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26 April 2018: TSB Online Banking: Compensation now offered

TSB bank has been in meltdown for days following a move to a new online platform which has left customers unable to access their online banking.

The bank has finally called on outside help to clear the situation up faster.

Promises to customers have now been made by TSB boss Paul Pester due to the length of disruption caused. These include no overdraft fees or charges to be paid by customers for the whole of April.

The bank was originally attempting to move all of their customer accounts across from their previous owner Lloyds to a brand new platform under its Spanish owner.

This transition has somehow left nearly half of TSB’s customer base without access to their online banking.

Pester has confirmed that those with a reasonable case for compensation will be able to claim when the situation is cleared.

Despite these reassurances of compensation, many customers are still angry as the issue causes disruption to their everyday lives.

This includes not being able to pay other people online, not being able to pay bills or change standing orders, and not being able to move money around your own accounts or check balances.

If you wish to switch your current account you can click here.

18 April 2018: Car insurance: First price drops in 3 Years

Prices of car insurance policies have fallen for the first time in three years.

This comes following changes to the law on whiplash. The way in which compensation is paid out by insurers for long term injuries has also been reviewed.

These changes have made it harder to make fraudulent claims and therefore lower the cost of insurance.

The price drop, which was suggested to have been 2% in one year, comes after three years of rising prices.

Although this was mainly credited to changes in compensation pay outs, there has also been a significant rise in the number of female drivers on the road.

A rise of 21% since 2007 was noted. Traditionally, female drivers pay less on their car insurance due to them generally having smaller and cheaper cars and claiming less for high cost accidents.

The cost of car insurance began to rise due to compensation for insurers to reduce costs of long term injury claims, were reduced. This effectively made it harder for insurers to afford pay outs to customers when they claimed, meaning costs of policies went up.

But with the government now revising this, insurance companies can again reduce their policies.

However, most people will still not see changes in costs when it comes to renewing their policy. The best option is to compare and switch policies to start benefitting and saving money.

Compare car insurance HERE
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28 March 2018: Third party access to your data on social media – Why worry and how can you prevent it?


The scare around personal data is growing fast at the moment, as we’re sure you will have noticed. With new laws on personal data already being implemented, people are becoming much more aware of where and why their personal data is being used.

As you’ve probably heard, social media is one of the places under scrutiny, yet many still don’t understand how their data is being used or why.

We’ve written a quick guide as to when and why you may have been affected, and how you can change your settings to prevent this whilst still enjoying use of your social media accounts.


Facebook

Firstly, it’s worth knowing that even activities you didn’t think would be able to harvest your data may actually well do. If you log into other websites using your facebook log in details, or if you’ve played a game on facebook or similar, these actions give third party applications access to your personal data which is on facebook.

Most boxes that you tick agreeing to ‘terms and conditions’ before signing into anything using your facebook log in will allow access to your personal data.

The data which can be accessed depends what is available on your facebook profile, but normally includes:

-    Email
-    Phone number (if you’ve provided it)
-    Photos
-    Birthday
-    Where you live
-    Relationship status
-    Where you work
-    Groups/pages that you’ve ‘liked’

Obviously this breaches privacy, but also means that you may get spam email and calls.
You can limit which data these applications have access to, take access away completely, or request that they delete the data they already have.

How to limit access:

1 – In Facebook on desktop, click the drop down menu, then ‘Settings’/On your phone, hit the three horizontal line icon then ‘Account Settings’.
2 – Click ‘Apps’ and then ‘Logged in with Facebook’ to see the apps which have access to your data on Facebook.
3 – Select each app separately to view the data which each app can access.
4 – Click the blue ticks to select which data you’d like the app to have

How to delete your data:

1 – Once you’ve clicked on the specific app to see which data it can access, click ‘Report App’ then ‘I want to send my own message to the developer’.
2 – You can then send a message to ask them to remove your data from their database, and they have to honour this.

Review your data on Facebook

You can view your personal data held by Facebook by selecting ‘Settings’, ‘General’, and then clicking ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data’. You can delete certain parts of this data from here.


Instagram & Twitter 

Further to the warning surrounding Facebook, there’s now concerns about other social sites including Instagram and twitter. Below we’ll show you how to reduce data sharing on these sites too.

Instagram

Many people are not aware that Instagram is actually owned by Facebook, and therefore many of the rules surrounding data are shared between them. Instagram’s privacy policy states that they can log all information posted on the app, as well as whatever data you have allowed the app to access from your phone or other device such as your contacts.

This information can then be shared with advertisers on Instagram so that they can target their advertising, meaning it’s going beyond just Instagram.

Even If you have made your settings on Facebook more secure, the fact that Instagram can share it’s information with business partners means that Facebook will still receive them, so all of your security efforts are useless without securing all your social media accounts.

Here’s how you can limit Instagram’s access:

Disconnect your contacts list

Once you’re on the Instagram app, go to settings and then ‘contacts’. Make sure the toggle is turned off.

This will stop access to your phone contacts for both Instagram and its partners.

Disconnect linked accounts

Again on settings, go to ‘linked accounts’. These are the other online accounts you’re giving Instagram permission to share your data with. You can edit these.

Turn off location settings

Go to the settings menu on your phone, go the Instagram app, then turn off location.


Twitter

Twitter is not connected to Facebook in the same way that Instagram is, but there’s still some questionable notes in its privacy policy.

It does, however, make it slightly easier to understand and access the data it holds on you through its ‘your Twitter data’ tool.

Your data on Twitter includes:
•    Email address
•    Phone number
•    Gender
•    Age
•    Languages
•    Location
•    Devices where you’ve logged into Twitter e.g. phone vs. desktop
•    Places you’ve been
•    Other apps on your device
•    Your interests

When you choose to ask for the data that Twitter holds on you, you will be emailed a PDF summary.

Android Users

If you have an Android phone instead of an Apple phone or other, Twitter can also look at what other apps you have on your phone then use this to promote material to you.

You can stop this by going to ‘Settings > Privacy and safety > Personalisation and data > Personalised based on your apps’.

You can also just use Twitter in a web browser instead.

 To see a full list of the apps Twitter’s spotted on your device, go to ‘Settings > Privacy and safety > Personalisation and data > View your data > Apps’.

Personalised ads (Android, iOS and desktop)

Twitter, on all types of device, has the right to share your user habits with selected partners. In your Twitter settings, go to ‘Privacy and safety > Personalisation and data > Share data through select partnerships’.

‘Share data through select partnerships’ essentially allows Twitter to share your interests, based on your tweets and how you use Twitter. Twitter says none of your most sensitive data will be shared (ie, name, email address, phone number).


Outside of social media

Even outside of social media there are still plenty of things to check to ensure your personal data is secure as possible.

Create new passwords

This might seem obvious, but so many of us don’t bother to do it. Even when your accounts have not been hacked and you think they are secure, it’s best to regularly change your passwords to make this less likely in the future. The most secure passwords are very long ones. Whole sentences made into one word without spaces are normally the best option as they’re difficult for people or computers to work out.

Google

Google’s “Takeout” tool lets you download your own data from the google products you use including those like Gmail and Google Maps. They’ll send you files of the data they have on you, including your search history, videos you’ve watched, locations you’ve been in etc. You can then go through and delete this. You can also prevent google maps from tracking your location in the first place. Sign in to Google, open Maps, then click on “timeline” in the menu. At the bottom, there’s an option to manage your location history.

Yahoo

Many people have old Yahoo email accounts which they may not use anymore. This will be full of personal information just like any other email account. Most Yahoo email accounts were actually hacked in 2013, so it’s a good idea to either delete it or re-secure it with a new password and two-step verification.  

‘Smart’ Products

Smart gadgets are getting ever more popular, but many are unnecessary as well as having low security and being invasive to your personal life and data. Hackers have already hit these devices hard in 2016, and unless you really think they are necessary to your lifestyle it’s best to avoid them.

Changing prices for different locations

Many sites which sell things change their prices based on your previous buying history or even based on where you live. This is all done by data they hold on you. Before you make any purchases online, particularly larger ones, we’d suggest using private browser mode to see if the price changes.

AirDrop

AirDrop is a feature on Apple iPhones which allows anyone near you (unless the feature is turned to contacts only) to send photos and files across to your phone.  Turn off this AirDrop function unless you really need to use is, or at least turn it to contacts only. This stops strangers around you from sending you unsolicited pictures.

14 March 2018: New Railcard: Popularity causes chaos

The first day of release for the new ‘millennial’ railcard was Tuesday 13th March, only yesterday, yet they flew off the shelves and have already sold out.

These new railcards are to cater for 26-30 year olds, and cost only £30 for the year. 

Knocking a third off of most train fares, this railcard in theory extends the current 16-25 railcard which offers the same savings.

The first release on Tuesday was said to be a ‘practice run’, to gauge a reaction from the targeted audience and see how well it would do. This saw only 10,000 cards up for sale, and the website crashed as huge demand swamped it.

Some of those wanting to buy railcards showed particular frustration, as they needed to buy before their 30th birthday. This meant that many complaints were made due to the seemingly obvious volume of people that would want a railcard not being anticipated at all.

It should also be noted that peak times are still not very well discounted. Before 10am fares must be a minimum of £12, so those commuting may not see much benefit.

We can only hope that come its official release, there is more preparation to ensure everyone gets a fair opportunity to take advantage of this new railcard.


13 March 2018: Spring Statement: Main Points

Today, Chancellor Phillip Hammond has made his Spring Statement, which gives an update on the economy in the UK and forecasts for the future. He was positive on the economy claiming that it had turned a corner and there was “light at the end of the tunnel.”
 
He was buoyed by the fact that growth had turned out to be slightly higher than expected in 2017 (1.7% vs a forecast of 1.5%) and borrowing had also come in lower.
 
While this was the case the OBR (The Office for Budget Responsibility) were raining on his parade somewhat by publishing a gloomy set of economic forecasts that would mean the UK would be one of the world’s slowest growing economies over the next five years. The Government’s independent forecasting office are predicting growth of just 1.3-1.5% per year averaging 1.4%, a year over the next five years.

This would be way down on the strong growth averaging 2.8% a year achieved under Labour from 2000-2007 and also down on the pre Brexit vote Cameron/Osborne Austerity years of 2010-2015 when growth averaged 2.0%.

Under Labour, from 2000-07 we beat both the US and EU on growth (US averaged 2.1% a year and the EU 2.5% to our 2.8%). Under Cameron 2010-15 we beat the EU but lost out to the US (EU averaged 1.2% and the US under Obama 2.3% to our 2.0%).

An average growth rate of 1.4% would be our slowest growth since the War outside of recessions and would be half the rate achieved from 2000-07. We are expected to fall from towards the top of many economic growth league tables to near the bottom. I’m sure that we all hope these gloomy forecasts do not come to pass as we leave the EU.

The main points of today’s spring statement included many ideas for future policies, such as:

•    A reduction in tax on for the least polluting vans to help the “Great British White Van Driver”
•    A consultation on a possible future tax on single use plastics such as takeaway containers, plastic cups and cigarette filters ( no doubt following on from the national shock of witnessing the damage to marine life highlighted in Planet Earth II)
•    A consultation on taxing tech firms that avoid tax by registering in low tax EU countries like Luxembourg or the Republic of Ireland then who trade in the UK eg. Google, Amazon, ebay (by the way energyhelpline and moneyhelpline are registered in the UK and we pay standard UK taxes including VAT and Corporation Tax). One possible idea is to tax these companies UK turnovers going forward.
•    An aim for inflation to drop to 2% by the end of the year
•    Potential increases in spending for public services to be included in the Autumn budget (services that are widely regarded even among Conservative backbenchers to be struggling for cash)

There were also more general comments including:

•    Employment continues to be high and unemployment low
•    Incomes look to start rising in real terms by the first three months of next year
•    The final amount expected for the UK divorce from the EU to be £37.1bn
•    A suprising admission of a need for more funds to be given to the NHS before the Autumn budget

Amongst the main pointers was talk on the future of cash and digital payments, where digital payments including those on credit and debit card are expected to completely overtake use of cash.

Digital payments and online banking can save people lots of time and hassle. You can compare hundreds of credit cards and online bank accounts at www.moneyhelpline.com. Often which pay cashback, higher interest rates or come with very low cost lending facilities compared to traditional accounts.

There was also talk of more building projects to tackle the Housing Crisis and provide new housing on a huge scale. The chancellor announced a deal agreed with the West Midlands to deliver 215,000 homes by 2030-31 (Some way into the future!). The Chancellor also stated that since the Autumn budget, around 60,000 first time buyers have already taken advantage of the stamp duty relief.

He stated that the government intend to take on the challenges of the current housing market with an investment programme of £44 billion to increase houses to 300,000 per year by the mid 2020s.

John McDonnell, the Labour Shadow Chancellor, responded stating that the Government had shifted the cost of austerity onto the public services while giving tax cuts to corporations, the super rich and bankers.

He said that austerity was a "political choice not an economic necessity." He stated that a Labour Government would invest in the public services and infrastructure to boost growth and combat the crisis developing in many of our public services such as the NHS, social care and Councils. NHS Trusts are expected to face record deficits of £1 billion by the end of 2018.

You can compare and save on lots of money products like insurance, credit cards, mortgages, and bank accounts at www.moneyhelpline.com.

16 February 2018: Bank of England: More Rises Ahead

Despite a recent 0.25% interest rate rise having hit in November 2017, The Bank of England is now warning that the next rate rise could come much sooner than expected.

Originally, the next two rises were predicted to take place over a longer course of three years or so.

However, there could now be a third increase, the first one coming as soon as May, with another potentially in autumn.

The rate is likely to rise from 0.5% to 0.75%, another increase of 0.25%.

What Will This Mean for You?

The impact on your everyday life will be much the same as the last interest rate rise.

For mortgage holders, the news could be bad. Interest rates on variable or tracker mortgages will probably rise to match the increase.
 
Monthly payments will increase with this, making it more difficult for many households to keep up.

Luckily, those on fixed rate mortgages should go untouched for the time being. You can compare fixed rate mortgages HERE.

However, the rate they will have to pay after the fixed term will still rise in line with the Bank of England rate, and will therefore be harder to pay off.

For savers, there may be some better news. Banks generally raise their interest rates for savings accounts to match the increase again, meaning higher interest returns for savers.

This was already seen happening after the rate rise in November.

This could potentially create more competition over savings rates, forming a better market for all savers. You can compare savings accounts HERE.

However, these rises happen quite slowly, so don’t expect any immediate increase in interest. It may be best to wait out after the rise to ensure you get the highest rate you can, as some banks may hold back their increased interest rates for a while.

16 February 2018: The Property Ladder – Untouchable for Middle Earners?

The difficulty for young people to buy their own home has already become prominent over the past few years. Yet now there are new figures revealed by economists which suggest a much wider problem than previously thought.

Even those who earn mid-range income, anywhere from £22,200 to £30,600, are now struggling to buy their own homes.

The amount of middle earners owning a home has dropped significantly since the 1990s, by around 40%.

This population comes from a range of backgrounds, including both university graduates and those who left education at 16, some with children and some living alone.

Therefore this is clearly a widespread issue and not just one relating to lifestyle circumstances.

For those who rent the problem runs even deeper. With money which could go towards a deposit being spent on rent and bills, it’s nearly impossible to save the amount needed each month for a deposit.

House prices have been rising seven times faster than the incomes of this population for the past twenty years, particularly in the South East area.

Many believe that until more affordable housing options are being built, this problem will stick around for a significant amount of time.


31 January 2018: Smart and Easy Ways to Save Cash around your Home

Find recipes to suit what you already have at home
Deliberately look for the recipes that you already have most or all of the ingredients for. It’s both a waste of time and money to go out and get unusual ingredients which you may never use again. There’s now websites which allow you to find recipes by searching with the ingredients you have. One of our favourites is www.supercook.com.

Borrow the items you will only use once
This applies to all aspects of your home, inside and outside. Things like gardening equipment, electrical food equipment and even things for babies which will be grown out of etc. There’s no point in buying a piece of equipment which you’ll not use again or very rarely. See if you can borrow one from friends or family first, or even neighbours.

Save on laundry
Hanging your clothes to dry instead of tumble drying them will save money on energy bills, whilst being more eco-friendly! Even if you don’t have a garden, a small retractable washing line can be placed somewhere in the house. Little costs like this really do add up.

Buy furniture and decorations wisely
Using charity shops, second hand websites such as www.gumtree.com, and offers from friends and family, it’s easier than you think to decorate your house affordably. So many people are willing to get rid of their stuff for extremely cheap, or even free, just to get it out of the house. There’s hardly ever anything wrong with the items, it’s just that they don’t suit the owner anymore. With the average home costing £15,000 to furnish, this is an area you can really save on!

Gaps and leaks are expensive!
Check around the house for drafts in windows or doors. This prevents heat escaping in the winter which means less money spent on heating, and similarly helps keep the house cool in summer. Block these with draft stoppers or get them replaced if you can afford to. High quality doors and windows will last you decades. 

Stop costs rising in winter
During winter everyone spends more on heating and electricity to keep the house warm. Unused rooms are often still heated despite no one using them. By turning down (or off) the heating in these rooms and keeping a few plug-in heaters you can warm up a room very quickly. Cosy blankets are also a good idea.

Recycling can pay out
Lots of recycling points actually now pay money for you to recycle. Some have automated machines that pay out coins for each bottle or item. If there’s not one of these recycling points close by (many are at tips), then try to save all of these recyclables up and take them to the closest one when you’re going that way for something else to save petrol money.

Spare change can add up to hundreds
Don’t turn your nose up at spare change! If you kept all the copper coins you ever had it would add up to hundreds right now. By having multiple jars to collect spare change around the house, you’re more likely to just pop it in when you go by, instead of forget about it because it has nowhere to go. If you can, try the speedy way of collecting money by saving £5 notes or £1 and £2 coins. This adds up very fast!



24 January 2018: Car Insurance Premiums Rise Again

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), car insurance premiums have yet again risen from October to December 2017 to an average of £481, which is a huge 9% rise on the same period in 2016.

This rise is the latest of eight since 2012.

There was previously a discount rate which meant insurers could be compensated for the expenses of long-term injury claims. This was, however, reduced by the government in April 2017 which means insurance firms now have to pay out more.

This is one of the reasons they use for explaining premium increases. The government are looking at potentially reversing the changes to this discount rate.

Rising fraud is also pushing up car insurance costs as many fake claims, particularly for whiplash, have been made.

The rising premiums may slow in future as new legislation is passed to control fraud, high repair bills and insurance premium tax, but for now the cost of car insurance is very unlikely to fall.

This makes it even more vital that customers find the very best deals they can on their car insurance. You can use a comparison site just like moneyhelpline.com to compare car insurance deals.

CLICK HERE to compare and save on car insurance

18 January 2018: Tesco Clubcard: What's happened and our pick of alternatives

As Tesco slashes Clubcard rewards, here’s a roundup of other great rewards schemes and points cards you can use to your benefit

On Monday, Tesco announced they would be ‘regulating’ the value of rewards which they currently run on their Clubcard scheme. Instead of some being 2x their value, and some being 4x their value, they have now made all rewards 3x their value with immediate effect.

This has been met with anger from users of Clubcard, as it has decreased the value of many people’s points.

With 1 point collected for every £2 you spend, and each point being worth 1p (or 3p if you exchange it for vouchers), it’s still one of the best reward schemes. But there are others which we think are equally good, if not better…

Supermarket Rewards Cards

Sainsbury’s Nectar Points

  • Collect 1 Nectar point per £1 at Sainsbury's supermarkets and at sainsburys.co.uk.
  • Collect 1 point per litre of fuel purchased at Sainsbury's petrol stations.
  • 2 points are worth 1p

Morrison’s More Card

  • Earn 5 points per litre when you buy fuel at Morrisons
  • Earn 5 points for every £1 you spend in store and online
  • Earn 25 points for every £1 you spend on Gift Cards in store
  • Get a £5 More voucher for every 5,000 points you earn
  • 10 points are worth 1p

Restaurants

Nando’s Card

  • Earn one ‘chilli’ when you spend £7 or more at Nando’s
  • The further you get around the wheel of ‘chillies’ the better rewards you get. All rewards are free food.

Subway Card
  • Earn 10 points for every £1 spent.
  • 100 points can be redeemed for a hot drink, 200 points can be redeemed for a snack. 500 points can be redeemed for a regular 6” Sub, flatbread or salad and with 1000 points you can redeem for a regular 12” Sub or flatbread.

Costa Coffee Club Card

  • You'll earn 5 points for every £1 you spend.
  • 1 point is worth 1p.

High Street and Retail

Boots Advantage Card


  • Collect 4 points for every £1 you spend. With one point equal to one penny
  • 1 point is worth 1p.

Ikea Family Card


  • Exclusive offers, discounts and freebies, including extra 10% off sale prices and special prices on selected IKEA products.

Holland and Barrett


  • Earn 4 points for every £1 you spend.
  • 1 point is worth 1p, and you can collect these in coupons of 50p each.

Superdrug Beautycard
 
  • You'll earn 1 point for every £1 you spend.
  • 100 points is worth £1, 200 is £2, and these have to spent in multiples of 100.
  • Get exclusive lower prices for selected products both in store and online.
  • Every Thursday you’ll get exclusive member discounts on a different brand or product category.

Points Credit Cards

Sainsbury's Bank 33 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card

  • Up to 10,000 bonus Nectar points. Each time you spend £40 or more on Sainsbury’s shopping in the first two months you’ll get 1,000 points. (Ends 25th March 2018)
  • 2 Nectar points per £1 spend on Sainsbury's shopping or fuel. 1 Nectar point per £5 spent elsewhere.
  • Balance Transfers 0.0% Fixed for 33 months (0.59% fee)
  • New Purchases P 0.0% Fixed for 3 months

Representative Example: Assumed borrowing of £1,200 for 1 year, at a Purchase Rate of 18.95% (variable), representative 18.9% APR (variable). Credit available subject to status. You'll pay a 1.5% fee to transfer a balance to this card in the first 3 months. Sainsbury's will then refund 0.91% so the overall fee is 0.59%. 3% balance transfer fee afterwards (minimum £3 at all times).

M&S Shopping Plus Offer Credit Card
  • Balance Transfers 0.0% Fixed for 25 months (2.9% fee)
  • New Purchases 0.0% Fixed for 25 months
  • Buy M&S Travel Money with no cash advance or foreign exchange fees.
  • Earn M&S reward points every time you shop with your card.
  • A bonus points voucher worth £5 when you use your M&S Credit Card in store.
Representative Example: Assumed borrowing of £1,200 for 1 year, at a Purchase Rate of 18.9% (variable), representative 18.9% APR (variable). Credit available subject to status.

John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership Credit Card
  • Balance Transfers 0.0% Variable for 18 months (2.9% fee)
  • New Purchases 0.0% Variable for 9 months
  • Every time you spend on your partnership card, you’ll earn points towards John Lewis Partnership vouchers. Every 500 points you earn is worth £5 in vouchers.
  • Earn 1 point per £1 spent in store or online at John Lewis and Waitrose.
  • Earn 1 point per £2 spent everywhere else, at over 36 million MasterCard outlets worldwide.
  • All new customers will receive 1,000 points worth £10 if they spend or transfer £500 in their first 90 days from account opening.

Representative Example: Assumed borrowing of £1,200 for 1 year, at a Purchase Rate of 18.9% (variable), representative 18.9% APR (variable). Credit available subject to status.

Tesco Bank Clubcard 15 Month Balance Transfer and Purchase Credit Card

  • Balance Transfers 0.0% Fixed for 15 months (0.85% fee)
  • New Purchases 0.0% Fixed for 15 months
  • Earn Clubcard points wherever you use your card, plus your usual points in Tesco.
Representative Example: Assumed borrowing of £1,200 for 1 year, at a Purchase Rate of 18.9% (variable), representative 18.9% APR (variable). Credit available subject to status. 0% interest periods apply to any balances or money transferred within the first 90 days of account opening.

15 January 2018: Open Banking: What is it and what can it do for me?

‘Open banking’ is about to begin as a new scheme which allow banks and building societies to give access to customer's financial data to regulated businesses.

Banks already hold all our information about our transactions and payments, but there will now be an option to make this available to businesses. 

It sounds scary, but this information can only be given if the customer has given the bank permission to do so. This access will only be given securely, and customers will not have to give any login details, passwords, or online banking information.

Customers can give or decline their permission for banks to give out this information at any time they choose.

The reason this is happening is to use customer’s payment history to get them better deals on pretty much anything available to buy.

Online companies will be able to look at the customers spending and find them better deals depending on how well they manage their finances.

Many banks, however, are already way behind on starting this new scheme up.

The original deadline was 13th January 12018, yet Allied Irish Bank, Danske and Lloyds Banking Group were the only actually ready to start, whilst the 6 other biggest current account providers in the UK have been given an extra 6 weeks of preparations time.

It’s a waiting game now to see how this system will work and if it will genuinely help those purchasing through online stores.


13 December 2017: Overdrafts: Latest news on charges and alternatives to overdrafts

There has recently been calls for banks to end charges placed on unauthorised overdrafts.

Thousands of people are finding that as they fall into their overdraft, it is becoming impossible to get back out due to extra charges stamped on top of what needs to be re payed.

This means many are in a circle of debt, and banks are now being asked to give more support to those who have been trapped by their charges.

Although there are now caps where banks have had to publish maximum monthly charge since September 17, many want charges to be completely abolished to prevent people being stuck in debt in the first place.

It has been said that banks fail to help their customers even when they admit to being in debt.

Lloyds is the only bank to have already abolished charges for unauthorised overdrafts.

Some banks claim to not let their customers get unauthorised overdrafts, yet they can still apply for emergency lending, which would put them in the same dangerous position. The majority of other banks do still offer unauthorised overdrafts however.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it was considering a ban on charges for unplanned overdrafts - but it is not due to report until 2018.

Many people in their overdrafts use them to pay off expensive bills or similar and so end up completely stuck.

There is also the claim that banks will give customers huge overdrafts which they could never afford, instead of setting them a sensible limit. Overdrafts can be one of the most expensive ways to borrow money.

However, there are alternatives to having an overdraft…

Firstly, shopping around bank accounts to see who offers the better rate overdraft is a good idea. You’d be surprised at how much changing banks makes a difference. Some even have a fee-free overdraft buffer up to a couple of hundred pounds. This compared to an account which charges a daily fee and sometimes also interest could save you a huge amount monthly.

Compare bank accounts here to see if you could be charged less on your overdraft

If you want to stay away from overdrafts completely, but you definitely need extra money ASAP, then you could go for a good rate personal loan. They’re often much cheaper than overdraft charges, but these tend to be better for borrowing slightly larger amounts as this gets the cheapest rates.

Compare loans here to see if it could be cheaper than your overdraft


Another option to borrow money fast would be to get a 0% purchases credit card. This will give you free borrowing for a certain amount of time. However, you must be able to pay this off before the 0% time period ends, or you will be hit with high credit card interest rates.

You can also transfers debts on a credit card across to a 0% balance transfer card. This keeps any debt interest free for a certain time period, giving you longer to pay it off before it starts to increase.

Compare 0% credit cards here and see how they could benefit you


1 May 2014: How will new mortgage rules affect borrowers?


!50 image Lenders will have to carry out more detailed checks as new mortgage rules come into force. Borrowers will be asked to provide more information about their income and spending when applying for home loans.

On the 26th of April 2014 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) introduced new mortgage rules, known as Mortgage Market Review (MMR) which will require that lenders perform tougher checks to potential homebuyers and remortgagors. This new set of rules is designed to eliminate poor or risky lending practices and to protect homeowners from borrowing more than they can afford. The question that arises is how the process will change and how would these changes affect borrowers.

The most significant change is that lenders will now be required to see evidence for the income of the potential homebuyer. However, they will also go through all spending in order to check affordability. Borrowing will depend on whether after regular monthly expenditure, rather than just income, borrowers would still be able to afford repayments. Moreover, lenders will also stress-test affordability to check whether their clients will have enough money to repay the mortgage should the interest rates rise. The new rules will not affect buy-to-let mortgages.

The MMR is likely to result in an increase of the number of people being turned down for a home loan, particularly families with children and remortgagors. Furthermore, checking the client’s financial circumstances in greater detail will make the whole application process longer and more invasive than before. Interviews with new customers could now take approximately 15 minutes longer, raising the length to 2-3 hours.

While these rules are new for lenders, mortgage brokers have been required to use these processes for years. This means that brokers will not only be quicker, but they will also compare deals across the entire market, instead of just talking about their own product. Moneyhelpline has partnered up with London & Country, the UK's leading fee free mortgage broker, to offer expert advice on mortgage deals.



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