A new survey has given a snapshot of the UK’s banking habits and revealed that the British public has never been so in touch with their bank balance. The results show that technological advances within banking have resulted in people using online and mobile banking apps to check their spending more than ever.

This fast, instant access means more people are now keeping on top of their finances regularly with four in five (83%) now checking their bank balance once a week or more and over half (52%) like to check their spending all the time, wherever they are, meaning people no longer have to wait for a statement to fall through their door.

The rise of mobile banking allows people to organise their finances easily, and in 2015 a total of £2.9 billion* was transferred each week alone with mobile and tablet banking. With this rise, Nationwide Building Society has uncovered the five places that people are now most likely to check their finances;

1) 68% use mobile banking from the comfort of their sofa

2) 50% do their online banking from their bed

3) 42% use work time to sort their finances using mobile banking

4) 21% like to keep on track of their spending whilst they’re shopping

5) 4% like to browse at the gym

The survey of 2,000 UK adults found that Brits believe they would have greater control of their money if they were able to see how much they spend daily on impulse purchases such as coffee (15%). Searching transactions by dates and periods of time (14%) and being able to search transactions by location (13%) would also allow more financial control. A further 1 in 4 (25%) admit they have a fair to non-existent ability to stay on top of their finances.

New banking apps are allowing consumers to keep on top of their spending – and saving – with constantly evolving new features. Nationwide’s Impulse Saver service enables customers to save up to £100 into their savings account without the need to log in. Since its launch, over £18.5m has been saved this way. The research also found that on average we spend £55.77 per month on things we hadn’t budgeted or accounted for, which is almost £700 a year.

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.

A spokesman for 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.”

Holidaymakers planning to go to Europe in the summer months – June, July, and August – could be collectively missing out on €265 million by not buying their money in advance, according to new analysis by Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money.

The supermarket bank found that Euros are on average 7.3% cheaper bought from a local bureau than from an airport kiosk, highlighting the importance of purchasing holiday money in advance and not leaving it until the very last minute.

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money estimates that in 2015, €8.4bn was purchased by people in the UK with 43% of these sales taking place in June, July and August.

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s Bank said: “As peak holiday season is here we’d encourage anyone travelling to Europe this summer to plan ahead so they don’t miss out on the best rates. Our analysis shows on average holidaymakers could save €42 per transaction by getting their money in advance – enough for a lunch for two in Spain or perhaps a few drinks in France.”

 

Britain is a nation of debt jugglers, constantly moving large balances between cards until we hit ‘money maturity’ in our fifties and decide to stop playing a game of loans.

According to a survey from the AA, 5.4 million people (11%) have transferred balances between credit cards.

On average, people have made three transfers. 2.6 million (20% of balance transfer card users) have made more than 5 balance transfers in the past year.

People are juggling an average of £2,353 worth of debt between cards and 1.6 million (10%) Brits are playing the game with over £5,000 worth of debt.

The research reveals that it’s not until we are in our fifties that we reach money maturity, with a long term plan in place to pay off our debts.

A fifth of adults (21%) said they would like to pay off their borrowing but are not currently in a position to do so.

A spokesman for the AA, said; “Of those that are borrowing, 14 million (47% of those in debt) do not know how much interest they are paying in total. Whilst low cost loans and balance transfers can be a good way of consolidating debt, many risk paying a price for missed payments.

“People need to be aware of the rules of the game, knowing how long introductory rates last and what might cause them to end early, for example missing a payment. Setting a calendar reminder for when your introductory rate ends can ensure you don’t sleep walk into paying higher interest and experience an unwelcome addition to your monthly commitments.

 

 

M&S Bank is bringing back its most rewarding current account offer; from today (Tuesday 19th July), new M&S current account customers can enjoy up to £220 to spend in M&S if they switch and stay with M&S Bank. 

Customers who switch to one of the M&S current accounts using the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) with two active Direct Debits, will receive a £100 M&S gift card. In addition, customers depositing £1,000 a month into their account will also receive £10 to spend at M&S each month for the first year.  

Customers switching to the M&S current accounts will also have exclusive access to a high rate monthly savings account with a rate of six per cent AER/ gross, customers can save between £25 and £250 a month, with the potential to earn over £96 in interest over a 12 month period.

M&S current account customers also earn loyalty points on their M&S debit card spend, with one point earned for every £1 spent in M&S (both in-store and online). Customers receive £1 in M&S vouchers for every 100 points earned; the equivalent of one per cent back in M&S vouchers. Points are automatically converted into M&S vouchers and sent to customers each quarter.

A spokesman for M&S Bank, commented: “We want to make banking with M&S as rewarding as possible, so we’re delighted to be able to welcome new customers with a £100 M&S gift card, and the potential to receive a further £120 in the first year they bank with us, plus access to a high rate savings account and debit card reward points.”

M&S current account customers also benefit from a transparent account structure with an automatic £500 overdraft, the first £100 of which is interest-free and the remainder is charged at 15.9 per cent EAR. The M&S Current Account has no overdraft fees and customers receive free text alerts as they approach their overdraft limit.

A report this week from Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance shows that more pets are going abroad on holiday with their owners than ever before, in part to avoid both parties suffering from ‘separation anxiety’.

For many pet owners, dealing with being apart from their beloved pet can prove challenging. Six out of ten pet owners claim to have felt sad when leaving their dogs and cats at home when they go on holiday. They also believe their pets have also suffered as a result of this, with 40% claiming that their pets developed separation-related behavioural problems. The findings indicate that their pets became withdrawn and some reported that their pets became aggressive or started to chew furniture and belongings.

An analysis of the latest government data by Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance reveals an increase in the number of pet passports issued over the five past years.

In 2015 the Animal and Plant Health Authority issued 127,657 pet passports, which represents a 287% growth across the five-year period between 2011 and 2015.

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance said: “Many pet owners cannot bear the thought of going on holiday and leaving their loved one behind and are avoiding the emotional strain of separation by taking their pet with them. If you are taking your pet abroad make sure you specify optional holiday cover with your pet insurance to cover accident and illness, and make sure you’re aware of any exclusions that apply.”

Pet owners must ensure they meet the pet travel requirements when taking their pets on holiday. Research from Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance reveals that 13% of pet owners who took their pet abroad were refused entry to the country as they did not have the correct documentation. Of the 21% of people who have taken their pets abroad, by far the majority travelled by car (65%) although a high 19% travelled by plane.

However, whilst taking a pet on holiday prevents them from suffering separation-related distress, travelling with pets is not always straightforward as many animals find the change in routine, environment and the travel stressful, which can lead to illnesses.

 

 

  • One third of travellers fail to disclose a medical condition or health issue for fear of travel insurance becoming unaffordable
  • Two-thirds of holidaymakers feel that knowing they have specialist travel insurance cover makes them more at ease and more relaxed during their time off
  • Younger travellers under 35 are mostly preoccupied with allergies, while the older traveller is concerned with heart disease and high blood pressure

Boots UK believes that everyone, regardless of age or health, deserves to take a break. Those travelling with medical conditions in recent years have found getting the right cover for the right price is sometimes harder than they first thought. Health issues, from allergies to heart conditions, however are not stopping people from travelling – but often people are feeling that they are being treated unfairly.

In a detailed survey, commissioned by Boots, one third of UK holidaymakers admitted they failed to disclose all their medical conditions or health issues because they feared the premiums would be unaffordable. However, encouragingly two-thirds of those surveyed said they were more likely to enjoy their holiday with the peace of mind that they had purchased specialist medical travel insurance cover.

With more people travelling into the later stages of life, the evolution of today’s traveller is predicated by the on-going health issues they may have to contend with. According to the survey, the number one medical condition travellers expect to become more prevalent over time is high/raised blood pressure, closely followed by heart disease and diabetes. Cancer and mental health issues make up the top 5 of medical concerns.

A spokesman for Boots UK said: “We want to help our customers make sure they have the right travel insurance cover to ensure they are fully protected when they’re on holiday and we’d never recommend taking a risk and traveling without the right cover.

“At Boots we understand that whether you’re a teenager embarking on your first holiday adventure or a 75 year old looking to relax in sunnier climes, the health issues you face are very different. Our research shows that allergies and sports injuries are major concerns to the younger traveller, while high blood pressure and diabetes are affecting the older traveller.

“Our new travel insurance product suite offers our customers cutting edge medical screening, allowing individuals to have their health issues accurately assessed and offered premiums that fit their lifestyle and travel plans so they can enjoy their adventures with peace of mind.”

 

More than half of adults in Britain (29.5 million people) receive unsolicited phone calls offering high-risk financial products and around one in eight are being called every single day, according to new research from StepChange Debt Charity.

The charity wants to see action from the Financial Conduct Authority and Her Majesty’s Treasury to ban unsolicited phone calls promoting high-risk financial products, which are harmful, widespread and can make people’s debt problems much worse.

The research also suggests that these calls, which offer products like high cost credit (e.g. payday loans) and fee-charging debt management services, have resulted in 1.5 million people taking out one of those two products.

StepChange Debt Charity’s research also suggests that the problem is particularly acute for financially vulnerable people who are already struggling with debt. A separate survey of the charity’s clients found that a third are receiving more than five calls a week and the charity estimates that up to 12,000 of the clients it advised in 2015 had taken out such services, adding an average of £1,052 in high cost credit to their existing debts.

With schools across the UK breaking up for summer, new research from American Express reveals that the average family with two children is expecting to spend £640 on activities and treats to keep their kids amused over the school holidays.

Days out top the list of school holiday spending, with parents splashing out an average of £232 to entertain their two children. This is followed by treats and gifts (£134), general pocket money (£100) and summer camps (£88).

In addition to the day to day costs of keeping their children entertained over the next couple of months, 29% of parents are planning a holiday abroad and 35% a staycation this summer. The average family has budgeted £462 and £358 respectively to pay for two children on their trip. Over a quarter (29%) admit that summer holiday costs are the most stressful part of the school holiday break.

The majority of parents will use their monthly salaries to pay for the summer fun, 34% will also dip into their savings, while one in five plan on using their credit card. In addition, 15% of parents will use reward points or cashback from a credit card, worth an average £117 to make their summer spend go further.

A spokesman for American Express said: “The long summer holiday is a time when parents can spend quality time with their children. However, while the kids look forward to time away from school, the summer break can be a busy and costly affair for parents. By putting holiday expenditure on a credit card that offers rewards or cashback, shrewd parents can make their spending work hard for them, giving them a chance to treat themselves with the points or cash accrued once their children return to school”.

Families hoping to save cash by going on holiday before the schools break up for summer could face millions of pounds worth of fines, according to new research from Santander UK. In the last full academic year (2014/15) parents were issued with an estimated £5.6 million worth of fines for unauthorised holiday absences.

Parents across England and Wales can face fines if they take their children out of school early without prior permission*. The collective value of fines issued between 2012/13 and 2014/15 increased by an estimated £4 million, equivalent to 267 per cent. This suggests parents are becoming more willing to risk a fine and take their children out of school to avoid the school holiday price hikes. The case of Jon Platt who won a High Court ruling in his favour after refusing to pay a £120 fine for taking his daughter on an unauthorised term-time holiday sparked much public interest and debate.

The number of fines also increased over this time period by nearly 70,000, rising from 24,853 in 2012/13 to 92,784 in 2014/15 – an increase of 273 per cent. Lancashire County Council issued the most fines in 2014/15 (4,279), followed by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council (3,559) and Bradford Metropolitan Council (3,445).

It’s perhaps unsurprising as parents planning an overseas break during the school summer holidays face premiums of up to 68 per cent in some instances, equivalent to an extra £1,771. On average, trips to some of the most popular overseas holiday destinations such as Spain, France and the USA are 21 per cent more expensive for a family of four between the 6th and 13th of August, during the school holidays, than between 9th and 16th July, just before schools break up for the summer.

Amanda Lamb, travel and property expert commented: “While summer holiday premiums can add an unnecessary expense to a family’s budget, there are other ways parents can look to reduce costs rather than taking a child out of school. Flying in the middle of the week rather than at the weekend can be cheaper as can waiting until the end of August or early September when prices are often lower as most people like to get away at the start of the summer holidays.” 

Cash conscious consumers using money saving tactics on holiday

Additional research from Santander highlights that taking children out of school in term time is not the only way people cut holiday costs with over three quarters (76 per cent) saying they have used some form of money saving tactics.

A quarter (25 per cent) have chosen to take a flight at an anti-social time, more than a fifth (22 per cent) have taken their own food on a flight to avoid paying for it while 20 per cent have taken items such as coffee, jars of food and washing powder with them to avoid buying them abroad. One in five Britons (20 per cent) admit to having taken food from the hotel breakfast to have for lunch. Worryingly, one in 10 people (10 per cent) admit to not taking out insurance as a way to save cash, despite this having expensive consequences if a medical issue occurs, an item gets stolen or a flight gets cancelled.