American Express has teamed up with skincare brand Kiehl’s, online florist Appleyard Flowers, and hand iced biscuit maker Biscuiteers, to reward eligible Cardmembers on their spending this Mother’s Day.

Available now, Cardmembers can receive cashback when purchasing that special something for their mother. Whether near to, or far from loved ones this year, take advantage of these offers that will give you something back on your spending on gifts this Mother’s Day.

American Express Cardmembers can access the following Amex Offers, by simply saving the offer to their card via the Amex App or online at americanexpress.com/uk/.

KIEHL’S SINCE 1851, GET 15% BACK. Show that you care this year with Kiehl’s skincare products and get 15% back on your purchase, https://www.kiehls.co.uk/.

The offer is available online until 30 March 2021.

Full terms and conditions, and exclusions apply.*

APPLEYARD FLOWERS, GET 15% BACK EVERY TIME. Brighten their day with beautiful blooms from Appleyard Flowers with 15% back every time you make a purchase, https://www.appleyardflowers.com/. The offer is available online until 14 March 2021.
Full terms and conditions, and exclusions apply.*

BISCUITEERS – SPEND £30 OR MORE, GET £5 BACK EVERY TIME. Tuck into a sweet treat this Mother’s Day with Biscuiteers – https://www.biscuiteers.com/ and get £5 statement credit every time you spend £30 or more.

The offer is available online and instore until 30 April 2021.

New analysis of the top 50 instant access savings accounts for balances of £5,000, commissioned by Investec, reveals that only 26 of the top 50 instant access savings accounts are ‘clean’ and don’t have penalties, restrictions for withdrawing money, or rely on short-term bonuses to inflate returns.  The corresponding figures for the top 20 and 10 instant access savings accounts are 13 and four respectively.

Investec’s research, which was conducted by Andrew Hagger of MoneyComms, reveals that 17 of the top 50 instant access savings accounts limit the number of withdrawals customers can make, and 11 charge interest penalties or reduce the interest rate paid to savers who make more withdrawals than their accounts allow.  Six don’t allow any further withdrawals for the year once the maximum permitted number has been reached, and for three, there are restrictions as to who can open them such as needing to have a current account with the provider.

The analysis also reveals that four of the 50 savings accounts have short-term bonuses.  The average size of the bonus is 0.26% and on average they last for 12 months.  On 30th October 2020, the corresponding figures were 0.34% and 11.1 months respectively.

The average interest rate for the 50 market leading accounts on 18th February 2021 was 0.34%, but this drops to 0.32% once the bonuses expire. The corresponding figures in October 2020 were 0.52%and 0.47% respectively.

Type of condition, penalty or restriction Number of the top 50 easy access savings accounts that had this feature (18th February 2021) Number of the top 50 easy access savings accounts that had this feature (30th October 2020)
Short-term bonus 4/50 (8%) 7/50 (14%)
Limited withdrawals permitted 17/50 (34%) 16/50 (32%)
Lost interest/interest penalty on withdrawals above maximum permitted 11/50 (22%) 7/50 (14%)
No further withdrawals permitted in year once maximum is reached 6/50 (12%) 10/50 (20%)
Account restricted – e.g. you need a current account from the provider 3/50 (6%) 8/50 (16%)
Interest rate drops to lower paying account after 12 months 2/50 (4%) 1/50 (2%)

Samantha Booysen, Head of Digital Savings at Investec, said: “There is a huge number of savings accounts to choose from, but it is just as important to review their terms and conditions as it is the interest rate they are paying.  You need a savings account that not only pays an attractive return, but also allows you to manage your money in the way that you want.”

Andrew Hagger, Founder and Director, MoneyComms, who conducted the research for Investec said: “The easy access savings market has become more confusing in recent years with many providers introducing restrictive terms, limited withdrawals and short-term bonus rates.

“Most savers don’t want to have to worry about a limited number of withdrawals or access penalties, they simply want an account they can pay in to and withdraw from whenever they like – no strings, no sneaky T&C’s, just a plain and simple no nonsense everyday savings account”.

Britons who managed to save money during the pandemic are planning a £36bn spending spree when restrictions ease, according to new research1.

The study, by ethical savings provider Gatehouse Bank, found more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of people have been able to put money away during the pandemic due to reduced expenditure such as commuting and other travel, as well as an inability to spend as much on leisure activities including eating out and leisure pursuits.

Respondents to the survey, conducted in the run-up to the launch of the bank’s new Green Saver accounts, say they are now looking to spend around a third (35 per cent) of those funds, £1,019 on average, when things return to ‘normal’.

The most popular expenditure will be on holidays, with 11 per cent hoping to travel abroad and one in ten intending to take a vacation in the UK, with home renovation also a popular choice, with 10 per cent planning a major makeover project.

A cautious 14 per cent of the population said they were going to invest their nest egg for the future, despite a backdrop of falling savings rates.

Charles Haresnape, CEO at Gatehouse Bank, said: “With the economy locked down repeatedly for months at a time, more than half the adult population is sitting on extra savings.

“The news that people plan to spend a third of these funds when lockdown ends will be music to the ears of businesses and the Government, who know that an instant injection of consumer spending will be critical for the country’s economic recovery.

“For those looking to put some of those extra savings away for the future, though, the outlook is not so rosy as good savings rates are proving hard to find, so it’s more critical than ever that savers shop around.”

With the first lockdown Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it’s no secret that COVID-19 restrictions have put a halt to many of our plans over the last year. However, new research1 from American Express reveals that over half of Brits (54%) haven’t let lockdown stop the fun, actively celebrating at least two special occasions with household members since the first lockdown in March 2020.

Brits looking to liven up lockdown have spent an average of £68, equating to £1.9 billion2 across the country, on items including food, drink and decorations, to celebrate occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, having a baby and graduating.

Top ways Brits celebrate at home

  Chosen way to celebrate during lockdown % of people that have celebrated this way
1 Held a party at home with members of my household 31%
2 Decorated the house with balloons, candles etc. 30%
3 Ordered in a fancy, restaurant quality meal 27%
4 Organised a get together via a video call with family 27%
5 Organised a get together via a video call with friends 20%

The research from American Express revealed that, for those who have spent more on celebrations during lockdown (since March 2020) compared to what they would usually spend when they could go out and about, the most popular motivation has been to make the occasion as special and memorable as possible.

In the age of social media it is perhaps unsurprising that 13% say that they have spent more on occasions in order to have photos to share on social media with friends and family.

Other reasons for splashing out include relieving boredom (30%) and having more disposable income to spend on special occasions (27%) because of lockdown restrictions.

Celebrations yet to come

The pandemic has certainly given Brits time to take stock and reflect on all things they may have taken for granted before COVID-19. Whilst two thirds of people are feeling disappointed that they couldn’t celebrate their special occasions in the ways they had planned over the past 12 months, nearly three in five (57%) agree that the restrictions brought about by the pandemic have made them realise they want to celebrate special occasions even more in the future.

American Express offers the following top tips on how to make the most of a lockdown celebration:

  1. No fancy restaurant? No problem! – Why not recreate that restaurant ambiance in your own home? Put on some background music, decorate your table with a candle and tablecloth and order in food from your favourite restaurant. Alternatively, look out for restaurants offering home meal kits that come complete with ingredients and instructions to make a knock-out meal.

  1. Dress up for a night on the (kitchen) tiles – With almost a third of Brits having held a party with members of their household, it goes to show that you really can’t beat celebrating in person. If you’re guilty of spending day after day in your tracksuit or lounge clothes, mark the special occasion by getting dressed up in your favourite outfit.

  1. Treat yourself with points and rewards – However you choose to celebrate your upcoming milestone moments, remember to put your spend on a Card that earns cashback, rewards or points for your purchases, which you can then use to treat yourself and your loved ones.

  1. Let them eat cake! – No celebration is complete without cake. If you’re living with a group why not host your very own bake-off? Or if you’re isolating on your own and don’t fancy a whole cake to yourself, cupcakes are a great bake for manageable treats that can be spread across the week.

 

  1. Housebound Treasure Hunt – Hiding treats around the house is a great way to get up and get moving, especially when there’s a tasty reward to be found! A perfect activity to occupy kids and the young-at-heart adults alike.

HSBC UK is offering £125 in cash to those switching to its Advance or Premier current accounts, the bank announced today. By utilising this and the bank’s other benefits, customers could easily be hundreds of pounds better off.

A cash offer of £125 to new customers who switch to an Advance or Premier current account, comes into effect on the 8th February. 

Those customers who switch to HSBC UK could enjoy benefits including:

–        £125 when they switch to an HSBC Advance or Premier Bank Account, using the 7 day Current Account Switch Service;

–        Significant savings on shopping through HSBC UK’s ‘Home And Away’ offers site, with new offers recently added including Costa Coffee, ASOS, and Not On The High Street; and

–        £40 cashback, ROCKit S wireless ear buds worth £90, or a night away if they take out ‘Pick and Mix’ insurance through our innovative Select And Cover insurance.

 

Fiona Anderson, HSBC UK’s Head of Everyday Banking, said: “For many millions of people, 2020 was a defining year, whether as result of home schooling, changes to working patterns or financially. We have already seen that 2021 will be unpredictable too, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and we all hope we can return to some kind of normality sooner rather than later.

“We know that health and money are the two most common subjects people have been thinking about during the pandemic and while we are in the midst of this lockdown, we might be able to provide a little financial boost for those switching their banking to us, with £125 on offer for switching to our Advance or Premier current accounts.

“There are plenty of additional benefits through HSBC UK that can save customers money, whether it’s by using our handy financial fitness tool and supporting guides to assess and improve your financial health, enabling people to save while they spend with our Home and Away offers, as well as a free gift or cashback when taking out insurance with our innovative Select And Cover insurance. All in all, you could earn or save yourself hundreds of pounds, which could come in really handy at this challenging time.”

Finance experts TotallyMoney warn that customers could be offered a worse deal if they stay with their current car insurance provider than if they were to renew with a new provider:

  • £565m is lost every year due to customers being loyal to current car insurance provider
  • 14 million customers are paying on average an extra £40 by renewing their car insurance with current provider
  • The average car insurance premium in the UK is an incredible £816, increasing to £1449 in the capital
  • All 38.4 million cars in the UK need an insurance policy by law
  • The ‘loyalty penalty’ is due to come to a halt when new FCA regulations come into force. But it is unknown when this will be, so customers should switch now

 

No reward for loyalty

When the time comes for customers to renew their car insurance policy it seems only natural to stay with their current provider; it’s comfortable to stick to what you know, and it’s incredibly easy to do what’s familiar. However, recent figures reveal that a staggering £565m is lost each year by customers who auto renew their policy with their existing car insurance provider.

After a sustained period of cuts in the cost of car insurance, latest trends show that car premiums are starting to increaseIt’s therefore more important than ever that customers search for other deals to ensure they’re on the best and most affordable one possible.

 

Just in time

Long-overdue changes from the Financial Conduct Authority§ are welcomed to put a stop to this unfair loyalty charge customers face when renewing, but with no official word as to when the changes are coming into force, it’s incredibly important that customers avoid being automatically rolled over onto a more expensive deal.

Finance experts TotallyMoney have partnered with comparison specialists Seopa, to launch their new car insurance instant quote service right before February‖, the month where customers are likely to find their best deal with insurance premiums being at their cheapest.

 

Alastair Douglas, CEO of finance experts TotallyMoney comments:

With customers being punished for their loyalty, and a car being an essential item for many across the UK, the car insurance industry can be seen as unfair. 

“Millions of pounds are lost every year because of this, money that could be kept in customers’ pockets and better spent on other essential items. 

“Customers should be aware that their best deal is not always with their current provider, in fact it rarely is, and they should shop around before renewing their policy. 

“With a third of customers paying monthly for their policies, credit scores play an important role when insurance providers run a credit check for this purpose. Customers should check their report before applying, to raise a dispute and correct any errors. This way they can be sure that they’re getting the best deal for their true circumstances.

“At TotallyMoney, we’re on a mission to improve the UK’s credit score and help our customers move on up to a better financial future. Helping our customers save money on their car insurance is a significant step forward in achieving this goal. Whether those savings are used to pay off more of their debt, or to simply make day-to-day life a little bit easier, it’s clear how a small change could make such a big difference to the lives of many across the UK.”

A survey by Paragon Bank found that topping up ‘rainy day’ funds and booking a holiday are two leading financial priorities for savers this year.

In a survey of more than 2,600 customers, Paragon Bank asked savers about their long-term plans for any money saved during the pandemic.

The research showed that 29% of savers will prioritise topping up their emergency fund with any savings made during the pandemic, which is reflective of Brits responding to the ongoing climate of economic uncertainty.

Booking a holiday was also a priority for 29% of savers, as many people prioritised splashing out on a trip abroad after many experienced cancelled travel plans in 2020.

Saving in a fixed rate product was the second top priority, with 28% of savers planning to lock money away in a fixed rate in order to guarantee rates during challenging market conditions. Home improvements plans took third place for 27% of savers.

A quarter of savers also had generous plans for their pandemic funds, with 15% planning to gift some of the money to a loved one and one in ten committing to a charity donation.

Purchasing a property was by far the leading priority for younger age groups still saving for a deposit for their first house purchase, with 64% of 18-24 year olds and 75% of 25-29 year olds naming this as a priority.

Half of customers able to save more during the pandemic

The survey found that one in two customers were able to put more money aside during the pandemic, with millennials in the best position to save more.

Millennial savers were most likely to be able to put more money aside during lockdown compared to other age groups, with more than two thirds (67%) of 25-29 year olds and 65% of 30-39 year olds saving more money than usual.

Derek Sprawling, Savings Director at Paragon Bank, said: 

“It’s clear from the data that the ongoing climate of economic uncertainty is impacting people’s financial plans. Topping up emergency funds and saving in a fixed rate product are two leading priorities, combining to nearly double the proportion of respondents who are looking to invest in a much-needed holiday.

“Splitting funds between an easy access ‘rainy day’ fund and a fixed rate is a good solution for those looking to have access to money in the event of an emergency, while also ensuring they get a competitive rate on a portion of their savings.”

As millions of UK residents continue to work from home, Aviva is urging people to take extra care of their possessions when using summerhouses, outbuildings or sheds as workspaces.

ONS data suggests around 13 million UK people became home-workers last year as a result of the pandemic(1) and sales of sheds and summerhouses have been rising rapidly(2).

But Aviva warns that home contents cover is often limited for items stored in sheds, garages and outbuildings, compared to the main home. The insurer is therefore encouraging “shoffice” workers to remove valuable items such as laptops, phones and tablets when not in use.

Sarah Applegate, Head of Risk, Aviva General Insurance says: “While many insurers cover home office equipment as standard under home contents policies and some are extending cover during the pandemic for people who need to work from home, cover may be restricted for items located outside the main property.

“Contents in outbuildings usually have an upper limit of around £2,500 for theft claims, so people should think carefully what they store in their outdoor rooms, particularly if they are using home office equipment.

“Tech devices are easily portable and can quickly add up to hundreds or even thousands of pounds in value. We’d encourage householders to remain vigilant when working in outbuildings and remove expensive equipment when not in use.”

 

Aviva has the following advice regarding outbuildings and keeping contents safe:

  • Limit what you store in your outbuildings, sheds, garages and summerhouses, particularly if items are valuable. Check your home contents policy wording and be aware of cover limits for items kept in external buildings.
  • Pay particular attention to portable items such as laptops, phones and tablets, if you are using an outbuilding as a home office. Tech devices can be lifted in a matter of minutes.
  • Lock your sheds, summerhouses, garages and outbuildings when not in use. Replace any damaged or rusty padlocks.
  • Check the access to your home and garden in case any would-be burglars are watching. Close gates and repair damaged fences – deterrents are sometimes the best prevention.
  • If you’ve bought new office equipment, don’t leave packaging in a place where others can see it, such as by outdoor bins. If boxes are too large to go in a bin, store them in your home until you can dispose of them, for example at your local recycling centre.
  • Inform your home insurer if you’re making substantial changes to your home – such as building an extension to provide a home office space or converting an integrated garage – before you start building works.
  • Find out more about Aviva home contents cover for outbuildings here.

Research by finance experts, TotallyMoney shows that Brits paying interest on their credit card debt are wasting hundreds of pounds by not switching to a better deal.

  • Customers can save a massive £676 in interest by transferring the average credit card balance of £2,177 to a 0% balance transfer card of 21 months
  • A huge 54% of active credit card accounts have interest accruing balances outstanding at the end of the calendar month
  • January marks balance transfer season, the busiest month for balance transfers which sees an average of 687,000 transactions worth an average of £1.55bn each year
  • There were just 60 balance transfer cards available in the market in December compared to 75 the year before, while the average number of interest-free days is at its lowest level since May 2015

54% of credit card balances incur interest – but these interest charges are avoidable for borrowers eligible for a balance transfer card.

Balance transfer cards charge 0% interest for a set period of time, meaning 100% of credit card repayments go towards reducing the debt, not paying interest.

TotallyMoney found that by transferring the average credit card balance of £2,177 to the average balance transfer duration of 21 months, customers could save a huge £676.

Customers seeking the best 0% deal to ring in 2021 should move fast — before lenders cut the honeymoon period even further. Recent figures show that as of December 1st 2020 offer durations were at the lowest level since May 2015.

Not only are the offer durations shortening but the number of products available to customers has also fallen from 75 in December 2019 to 60 in December 2020.

 

An interest freeze still comes with fees

Most balance transfer cards charge a balance transfer fee. This is quoted as a percentage of the debt transferred, with a minimum cash amount. For example, ‘3% with a minimum of £5’. This means if you transferred £1,000 of debt, you’d pay £30.

The golden rule with 0% balance transfer credit cards is to repay your entire debt in the interest-free period. For example, if you had £2,000 of debt and could afford to repay £100 a month, you’d need a card that’s 0% on balance transfers for at least 20 months.

 

Alastair Douglas, CEO of finance experts TotallyMoney, comments:

“As many look to get their finances in shape for the new year, one way that customers can save money is to stop paying interest on their debt when there’s no need to. Transferring existing debts over to a balance transfer card lets you pay off your debt while avoiding the spiralling interest charges.

“Unfortunately, balance transfer deals aren’t as generous as they used to be with both the introductory durations on offer and the number of cards available in decline.

“When applying for a credit card make sure you check your eligibility. This will help you avoid rejection and damage your credit score.

“You should also use these cards carefully. Resist the temptation to use a balance transfer card to make purchases as most will charge a high rate of interest on any new borrowing.

“At TotallyMoney, we’re on a mission to improve the UK’s credit score and help people move on up to a better financial future. Switching your credit card will mean clearing debts quicker, which will reduce your credit utilisation. Cutting your credit usage will normally have a positive effect on your credit score.”

RoosterMoney, the pocket money app, reveals that kids received an impressive £321 pocket money (£6.18 a week) last year, and encouragingly they saved 37% of it. This is in line with adult saving rates also reaching record levels of 28.1% during the Covid-19 pandemic.* Video games Roblox & Fortnite also dominated the spending charts as kids spent more time at home.

Children are picking up lasting money habits as young as 7 years old**, and RoosterMoney is showing that a strong pocket money routine is a great way to build positive money habits early on, lockdown, or no lockdown…

 

  • EARNING: 66% of parents gave regular pocket money last year
  • Average weekly allowance was £6.18 (£321 a year)
  • Kids received £52 in cash gifts this Christmas
  • Families embraced chore routines: The highest earning chores were ‘washing the car’, ‘mowing the lawn’, & ‘washing windows’
  • SPENDING: Video games Roblox & Fortnite rose to the top of the spending charts
  • SAVING: Average saved was 37%
  • Most popular things to save for were Lego Sets, Phones & Roblox
  • Top Lego Sets: Star Wars, Harry Potter, Friends
  • The average time it took to reach a savings goal was 45 days
  • GIVING: Most popular causes were Children’s Charities, Animal Welfare & Cancer Research.

 

Top things to SPEND on in 2020.

Roblox & Fortnite rose to the top as kids spend more time at home.

Pocket Money Spending Charts 2020 (vs 2019):
2019:

  1. Books & Magazines
  2. Sweets
  3. Lego
  4. Presents
  5. Roblox
  6. Fortnite
  7. PlayStation
  8. Xbox
  9. Pokemon
  10. Apps
2020:

  1. Roblox (+4, highest climber)
  2. Fortnite (+4, highest climber)
  3. Books & Magazines (-2)
  4. Sweets & Chocolate (-2)
  5. Lego (-2)
  6. Presents (-2)
  7. Xbox (+1)
  8. Minecraft (new entry)
  9. PlayStation (-2)
  10. Pokemon (-1)

Top things to SAVE for in 2020:

Holidays and bikes fall down the rankings.

  1. Lego Sets (-)
  2. Phones (-)
  3. Roblox (new)
  4. Fortnite (new)
  5. Nintendo Switch (-2)
  6. PlayStation (+2)
  7. Books & Magazines (-2)
  8. Holidays (-4, biggest drop)
  9. Bikes (-3)
  10. Xbox (-)

Will Carmichael, RoosterMoney CEO says:

“The Pocket Money Index can often provide a fascinating reflection of what’s going on in the wider world. The pandemic has shifted most of our spending online and that’s seen clearly here with kids’ spending habits too. It’s also really encouraging to see the saving rates remain so high.

Now more than ever, building financial capability into our kids is so incredibly important. The financial impact of this crisis has the potential to affect us for a generation – perhaps several. Having confidence with money, building positive habits around saving and learning to make considered spending choices will be something that sticks with kids for life.”