Parents with preschool aged children looking to take a step on or up the property ladder could see a 17% increase in the amount they can borrow once the government’s new free childcare scheme comes into play, says Yorkshire Building Society.

From September parents with children aged three and four years old could be eligible for 30-hours free childcare a week, meaning they could potentially pocket more than £210 each month.

With the estimated average monthly cost of full-time childcare reaching a whopping £963.56, parents could see a dramatic increase in the amount they can borrow for a new home or additional loan.

For example, a typical couple both earning the national average salary of £26,156 with a youngster in full-time childcare receiving the universal free 15-hours childcare a month could borrow a maximum of £182,528 with the Yorkshire over a 25-year mortgage term.

However, if they receive 30-hours free childcare the couple could borrow up to £213,244, an increase of £30,716.

Charles Mungroo, Mortgage Manager at Yorkshire Building Society said: “An expanding family usually means there’s a need for more space, which can be a struggle for parents who are shelling out almost a £1,000 a month on childcare.

“The new government initiative is great news for parents’ ability to buy the home they want. The extra cash will really make a difference, particularly for those looking to move on to or up the property ladder.

“Parents who are happy in their current property could use the extra cash for home improvements or an extension. They may also consider making overpayments on their mortgage to pay it off quicker. A word of caution though, most lenders will charge borrowers if they overpay beyond a certain percentage of their home loan, so always check the small print first.”

Parents can refer to the criteria outlined on the government’s website to see if they are eligible for 30-hours free childcare.

New research from American Express reveals that dads plan to spend £366 on back to school items, whereas mums are more cost-conscious, spending £192.

Jenny Cheung, Director at American Express, said:

“As the new school term approaches, it’s not surprising that parents across the UK are busy shopping for back to school items – but it appears the spending habits for mums and dads are quite different.

Our research shows that dads plan to spend an average of £366 on school items, whereas mums are most cost-conscious, spending £192. Sport-mad dads will splash out £32 on new PE clothes and gear for their children, compared to just £10 spent by mums. Meanwhile, digitally-inclined dads will spend on average £20 more on gadgets for the new school year (£35 versus £16).

“Whether you’re buying gadgets or lunchboxes, back to school costs can soon add up, so it’s a good time to purchase all these essentials on a credit card that earns cashback or rewards so you can treat the entire family at a later date.”

The latest research undertaken by Lloyds Bank shows that over half of holidaymakers (53%) look forward to taking a break from the online world by taking a digital detox on their holiday. Just under seven out of ten people (69%) also stated they were planning to take less ‘tech’ items next time they went away. This jumps to three quarters (75%) of 18 to 24 year olds and nearly nine out of ten (86%) in the over 75 age bracket.

However, in reality, the urge to check social media or send emails appears to be an unbreakable habit. Just under nine in ten people (86%) logged in whilst on holiday, spending an average of 15 hours online during a break of five days or more with 18 to 24 year olds spending an average of 17 and a half hours connected to the internet.

Surprisingly, in the modern world of social media apps, the most common activity spent online was reading or replying to emails (75% of people doing so), with over half (55%) of 18 to 24 year olds doing this, and a big leap to 93% of the over 75s. This could be work related, as people on average spent three hours online for work or business whilst away, and for 25 to 34 year olds, this jumped to eight hours on average.

Holidays can also be an excuse to spend more on exotic food and luxury items, and just under one in three people (30%) stayed in control of their finances and checked them online whilst away. Transferring funds from a savings account (44%) was the most common activity for those that did do their online banking whilst on holiday, followed by paying a contact or bill (42%).

A spokesman for Lloyds Bank said: “While people are rightly taking the chance to take a break from their busy lives and have a digital detox on holiday, it’s important to stay in control of your finances, particularly at times when you might be spending more on things like trips, excursions and meals out. Convenient banking is exactly what people need when they’re away, so they can focus on enjoying their holiday.”

Most people still can’t go half a day without checking social media, with the average time without checking an account at just under 12 hours. Just under one in three (30%) of 18 to 24 year olds thought it was important to receive ‘likes’ on their social media activity and Facebook was the most widely used app with over half using it (55%).

Unsurprisingly, the smartphone was the most common tech item to be packed with over three quarters (86%) taking one on holiday, and almost all (97%) 18 to 34 year olds. Of the bigger tech items, over half (51%) took a tablet on holiday and just under a quarter taking a laptop (23%) away.

At a time when estate agents are warning that house price affordability is reaching a crisis point it seems that more people are turning to their grandparents in order to get a foot on the property ladder.  The Bank of Gran and Grandad has donated a total of over £37bn in funds to their grandchildren and one in ten grandparents say this money was to be spent on a deposit for a house.

The generous donations look set to continue as the research from Saga shows that a further third of grandparents are still considering or intending to give a financial gift and one in ten are considering lending money to grandchildren. The typical donation from Grandparents is £9,365, with those in London and the South East giving the largest deposits, although grandparents in Yorkshire are some of the most likely to gift to their grandchildren.

Grandparents say that they view the gifts as an early inheritance, with over half saying that they would rather see their relative enjoy the money than wait to leave it as an inheritance. In keeping with this generous spirit many grandparents do not specify what the money should be spent on; four in ten are happy for it to be spent on whatever their grandchildren would like to buy themselves.  Other expenditure from the Bank of Grand and Grandad goes on education, (23%), holidays (13%), driving lessons (12%) and house deposits (9%).

A spokesman for Saga Money, commented: “Most of the money grandparents are gifting is coming from their cash savings, so whatever small amount of interest they are missing out on is clearly outweighed by the joy they get by seeing their grandchildren benefitting from the money.

“If you are giving your grandchildren support as a loan rather than as a gift it pays to take a few sensible steps so there is no awkwardness later on,.  Only half of grandparents say they discussed repaying the loan with their grandchild, our advice is to be upfront about the conditions of the loan including how you would like the money repaid in order to avoid difficult conversations at a later date.

“Our customers are increasingly turning to gifting money through equity release in order to help grandchildren onto the property ladder.  On average they take £33,000 out of their property in order to give to family.”

Saga Magazine has put together some tips for people considering lending or giving financial gifts to their family, for the full article please see

  • Make sure you are secure and have enough money to fund your retirement and future care needs before you choose to assist others.
  • Make sure the terms of the gift or loan are clear, particularly if there is something specific you want to help your grandchild with or, in the case of a loan, an agreement about how and when it will be paid back.  It might sounds distasteful at first, but will possibly save a lot of awkwardness in future.
  • Giving an early inheritance can be Inheritance Tax efficient, look into the options as to how much you can give before becoming liable to tax
  • Gifting could affect your own or your grandchild’s entitlement to benefits, particularly if you might need long term care in later life.  Gifts could be regarded as a ‘deliberate deprivation of assets,’ which means taking cash out of your estate to ensure you qualify for means-tested benefits so it is best to take advice to ensure you do not fall foul of the regulations.
  • Many people take equity built up in their home in order to gift money to grandchildren.  It is important to take advice before doing this as the ‘deprivation of assets’ rule may still apply and there could be a cheaper way of finding the money.  It is also important to discuss this option with your family to let them know what you are thinking of doing.

Fraudulent credit applications against people in their twenties have soared in the last three years, according to new research from Experian.

The proportion of frauds against those under 30 years old has risen by 6% since 2014, while those aged 50 and up have experienced a decrease of 8.4% over the same period.

A spokesman for Experian, said: “Our statistics show young people are increasingly falling into the crosshairs of fraudsters, who see them as an easier target to open an account. They are more interested in getting an account open so they can use it for money laundering, or to establish a footprint at the bank for further fraudulent activity.

“Young people are more likely to live their lives online, so there is a good chance they will not be monitoring their post for statements. They often live in accommodation with shared mail areas, which provides an opportunity for fraudsters to intercept their post. Fraud can happen to anyone and it’s important not to get complacent. If you do use online statements then make time to check them each month, and keep an eye on your credit report for unexpected applications.”

The 60-plus cohort have experienced the sharpest decline in fraud attacks, down 5.8%, suggesting they have heeded advice to monitor their statements for suspicious activity, given scam emails a wide berth and use a range of passwords online.

In 2014 the stereotype was supported by statistics, with 17.1% of frauds perpetrated against people aged 60 and over. But this year, 11.2% of frauds are against this age group, the biggest single movement of stats related to age.

Shifting targets of fraudsters:

  • Are male: Males victims have seen a rise in frauds of 1.6%, since 2014
  • Are 20-29 years old: This age group has faced a rise of 5.7% in attacks since 2014
  • Live in London: 28% of frauds in the UK are targeted against London residents

Fraudulent applications for current accounts reached 164 in every 10,000 in the second quarter of 2017, up from 128 in every 10,000 between April and June last year. Mortgage fraud rose to 75 from 63 in every 10,000 applications over the same period, although credit card fraud dropped from 48 to 42 in every 10,000 applications year-on-year.

Households struggling to get by on minimal incomes who prefer to deal in cash are becoming a particular target of fraudsters, analysis using Experian’s Financial Strategy Segments (FSS) tool shows. Frauds against this group are up 2.4% compared to last year and 4.2% since 2015. Other households struggling to make ends meet in the Family Pressures segment were also increasingly preyed upon by scammers, up 4% over two years.

Experian offers proactive steps people can take against fraud:

Online passwords: There’s nothing more attractive for ID thieves than someone who uses the same password across multiple online accounts. It’s crucial to have unique and secure passwords for each online account. People should consider the strength of their password; always use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols, and change them regularly.

Security First: Be conscious of the information you share when using shared Wi-Fi networks. Public networks and open Wi-Fi hotspots can be compromised more easily by fraudsters than secure networks. Be cautious of the information you share on your social profiles such as your email address, date of birth and all other personal information that could be easily traced.

Passcode protect: A lot of personal information is stored on devices that are not password protected. That’s emails, apps, messages – a vast amount of information that could be a goldmine for fraudsters if the device is lost or stolen. People should always lock their mobile device, whether it is with a passcode or a gesture, to prevent access to such information, should the worst happen.

Check the post: While e-banking is becoming increasingly popular, receiving unexpected, irrelevant mail, could be a warning sign of ID fraud – particularly mail that is outside of your usual purchasing habits. Shred and destroy any documents that contain sensitive, personal details. And if you move house, make sure you re-direct your post and register to vote at your new address.

Be credit wise: By being credit smart and checking your credit report to see if there are rogue applications, you can get a better handle on whether personal information has fallen into the wrong hands. Web monitoring tools are also useful as they scour the web for stolen details – sending people an instant notification if their information appears somewhere new online.

Smart connected cars and homes are keeping burglars at bay, according to a new study conducted among a panel of ex-convicts, released today by Co-op Insurance.

The study reveals that over four fifths (89%) of ex-cons would be put off targeting a smart connected home, with a further two thirds (67%) stating they would steer clear of connected cars.

When delving into the reasons as to why this is the case, over two fifths (44%) said thieves are opportunists and so would avoid these trickier break-ins.

Despite this, just 5% of UK adults have invested in smart technology for their homes and cars.**

The study also reveals the top 10 factors which ex-convicts say are biggest deterrents for home and car thieves. CCTV cameras, the sound of a barking dog and strong heavy doors are most likely to put off home burglars. Whilst, CCTV street cameras, car alarms and street lighting top the list for car thieves.

Top 10 deterrents for home thieves: Top 10 deterrents for car thieves:
  1. CCTV camera
  2. Sound of a barking dog
  3. Strong heavy doors
  4. TV which is turned on
  5. Locked Upvc windows
  6. Cars parked on driveway
  7. Overlooked property
  8. Surrounding fences
  9. Gates outside of the property
  10. Motion activated security lights
  1. CCTV street camera
  2. Car alarm
  3. Street lighting
  4. Car parked on a driveway
  5. Newer car
  6. Steering lock device
  7. Older car
  8. Neighbourhood Watch areas
  9. Car parked on a dark alleyway
  10. Immobiliser

Despite this, just over a tenth (14%) of UK adults say they’ve installed CCTV cameras and whilst ex-thieves point out that motion activated security lights are a key deterrent for home thieves, just a  quarter (24%) of UK adults say they’ve installed such lights.

Further highlighting the UK’s lack of home security, over a quarter (28%) of UK adults say they don’t take any security precautions. Over half (55%) sleep with their windows open at night, a quarter (24%) leave their doors unlocked whilst at home, and over a tenth (12%) have admitted to leaving their garden gates open.

What’s more, a fifth (20%) said they actively post photos on social media showing that they’re on holiday.

Caroline Hunter, Head of Home Insurance at Co-op commented: “Our research shows that almost half (44%) of thieves are opportunists and so it’s really important that home and car owners are vigilant and think carefully about the security of their homes and vehicles.

“Nobody should have to go through the trauma of having their property burgled and there are some small measures which homeowners should be mindful of to ensure any opportunists cannot be tempted.”

When weighing up properties to target, ex-convicts advised that the most difficult break-ins are of those properties situated in cities (82%). Three quarters (75%) of ex-convicts, said properties in isolated locations are easiest to break into.

Furthermore, the study reveals that houses off dirt tracks, bungalows and properties on housing estates are among those easiest to break into, whilst mid terraces, apartments with manned security and semi-detached houses are the most difficult to target.

Former bank robber Noel ‘Razor’ Smith commented: “As a former criminal, I know all the tricks homeowners use to keep their homes safe, that’s why I find it shocking that the Co-op’s research reveals 28% of us don’t take any precautions whatsoever. Luckily there are some very simple steps everyone can take to make our homes more secure and keep our valuables safe”

UK drivers could face hefty fines for failing to register their driving licences to their current address. According to research from, 1.5 million drivers have an incorrect address on their licence. The penalty if you are caught driving with an incorrect address on your licence is £1,000, meaning that DVLA could claim as much as £1.5 billion worth of penalties nationwide.

UK law states that it is illegal for a driver to be incorrectly registered at an address, as current residential information is required should the licence-holder be involved in an accident. Drivers who change their address on their licence must also do the same on their vehicle log book and vehicle tax Direct Debit. Changing your licence address is free of charge and motorists can still drive whilst waiting for a new licence.

Many motorists are unaware of this address requirement, with over a third (35%) admitting that they did not know it is illegal to have anything other than your current place of residence on your driving licence. Young drivers are the least engaged, with over one in ten (11%) 18-24 year olds listing an incorrect address and nearly 50% confessing they are not aware of the law.

Motorists can incur fines for a number of surprising activities. Muddy licence plates are deemed a criminal offence which could also land drivers with a £1,000, fine while splashing pedestrians with puddles can lead to fines of up to £5,000. For more unexpected driving fines, click here.

John Miles, Head of Motor at, said:

“A £1,000 fine is a high price to pay for something which is free to change. The DVLA website is clear on the penalties if you don’t update your driving licence when your address changes, but many motorists may still not realise they are breaking the law. It is worth double checking all these details, including when your licence expires and that your photograph is up to date, as these details can also incur fines if incorrect.

“If your address is different on your driving licence and motor insurance policy it won’t invalidate your cover but it’s worth making sure all your records are as accurate as possible, as factors such as your postcode can impact your insurance premium, and can ultimately impact how much you pay. With plenty of drivers waiting to buy new cars as the 67 plates enter circulation on September 1 2017, now is as good a time as any to check your paperwork is up to date.”

Credit cards are now the most popular way for Brits to pay for holidays and an overwhelming majority who use credit cards when booking holidays will have paid off their balance in full before travelling, new research from Halifax reveals today.

Among those who use credit cards to pay initially for their holidays, 84% repay this balance in full before their departure, according to a survey of over 2,800 British adults conducted by polling agency TNS for Halifax. By contrast, those who pay off credit cards only after returning from their holidays (16%) are outnumbered five times over by this cautious majority.

This pattern of repaying holiday credit cards is also nearly identical across all income groups. For those on incomes of up to £25k in total for their household, 83% of those who pay for travel with credit cards pay off the balance before leaving. This is identical to the proportion of those whose households take home more than £75k in total. For those on more average incomes, who use credit cards to book and pay back balances before leaving, this is only marginally higher at 84%.

Across the population, credit card bookings are now the favourite payment method for Brits to book a holiday (for 56%). This compares to 30% of all British adults who use savings, via a debit account, to pay for their holidays upfront, and just 6% who pay monthly via direct debit (e.g. repayments to a travel agency).

Using credit cards when booking holidays also means travellers are protected under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act1 (where the credit provider can take on some responsibility for breaches of contract by the supplier).

Jon Roberts, director of cards at Halifax, comments: “For the majority of holidaymakers, credit cards have become an indispensable method of payment, rather than a way of borrow for a longer period of time.

“Credit cards don’t have to be more expensive if paid off in good time, and some can even save considerable amounts if you choose the best credit cards for travel abroad – compared to more costly ways to get access to foreign currency.

“With the number of trips we make overseas up 8% in the last year*, getting a good deal matters. Holidaymakers should shop around for the best deals – considering the best credit cards for their travel plans in a similar way to how they might shop around for the best hotel deals, or minimise overseas fees for other services like data roaming. Meanwhile, the minority who do need to spread their holiday costs for longer, beyond their return, should also consider a card with an initial interest-free period, if they can make sure they pay back the balance before this ends.”

A staggering three in 10 Brits  – the equivalent of over eight million households – have already switched their central heating on due to this summer’s terrible weather, according to new research from

While much of Europe sizzles in a heatwave, the UK has been shivering through unseasonably cold and wet conditions over the summer – with some regions reaching as low as 2 degrees. In addition to the 30% of households who have already given in to the cold and switched their heating on, a further 17% – the equivalent of over 4.6 million households – are thinking about it, to try to keep warm.

One in three Brits would normally wait until the end of the school summer holidays or when the clocks go back at the end of October to turn their central heating on. By switching it on so early this year, millions of homes risk adding significant sums to their annual energy bill. With previous research finding that over a third of bill payers are already worried about how they’ll afford this winter’s bill, urges consumers to check their account balance now and shop around for a better deal which could deliver hundreds of pounds of savings.

Switching the heating on isn’t the only thing Brits have been doing to stay warm through the summer months, with more than two thirds (68%) taking other forms of action. Three in 10 have worn woolly jumpers, a quarter  have put their slippers back on and 20% have been enjoying hot baths. More than one in 10 have put their winter duvet back on their bed, while 8% have unpacked their winter coat or put a fire on.

Claire Osborne from uSwitch, says: “It wouldn’t be the Great British summer without a certain amount of miserable weather, but the chilly conditions this year are enough to make anyone consider cranking up the thermostat. It’s incredible that eight million homes already have their heating on before we’re even halfway through August. It’s understandable given how cold it’s been over the past few weeks, but consumers need to consider the impact it will have on their energy bills.

People who bank through online and mobile platforms keep a much closer eye on their finances than those who don’t, according to research from Santander UK.

One in five (20 per cent) UK adults use online or mobile banking services to check their balance or look at what they have been spending once a day or more, and more than one in three (69 per cent) do so at least once a week. By contrast, people using paper statements are much less likely to scrutinise their finances regularly. One in five (20 per cent) haven’t checked their statement in the past three months, rising to nearly two in five (38 per cent) for those in the 18 to 34 year old age group.

Regular online and mobile banking usage is not just restricted to younger age groups. While three in four (76 per cent) 18 to 34 year olds check their online or mobile banking at least once a week, this falls only slightly to 68 per cent of 35 to 54 year olds and 65 per cent of those aged 55 or over, suggesting people of all ages are embracing and enjoying the benefits of digital banking.

A spokesman for Santander, said: “Our research shows that digital banking services are enabling people to keep a closer eye on their money in a way that suits their lifestyle.  And it provides a safe store of historic statements and documents that can be viewed or printed if needed.

“The ease and convenience of online and mobile banking has been embraced by people in the UK across all age groups. However, we do realise that online is not for everybody and we offer many ways for customers to keep on top of their money – we’re here to help if they need to speak to us.”

The living room is the UK’s favourite place when logging in to online or mobile banking, with 60 per cent of those who use these services doing so here. Other popular places include:

  • in bed – seventeen per cent                                      
  • at work – seventeen per cent                        
  • in the kitchen – eleven per cent
  • travelling to work – nine per cent
  • in the bathroom – seven per cent