercard is the perfect addition to your wallet - and in which cases it is not.
The Advanzia Mastercard is suitable for you if...
You should better look for alternatives to the Gebührenfrei Mastercard if...
You have followed all the tips above and are still not satisfied with the amount of the credit limit of your fee-free Mastercard? Then it might be worthwhile for you to take a closer look at awa7, the sustainable revolving credit card of the Hanseatic Bank. You can also read our in dept review of awa7 here.
Are you still looking for a free credit card?
If you didn't find the answers you looked for, have a look at our guide about Germany's free credit cards. You may find the perfect one for you!
All transactions - whether purchases or cash withdrawals - will be billed to you by the third day of each month. You will then receive an invoice by email with the minimum amount that you have to transfer to your personal account at Advanzia Bank.
For this account you will receive a personal IBAN (in the format LUXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX, BIC: ADVZLULL), which is linked to your credit card account. Important: to avoid problems with the processing of your transfer, you must transfer the amount to your account without a reason for payment and state your first and last name as the beneficiary.
The money must be credited to your account by the 20th of the month - since the transfer can take a few days, you should definitely transfer the money in time to avoid reminders or even a blocking of your card.
Whether it's cashback, reward programmes, discounts or insurance benefits: there is hardly a credit card provider these days who would not advertise their card with one or two additional treats.
Since the Advanzia credit card is a golden Mastercard, you can also look forward to extras here. With the fee-free Mastercard, these are first and foremost the travel insurances that are included with the credit card and that could prove to be quite useful, not only for frequent travellers.
In addition, under certain conditions you can enjoy cashback on the travel price or on car rental bookings.
Thanks to a comprehensive insurance package, the Gebührenfrei Mastercard Gold promises complete protection for your travels.
Specifically, the following travel insurances are included with the Advanzia Mastercard:
The answer is no. Because although the travel insurance policies of the Gebührenfrei Mastercard offer good basic protection, the devil is in the detail.
For example, the travel cancellation insurance only covers costs up to 3.000,- Euro per claim. In addition, there is a deductible of 20% or at least 100,- Euro per person. This means that despite the insurance, you would still have to pay part of the costs.
However, you should not forget that the insurances are all free of charge - at least if at least 50% of the travel price was paid with the fee-free Mastercard. And if you want better protection - such as travel cancellation insurance without an excess - you can of course book this separately at any time.
The second extra of the Advanzia Mastercard is also aimed at (frequent) travellers. As the owner of a fee-free Mastercard Gold, you have exclusive access to a separate booking portal. For all trips you book via this portal and pay for with your Advanzia Mastercard, you will receive 5% of the trip price back as cashback.
The same applies to car rental bookings. Here, too, Advanzia Bank offers its own portal where you receive 5% of the booking costs back.
No, the Gebührenfrei Mastercard cannot be applied for without a SCHUFA check. Advanzia Bank always asks for data from SCHUFA and other credit agencies when you apply.
If you have a less than perfect SCHUFA, this does not necessarily mean that your application will be rejected. In the case of soft negative features such as completed negative entries, your application will be checked individually.
For this purpose, Advanzia Bank offers a customer portal where you can view the statement of your fee-free MasterCard online at any time.
However, the transactions listed there are not displayed in real time. If you want to be on the safe side, you should directly note down the transactions made with your Advanzia credit card and set a reminder by when you have to pay the amount again to avoid paying interest on it.
If you no longer need your Advanzia credit card and therefore want to cancel it, you must contact Advanzia Bank in writing (e-mail or letter) with your cancellation request.
However, when cancelling your credit card, you should bear in mind that the credit card balance will then be due all at once - if you still have several hundred or even thousands of euros outstanding, you should of course bear this in mind.
You should be honest with yourself about the last point. If you regularly reach the limit of your credit line and do not pay it back within the interest-free period, it can quickly become very expensive due to the high interest rates. In the worst case, you will only be able to pay the interest on your credit line every month.
In this case, a debt restructuring can be a solution to the problem. In this case, you take out an instalment loan for the amount of the open credit card balance and pay it off in one go. You pay off the instalment loan monthly, but at a much lower interest rate than would be the case with the credit card.
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