Nearly 34 million people in Britain (66% of adults) are planning overseas holiday escapes during 2017, according to new findings from Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance & Travel Money. The figures are almost identical to last year (67%), revealing a resilience in the overseas holiday market despite a significant fall in the value of sterling against the US dollar, euro and other popular currencies over the past year which increases the cost of holiday spending money for British tourists.

Three in four adults (75%) are planning a holiday in the UK in 2017 – the same figure as last year.

Twelve million ‘early bookers’, nearly one in four (23%) of those intending to book a holiday in the UK or abroad, planned to book their main holiday by the end of 2016. Another one in eight (12%) intends to book during January 2017.

Almost twice as many holidaymakers are confident that they will book independently, going direct to their chosen airline and accommodation providers, compared to those who say they will book through a travel agent (23% against 12%), the remainder being unsure as yet.

However, the findings reveal that many holidaymakers will leave their purchase of travel insurance until late in the day. Six per cent of holidaymakers say they will buy their travel insurance within the last week before going on holiday, a further one per cent will leave it until the day of departure, and thirteen per cent will buy it at some stage between booking the trip and the week before they go on holiday. Even more worryingly, almost one in five (18%) say they don’t intend to have travel insurance cover for their trip.

Sainsbury’s Bank is warning that most policies have some cancellation cover which starts on the date you purchase the cover rather than the date of travel, so a significant number of people who choose not to  buy cover when they book their trip will not be covered should they need to cancel their trip in the interim.

Alan Sanderson from Sainsbury’s Bank said:  “Whilst lots of holiday makers are early bookers who like to plan ahead so they have something to look forward to, our research shows that many of them don’t pay the same attention when it comes to travel insurance. Also if you’re booking independently rather than through a travel agent, make sure your policy provides good quality independent traveller cover as you may not benefit from protection under the ATOL scheme.”

Those planning on booking a holiday in 2017 say they will spend an average of £816 per person on the cost of the holiday alone, before add-ons and spending money.

Many holidaymakers are cost-conscious about their holiday. Seventeen per cent say they are worried about the costs but will go ahead anyway, and 16% are specifically choosing a UK holiday to keep the costs down. A further 15% intend to stick to a strict budget whilst away and 14% will go on the most budget-friendly holiday they can find.

New research from Gocompare.com Money has found that, on average, people now manage over 30 accounts across all aspects of their lives, from online banking and shopping, to gym memberships and subscriptions for home entertainment.  And almost a third of us are stressed out by trying to keep track of them all.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults looked into how people manage their multiple contracts and accounts. Over a third (34%) confessed to using just a handful of passwords to cover everything while 54% said they have to resort to keeping a written note of their passwords and PINs. A quarter admitted to relying on the ‘Forgotten Password’ button to access their accounts.

The survey also revealed that:

  • People spend on average two hours a week managing their personal affairs and trying to find and remember account details and passwords;
  • 38% of those questioned said they have no system to keep track of their online personal affairs;
  • 8% spend over five hours a week managing their contracts and accounts;
  • 27% said they feel overwhelmed by the number of accounts and passwords they have to manage;
  • 31% said they find it stressful having so many accounts, passwords and contracts;
  • 21% of those surveyed felt like they’ve lost track of contracts and accounts;
  • 28% likened managing their personal affairs to a full time job.

 

Matt Sanders, from Gocompare.com, said: “From our research it’s clear that many people feel that they are drowning under the weight of managing their personal and money-related affairs. While the move to online account management has made things like entertainment and banking much more accessible, it has significantly increased the number of accounts we all hold and the log-ins, passwords and monthly payments we have to remember.

“New technology has also presented a range of opportunities for cybercriminals – scamming people out of their personal details and money through increasingly sophisticated means. One in ten people who took part in our survey said that they had an online account hacked, while 12% said they had been a victim of a financial fraud. This means that it’s essential that you make the time to manage both your offline and online accounts to ensure that your personal data is safe and secure.”

Sanders continued: “There are some simple precautions you can take to protect against cybercriminals.  First off, always password or PIN protect your PC, smartphone, laptop and other mobile devices.  Choose strong passwords and PINs and avoid using the same ones for all your accounts and payment cards.  Never use same passwords for social media sites and online banking.  If you feel you must write down your passwords and PINs encrypt them so only you can understand them.  Always log-off when you complete an online transaction.

 

 

Timing is everything when it comes to scoring the cheapest prices for flights and hotels in 2017, according to new analysis by travel search engine KAYAK.co.uk. By analysing data based on millions of searches, KAYAK has found that with a little planning, travellers can save huge amounts of money.

Booking and travelling to Brits favourite European and international destinations
The research has found that Brits can save up to 80% on flights to Europe and internationally by booking their airfares at the right time.

The best prices for mid-haul flights can generally be found just one or two months in advance. The biggest savings can be made when flying to the popular destination of Faro in Portugal, where flights are 80% cheaper when booked one month in advance compared to the worst time to book.

And similar savings can be made for other key destinations. Flights to Mallorca can be 75% cheaper when booked two months in advance compared to the worst time and flights to Tenerife and Rome, are 66% and 61% cheaper respectively when booked one month in advance. However, more forward planning is required for certain destinations to get the best deals. When it comes to the increasingly popular destination of Reykjavik for example, five months in advance is the best time to book, which offers savings of up to 61% with an average price of £69.

To get the best savings on flights to the most popular long-haul destinations, the best deals can also be found by waiting until nearer to the departure date. The research  found booking two to four months in advance of the departure date secures the best deals on the majority of destinations in the top 10.

For certain popular international locations huge savings can be made if Brits are prepared to wait until two months before departure to book. Orlando can be as much as 41% cheaper, for Los Angeles travellers can save up to 40% and for Bali the savings can go up to 45%.

Again, there are some exceptions. Holidaymakers aiming to visit New Zealand can secure the best price if they book a trip to Auckland seven months in advance, resulting in savings of up to 58%, when compared to the most expensive booking time.

Weekdays trump weekends as the best days to travel
The analysis of the best days of the week on which to travel answers the ‘when to fly’ question, showing that with a bit of flexibility and the right itinerary, the best flight prices can be secured. On all routes, both long and short, flying out in the middle of the week is the cheapest option. The best departure and return days generally fluctuate between Tuesday and Thursday.

Huge savings can be made – for example, flights to Mallorca departing on a Tuesday with return on Tuesday, can be up to 75% cheaper than those booked to depart on a Saturday with return on Wednesday. It is a similar story for Rome, where the savings are up to 72% for departure on Tuesday, returning Thursday compared to departing and returning on a Saturdays.

Millennials, generally considered to be those aged 18 to 34, saved more in 2016 than any other generation, according to new research from Charter Savings Bank. On average, millennials saved a total of £3,701 in 2016 – over £450 more than their baby boomer and Generation X counterparts, who saved £3,226 and £3,238 respectively.

2016 has undoubtedly been a turbulent year for the UK and savers alike. Interest rates set by the Bank of England were already at an all-time low and, following Britain’s decision to leave the EU, took a further hit in August down to 0.25%. This has meant that everyone has had to work even harder to make their savings work for them.

Despite this, over three quarters (78%) of millennials were able to save some money in 2016, with nearly two in five (37%) making regular monthly saving deposits during the year. Some 69% of Generation X were able to save in 2016, and seven in ten (70%) baby boomers managed to add to their nest egg.

When looking at the reasons why millennials have been so successful in their 2016 saving, 14% believe that being committed to putting away a regular amount every month has helped their savings and an additional 13% say a pay rise has helped them to put more money away. Encouragingly, just 4% say that low interest rates have hindered them and, despite stark warnings about the effect Brexit will have on the savings environment, just 6% believe this has prevented them saving.

Looking to 2017, nearly three in five (58%) millennials have a savings goal already in mind, with 18% planning to put money away for a new house in 2017, 13% hoping to gather enough savings for a holiday and 11% are in need of new household items.

Commenting on the findings Paul Whitlock, Director of Savings, at Charter Savings Bank said: “Millennials have come up trumps when it comes to saving money in 2016, beating the older generations to the title of top savings generation. However, what is most encouraging is that the level of people putting money away is so high across the board, and few have been hindered by the low interest rate environment or the economic uncertainty brought about by the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

“Our attention now firmly turns to 2017, and a year in which savers could enjoy some well-deserved relief as the Bank of England keeps a close eye on interest rates. For now, people across the UK should use the New Year to put at least one savings resolution in place and start 2017 with their best foot forward.”

As the UK starts on its resolution list, money matters are firmly on the agenda with the majority of people (78%) saying they plan to save in 2017 and a third of that group, (34%) saying they will save more than in 2016.  The research, from new challenger bank Masthaven, finds that many people will be saving with distinct goals in mind, with an estimated £4,000 each being put aside.
 
Of those with a clear goal in mind, holidays are the key reason to save (26%), followed by home improvements (11%) and housing deposits (10%).  Yet saving for financial security (45%) and for a rainy day (23%) are also key drivers for many.  Those looking for a new savings account next year say that good interest rates will be top of their shopping list (45%).
Jon Hall, Managing Director, Masthaven said: “For several years now the conventional wisdom has been that around a third of people in the UK don’t save.  This research shows a more positive outlook and one we are keen to ensure happens.  As a new challenger bank we are helping people meet their goals by creating new ways of saving.”
According to the Masthaven research among 2,009 UK adults, 78% say they plan to save next year, with 34% saying they will save more and 28% saying they will continue to save at the same levels.   A further 16% will continue to save but less than they have done this year.  Just under one in five (18%) say they don’t save and won’t start and 3% say they will stop saving.
 
The Masthaven Flexible Term Saver account challenges banking convention by allowing people to decide the date when their savings account matures. The combination of competitive rates and ease of use means savers can take advantage of a fixed term rate over a time frame that suits their lifestyle. 
 
Designed to help savers meet their short or long-term goals – whether that’s a holiday or wedding anniversary or a future event such as university fees or house deposit – customers can use a sliding scale to pick any date between six months and five years to create their personalised fixed term end date. They can also decide whether they prefer to receive interest annually or monthly.
MBNA is offering customers looking to consolidate their post-Christmas debts and card balances its longest ever balance transfer credit card.
In line with recent years, over half a million UK consumers are likely to make in excess of £1.3bn worth of balance transfers during January to help them get their finances fit for 2017, MBNA has launched the new “MBNA Balance Transfer Credit Card”, which includes:
  1. A market-leading zero per cent term of up to 43 months on balance transfers.
  2. A competitive 3.29 per cent balance transfer handling fee.
  3. A £20 cash back offer when customers balance transfer £1,000 or more in the first 60 days of opening an account.
“Many people’s new year’s resolutions are focused on consolidating their debts and card balances at this time of year, so we’ve looked to offer a compelling new option in time for January – and it’s our best ever balance transfer offer”, said Richard Whatmough, Marketing and Digital director at MBNA.
“Not only is 43 months at zero per cent our longest ever, but we’ve added a special £20 cash back offer and retained competitively low handling fees for customers looking to manage down the cost of borrowing in the new year and beyond.”
To transfer a balance of £1,000 to be eligible for the cash back offer, new customers
would pay a one-time fee of just under £33. They would then benefit from zero per cent interest for 43 months if the transfer is made at the beginning of the offer window. That is equivalent to paying no interest for more than three-and-a-half years, around 1,308 days, 31,390 hours or 1,883,400 minutes.
“When the value of this offer is put into these types of numbers, we think this is an incredibly attractive option for many people aiming to improve their financial fitness this January”, Whatmough added. “And anyone applying for the card can see if they’re eligible before they go on to make a full application.”
The new MBNA Balance Transfer Credit Card offer also enables new customers to transfer money into their current account and pay no interest for 20 months (a 4.00 per cent handling fee applies). These “money transfers” could then help new customers pay down other higher interest-bearing balances and loans they hold elsewhere, such as expensive store cards or overdrafts.

Sainsbury’s Bank has launched a new free online ‘train-inflation’ digital tool, which reveals that the average train ticket increased by 59% between 2005 and 2011, and by 16.9% between 2011 and 2016.  Its ‘train-inflation’ barometer allows people to see what their new standard train ticket will be next year, and estimate how their fares have increased over the past 10 years.

Regulated rail fares in England and Wales and regulated peak-time fares in Scotland will rise by 1.9% next year. The rise is determined by July’s Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation measure and will take effect from 2 January 2017.

New research from Sainsbury’s Bank reveals that 32% of people who commute to work by train are planning to use interest free credit cards to buy their next annual travel cards to save money.  Indeed the bank, which offers a credit card with one of the longest interest free purchase periods available for 28 months, says that in 2015 it saw a 40% increase in the number of people using its credit card to buy train tickets compared to 12 months earlier.

Analysis of Sainsbury’s Bank’s credit card data reveals a huge increase in both transactions and expenditure on train travel over the past five years. From 2011 to 2015 there was a 98% rise in transactions and the total spend increased by 104%. The average transaction on train travel last year was 3% higher than in 2011.

Simon Ranson, from Sainsbury’s Bank said:  “Locking in 2016’s season ticket price might even be an option for some, those who haven’t purchased one before, or whose season ticket is up for renewal in the next few days. Using an interest free credit card will mean you can lock in the price and pay it up over time.”

More than 1.5 million people have lived more than 45 years having never borrowed a penny from a bank or lender.  However, this commendable existence could come back to bite as many of these credit virgins may struggle to secure a mortgage or even a mobile phone contract.

A credit score is a three digit number between 0 and 999 which is allocated to every adult in the UK and is used by banks to determine whether they should trust someone to pay back a mortgage, loan or credit card

However, there is a common misconception that opting not to use a credit card or loan makes you a more trust worthy borrower to a bank.  In fact, it does the opposite.

According to the research from Amigo loans, more than 13 million UK adults are oblivious to the fact that it is actually more difficult to secure credit, including a mortgage, if you’ve never used credit in the past.

The reason for this is that banks want trustworthy borrowers with a proven history of paying back debts – credit virgins simply don’t have the credentials.

The ignorance surrounding credit scores is apparent on a wide scale with only 12% of people in the UK having ever checked their own personal credit score.

With increasing financial pressure, families are buckling under the costs of everyday life. Missing bills may seem menial, but these can dramatically affect your credit score.  Nearly a quarter (22%) of those in the 45-54 age bracket have missed a payment, such as mobile phone payment or gas bill, which has affected their credit score and one in 20 have held a joint account with someone with

Glen Crawford, CEO at Amigo Loans, which commissioned the study said: “It’s so often that we hear customers ask why their bank wouldn’t lend to them when they’re so good with money – they’ve never had a credit card in their life, they’d say.  However, as ironic as it sounds, if you’ve never used credit, it’s often hard to access it.

“Many banks and lenders use credit scores as an indication of how likely you’d be to repay a debt, whether that be a £5,000 loan or a £5 overdraft.  But, if like millions of credit virgins, you’ve never demonstrated that you can be trusted, they shut the door. This is unfair and leaves lots of deserving, trustworthy people without access to finance such as a mortgage.” 

 

Metro Bank, the UK’s newest high street bank, today reveals that half a million people are expected to lose, misplace or have their debit or credit cards stolen over the festive period. In addition to the stress of not being able to access cash, consumers could have to wait up to ten days for a replacement card from other high street banks.

Almost a quarter of Brits have lost, misplaced or had a bank card stolen within the last five years, losing an average of two cards per year. Of those that have lost their card, one million (9%) did so between Christmas and New Year. Over 800,000 were at a Christmas party and more than 600,000 did so when out Christmas shopping. As the festive party season heats up, Metro Bank’s research revealed 18 – 34 years olds are the worst culprits, losing an average of three cards a year.

Just over half of those who lost their card (52%) got it back, however almost a third (31%) were unable to use it as they had already cancelled it, often causing huge frustration. What’s more, a massive five million people (11%) have had a banking issue over Christmas, most commonly not being able to access cash or deposit their Christmas money into their account as their branch was shut.

Paul Riseborough at Metro Bank commented: “We know how easy it can be to misplace your card or even worse have it stolen. Not being able to access your cash when you need it most is undoubtedly frustrating, and what’s worse is having to wait up to ten days or more over the festive period for a replacement card. Today’s research highlights a disconnect between the needs of customers and the priorities of many banks.

“Unlike any other high street bank, Metro Bank is able to print cards instantly in-store and through our mobile app customers can block and unblock their card in one swipe, giving them the flexibility to safely retrieve misplaced cards, rather than being forced to cancel cards that they may later find.”

 

 

Nearly 7 million  homes could be at risk of burglary this Christmas, as one in four people plan to spend the festivities outside of the home, according to new research from Policy Expert.

Of the 5,619 people surveyed, 21% will be celebrating Christmas at a friend or family members’ home, with a further 4% stating they will be at a restaurant, or holidaying abroad or elsewhere in the UK, meaning millions of homes will be left empty and unattended on Christmas Day.

Furthermore, over half of people put presents under Christmas Trees before Christmas Eve, potentially leaving hundreds of pounds worth of items on display for over a week. 31% put their presents out in the third week of December, 12% in the second week and 6% in the first week. 31 people even admitted they get into the festive spirit as early as November and put presents out then.

Despite this, Policy Expert research has also revealed that many homes do not have adequate security measures in place to protect their homes while they’re empty. Only two in five (40%) of those surveyed have timed lights and just a third (35%) have a burglar alarm fitted, while 5% admitted they had no security in place at all.

Adam Powell, Head of Operations, Policy Expert commented: “Christmas can be a tempting time for opportunistic burglars, who know Brits’ generosity means homes will be filled with even more valuables than usual, so it’s unsurprising we see thefts rise over this time. Longer winter nights and shorter days mean that there are more opportunities for crime to take place under the cover of darkness, so it’s important to remain vigilant and ensure your home is adequately protected.

Any way to make your home look occupied or any visible deterrents, such as lights on timers, CCTV and burglar alarms should go some way in preventing a break in. It’s likely the value of contents in your home will increase over the festive period, so it’s important to remember to check any valuables or big ticket items are covered in your home insurance policy. Policy Expert offers an additional 10% contents cover during December as standard, preventing a nightmare before or after Christmas.”

 

Tips on protecting your home:

  • Install a timer to set lights inside your home to come on once it gets dark – choose a light in a visible room at the front of the house, not the hallway, as this will create the impression that someone is inside
  • Invest in sensor-activated, external lighting for the garden and around the front of the home
  • Install a burglar alarm – not only is this a visible deterrent, if someone does attempt to break in the alarm would alert neighbours and the police before any damage could be done
  • Don’t leave curtains closed – during the day this makes it look like there’s no-one at home
  • Make sure any outbuildings or sheds are locked and that any tools are hidden away – these could be used to break into your home
  • Ensure any valuables are out of sight – remove the temptation and make sure these items cannot be seen from outside the house through the windows
  • Never leave a spare key anywhere near the front door, for example under a doormat, flower pot – thieves know all the usual hiding places
  • Similarly, don’t store house/car keys just inside your front door, as burglars could try to fish for the keys through the letterbox

 

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