25 Apr 2018 Findings across a sample of 2004 holidaymakers commissioned by peer-to-peer travel money provider WeSwap found that a whopping 2.5billion in holiday cash is withdrawn once Brits land – one of the most expensive spots to do so – meaning £125 million is charged at the convenient yet costly hole in the wall abroad.

With UK debit cards deducting up to around 3% in non-sterling transaction fees, in Aadittion to 2% overseas ATM fee based on the amount you take out, once totalled up, we’re charged at a conservative estimate a colossal £125,000,000 in ATM fees abroad.

This doesn’t include any charges by the overseas ATM itself or any fees lost by a common practice called DCC – dynamic currency conversion – where the ATM marks up the rate again at a cost to the consumer, so WeSwap estimates that the true cost could be much higher.

The nationally representative data finds 31% of UK holidaymakers – just over 14 million Brits – withdraw cash for their holidays upon arrival at their destination, roughly taking out £169.78. Across the nation, this tots up to a staggering 2.4bn in holiday spend withdrawn once we land.

The 5% ATM top-up cranks the average withdrawal up to £178 pounds. With a minimum of £9 in fees lost per take-out, WeSwap have done the maths on a few alternatives of what you could have bagged with the excess currency collected over ten transactions:

– A day trip to France
–  Once there you could buy 188 croissants
– A high-end six course wild-boar dinner in Krakow
– Hop over to Spain and purchase yourself ten litres of Sangria
– Ten pizzas in Rome perhaps
– Over to Berlin for 20 portions of Currywurst
– Or back to France where you could bag yourself 30 crepes

19 Apr 2018 Research from Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance reveals that one third (34%) of UK adults have plans to go on a package holiday in 2018, with some who already having jetted off. 15 per cent have already booked a packaged trip, a further 14 per cent are thinking about it and four per cent have already been away on one this year.

Of those who are planning, or have been on a package break, a quarter (23%) also bought their travel insurance from their holiday provider. For those aged 18-34, this rises to over a third .  Worryingly one in ten of those going on a packaged break won’t buy any travel insurance for their trip.

Karen Hogg of Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance, commented: “Just because you’ve picked the ease and security of a package holiday with its many perks including airport transfers and local representatives, it doesn’t mean you can forgo travel insurance. Good quality travel insurance is imperative should you or one of your party become ill. It will also cover loss or theft of personal belongings.”

Of those who will opt for their holiday provider’s insurance package, over half  do so as they trust their holiday provider and prefer to have everything done with the same company. A quarter also mention that their holiday provider was offering the most competitive rate, while.  17 per cent don’t have time to shop around and find the most competitive deal.

Karen continued: “Not all travel insurance policies are the same so shop around for the best policy for you and make sure that it covers all of your needs so you’ll have peace of mind if anything unexpected happens.”

The research found that three in ten (30%) going on a packaged trip will look around for the most competitive quote from a third party insurance company and purchase a single trip policy, a fifth purchase an annual policy from the most competitive provider each year while one in eight have an annual policy they renew each year without shopping around.

Sainsbury’s Bank offers single trip and annual multi-trip policies at different levels of cover, Silver, Gold or Platinum. Holiday makers can also choose optional add-ons such as winter sports cover. Kids go free with single trip and annual multi-trip cover, although pre-existing medical conditions may be extra. And a 20% discount is applied when a valid Nectar card number is quoted.

18 Apr 2018  New analysis from Direct Line Insurance reveals. In the last year alone, there were 93,571 bicycle thefts in the UK and 257,000 over the past three years.

Incidents of bicycle theft across the UK have increased by 17 per cent in the past three years. Annual insurance claims for bike theft are estimated at over £7.5 million, with Brits having claimed over £22 million worth of stolen bikes since 2015.

The most common types of bikes targeted by thieves are mountain bikes, making up nearly half (48 per cent) of all thefts in the past three years. Hybrid bicycles are the next most popular for criminals, accounting for just under a third (30 per cent) of thefts, followed by road bikes (18 per cent).

Tips for keeping your bike safe

  • Registration – There are bike schemes available, such as BikeRegister which are free to sign up for and provide security marking kits and warning signs to deter thieves
  • Parking – Keep your bike parked in a well lit public area where it’s busy throughout the day
  • Lock it up – Ensure that you always keep your bike locked when unattended. D-locks are the most secure and it will pay in the long run to invest in a high-quality lock
  • Home – Even when your bike is kept in your garage or shed, be sure to lock it up and consider investing in a ground lock or secure wall mount so you know it is safe when out of sight
  • Insurance – Check with your insurance provider that your bike is covered. Some insurers offer an add-on to their usual cover which is always worth investing in. If you have a high-value bike it is also worth reading the terms and conditions to be sure your bike value is covered
  • Photograph – When purchasing a new bike, it is always recommended to take photographs of the bike and capturing frame numbers and any unique features

13 Apr 2018  Friday 13th is upon us and despite Brits being cautions of the unlucky day, data from Policy Expert has found that they actually take more care.

Claims data shows that are fewer insurance claims made on Friday 13th, with the total claim costs also lower, compared to an average day in the month. In fact, Policy Expert has witnessed this pattern for the last nine consecutive dates, stretching back to 2013. Most recently, October Friday 13th saw the average insurance claim costs down by £69, January Friday 13th saw claims drop by £373 and prior to that, May Friday 13th saw a drop of £118.

Despite Brits taking more care, Policy Expert has also lifted the lid on Brits’ spooky superstitions. The research found that almost a quarter of Brits say walking under ladders will bring bad luck, whilst one in five are wary of smashed mirrors and a fifth wouldn’t leave new shoes on the table.

Brits’ top ten spooky superstitions revealed:

1.     Walking under a ladder

2.     Breaking a mirror

3.     Leaving new shoes on the table

4.     Opening an umbrella inside

5.     Spilling salt and not throwing it over your shoulder

6.     The number 13

7.     Black cats crossing your path

8.     Walking over three drains in a row

9.     Crossing a knife and a fork on a dinner table

10.   Leaving your purse/wallet on the floor 

Adam Powell, Head of Operations at Policy Expert commented: “Friday 13th is renowned for being unlucky, and our figures show Brits are as superstitious as ever. In fact, the nation is taking so much care on the luckless date that claims tend to fall. That being said, if you’re one of the millions of people watching your step this Friday 13th, make sure your home insurance policy is up to date and you’ve checked the small print to avoid any nasty surprises should you encounter a black cat, smashed mirror or the number 13.”

11 Apr 2018 Sky TV customers face the biggest battle among pay-TV subscribers when it comes to escaping contracts, according to research from free satellite TV provider Freesat.

Standard Sky TV contracts come with a minimum length of 18 months – as long, or longer, than any other TV provider. Sky TV customers who cancel their contract early are also required to pay a termination charge of £13.40 for each month of the contract they have remaining – higher than any other TV provider. This means that a Sky customer on a standard 18 month contract who wishes to leave after six months would have to pay £161 to do so.

In comparison, customers with Virgin Media’s Player Bundle are locked into contracts of just 12 months and must pay £3 for each month they have remaining on their minimum contract term, while BT TV customers are hit with early termination charges of £5.50 a month, but must enter contracts of 18 months.

Freesat also carried out a study of more than 2,000 TV viewers and found that 41% of those who had cancelled a contract with Sky, Virgin, BT TV or Talk Talk in the last 12 months had encountered difficulty when doing so. Respondents were also asked how likely they were to switch service in the next 12 months. BT TV subscribers were most likely to jump ship (19%), followed by Sky TV (15%), Virgin (13%) and Talk Talk (10%).

The respondents were then asked whether they thought their chosen service was good value for money. Sky ranked lowest in this department, with two thirds (65%) of their customers stating that the service isn’t good value for money. The most common reasons Sky TV customers gave for this was that they think the service is overpriced and that they don’t watch many of the channels. Sky’s premium TV bundle comes at £80 a month, or £960 a year. Faring narrowly better than Sky, 62% of Virgin Media customers called their service poor value for money.

Freesat spokesperson Guy Southam said: “With long contract terms and high early termination charges, people are feeling trapped and discouraged from cancelling their PayTV subscription.

“Our research has shown that 99% of the most watched shows of Sky customers are available on free-to-air channels, so it’s understandable that customers are asking themselves if their subscription is really necessary.

“They could instead switch to free-to-air and top up with a service like Netflix or Amazon which might offer better value for money without the long term commitment.”

To find out how much you could save by switching from Sky to Freesat, click here.

11 Apr 2018 Almost three quarters of Brits who are investing say they get a buzz when seeing a return on their money, which outshines the buzz they get when losing weight (62%). In fact, one in ten investors (14%) say making a return gives them a “massive” buzz. Furthermore, when asked to pinpoint an experience that gives them a similar buzz to making a return, investors likened it to bagging a bargain (32%), going on holiday (20%), being promoted at work (14%) or losing weight (11%).

New research from Wealthify, the online investment service, reveals there are emotional as well as the obvious financial benefits when it comes to investing – making those Brits already investing feel in control (36%), satisfied (35%) and secure (31%), as well as confident (20%) and excited (15%) about their finances.

Yet despite the financial benefits of investing and the buzz it gives when making a return on hard-earned cash, almost two thirds (62%) of Brits haven’t tried investing yet, and only 2% of Brits claim to have invested in a Stocks & Shares ISA for the first time in the last twelve months.

Surprisingly, when looking at the top item on Brits’ to-do lists, managing finances (paying bills, tax returns etc) is the number one priority for a quarter (24%) of the UK. Despite this, starting a Stocks & Shares ISA – one of the easiest and quickest ways to join the investing world – is the top priority for only 2% of the nation, behind a trip to the dentist (5th place) and doing household chores (2nd place)3 on people’s to-do lists. Only 1% of non-investors say starting an investment ISA is the number one item on their to-do lists. Looking at different age-groups, 4% of 18-34-year olds and 2% of people aged between 35-54 say this is the top priority.

Many misconceptions are holding people back from giving investing a go.  When it comes to starting a Stocks and Shares ISA, 30% of Brits are held back by the belief that they don’t have enough money to invest, while 19% think investing is too risky and 16% think they need to understand more about investing before trying it.

Michelle Pearce, co-founder and CIO of Wealthify, commented: “In today’s low interest and high inflation environment, it is encouraging to see that over a third (35%) of Brits invest. However, with just 2% saying they’ve put money into a Stocks & Shares ISA for the first time in the last twelve months, there’s clearly still much to do to persuade Brits to open their eyes to the opportunities investing can provide. It is surprising, for instance, that one in five people think investing is too risky. This suggests they don’t realise that not all types of investing are high-risk and they can choose a risk level that suits them.

09 Apr 2018 Millions of UK adults looking to apply for a mortgage, credit, a new mobile phone contract, or even a better utility deal, risk being rejected because of false errors on their credit reports, says Amigo Loans.

The UK’s largest guarantor lender’s latest research has found that 42% of people who check their credit report find mistakes, the equivalent to almost 10 million people across the country.

While small errors such as misspelt addresses are unlikely to have major consequences, an incorrect non-payment mark can be the difference between getting a mortgage or loan and being turned down.

Despite so many errors being found, just one in seven know how to report them to a credit rating agency. Almost one in ten spoke with their bank/provider, which cannot help and a similar number (8%) turned to family and friends for advice. 11% admit they took no action at all, with 5% admitting they had no idea how to correct it.

The study also found that only two in five (41%) of people have actually checked their credit report, with just one in five (21%) looking in the past month. This means the number of people with errors on credit reports could be far in excess of 10 million.

Kelly Davies, Chief Communications Officer at Amigo Loans: “The message is really simple – check your credit file for mistakes and get them sorted! You might be turned down for a mortgage or credit because of a silly error. We’d like to see this system changed. It’s not an easy job with a number of different credit reference agencies, all holding slightly different information, using words and formats people aren’t familiar with. But it’s worth a bit of effort.”

Top tips for improving your credit score:

  1. Double check you’re on the electoral register. Lenders use the electoral register to confirm an individual’s address and location and fight against identity fraud.
  2. Try not to have a high balance on your credit card. Lenders may view this as excessive debt and think you have an inability to repay.
  3. Make sure to pay your bills on time, or ahead of time, a good credit score will be built up over time.
  4. Do not make multiple applications for credit as this can impact your record negatively.
  5. If you notice anything unexpected on your credit report you could be a victim of identity fraud, i.e. someone could have applied for credit in your name, contact the credit reference agency who will try to resolve the issue, alongside the lender.
  6. Only apply for credit which is necessary – applying for more than four a year can lower your score.
  7. Cancel old credit card agreements and out of date credit cards, such as store cards you no longer use, as this will still show on your file. Lenders will be cautious about the possible size of your debt.
  8. If you are divorced or separated, cut all financial ties and make sure your former partner’s details are eliminated from any joint accounts. The credit history of anyone you are financially associated with, such as a joint bank account with a spouse, can affect your credit rating.

05 Apr 2018 New research by Santander reveals parents believe children understand the value of money on average at ten-years-old. This is the age they stop believing money is infinite, that it must be earned, and it is important to save.

One in fourteen (seven per cent) parents believe their precocious children grasped the concept of money by school age (five years old), however 19 per cent believe the true value of money is only grasped as a teenager or older.

Today’s generation of children are being brought up in a culture of saving that parents say they never had. Almost three quarters of parents say their children, understand the importance of saving money.

When children were asked about saving more than eight in 10 (84 per cent) highlighted they like to put money away for the future. The research also shows boys are more committed (89 per cent) to saving than girls (77 per cent). On average, children save 41 per cent of the money that they get.

The study also reveals parental guidance on savings is improving across the generations. While more than a quarter of parents weren’t taught the value of financial planning by their parents when they were young, just 13 per cent of the current parents aren’t teaching this to their children. Almost a third (32 per cent) of UK parents admit they wish their parents had taught them the importance of saving when they were young, leading them to be more conscious about educating their own offspring.

However, there seems to be little expectation among parents that schools should be responsible for financial education. The majority of parents across the UK believe they have responsibility for teaching their children about the importance of saving, just 10 per cent believe this responsibility sits with schools and teachers.

To help their own children plan for the future, parents believe that the top financial lessons their children need to learn is the importance of saving, followed by spending sensibly and then how to budget.

Hetal Parmar, Head of Savings at Santander, said: “Saving and budgeting are important life skills so it’s encouraging that so many parents take this seriously. At Santander we aim to help people achieve their savings goals in a number of ways. Our Regular eSaver offers up to five per cent interest rate to reward a regular savings habit, our Investment Hub makes investments more accessible and our ‘savings goals’ feature within online banking is there to help customers plan for the future.  For youngsters we also have the 1I2I3 Mini account paying three per cent interest on balances of £300 – £2,000 and our Junior ISA giving returns of up to three per cent.”

When children were asked why they like to save money, almost half said they wanted to use it to buy sweets or entertainment. Children are also motivated by saving for days out and holiday spending money .

For more information on Santander’s savings products please visit: www.santander.co.uk/savings

05 Apr 2018  Rental payments in the UK now account for over half of the average disposable income of £1,471 for people living and working outside the capital, according to the latest Landbay Rental Index. The average rent paid for a residential property in the UK outside London hit £761 in March, taking annual growth to 1.21%.

Those living in the capital face an even tighter squeeze. Average rents in London remain more than double the average for the rest of the country at £1,879, despite rental growth only recently returning to positive territory. Average disposable income in London is £2,108 so for single-earner households that means that the average monthly rent for a property is 89% of take-home pay. Accordingly, most London households must rely on multiple or high-income earners.

If London workers are willing to move further afield to save money, they can expect to spend a far lower percentage of their disposable income on rent, closer to the national average. Average rents in the South East now stand at £1,053, 58% of the average disposable income of £1,817 of those living in the region, whilst another option is East England, where average rents are 55% of take-home pay.

On the other end of the spectrum, those working and living in North East see the lowest percentage of their salary going towards rent, where just 41% of the average disposable income of £1,350 is handed over to the landlord each month.

John Goodall, CEO and founder of Landbay said: “Rents have continued to rise over the last five years, increasing by 9% across the UK since March 2013 and by 7% in London – with monthly payments remaining a burden on those struggling to save. Tenants saving up for a house face a triple challenge with more and more of their income spent on rent, partnered with trying to catch up with the pace of house price inflation and record low interest rates limiting their ability to save money.

“There are currently over 4 million tenants in the private rented sector, but affordability is becoming an issue across many parts of the UK. Whether tenants are renting as a stepping stone on the way to home ownership or, increasingly, renting for life, they rely on the buy-to-let market to ensure rental growth doesn’t dampen their purchasing power. If we truly want to control rental prices before it reaches unsustainable levels, further investment in building more homes, specifically designed to rent rather than buy, is essential.”

03 Apr 2018  Stay at home holidaymakers are three times more likely to risk going away without insurance than those travelling to Europe, according to a new study released today (date) by Co-op Insurance.

Co-op’s new study highlights the current risks that people are taking, as nearly 6 in 10 adults who holiday within the UK are doing so without insurance.

The average Brit ‘staycates’ twice a year and a further third say they only ever holiday within the UK.

When asked why these people would take the risk of holidaying in the UK without insurance, a quarter said they couldn’t see the point of a travel policy.  20 per cent said they couldn’t afford to get cover and a further one in five admitted they had simply forgotten to arrange insurance.

When looking at the age groups most likely to staycate in the UK without having any insurance, 54-65 year-olds are most likely to risk it, with two thirds (65 per cent) saying this is the case.

Whilst younger people aged 18-24 are least likely to go without protection, half (48%) still don’t bother getting travel insurance.

Colin Butler, Head of Travel Insurance at the Co-op, said: “It’s concerning that so many people holidaying in the UK are doing so without having travel insurance in place.

“Cancellations, accidents or illnesses on holiday within the UK can cost just as much, if not more, than say a trip to Spain. For that reason, it’s really important that despite not ‘jetting off’ on holiday, people consider what insurance cover they might need.”

The Co-op’s new travel insurance product launched in January and offers three types of policies; single trip, annual / multi and backpacker insurance.