1.    Ensure you’re on the electoral register. Lenders use it to help fight identity fraud by confirming a person is who they say they are – and resides at that address

2.    Pay bills on time every month – a good credit score is built up over time and this shows lenders that you are reliable

3.    If you notice anything on your credit report that could be incorrect or think you might be the victim of identity fraud – i.e. someone else has applied for credit in your name – contact the credit reference agency immediately to get this resolved

4.    Avoid keeping a high balance on credit cards. Lenders view it as excessive debt and will be concerned about your ability to repay

5.    Do not apply for products you do not need. Applying for more than four types of credit in a year can lower your credit score

Today National Railcards* has announced a 20 per cent discount on its 16-25, Family & Friends, Senior and Two Together one year Railcards.

The sale, which will run from Monday 4 July to Monday 18 July, means Railcards will cost just £24 for a year’s unlimited usage – a saving of £6 on the usual price of £30.

Offering a third off most fares, Railcard owners save an average of £142.80 a year, more than four times its cost at standard price and up to six times as much as the discounted figure.

As well as a third off fares there are also exclusive discounts available to Railcard holders on top attractions, entertainment and UK holiday destinations.

There’s a further 10 per cent discount on the Disabled Persons Railcard, which usually costs £20 with an average annual saving of £121.79 plus special partner discounts on days out, holidays, theatre and more.

To purchase a Railcard at the discounted price visit www.railcard.co.uk between Monday 4 July and Monday 18 July.

*Railcards include the 16-25 Railcard, Two Together Railcard, Family & Friends Railcard, Senior Railcard and Disabled Persons Railcard.

7 in 10 people taking trips in the UK this summer could be doing so uninsured, leaving thousands of pounds worth of valuables at risk of theft, loss and damage, according to new research from home insurance provider Policy Expert.

Of the 2,500 people surveyed, 63% admitted they didn’t have away from home cover included in their home insurance policy, while only a third (32%) would take out travel insurance for ‘staycations’ in the UK, such as camping, festivals or walking holidays.

Despite a quarter of people taking trips in the UK to keep costs down (24%), day-trippers and holidaymakers risk expensive dilemmas by travelling with an average £676 worth of valuables uninsured. Other reasons for holidaying in the UK included because it’s easier (46%), visiting family in the UK (28%), because there are great places on our doorstep (60%) and a worry about terrorism/safety abroad (11%)

8% of those surveyed have damaged, lost or had valuables stolen while travelling in the UK, of which a third (31%) didn’t claim on their insurance. The most common items were mobile phones, cameras, wallets/purses and jewellery.

Adam Powell from Policy Expert commented: “Wherever you’re holidaying this summer, whether that be on the white shores of the Caribbean or a pebbled beach in Wales, it’s important to ensure you’re properly insured and that your belongings are covered against loss and theft. If you don’t want to take out a separate travel insurance policy, checking the small print in your home insurance to make sure it includes away from home cover is a good place to start.”

Almost 5 million 18-35 year olds are planning to book tickets to music festivals this summer, carting with them £1.8 billion worth of gadgets[1], according to gadget insurer Protect Your Bubble.

And it seems that few of them take throwaway phones. The average festival-goer carries £368 of gadgets, with almost a third (30%) packing tech worth more than £500, and one in 10 (10%) packing more than £750 in gadgetry.

Smartphones are clearly a key element of the festival experience, with the top three reasons given for taking mobile phones to festivals to contact friends if separated (75%), show off on social media (62%), and keep in touch with friends and family at home (40%).

Yet the data reveals that more than a third (36%) of 18-35 year olds who’ve been to a festival in the past three years have damaged (17%), lost (16%) or had a phone stolen (9%).

Men are more than twice as likely to have a phone stolen at a music festival as women (13% versus 6%), and will also be carrying more costly gadgets worth an average of £391, compared to £349 for women.

Age also plays a role with younger festival-goers almost twice as likely to have their phones stolen – 13% of 18-24 year olds have had a phone stolen at a festival in the last three years, compared to just 7% of 25-35 year olds.

Smartphones aren’t the only gadgets at risk. Believe it or not, one in six (17%) festival-goers take their laptops, and 16% pack their tablets.

Almost half (45%) of revellers admit they have left their gadgets unattended in their tents, with 17% leaving headphones, 12% leaving their mobile phones and one in 10 (10%) leaving tablets or laptops.

 

Retirement Advantage is warning that despite the renewed popularity of annuities following the introduction of pension freedoms, out-of-date myths about the product continue to abound.  The company is urging people to get professional financial advice before making any decisions about their pensions.

Andrew Tully, pensions technical director at Retirement Advantage, commented: ‘The pension changes have created huge interest in the market, and companies have responded with new product options. The annuity, the only sure fire bet of a guaranteed lifetime income, has also received a make-over, which has addressed many of the concerns people had about the product.

‘However, the message that annuities have changed isn’t well known unless you receive financial advice, which could potentially mean people ignore them because of out-of-date preconceptions. It’s important that retirees are fully aware of the value annuities provide. And it’s vital that everybody receives professional financial advice so they can make the best decisions for their personal circumstances.’

 

Retirement Advantage has compiled a list of the top 8 pre-conceptions that those approaching retirement have about annuities:

 

Myth

Reality

“Annuities are poor value.” Shopping around, rather than accepting the offer made by your pension company, can improve your income significantly. The difference between the best and worst annuity rate in the open market is currently around 33%1. Unfortunately, only a third (36%) of people are currently shopping around, and therefore people are missing out on millions of income2.
“The pension company keeps all the money if I die.” Since April 2015, providers have offered guarantees of up to 30 years or 100% value protection, so customers can be sure that their families will get their money back, and more if a longer guarantee is chosen.
“I can’t leave my annuity savings to my family.” Customers can arrange for the original annuity purchase price to be paid to their beneficiaries (minus payments made), and if they die before age 75 there is no tax payable.
“I’d be better off managing my own money.” People want the security and peace of mind that only a guaranteed income can provide.
“I could get a better income using drawdown.” Drawdown is sensitive to volatility in the stock market; Retirement Advantage analysis shows that customers could have seen 5% wiped off the value of a typical drawdown fund in a year3. While drawdown can produce a higher income there is also a risk that income could fall, and managing your money to last through retirement carries its own risks.
“Annuities are a one off purchase.” Customers can use pension savings to stagger the purchase of annuities to fit with the transition between work and retirement. Or phase purchase from drawdown funds in retirement.
“I can’t change or stop the income from my annuity if my circumstances change.” Using new ‘hybrid’ retirement account products, customers can redirect income from annuities into drawdown, for example if they return to work. This gives complete income flexibility while receiving a guaranteed income for life.
“I won’t live long enough to worry about buying an annuity.” Average life expectancy for men aged 65 is 21 years, meaning they will likely live until they are 86 years old, while for women it is 24 years, meaning they will likely live to 89. Remember, these are just averages, you have a one in four chance of living till 94 if you are a man and one in four chance till 96 if you are a woman4.

International travel insurance provider, Allianz Global Assistance UK, is changing traditional insurance practices to ensure a simple ‘right first time’ claim submission and speedy payment.  The company has enhanced its digital system to improve how travel insurance claims are made, after it found that 1 in 3 claims did not include the right documentation when first filed.

Confirmation of the original travel booking is the most commonly-missed document, which is also one of the most vital for a claims handler to arrange settlement. This is often received by email or accessible through a customer’s online account;  with the new system ‘booking confirmation’ can now be easily retrieved and submitted online, wherever the claimant is in the world.

Paul Doran, Head of Travel Operations for Allianz Global Assistance UK comments:  “Almost everything can now be done digitally – supermarket shopping, credit card applications, turning central heating on and off, monitoring how well you drive, and of course, instantly keeping in touch with friends and family all over the world.

“We recognised that the travel insurance industry needed to keep pace with an increasing consumer expectation that they can transact with insurers digitally.   With this in mind, there was no better place to start meeting that expectation than with the claims process. By reviewing and updating our entire claims process, with an emphasis on making it simpler for customers to send the required documentation digitally at the outset, we are significantly helping to reduce the emotional strain for holidaymakers when filling in a claim form.

“We also now provide our customers with a checklist of documents we need in order to assess a claim, which is a real benefit for consumers unfamiliar with the requirements.  The more information we receive when a claim first comes through, the quicker we can action and settle it.  Any information, receipts or documents missing will inevitably stall the assessment process which understandably causes frustration and stress for the customer. We are continually looking at ways to improve the customer’s claims experience, to ensure it does not add unnecessary strain at what can often be a stressful and upsetting time for those having to make a claim.”

 

A third (30%) of UK adults have admitted to using something personal, such as their date of birth, maiden name or home address to create their password, much of which is easily accessible online. Almost half (44%) said they rarely or never change their online password – further increasing the risk.

The findings also show that, when it comes to protecting their information on mobile devices, many Britons are leaving the door wide open to fraudsters. Four in 10 (37%) don’t password-protect their mobile devices and less than one in ten (9%) are concerned that their online security could be compromised by cybercriminals through mobile apps, many of which hold vast amounts of personal data.

The Experian research shows a trend that as awareness of data breaches increases, so do people’s expectations of organisations to safeguard their personal information. This may be part of the reason many are falling behind in protecting their own information from fraudsters. 77% now believe it is the responsibility of organisations to ensure they are well protected online, almost twice as many as in 2012 (40%).

Amir Goshtai, Managing Director at Experian says: “Whilst most of us take the necessary steps to protect our homes from burglars, not everyone is taking the same care to protect their possessions online. We wouldn’t use one key for all the doors and windows in our home – and most of us wouldn’t leave a key in the front door so anyone could get in. So we encourage people to think of their ‘21st century keys’ in the same way – things like the passwords we use to secure the doors to our personal information online.”

Experian has partnered with the City of London Police to encourage people to review their ‘21st Century Locks’ to protect information from the growing threat of online identity theft.

As summer holiday season approaches, experts from Gocompare.com travel insurance are warning holidaymakers not to leave arranging their travel insurance to the last minute or risk losing their holiday costs if they have to cancel their trip.

According to research based on their own customer data, more than half (56%) of the holiday makers who purchased their travel insurance through Gocompare.com last year arranged their cover within a week of their holiday start date. This includes 9% who arranged their cover on the actual day of departure.

84% of travel insurance policies purchased last year through Gocompare.com were bought within a month of the holiday start date.

98% of single trip policies provide some level of cancellation cover which starts as soon as you purchase the policy, not on your date of travel. This cancellation cover provides valuable protection against events affecting you long before you even leave your home.

According to figures from the ABI, around 34% of travel insurance claims made by UK holidaymakers are for costs related to cancellations with an average claim value of around £700. This is second only to the average medical costs claim of £900.

However, insurers will only consider claims if they are prompted by events travellers could not have known about before buying their insurance. Therefore, the sooner they buy the policy, the more likely it is they’ll be covered if something happens between booking their holiday and going on their trip.

Cancellation cover would enable the holidaymaker to reclaim the costs of their holiday, up to the cover limit and minus any excess, should certain circumstances arise before going away. These may include a serious illness or injury affecting someone in the travelling party or a close relative, such as a parent, child or sibling, who isn’t travelling but with whom they would like to remain at home.

Having a serious fire or flood at home may be another reason why you might want to cancel or postpone your holiday, but may be covered for under your travel insurance policy. Also, you can’t usually refuse jury service because of a holiday booking, but if you didn’t know about it before you arranged your insurance you may be able to reclaim some or all of the costs of cancelling or postponing your trip.

research by Tesco Travel Insurance has found that British travellers are set to pay out £112m to airlines in excess baggage charges this summer. The research found that over packing is rife, with just over 3 million passengers expected to go over their baggage allowance and many checking in more than one bag for their summer break abroad.

Most airlines offer some checked baggage included in the ticket price, or it is available to buy at the time of booking. However, this is usually limited to one bag per person with a maximum weight of 23kg. If travellers go over their allowance without realizing, they can be charged anything from £10 per kg up to £15 per kg of excess weight when they check in.

The good news is that the research also found that travellers are often packing items they never use, meaning these charges could be avoided.  The most unused items on holidays are excessive clothes and shoes, but also include make up, hair driers and tongs, and sun cream.

Of those who have been stung by excess baggage charged, the vast majority (79%) only found out about the charges when checking in at the airport, and 6 out of 10 travellers who were caught out by them were not expecting it.

To help travellers manage the cost of their summer break, Tesco Travel Insurance is currently offering new customers with a Clubcard 25% off all travel insurance policies purchased online between 8am on 13th June and 8am on 20th June** entering the  code FLASHSALE. Policies purchased during this period can start any time in the next 12 months.

David McCreadie, Managing Director of Tesco Bank, said “Customers could save a good deal of money by planning ahead and thinking carefully about what they take away with them on holiday. Tesco Bank has a great offer on travel insurance this week to help customers make their holiday money go that little bit further.”

Failing to read the small print on travel insurance policies could leave holidaymakers out of pocket and at risk. A study of over 700 travel insurance products by Comparethemarket found that restrictions and exclusions on many policies can leave customers unprotected if something goes wrong.

Nearly half (45%) of products only offer cover for cancellation of any prepaid travel or accommodation expenses of less than £3,000 – the cost of cancelling a family holiday outside Europe could be considerably more.

Almost half (49%) of products only cover valuables worth £250 or less, and just over one in 10 products offer cover for valuables of £500 or greater. Holidaymakers carry laptops, iPads, expensive cameras and mobile phones, but due to their policy restrictions many will be unwittingly travelling with uninsured valuables.

Over one in ten policies provide no cover for missed flights and almost a third (32%) of products will not pay out for missed connections within the UK. Even if your policy does cover missed flights, customers often have to undergo a lengthy process to make a claim including getting confirmation from the appropriate travel authorities.

Terms and conditions of travel insurance policies are on average 26,392 words, the longest of any insurance product, which highlights the difficulty that customers face in understanding the details of their policy. On average, travel insurance terms and conditions would take 88 minutes to read – which may be off putting for consumers and encourage them to skip reading the small print and noticing important exclusions.