28 Aug 2018 As many UK holidaymakers gear up for late summer holidays in September, new figures reveal they are returning home with an average £57 each of foreign currency jingling in their pockets according to Sainsbury’s Bank.

Across the UK, those from Belfast return with the most foreign currency (£74), followed by Edinburgh (£67) and Nottingham (£66). Cardiff residents are the biggest spenders, coming home with just £43.

Top three cities with travellers returning with the most and least amounts of unspent holiday money:

Top three cities with most unspent holiday money(1)

Average (£)

Top three cities with least unspent holiday money(1)

Average (£)

Belfast

£74

Cardiff

£43

Edinburgh

£67

Southampton

£50

Nottingham

£66

Plymouth

£51

When it comes to purchasing their foreign currency over a quarter (27%) of holidaymakers think ahead and purchase their travel money a week in advance. This is followed by a fifth who sort their money out two weeks before and 19% tick currency exchange off the to do list a month before. 

Simon Taylor from Sainsbury’s Bank said:  “September is one of the busiest months for travel money with many customers buying currency. Leaving it until the last minute, especially at the airport can be costly, so it’s wise to make the most of your money and get the best deal by organising it in advance.

“And for those who like to stick to a tight budget, a pre-loaded holiday money card is a good idea. It can be used worldwide and can be loaded with additional money while you’re away.  It comes with an app so that you can keep track of transactions.”

A pre-paid holiday card like Sainsbury’s Bank’s Multi-currency Cash Passport can be loaded with holiday cash weeks in advance, on the day of travel or even once the holiday has commenced enabling better holiday budgeting.  The cardis chip + PIN protected and there is no direct link to your bank account, giving peace of mind when you’re on your holiday.

For travellers  exchanging money, cash remains king with over half (54%) of travellers taking their currency in notes, while carrying a debit card or credit card that can be used abroad come second and third (15% and 12% respectively).

Sainsbury’s Bank continually looks at ways to strengthen the rewards for its customers and now Nectar customers will receive more value for their money, through receiving 10 Nectar Points per £100 spent in bureaux and five Nectar Points per £100 spent online  This is available across all currencies.

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money offers 0% commission on foreign currency, consistently competitive exchange rates and has over 50 currencies available to order. Open seven days a week and with convenient parking, customers can also purchase a Sainsbury’s Bank Multi-currency Cash PassportTM and collect travel money while shopping.

23 Aug 2018  A surprising number of British adults are living with secret debt, concealing it from their partners, new research has revealed.

The survey of 1,003 UK adults carried out by the UK’s largest personal insolvency practice, Creditfix, found that more than a half of Brits are keeping their debts secret from their partners.

Of those who kept debt concealed from their other halves, 45% admitted they had kept credit card debt a secret, followed by loans (42%), overdrafts (38%) and university fees (22%).

When quizzed on the reasons for this, 1 in 3 said they were worried about causing arguments.

This was followed by more than 1 in 4 (27%) who said they felt embarrassed about their debts. Meanwhile, a similar number of 22% felt it would put added stress in their relationship if they were to admit to having financial woes.

Almost 1 in 5 didn’t want to lose their partners by discussing their debts, whilst 13% didn’t feel the need to divulge this information to their other halves.

Taylor Flynn, Marketing Manager at Creditfix said: “The research just shows how common it is to hide debt and money woes from partners and loved ones. There are some touching reasons for this – many don’t want to cause their loved one’s stress or additional worry, but many adults are also embarrassed about their debt. However, people needn’t suffer in silence. These debts can easily be solved by seeking help and advice at the earliest opportunity, in order to prevent embarrassment and causing further stress. By taking control of debt and creating a plan to tackle these financial woes, it can also feel a lot easier for people to discuss them with their partners.”

According to the survey, those aged between 25-34 were most likely to conceal their debt from a partner.

23 Aug 2018 An investigation by Which? has revealed inconsistencies are rife across price comparison sites, with mismatching details found in six out of 10 of the policies listed.

The consumer champion looked at the policies offered on four of the biggest price comparison websites and can reveal a picture of inconsistencies and a lack of real choice that could be leaving consumers at risk of purchasing policies that simply don’t meet their needs.

With the Competition and Markets Authority finding that over four fifths (85%) of internet users have used price comparison sites, Which? is concerned that millions of consumers are not getting a clear picture from the websites they visit.

Which? cross-checked policy descriptions for 21 brands across four popular price comparison sites against the policy information provided on insurance brands’ own websites and in policy documents. And Which? found that for six in ten policies at least one detail published on the price comparison site was different to that posted in policy documents.

Looking into price comparison websites Which? found examples including:

  • Ten claims that a courtesy car is guaranteed should your car require repair, whereas the policy document made no such guarantee.

  • Claims about sunroof cover being included that weren’t reflected in actual policy wording.

  • Unreliable levels of cover for personal accident. In one case, for broker Autonet Plus, GoCompare described cover up to £5,000 for disability, but the limit in the policy document was only £2,500.

  • Incorrect information about cover for loss and theft of keys.

Investigating the choice on offer across price comparison sites, Which? discovered that in one scenario the top 30 results were being sold by as few as 12 providers. In some cases this was down to the same provider offering different levels of cover. However, in other cases it was trickier to spot that the choice on offer was more limited than it appeared.

Although many policies appeared identical, there were clear differences in price. The biggest coming between apparently identical Aviva policies. Motor Quote Direct on Go Compare was £71 more expensive in a scenario featuring a London based driver, than the cheapest offer on Compare The Market (via broker Autonet) for what appeared to be the same policy.

Which? is encouraging people not to rely entirely on the policy details published on price comparison websites. Consumers are advised to make a list of the policy features that most matter to them, before checking the policy documents on the relevant provider’s website to ensure they get the right product.

Harry Rose, Which? Money Editor said:

“We were staggered to see such a high amount of errors across the policies listed on price comparison sites. Millions of consumers visit these websites, hoping to find all the information they need to make an informed decision in one place – yet our findings cast real doubt on their ability to do so.

 

22 Aug 2018 New research by credit experts TotallyMoney has revealed the best average credit score locations across the UK, with Greater London soaring to the top, and Hertfordshire following close behind.

http://www.totallymoney.com/credit-map-of-the-uk/

The Free Credit Report company looked at credit scores for all available postcode areas, to calculate the average score for that district. TotallyMoney then ranked them in order: from highest average area, to lowest.

Taking the lead

Kingston upon Thames was the town to soar to the top of the table, with the highest average credit score of 547.

Greater London areas are shown to be the best performers, with seven locations ranking in the top 20.

As well as Kingston upon Thames, Greater London areas Harrow, Twickenham, Sutton, Slough, Enfield, and Ilford all rank in the top 20, taking places 1st, 3rd, 5th, 10th, 11th, 13th, and 16th respectively.

The second-best performers were areas in Hertfordshire, with three locations ranking in the top 20. Watford, Hemel Hempstead, and St Albans took places 2nd, 7th and 12th respectively.

Aberdeen (14th) and Wick (17th) were the only areas in Scotland to feature in the top 20. No areas in Wales ranked in the top 20.

Trailing behind

Although Cleveland took last place with an average credit score of 513, Yorkshire was revealed to be the worst performing county overall, with six locations taking places in the bottom 20.

Second from last was Yorkshire’s Doncaster, which has an average credit score of 514. Hull also ranked in the bottom five, with an average credit score of 515.

Midlands’ Wolverhampton also featured in the bottom five, one spot below Hull.

Two areas in Scotland, Dundee and Kilmarnock, ranked in the bottom 20. Although locations in Wales didn’t rank in the top 20, they didn’t rank in the bottom 20 either.

Based on the scores, TotallyMoney has created an interactive map showing the average credit scores across all areas of the UK. People can look at the map to see the average credit score for their location and compare this with their own, to see whether they are above or below the average for their area.

TotallyMoney Head of Brand and Content Joe Gardiner said: “Your credit score gives you a handy snapshot of how well you’re managing your money. And the credit ‘haves’ in the South East score higher than the credit ‘have nots’ in the North. But whether you’re in Lands End or John O’Groats, you can check our interactive map to see if you’re a better borrower than your neighbours.

“Of course, for the full picture of your financial fortitude, and to find out how to improve your score, you’ll need to check out your credit report. Get yours free from TotallyMoney, and it’ll be the Kardashians who are trying to keep up with you.”

For more information, please visit:

http://www.totallymoney.com/credit-map-of-the-uk/

20 Aug 2018  With the UK experiencing record breaking temperatures this summer, new research from American Express shows over 40 million* UK adults (77%) will stay at home over the August bank holiday weekend and plan to spend £104 each – equating to £4.2 billion across the UK.

While Brits hoping for a sun-filled staycation are set to treat themselves to a spot of shopping and meals out, tackling some home improvements will also be a popular choice over the long weekend.

Top five activities for the August bank holiday Average spend
Going shopping £19
Going to a restaurant for a meal £19
Home improvements £17
Going out for drinks (pub, bar, etc.) £12
Going to a theme/amusement park, zoo, outdoor activity centre etc. £10

Stephen Steinhardt, Director at American Express, says: “It’s the last bank holiday before Christmas, so it’s great to see that so many people will be making the most of the extra day off. Whether it’s a long weekend fixing up the house or enjoying a barbecue in the sun, it’s also wise to make the most of bank holiday spending. Putting costs on a credit or charge card that offers rewards or cashback for spending means more treats can be enjoyed when it comes to the festive season later this year.”

Tips to help people to enjoy the bank holiday weekend:

  1. Earn rewards to use when the weather cools down: With Brits preparing to spend hundreds this bank holiday, use a card that gives rewards and points that can be redeemed in the run up to Christmas. The American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card offers up to 5% cashback on spend in the first three months (up to £100 cashback)
  2. Explore what’s on your doorstep: If there’s a park, a wood or an open garden near where you live that you’ve never explored, make a plan to tick it off your list this weekend. Pack a picnic and a blanket and enjoy a free and fun adventure on your doorstep.
  3. Check activities and events in your local area: Often there are free or cheap activities or festivals taking place over the long weekend. Check the internet or your local paper to see what’s happening near you.
  4. Rewarding research: While there may be no such thing as a free lunch, doing your research can certainly make your money go further when it comes to eating out. Look online for restaurant vouchers and discount codes. If you use a credit card that offers rewards check what deals are available through your card.
  5. Share the cooking: To make the most of the extra day off many will be planning on catching up friends and family, help spread the cost of hosting by asking everyone to bring their favourite dish or drinks to ensure everyone gets to enjoy the day.

15 Aug 2018  Millions of UK adults do not feel financially resilient and would not be able to manage a financial shock or loss of income, according to a new report from Zurich UK. Developed with neuroscientist Dr. Jack Lewis, the Cost of Resilience examines the impact that money, including having products designed to protect and insure against loss, have on feelings of resilience.

According to the research, one in three (34%) adults, the equivalent to more than 17.6 million adults across the UK, say they would not be able to recover quickly from an unexpected financial shock, such as an unanticipated period without household income or a sudden need to spend a significant sum. A further one in seven (15%) have no idea whether they would be able to cope or not.

Yet, the report found that almost a quarter (24%) of UK adults have no savings to fall back on and almost the same number (26%) do not feel in control of their life.

Feeling resilient is defined as the ability to recover from shock, emotional and financial. The study found that to feel financially resilient:

  • Nearly two in five (37%) said it required them to have savings
  • A quarter (22%) said they would need to not be in any debt
  • One in seven (17%) said they would need a secure job
  • A third (33%) said that earning between £1,000-£2,000 a month would help them to feel financially resilient. This increases to £2,000-£4,000 for almost a fifth (18%)

According to ONS, the average net UK individual income is £1,278 meaning that adults could be earning slightly less than the amount needed to feel financially resilient. This combined with people not being in a position to overcome a financial shock or loss of income – should they have to take time off work due to sickness – means many would struggle significantly if disaster was to strike.

While a third said they would struggle to recover from a financial shock or loss of income, only one in ten (11%) have Income Protection, a financial product that shields your pay against illness, injury or being unable to work. Instead, people are more likely to have insurance for their home (71%), holidays (70%) and mobile phone (18%).

There are misconceptions with products such as income protection, often with the price being too expensive being the most common.  For a 35 year old professional earning the average salary of £27,000, wanting to protect 50% of their net income, it can cost as little as £9 a month –  less than one medium coffee (£2.50) a week over the course of a month. The policy holder would benefit from a payout for up to two years if they were unable to work due to illness or injury.

The report also found that should an individual experience a financial shock or loss of income, UK adults would struggle to make financial sacrifices, with giving up the family home (51%), car (37%) and holidays (23%) proving the most difficult. More than one in ten (11%) have no idea of the impact a financial shock would have on their household income and they wouldn’t know what sacrifices they’d have to make.

  1. Giving up my home – 51%
  2. Giving up my car – 37%
  3. Not going on a family holiday – 23%
  4. Buy less/ no birthday/ Christmas presents – 23%
  5. Not buying any ‘luxury’ food items – 14%
  6. Not buying lunch when out – 13%
  7. Giving up weekly nights out (e.g. going out for dinner, drinks etc.) – 12%
  8. Giving up my cinema / movie subscription (e.g. Netflix) – 8%
  9. Giving up my gym membership – 7%
  10. Giving up my magazine subscription – 5%

 15 Aug 2018 Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, has released new figures showing that identity fraud has fallen for the first time since 2014.

Cifas members recorded 84,463 cases in the first six months of the year, a 5% drop compared to the same period in 2017 (89,199).  Despite the reduction, identity fraud still represents over half of all fraud recorded by the UK’s not-for-profit fraud data sharing organisation, with 87% of identity frauds perpetrated online.

The latest figures show there has been a reduction in the volume of bank accounts being targeted by identity fraudsters, with cases falling by 12% (2,882 fewer cases), and a 34% reduction in attempts to obtain mobile phone contracts (3,096 fewer cases).

However the figures reveal a sharp rise in identity fraudsters applying for plastic card accounts, with cases increasing by 12% (3,454 more cases). The figures also show identity fraud against online retail accounts has risen by 24% (1,232 more cases).

The vast majority of identity fraud happens when a fraudster pretends to be an innocent individual to buy a product or open an account in their name.  Victims may not even realise that they have been targeted until a bill arrives for something they did not buy or they experience problems with their credit rating. To carry out this kind of fraud successfully, fraudsters need access to their victim’s personal information such as name, date of birth, address, their bank and who they hold accounts with.

Fraudsters get hold of this in a variety of ways, from stealing mail through to hacking; obtaining data on the dark and surface web, exploiting personal information on social media, or though ‘social engineering’ where innocent parties are persuaded to give up personal information to someone pretending to be from their bank, the police or a trusted retailer.

13 Aug 2018 New research shows financial branch closures are piling the pressure on local high streets with nearly half (46%) of shop owners interviewed admitting that losing a local bank in the past three years has had a negative impact on their business.

The study for The Nottingham Building Society among shop owners in areas affected by closures found owners estimate their annual revenue fell by an average of 20% after their local bank branch shut its doors.

Just one in five shop owners interviewed in areas hit by branch cutbacks say the loss of the bank from the High Street had no impact on their sales.

Research from The Nottingham shows the impact of branch closures on people visiting towns affected. Around 36% of people say they would visit their town or village less if their local branch closed with two out of five (40%) saying they would make three or more fewer visits a month.

Government figures show 1,270 bank branches have shut since 2014 with 650 being axed between 2016 and 2017. This year has seen further closures announced by NatWest, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland with a report commissioned last month by The Nottingham stating a further 2,400 more banks could close, risking 12,000 jobs.

The effects of branch closures are long-lasting, the research shows. More than half (54%) of owners interviewed in affected areas say they will have to take action over the next three years to address the fall in business. Nearly one in three (31%) say they will consider shutting and operating online while 15% are considering cutting jobs and 26% are considering moving their business either to a new area or to smaller premises nearby.

The society is campaigning to highlight the value of the bank branch to local towns and businesses and has doubled its network of branches to 67 over the past five years with the result that footfall has increased by around 10% potentially increasing visits to local shops.

08 Aug 2018 First-time buyers in just two regions of the UK intend to save enough money to get on the property ladder, with the rest underestimating the amount they are likely to need, according to new research.

The latest First-Time Buyers report from Yorkshire Building Society shows not being able to save enough money for a deposit is the main barrier to owning a home for more than a quarter of would-be buyers across the UK (28%), but the difference in amount buyers intend to save and might require varies significantly by region.

Based on average house prices for first-time buyers, and the corresponding average loan-to-value (LTV) required in nine regions of the UK last year[i], data analysed by the mutual reveals aspiring homeowners may be underestimating their upfront purchase budget by thousands of pounds.

London reveals the largest gap between intentions to save and the reality of purchasing a property, with almost £70,000 unaccounted for by potential first-time buyers currently saving for their first property. First-time homeowners paid on average nearly £415,000 in the area last year with an average deposit of £118,531, but the research shows potential first-time buyers intend to save less than half of this at £49,000.

Would-be homeowners in the South East may not be saving enough either, with an average first-time buyer house price of £276,930 and an average 22% deposit put down in the region, potential homeowners are likely to need nearly £61,000 to get on to the property ladder. However, the Yorkshire’s research highlights potential first-time buyers in the South East intend to save just under £43,000 to purchase a property creating a shortfall of over £18,000.

In contrast, first-time buyers in Yorkshire and the Humber and Scotland may be overestimating the upfront costs of buying their first property. For instance, market data suggests first-time buyers in Scotland paid £137,714 and put down a £24,000 deposit, nearly £1,500 less than current would-be homeowners in the region are intending to save.

Chris Irwin, from Yorkshire Building Society, said: “While our research indicates first-time buyers in the majority of regions across the UK could do more to manage their financial expectations of buying a house, it serves as a reminder to potential homeowners of the importance of budgeting.

“I’d encourage anyone with a dream of home ownership to really take time upfront to do the maths and work out how much they will realistically need to take that first step on the property ladder, including any up-front fees on top of a deposit.

“When you’ve got a more realistic figure, it’s easier then to review your savings habits and work out what you’re able to save and over what period of time, to achieve your required goal. Breaking it down in this way, early on in the home-buying journey could really help first-time buyers.”