04 Jul 2018 Two thirds (68%) of those with an overdraft have no idea how much it’s costing them, according to research by personal finance comparison website finder.com.

And with a quarter of Brits going into their overdraft during the past 12 months, this means almost 8.9 million people are potentially being hit by fees they aren’t aware of or don’t understand. An additional 725,000 consumers aren’t even sure whether they have gone into the red or not.

The average amount people borrowed from their overdraft last year was £721, putting Britain’s overdraft debt at more than £9.4 billion over the past 12 months. While a similar number of men and women take out overdrafts,  men are the biggest borrowers, spending £166 more on average than women in the past year (£808 vs £642).

Regionally, Scotland and London have the highest proportion of people dipping into their overdraft, as almost a third of residents were overdrawn (31% and 30% respectively) last year. This was closely followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (29%), while the lowest proportion of people going overdrawn was in East Anglia (18 percent).

Region

 % that have gone into their overdraft over the past 12 months

East Anglia

18%

East Midlands

24%

London

30%

North East

21%

North West

27%

Northern Ireland

26%

Scotland

31%

South East

22%

South West

23%

Wales

20%

West Midlands

27%

Yorkshire and the Humber

29%

Perhaps unsurprisingly, people aged between 18 and 34 are much more likely to borrow from their overdraft. Two in five (40 percent) did so at some point last year, more than three times the figure for those aged 55 and over (13 percent). Younger people are also likely to borrow more than their older counterparts at an average of £863.70 each, compared to £485.45.

To view the full results of the research, complete with an interactive map of the number of overdrafts per region, please visit:https://www.finder.com/uk/overdraft-fees

Commenting on the findings, Jon Ostler, UK CEO at finder.com, said: ‘‘Although the Financial Conduct Authority is looking to regulate overdraft fees and enforce greater transparency, it is very concerning to see many consumers continue to pay fees unwittingly. Daily charges for unarranged overdrafts are typically between £5 and £8 so, with additional interest and monthly charges on top, it can add up quickly.

When considering borrowing money it’s worth looking at all your options. Banks are now required to send a notification if you’re about to go into the red, however many still come with excessive fees and can rack up debt easily. If borrowing money is unavoidable, consider taking out a personal loan from friends or family, or a zero percent credit card so you know exactly how much you owe at any given time. As with any debt, it is important to set yourself a budget and plan to pay it off in order to avoid accumulating more fees.”

 

29 Jun 2018  As the summer holiday season gets into full swing, Sainsbury’s Bank has announced that Nectar customers can now get better rates on all currencies in-store so they can enjoy more value on currencies from New Zealand dollars to Norwegian Krone plus over 50 more currencies when purchasing travel money from Sainsbury’s Travel Money Bureau. 

From this week, as part of the Bank’s new offering across all available currencies, Nectar customers will also earn 10 Nectar Points per £100 spent in bureau and five Nectar Points per £100 spent online.

As an added bonus, Travel Money customers who take out travel insurance with Sainsbury’s Bank can get up to 30% off the cost of their policy when they buy their Travel Money online or from their nearest in-store travel money bureau. 

Customers can order currency online or by telephone on 0345 355 2463 and collect from a travel money bureau, and can also receive free home delivery for orders of £500 or more or buy in store at over 250 travel money bureau.

For more information please visit www.sainsburysbank.co.uk,/travel/holidayshop2018

26 Jun 2018 Almost half (46%) of UK parents have taken their children out of school to go on holiday, according to a new study released by Co-op Insurance.

Parents that are willing to let their children miss school say that financial strain is the leading factor in their decision, with two thirds saying that family holidays are too expensive when schools break up for summer.

For over a quarter, getting time off work within school holidays is difficult and so say they resort to going on holiday in school time.

A further quarter (23%) say they take their children out of education for a ‘quieter’ holiday, and over a tenth (13%) feel as parents, this decision ultimately is theirs to make.

Despite taking children out of school without permission being against the law, of the parents who have taken a children out of school, a quarter (25%) have done so for a whole week, and a further one in ten have pushed it for up to two weeks.

Additionally, 27% of parents have owned up to skipping school for a family holiday on more than one occasion.

Colin Butler, Head of Travel Insurance at the Co-op said:  “Having already paid for the holiday itself, travel insurance can be seen as just an optional additional cost, which is why half of families don’t bother getting travel insurance.

“By not taking out cover however, families are risking nasty financial surprises should the worst happen whilst they’re on holiday.

“We want to make sure families are not only safe on holiday, but carry less of a financial burden when considering travel insurance. That’s why, during the summer, we’ll be offering children free travel insurance.”

From 1st June until 30th September 2018, Co-op Insurance will be offering free travel insurance to children under the age of 18 travelling with an adult.

20 Jun 2018 A fifth of parents aren’t saving any money at all for the future, as high inflation, low wage growth, and low savings rates put pressure on families, according to new research from Zopa.

The survey also found that a higher proportion of non-parents (23%) weren’t saving for their future.

Zopa’s research of a matched sample of 500 parents and 500 non-parents uncovers the differing savings behaviours and attitudes between the two groups. The research has found that it’s primarily, although not exclusively, a lack of money holding most parents back from saving for the future. Over half of parents (55%) who don’t put money aside for their children say this is the case.

However, for one in five parents, the reason not to save for their kids’ future isn‘t one of money, rather that they want their children to make their own way in life financially.

Although many parents are struggling to find the money to put aside, they are more likely than non-parents to think long-term. Two thirds of parents that put money aside have an investment timescale of more than 4 years, suggesting they’re in it for the long run, whereas only half of non-parents are investing with a 4-year timescale in mind.

When it comes to parents saving methods, despite the UK’s rock-bottom interest rates, half of parents who are saving money for their child use a savings account through their bank. This is followed by junior ISAs (34%), fixed term savings accounts (15%) and stocks and shares ISAs (9%).

A spokesman for Zopa, commented: “With wage growth slowing, interest rates still low and inflation high, it’s a tough savings environment out there. However, for parents that are able to put money away each month there are options to ensure they are making the most of their money.

“Unfortunately, the British public will struggle to find a savings account paying out interest higher than 2%, and with the most recent UK inflation rate being posted at 2.4%, anyone using one of these accounts as their primary “long term” savings vehicle can most definitely find a better route. Parents in particular, should be looking to utilise a variety of products for their children’s financial future. Investments such as the Innovative Finance ISA* provides a better return than traditional savings products with a bit more risk, so those saving or investing can feel better about their children’s future.”

18 Jun 2018 New figures from personal loan provider, Hitachi Personal Finance, reveal a significant increase in loan applications over the past three years. Applications for motoring, home improvements and leisure loans increased by 31% between 2015 and 2018.

The lending data also showed an increase of 95% in motoring loan applications and 4% in home improvements.

Average loan amounts have also seen an increase across these three categories:

  1. Motoring: +8.67%
  2. Leisure: +7.02%
  3. Home improvements: +1.78%

The figures are from Hitachi’s recent ‘History of Household Expenditure’ analysis, which takes historic ONS data, combined with loans data, to reveal trends in consumer income and expenditure.

With the analysis revealing an increase in the number of loans people are taking out in recent years, the experts at Hitachi Personal Finance have pulled together a simple list of do’s and don’ts that could help achieve, and maintain, a good credit score:

DO…

Register to vote

Being on the electoral register helps potential lenders verify your identity, so make sure you’re registered at your current address. It’s an extremely easy way to improve your credit score, and also quick to do online via https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

 

Know your numbers

Experts say the perfect amount of credit utilisation is around 10-30%, as it shows you can lend responsibly without getting carried away. In other words, if you have a £15,000 limit on a credit card, try not to charge more than £4,500 at any one time.

 

Play by the rules
Sometimes it can be tempting to get out of that gym membership by just cancelling your direct debit, but without proper account closure, you could be making yourself vulnerable to complaints from the company and ‘missed payments’ creeping onto your credit report.

 

Sanity check closed accounts
Certain accounts, such as utilities, can take weeks to even themselves out once you’ve requested closure, which could lead to a missed payment. If you’re moving away, leave a forwarding address, and, just to be safe, give the company a call back after a month or so just to double check there’s nothing left outstanding. A lot of utilities providers and councils also now have apps or online account trackers, which make the moving and/or account closure process a lot easier.

Financially de-link
If you’ve ever been financially linked to someone that you no longer need to share an account with – whether that’s a friend, a housemate or an ex-partner – it may be a good idea to de-link from them as soon as you can, or their financial behaviour may reflect badly on you. You can find financial disassociation instructions from the three major credit agencies, on the EquifaxExperian and Callcredit websites.

 

DON’T…

Underestimate the effect of a missed payment
A missed payment could stay on your credit report for at least six years, so make sure you pay all of your bills on time.

Be afraid to look
Checking your credit report does not negatively affect your score. In fact, it doesn’t affect it at all, no matter how many times you check it. So, sit back, relax and check away. It’s always better to be informed, so you know what you need to work on.

Forget your past
It’s not always easy to remember every address you’ve ever lived at, especially if you’ve moved around a lot. However, having a full, detailed record of your past addresses is absolutely vital for getting an excellent credit score. If you can’t remember all the address details, check the ‘delivery addresses’ section on your PayPal or Amazon accounts. If you can’t remember how long you lived somewhere, check your online banking for dates of first and last mortgage or rent payments.

Worry too much
Credit reporting is there to help everyone, from businesses to consumers. It’s not used to spy on you and information such as how often you’re looking at products on price comparison sites, your age and your salary is not available for all to see.

A spokesman from Hitachi Personal Finance added: “Small changes can make a big impact to your credit score, so take the time to ensure you are fully informed, and then apply any recommended ‘quick wins’.

“Not missing payments, and not spending above your perfect credit utilisation percentage may take a bit of getting used to, but these practices will be worth the effort in 2018, and beyond.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

18 Jun 2018 As the summer’s biggest sporting events kick off, families heading away on holiday are also getting ready to shake off the cobwebs. Research from American Express reveals nearly a quarter (23%) of Brits have chosen to take an activity holiday this year, with a further one in ten (10%) already warming up for an active trip in 2019.

The most popular activity holidays include sports camps, walking and cycling. Those Brits choosing a sports camp will spend on average £413, including travel, accommodation, activities, food and drink. Walking holidays are a small step behind, costing £391 and cycling trips come a close third (£388).

The main reasons families pick energetic breaks over beach trips and cruises are: to encourage their children to be fit and healthy (47%); to keep their children well occupied (45%) and finally over a third (35%) state it’s a fun way to spend time together as a family.

Type of holiday Average cost per family
Sports camps (football camp, tennis camp etc.) £413
Walking (trekking, hiking etc.) £391
Cycling £388
Activity park holidays £386
Water based activities (sailing, water skiing, surfing etc.) £355
Climbing £306

Maggie Boyle, Director from American Express, said: “Summer holidays are a time parents and children really look forward to. It’s great to see our love for sport feeding into our holiday habits, but it’s wise to also make sure your finances are in good shape in advance of the summer months. Using a credit card that gives cashback or rewards is a great way to ensure there are some perks waiting for you when you return home.”

12 Jun 2018 Motorway speeding convictions will add an extra £101 to the average annual car insurance bill, new analysis from insurance market research experts Consumer Intelligence shows.

The unique analysis of nearly 36,000 insurance quotes over the past year to April found the average cost of speeding for insurance across all speeding offences equates to £50 a year adding to the minimum fine for speeding of £100 plus three penalty points.

It found that drivers without any speeding convictions pay an average £693 a year but that jumps to £743 a year with any speeding conviction. The biggest impact on bills however comes from being caught speeding on a motorway – the so-called SP50 offence, which adds £101 a year to bills taking them to £794 a year.

SP30 offences for speeding on a public road adds an average £36 a year to insurance taking it to £729. Consumer Intelligence’s data looked at the impact for drivers aged 25-plus of speeding and found the cost is higher proportionally for over-50s.

Older drivers caught speeding will see their bill rise by £58 for any speeding convictions but will pay an extra £166 a year for a motorway speeding offence. Speeding on a public road only costs an average £14 extra a year.

Maximum fines for speeding offences can be as high as £2,500 depending on the severity of the offence and how far over the speed limit drivers were caught at.

Most recent Government data shows 1.97 million fixed penalty notices for speeding offences were issued in 2016 and the number has increased 32% since 2011. Not all fixed penalty notices result in fines as some drivers are offered speed awareness courses.

Speeding endorsements remain on driving licences for four years from the date of the offence and insurers ask drivers to declare any motoring convictions within the past five years.

 

The table below shows the average premiums and cost of speeding.

TYPE OF DRIVER COST WITH NO CONVICTIONS COST WITH ANY SPEEDING CONVICTIONS COST WITH SP30 CONVICTIONS COST WITH SP50 CONVICTIONS
All drivers £693 £743 £729 £794
Under-50s £795 £840 £836 £865
Over50s £469 £527 £483 £635

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

08 Jun 2018 Travel insurance provider Admiral has revealed that 1 in 4 people would risk travelling abroad without insurance, despite the fact the cost of getting ill abroad could end up being considerably more expensive than the holiday itself.

Countries within the EU attracted more risk takers(25%) travelling without insurance, while far fewer would contemplate uninsured travel to other destinations such as America (6%), Australia (4%) and the Middle East (3%).

New analysis of claims data by Admiral found that July is the month holidaymakers are more likely to make a claim for falling ill or having an accident abroad, with Spain, Greece and France topping the list of holiday destinations where we claim the most.

Men (30%) are more likely to consider travelling uninsured than women (23%). When it comes to age groups travelers aged 17-29 are most likely (35%) to risk travelling uninsured, whilst Londoners are the most likely of all regions (46%) to leave the country without insurance.

Analysis of Admiral’s own travel insurance claims data found that almost 4 in 10 claims made related to a medical issue****, with medical expenses accounting for nearly 70% of the total claims costs seen by the insurance company.

Almost a quarter (23%) of claims involve children under the age of 18, with 72% of those claims relating to children younger than ten.  Nearly a third (28%) of claims involving children are for medical issues such as ear and throat infections, while 17% relate to simple cuts and bruises.

Of the travel insurance cases handled by Admiral, medical related claims account for 43% of all claims, over twice the number of claims made for the loss of personal luggage or baggage delay (20%) and over three times more than the number of claims made for delayed travel or missed departures (11%).

Putting a price on your health

Admiral travel experts have revealed the average costs associated with different medical issues faced by holidaymakers when abroad, revealing that treating a simple bout of food poisoning could cost up to £5,000 in some places, while a painkiller prescription can cost anywhere between £20 (France) and £750 (USA).

Meanwhile, a broken leg that requires you being sent back to the UK could set you back by as much as £36,000 in the United States£25,000 in the Dubai and even £1,800 closer to home in France.

A cut that requires stitches may be covered by the reciprocal health agreement in Australia, but if you need patching up in Canada it can cost up to £1,000. The average cost for the same treatment varies from £100 (France) and £700 (Mexico).

In the unfortunate event that you or a travel companion suffers a heart attack while abroad, the medical costs involved range anywhere from £6,000 up to £115,000 depending on where you are in the world.

06 Jun 2018 With over 23.8 million Brits jetting off on holiday this summer, Policy Expert warns holidaymakers to be vigilant, even at the airport, as more than one in ten (11%) say they have fallen victim to theft before even boarding the plane, or know someone who has.

The study of over 4,700 people showed that almost half (46%) will be going away this summer and this number may rise, as 13% are still undecided. For some, this holiday will be one of many this year, as almost a third (32%) of Brits have at least two holidays, while one in seven (14%) have three and a lucky 9% jet off more than three times. 36% have one holiday a year.

While travellers will no doubt be excited prior to their getaways, Policy Expert is warning holidaymakers to be cautious of pickpockets, particularly at the airport. The study found that more than one in ten (11%) have or know someone who has fallen victim to theft before even boarding the plane. Money/currency is the most common stolen item, followed by mobile phones, sunglasses, purses/wallets and cameras. One in 20 (5%) also say they have actually found a lost item themselves and handed it in before taking off.

The most common items stolen at airports:

  1. Money/currency
  2. Phone
  3. Sunglasses
  4. Purse/wallet
  5. Camera
  6. Hand luggage bag
  7. Jewellery
  8. Passport/travel documents
  9. Tablet/iPad
  10. Laptop

When it comes to going away, the average traveller takes luggage worth almost £400. A third (31%) state they pack valuables worth between £201-£500, while a fifth (20%) pack items worth up between £501-£1,000 and 6% carry items valued between £1,001-£2,000.

The study also found that Brits aren’t always protected when going abroad, particularly as more than one in ten (11%) admit they don’t take out travel insurance, while a quarter (25%) of Brits don’t have away from home cover included in their home insurance policy and more than a third (37%) aren’t sure. For those falling victim to theft at the airport, many can potentially claim on their home insurance policy if they have away from home cover, however almost half (45%) are unaware of this.

Adam Powell, Operations Director at Policy Expert, commented: “For many holidaymakers, going away begins at the airport. The issue is that airports are busy and with the holiday excitement taking off, it’s easy to get distracted. But unfortunately, thieves are on the lookout for victims. So keep an eye on your luggage, currency and any items purchased at the airport and be vigilant around others. Also check whether your home insurance policy includes away from home cover – this will reimburse you should a personal possession be lost or stolen while out of the house at the airport. The last thing you want is for thieves to spoil your holiday before you’re even up in the air.”

Top tips for protecting your valuables at the airport this summer

  1. Consolidate your items before going through security. While you’ll need to remove some electronics such as tablets and laptops from your bag, you can keep your purse, money/currency, jewellery and your travel documents in your bag or jacket – as long as you put them in the bins provided. This will help to prevent any items being snatched or left behind.
  2. While you may feel pressured, don’t put your items through the x-ray machine before you’re ready to walk through the security scanner. Every moment you leave your items unattended is another moment that thieves have to steal your valuables.
  3. Be cautious of leaving small valuable items unattended, such as a phone or purse. Valuables left on table-tops at airport lounges, restaurants and coffee shops will be both easy and tempting to snatch and leave behind.
  4. You should never leave your bags unattended, particularly at the airport, so whatever you do, keep your bag where you can see it. Whether you’re having a pre-drink before take-off, grabbing some food or sitting at the gate, if you can, place your chair leg through a bag handle to make it harder to move.
  5. If you’re using a cash machine or purchasing currency, be wary of who is around you and make sure your pin is covered at all times.
  6. Thieves often work in groups, so try not be distracted by commotion or attention which could be a ploy.
  7. If you do notice a missing item, report it immediately. Theft at the airport is not uncommon and reporting it means that airport security can potentially catch the thief and recover your personal items.
  8. Check whether your home insurance policy includes away from home cover, so that if the worst does happen, you at least know you’re covered financially.

06 Jun 2018 With much written about the lack of loyalty younger adults show towards brands, new research  has revealed quite the opposite when it comes to sentiment towards financial services companies.

The findings from the Nottingham Building Society, which is celebrating a year of rewarding loyal members, reveal those aged 55 and over seeing the biggest fall in the level of loyalty felt towards financial services companies including banks, building societies and home and car insurers.

When it comes to Millennials (aged 25 – 34) a significant 35% actually feel more loyal than they did five years ago with just 12% feeling less loyal than in 2013.  The percentage of customers who now feel less loyal jumps to 24% for 45 – 54 year olds (13% feel more loyal) and 26% for those aged 55 and over (11% feel more loyal).

But a key reason for the drop in loyalty among people in older age groups is concern about the decline in access to face-to-face contact with their financial services companies through, for example, the closure of bank branches underlining the need for banks and building societies to reinvent how branches operate.  Nottingham’s research shows 82% of Millennials are loyal to banks compared with 65% of 45 -54 year olds and 62% of those aged 55-plus

Research among people who feel less loyal towards financial services companies show 60% say it’s because there is more information on the best available deals making it easier to spot when the products and services being offered to them are less competitive.

This is followed by 42% who say they feel less loyal because rewards programmes offered by financial services companies have declined. One in five (20%) blame it on less face-time with representatives from their financial services companies, and 10% say it’s because the quality of the call centre service they receive has deteriorated.

Nottingham Building Society believes branches have a positive role to play in the financial services sector but they need to be made more relevant to what customers want by providing a wider range of services.

David Marlow, CEO of The Nottingham Building Society said: “Customers now have much greater access to information on products and services which means financial services companies have to work harder to keep them happy.  Our research suggests that many people worry that service levels have actually fallen, and that is making them less loyal towards banks, building societies and insurers.

“Key to addressing the drop in loyalty is offering consistently competitive products and maintaining services, rewarding customer loyalty and providing high-levels of customer service – which for many people includes face-to-face advice.

“Our strategy is very much focused on reinventing branches so they offer more services that customers value while providing high levels of service which is reflected in The Nottingham receiving the lowest number of complaints.”

Over the past five years, The Nottingham has doubled its network of branches to 67 across 11 counties, and seen footfall increase by around 10%. It is also celebrating the first anniversary of its Member Rewards scheme launched in May 2017 to help support its loyal savings members in achieving their financial goals and planning for their future.

Qualifying members have access to a range of exclusive benefits including discounted estate agency fees, access to free impartial mortgage advice, financial planning and money back on home insurance and funeral plans. The programme has already shared £345,000 of rewards with 5,600 members in its first year and seen the number of eligible members grow by 11%, meaning the total up for grabs in 2018 is set to eclipse that.

The long-term commitment of the scheme is reflected in the Family Comes First element, where referred family members of rewards customers are immediately eligible for the benefits if they open a qualifying savings account, rather than having to wait a year for membership under the standard criteria.

To find out more about The Nottingham’s range of products and services, where its branches are based and its Member Reward scheme, visit https://www.thenottingham.com