With the UK in the grip of a fraud epidemic, fraudsters will use any tactics they can to lure unsuspecting victims into their trap.

Whether it is get-rich-quick schemes or a bargain from an unknown seller, the rising cost of living is forcing many consumers to seek alternative ways of saving or making money – something that has been seized on by scammers who will often trick victims into making quick bank transfers rather than using other, more secure payment methods.

With no let up in scammers’ pursuit of consumers’ personal information and ultimately money, the consumer champion is warning against unwittingly handing over money to fraudsters – and has identified five bank transfer scams to look out for next year.

Money mule requests

Money mule requests are when people knowingly or unwittingly let a criminal use their bank account to move stolen money. These will often appear on social media posts or via targeted emails. Banking industry body UK Finance reported a significant increase in online user generated posts encouraging people to sign up to become money mules in its latest fraud report.

Tactics employed by money mules include sending funds ‘in error’ which people are asked to return to a different bank account, asking people to apply for credit or bank cards on behalf of someone else, or convincing people to move money sent to their account (taking a cut) as a ‘favour’.

Offences for this kind of scam can carry a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment. If someone approaches you about moving money via your account, or you suspect someone is recruiting mules, report this to local police on 101 (or 999 in an emergency) or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Find advice at moneymules.co.uk.

Card theft and ‘shoulder surfing’

While a significant proportion of fraud is carried out online, consumers must also still be vigilant to ‘offline’ crimes, including card theft and retail fraud.

UK Finance figures show that losses to face-to-face card fraud in shops – including contactless fraud – reached £33.6 million in the first half of this year, up 72 per cent on the previous year. Fraudsters will use entrapment devices such as PIN pad cameras at ATMs or ‘shoulder surf’, where they will spy on victims while they enter their PIN number.

Over the same period, credit and debit card ID theft cases more than doubled and losses increased by 86 per cent, totalling £21.4 million. Scammers who steal cards will use the details to forge documents and will either apply for a card in the victim’s name or take over their existing account.

Which? is warning consumers to remain vigilant by keeping a close eye on financial accounts and personal credit reports, notifying your bank of anything unusual immediately. Most banks will offer free balance and payment text or email alerts. Where possible, use ATMs located inside bank branches as these are less likely to have been tampered with.

Fake apps that target bank accounts

In order to keep personal information online secure, many people are advised to use two-factor authentication, which provides an extra level of security when entering sensitive details such as passwords.

Fraudsters are aware of this extra layer of protection, and at the beginning of this year researchers at mobile security firm Pradeo discovered a fake app called ‘2FA Authenticator’ on Google Play, which was downloaded more than 10,000 times before it was removed. ‘2FA Authenticator’ disabled system security checks on victims’ devices and secretly installed malware that stole victims’ banking login data.

Official stores such as Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store remain the safest places to download apps, but caution is still required. Read reviews of the app itself and the developer who made it, as these might give a clue as to its legitimacy. Check ‘app permissions’ to look at the functions of an open before you download it, and never click an unsolicited link from an advert, email or text.

Calls or texts from your bank

A common technique deployed by fraudsters is to imitate – or ‘spoof’ – legitimate companies, especially banks. A recent Which? investigation found that phone numbers at six major banks could be spoofed, potentially leaving customers at risk of being defrauded.

Alternatively, scammers will make automated ‘robocalls’ with pre-recorded messages inviting people to press numbers on the keypad to speak to them about an issue, such as a suspicious payment.

Criminal gangs will often have personal details about victims already, making the scam more believable. Fake texts are also a way of enticing people to click on links that can at first appear legitimate. Ultimately, fraudsters want personal information or for victims to send money to a ‘safe account’ controlled by them.

To guard against these types of scams, never trust the Caller ID that comes up on a call. Banks will never ask for personal information to be handed over on the phone. If there are concerns about the authenticity of a message, contact your bank or card issuer on a trusted method such as their mobile app or official phone number, which can be found on official statements or printed on the back of a credit or debit card.

Online purchase scams

Criminal gangs will frequently pay for fake or misleading adverts on search engines and social media in a bid to lure unsuspecting victims in, often by offering low prices for high value items, such as mobile phones or laptops.

Purchase scams, which according to UK Finance figures were the most common form of Authorised Push Payment fraud in the first half of 2022, can be difficult to spot as some fraudsters can recreate the websites of well-known retailers with high levels of accuracy. However, there are often tell-tale signs of bogus websites. For example, the ‘About us’ section may have poor English or grammatical errors and the ‘Contact’ page may be missing or incomplete.

While it can be tempting to grab a bargain, particularly at a time when the rising cost of living is squeezing household budgets, it is best to stick to trusted retailers. Paying via bank transfer offers less protection than paying by card.

Jenny Ross, Which? Money Editor, said:

“Scammers are relentless when it comes to wanting our personal information and ultimately our money. And while their tactics will no doubt continue to evolve, we think these scams are the main ones to watch out for.

“Banks will never ask you for personal information, nor will they try to hurry you into making a decision. If this happens to you – whether by text, email or over the phone, step back and think about what they’re asking. If it looks too good to be true, it usually is.”

‘Tis the season and with Christmas shopping at the forefront of our minds, Black Friday sales behind us and the traditional January bargain-hunt on the horizon; many are looking to find a good deal in-store or online whilst spreading some cheer. But what should you be looking out for when making crimbo purchases or do if things go wrong…?

Festive Shopping Tips

Whatever goods and services shoppers are looking to bag this (most wonderful time of the) year, the following should be at the forefront of their minds.

Will it be delivered on time?

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, goods should be delivered within 30 days of the order being placed, unless agreed otherwise. This can sometimes be in the terms and conditions or specified on the order documentation. Often with large items of furniture otherwise known as ‘big ticket’ items, there can be a longer lead-time because the item is being made to fulfil an order, or parts may be shipped from abroad. Particularly at the moment, it’s very important for consumers to check these lead-times and ask the retailer for details of anything that might cause a delay.

When buying in a shop, customers should clarify that items being purchased are covered by any festive delivery guarantees and keep a record of the answer.

Further, under consumer law, customers can specify that delivery by a certain date is essential. If the retailer fails to meet that date, the consumer can treat that as a cancellation of the contract. If an essential date is specified (or apparent from the circumstances), it’s important to make sure that the date is recorded.

Is it really a bargain?

There are strict rules that retailers need to stick to when advertising reductions in a sale. This is to ensure that you can be confident that the reduction is a genuine one. You would not be entitled to the difference if items are further reduced after you have made your purchase, so make sure you are happy with the current price that you are committing to pay and don’t feel pressurised by slogan such as “only 2 left” or “3 other customers are looking at this item”.

What are my rights when goods are reduced in a sale?

Where goods are bought in a sale at a reduced price, consumers still have access to their consumer rights. If you bought the goods in a shop and they are faulty, they can be returned for a full refund (within the first 30 days). After that, if goods cannot, after one attempt, be successfully repaired or replaced, a price reduction or final right to reject would be the legal remedy. This means that you might get a sum of money to keep them as they are, or you could return them and get your money back (this might be a full or a part refund depending how long you have had them for before you noticed the issue).

The amount of the refund would be calculated by reference to the price paid, not the original non-reduced price of the goods.

It’s also worth noting that if you were told the reason for the price reduction, (such as damage), you cannot return them based solely on that issue.

What about damaged goods?

Consumer remedies do cover goods which are damaged. In a shop you might be able to negotiate a price reduction for these, but ultimately it is up to a consumer whether to buy them or not.

Where goods identified as damaged on delivery, consumers have remedies. However, where these have been opened by the original recipient, re-wrapped and potentially moved to a different location, it will be hard to prove that the goods were damaged upon delivery or when purchased so when giving gifts this Christmas, it is important that you check them over before you wrap them, so that you can deal with any issues direct with the retailer to avoid disappointment on the big day.

Can I return personalised goods?

Where goods are personalised, for example made using photographs which are supplied to the retailer or by adding your name or some specific text, these are non-returnable (unless they are faulty, not as described or not fit for purpose). This is regardless of whether the products were bought in store or ordered online. This is because they are made specifically for you and cannot reasonably be re-sold.

What if I can’t find the receipt and need to return something?

You will need proof of purchase in order to return goods; without this your refund could be refused or might be based on the current selling price, which could be substantially less in the January sales. You may be offered store credit, which might be a reasonable alternative if the goods are simply unwanted.

Judith Turner, Deputy Chief Ombudsman, Dispute Resolution Ombudsman said, “We’re in the midst of the busy holiday period, however consumers can rest assured that if they check before shopping that a retailer is a member of an alternative dispute resolution body such as a government approved Ombudsman, they will have an added layer of protection when making purchases.

“If things should go wrong, and they can’t get any joy out of the retailer, businesses that subscribe to the Ombudsman follow a code of practice which means that they are committed to being responsible retailers and looking after your consumer rights, ultimately leading to more confident shopping when making those festive purchases.”

For more information, visit www.disputeresolutionombudsman.org.

Over a third (35%) of UK drivers do not consider depreciation when they are buying a car, according to an Opinium survey of 2,000 drivers, commissioned by InsuretheGap.com, an independent provider of GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection).

Depreciation is the difference between what you pay for a car and the amount you can get back when you sell or trade it in.  A new car generally loses approximately 20% of its value when it is driven off the forecourt, and then between 15 – 20% each year, but, different makes, models and even colours will all hold (and lose) their value differently.

Ben Wooltorton from InsuretheGap.com said: “Depreciation hasn’t been such a factor in drivers’ lives in the last couple of years, as supply problems with parts and delays in new car production has meant drivers have held onto their cars for longer and cars have retained more of their value. However, as we head into next year depreciation will once again become more significant for drivers, particularly those who like to change their car regularly.

“Depreciation also affects the amount of money that car owners can claim from their insurance company if a car is written off or stolen. If a car is involved in accident and is written off an insurer will only pay out what it’s currently worth, rather than the amount paid for it,” said Ben Wooltorton. “This could leave drivers owing money on outstanding finance agreements for a car that no longer exists.”

GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) insurance can help bridge the gap between what you paid for a car and the amount you receive from your insurer if you make a claim, in the event your vehicle is written off or stolen. A GAP insurance policy from a specialist insurance provider, like InsuretheGap.com, starts from just £66.74 and is significantly cheaper than those offered by car dealerships. Cover is available for vehicles worth up to £50,000.

Top Ten Tips on Car Depreciation

In addition to a car’s age, where the years of one, three and eight often signify sharp price drops, other factors that determine a car’s depreciation rate include:

Mileage – the average mileage is around 10,000 per year.  The more miles, the less your car is worth, however while for internal combustion vehicles

this is an indication of the wear and tear that its internal parts have been under, for a battery-driven car it will be an indication of how often the battery was charged.

Owners – the more owners a car has, the less it will be worth.

Service history, general condition and keep receipts for big ticket jobs – a full-service history from a manufacturer, approved garage or dealership helps to maintain a car’s value. The upkeep and maintenance of a car will also help retain its value, as dents and scratches can seriously affect its resale price. Always keep the documentation for the big-ticket jobs, like replacing a cambelt, to prove these have been done in alignment with manufacturer’s recommendations.

Colour – generally speaking, the popular selling colours of grey, black, silver, blue and white tend to be the best colours for holding their value. Slightly bolder (red) or off-the-wall colours might not have the same demand, so not have such a high re-sell value.

Desirability – if the vehicle is in high demand or is rare, the more residual value it will hold.  If you are lucky enough to purchase a car that is on trend it will suffer much less depreciation, provided it is still on trend when you come to sell it. Similarly, if there is very little demand for your car then you can expect its value to drop dramatically.

Economy – cars with good fuel economy are more desirable, and therefore tend to hold their value better. With electric cars, they will slowly lose their charging capacity over time.

Vehicle tax – buyers looking to run their vehicle on a budget may be put off by high vehicle tax.

Reliability – mechanically reliable cars and those with reasonably priced spare parts are more in demand because they cost less for upkeep in the long term.

Warranty Length – vehicles with a long manufacturer’s warranty attract a higher resale value.

Size – bigger cars tend to depreciate more quickly due to higher running costs.

Can you get a mortgage with poor or limited credit history?

Bad credit is a spectrum when it comes to mortgages, and there is some variation in the requirements among the major high-street lenders. For example, some lenders are prepared to consider less serious credit issues, such as default and CCJs when they are two to three years old and/or have been satisfied.

  1. Mortgages for bad credit
  • Some mortgage lenders specialise in providing loans for those with bad credit. They are also known as subprime lenders but they are not necessarily as accessible as traditional banks.

  • A mortgage broker may know more about which lenders are likely to accept people with bad credit, so it’s often worth speaking to an adviser before applying for a mortgage.

  • Taking out a mortgage with poor credit has disadvantages because you’ll normally pay a higher interest rate and/or might be offered a smaller loan amount. Before making a choice, it’s a good idea to compare the deals being offered to you now with those that might become available if you wait until your credit score has improved.

  1. Guarantor mortgages
  • Guarantor mortgages are another alternative for those who are fortunate enough to have a close friend or family who is willing to guarantee the mortgage for you.

  • The person serving as your guarantor must be aware of all the risks and obligations they are accepting if you are unable to make repayments. Their home and yours may be repossessed if you are unable to make your payments.

  • If you’ve been turned down for a mortgage because of poor credit, you didn’t meet the criteria for affordability due to a low salary, or you can’t afford to save the required amount for a deposit, a guarantor mortgage might provide you a way of getting on the property ladder.

Tips to improving your credit score before your apply

If you’re unable to find a suitable bad credit mortgage loan or guarantor mortgage, you should aim to improve your credit score. Find tips from our experts on how to improve your credit score below.

  1. Verify that you are listed as a voter at your current address.

  2. If you have any outstanding debts that you can afford to pay off, do so; otherwise, try to lower your overall borrowing so that it doesn’t exceed 50% of your total borrowing capacity. For instance, if your credit card has a £5,000 limit and a £1000 overdraft, you would want your balances to be under £2,500 and £500, respectively.

  3. Any accounts that you are no longer using, including credit cards, store cards, and others, should be closed. This includes any accounts you have with people you are no longer associated with financially, such as those you may have shared a bank account with, like those with an ex-partner.

  4. Authenticate the accuracy of all the data that has been recorded about you. Incorrect addresses and other information can be problematic, but there may also be errors in the information that the agencies have recorded as a negative mark. You can occasionally ask to have a note added to your file to explain a late payment if you can demonstrate that it was not your fault, for instance, because of postal strikes or a creditor-side accounting issue.

  5. You can also apply for specific credit cards made to raise your credit score; these are especially useful if your score is low as a result of little credit usage in the past. However, to demonstrate that you can manage debt sensibly, you must borrow wisely and make all the repayments on time.

For further information, see our full guide here.

Ben Dhesi, the creator of the energy-saving mobile app HUGObuilt his career providing energy-saving software to businesses, racking up accolades such as two ‘Energy Buyer of the Year’ awards and the Energy Awards ‘Energy Technology Innovation of the Year’ – now he is using his expertise to help UK households with their winter energy bills.

From talking to your supplier to looking at hardship funds, Ben shares practical advice on what you should do if you find yourself struggling to pay your gas and electricity bills.

What should I do if I can’t pay my energy bills?

#1 – Don’t stop paying

While it’s true that a mass boycott of paying your energy bills would give the energy companies something to think about, it’s more likely to have had widespread negative ramifications.


A mass boycott could lead to a collapse in the market and the bankruptcy of energy suppliers leading to issues with energy supplies, even higher energy rates and more, so keep up with your payments as best you can – something is better than nothing.

TOP TIP – Your energy supplier is legally obliged by the energy regulator Ofgem to help you if you’re struggling, so try to work with your suppliers to find a better payment option such as setting up a direct debit or a payment break.

#2 – Work out your essential costs

The next thing to do is work out your essential gas and electricity costs. You can do this using looking at your energy usage on your smart meter or our HUGO app which breaks down your energy consumption by the hour.


Look at what it costs to run the essentials such as your fridge, heating etc. and see if there are any areas you can reduce your consumption, such as washing clothes in the evening when the energy rates are lower or limiting your use of energy-hungry devices like dishwashers.

TOP TIP – Take some time to see if there are small changes you can make to your consumption, as sometimes it’s the little things that add up! Items left on standby can cost you an extra £55 per year, and lights that are left on £20!

#3 – Talk to your supplier about your options

As I’ve already mentioned, your energy suppliers are legally obliged to help you if you’re struggling with your bills so don’t hesitate to get in touch with them ASAP. There are a range of options they could offer which are decided on a case-by-case basis depending on your circumstances. These include:


  • A review of your payment plan
  • A debt repayment plan
  • Payment breaks or reductions
  • Longer deadlines for bills
  • Access to hardship funds
  • Installing a prepayment meter

TOP TIP – Always be honest about your circumstances and ability to pay, there are different support options available depending on your situation such as if you are elderly, vulnerable or pregnant.

#4 – Check for any grants, schemes or benefits you may be entitled to

Even before the cost of living crisis, there have been grants, schemes and benefits available to help you with paying your energy bills, but more options have recently become available so it’s worth checking what you may be able to get.


Look into your energy supplier’s hardship funds – big energy firms will set up these charitable trusts to help those in debt to pay their bills. There will be eligibility requirements and each application is done on a case-by-case basis, but it’s worth seeing if your supplier has funds you can apply for.

The government also has many different schemes and grants you may be eligible for, so it’s worth taking the time to check your eligibility. These include:

  • Fuel vouchers
  • Cold Weather Payment
  • Energy Bills Support Scheme
  • Warm Home Discount Scheme

Some of these schemes will be paid to you automatically, and those such as the elderly, disabled, or on those means-tested benefits will have access to various extra one-off payments between £150 – £650. If you’re not sure what you’re entitled to I recommend speaking to your local council or Citizen’s Advice.

TOP TIP – If you can’t get a hardship fund from your own energy supplier, look into the British Gas Energy Trust. These grants are available to everyone, not just British Gas customers. 


A staggering 91% of Brits have reported an increase in their living costs compared to a year ago, with 73% saying that costs have become more expensive in the last month alone – but benefits expert Paul Brennan explains that support is out there, if you know how to access it.

“If you find that figuring out which benefits you’re entitled to is difficult, it’s because they’ve been deliberately designed to be confusing. The government don’t want to give away money, so the onus is always on the claimant to know what they’re entitled to – and sometimes it’s much more than you think. We’ve seen a case where a pensioner couple had been underpaid £200 per week for years. Eventually they were back-paid a lump sum of £15,000”.

Which benefits am I entitled to?

There are actually more than 15 types of benefits that can be claimed in the UK, but some of the most common ones are:

  1. Cost of Living Payment

The UK government announced that a £650 cost of living payment will be issued to households on means-tested benefits, including those receiving universal credit, income-based jobseekers allowance,income-related employment and support allowance, income support, working tax credit, child tax credit, and pension credit.

How to claim – if you’re eligible, you’ll be paid automatically in the same way you usually get your benefit or tax credits – usually in two lump sums of £326 and £324. If you believe you’re eligible and haven’t received a payment, contact the DWP.

  1. Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

For people between 16 and the State Retirement Age with additional care needs. Your income is not considered when claiming for this benefit. You don’t need a serious physical disability to claim PIP – if any ailment means you need help with preparing food, bathing, using the toilet, dressing, moving, or planning a journey – you should consider applying for PIP. Even if you’re in employment, you could be entitled to payouts of up to £156 per week to help with your costs.

How to claim – before contacting the DWP, make sure you have: your contact details, date of birth, National Insurance number, bank or building society account number and sort code, your doctor or health worker’s name, address and telephone number, and dates and addresses for any time you’ve spent abroad, in a care home or hospital. The DWP will send you a form focusing on how your condition affects you – make sure you’re putting in as much detail as you can so that they have a crystal clear picture of your physical or mental health needs.

  1. Attendance Allowance

For people who have reached State Pension age and are either physically or mentally disabled to the point where they require assistance or supervision with personal care needs or support to ensure they are safe. This benefit is available to people who live on their own or with others, and is not dependent on whether the assistance required is being given.

How to claim – ask a doctor or medical professional for form DS1500 – they’ll either fill it in and give the form to you or send it directly to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). You can also do this on behalf of someone else without their permission.


  1. Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

For parents or guardians of children who have additional care or mobility needs due to an illness or disability. To be eligible for this benefit, the child would need to be under the age of 16 and there are other age rules for the mobility aspect of this benefit. DLA does not take any capital or income into account.

How to claim – print off and fill in the DLA claim form.



Benefit Answers offer a free question and answer service to UK residents experiencing difficulties with benefits. Their experts ensure that your benefits problems are dealt with professionalism and efficiency. No jargon, just accurate, straight-forward advice tailored to you and your circumstances.


Criminals are taking advantage of the cost-of-living crisis by advertising goods which don’t exist. Customers trying to reduce their energy expenditure could find themselves being specifically targeted, as revealed in NatWest’s 2022 list of predicted purchase scams criminals will use this Black Friday.

Air fryers are predicted to be one of the top new scams with consumers trying to get the best deals on the energy saving cooking appliance. Another emerging scam is personal heaters which are increasingly popular as consumers try to keep down soaring heating bills. The final item on NatWest’s predictions list of top scams to beware of are games consoles, such as PlayStations and Xboxes.

A purchase scam usually involves a criminal trying to sell goods online at a heavily reduced price. Another typical sign of a purchase scam is a time-based deal that adds pressure to the purchaser to buy now without thinking. The sites these scams are happening on most commonly are Facebook Marketplace, Instagram, Twitter and eBay.

The age demographic who are most likely to have their money stolen are 25-35 year-olds, very closely followed by 18–25 and 35-45 year olds. This is reflective of these age groups shopping more online and feeling more confident in the purchases they are making.

NatWest estimates around £10m will be stolen by fraudsters between Black Friday and Christmas through purchase scams and with the majority of scams under £1k each, according to data recently released by UK Finance, the scale of the problem and the number of people impacted will be significant.

Stuart Skinner, Fraud and Scams expert at NatWest said, “Black Friday is a great time of year to pick up a bargain but unfortunately it is also exploited by criminals. If you’re being sold something at a knock-down price from a private seller on social media or a website you’re not familiar with – don’t do it. Your goods won’t turn up and you’ll be left out of pocket. If it’s an unusually good bargain for an item you know is worth a lot more, chances are it’s a scam.”

NatWest and Take 5 advice on avoiding purchase scams this year

  • Criminals spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment
  • Be suspicious of any “too good to be true” offers or prices
  • Be careful what website you are purchasing from – have you ever heard of it or seen it before?
  • Use the secure payment method recommended by reputable online retailers and auction sites
  • Where possible, use a credit card when making purchases over £100 and up to £30,000 as you receive protection under the Credit Consumer Act
  • Don’t just go by a photo of an item – these can be easily faked
  • Purchase items made by a major brand from the list of authorised sellers listed on their official website
  • Be wary of clicking on links in unsolicited emails
  • Always ensure you click ‘log out’ or ‘sign out’ of websites.
  • STOP – Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • CHALLENGE – Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • PROTECT- Contact your bank immediately by dialling 159 if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

More information on how to be scam aware this festive season is available from www.natwest.com or by clicking here  

As parents struggle to make ends meet, kids’ nest eggs are taking a hit, with 12% of parents resorting to dipping into their children’s ‘piggybanks’ this year. With a tough year on the horizon 58% of families today have no savings account in place for their offsprings’ futures.

Independent research from Metro Bank has revealed that six in ten parents (59%) have had to stop putting money into their child’s account since August 2020, and 12% have already dipped into their children’s savings to pay bills.

The study of 2,000 adults from across the UK also highlighted that the four in ten (42%) who do have a savings account for their children are putting away £1,411 per year (a significant £117.50 a month).

One in four parents confirmed that their own savings are primarily in place for their children’s futures, with on average between £26 – £50 put away each month for that purpose alone. However, nearly a fifth (19%) say they will no longer be able to use their savings for this purpose.

Jo Bullard, Director of Bank Accounts Payments & Deposits, Metro Bank, comments:

“This year has been tricky to navigate, with rising costs affecting everyone. It is worrying that many families can’t afford extras let alone saving to build the traditional ‘nest egg’ for their children’s futures. Those savings may have traditionally helped with key moments growing up, including education and learning to drive. 

“It is important for children to learn about and understand finances. At Metro Bank, we believe that the earlier we can provide financial education, the earlier our younger generation will have the skills to navigate the world of money and help them understand how finances, saving and banking work. In addition to this, Metro Bank is here to help people who are struggling and offer a safe space to those who are anxious to talk about their money worries.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll for Metro Bank, found that just one in five (17%) of us head to our bank for support. Out of those who asked their bank for guidance, over nine in ten (94%) said they found speaking to the bank helpful.

A study carried out by The University of Cambridge, found that, by the age of 7, most children are capable of grasping the value of money and understanding that financial decisions have implications and could cause problems down the line. The research also suggests children who are allowed to make age-appropriate financial decisions and experience spending or saving dilemmas can form positive “habits of the mind” when it comes to money.

Analysis of the latest Bank of England figures from Freedom Finance, one of the UK’s leading digital lending marketplaces, shows that the average quoted household rates on personal loans are accelerating sharply.

Rates on both £5,000 and £10,000 personal loans registered the second largest monthly increase ever recorded and grew to their highest levels in recent years.

In the latest Bank of England Credit Conditions Survey for Q3 20222, lenders reported that the availability of unsecured credit to households slightly decreased in Q3 and was expected to decrease further in Q4.

Emma Steeley, CEO at Freedom Finance, said the sharp rise in personal loan rates demonstrated how the rising cost of borrowing was starting to feed into lender appetite and affect all forms of consumer credit.

“Borrowers have been battered this year by the rising cost of credit on secured and unsecured lending as interest rates have increased. Average mortgage rates have breached 6%, and this year credit card rates have surpassed levels not seen since the 1990s while overdraft rates are at their highest ever.

“This high-cost environment is now starting to roll into personal loans which surged this month. Personal loan rates are also a reflection of lender appetite, so this increase demonstrates the economic pain the UK is starting to suffer from.

 “Our message for consumers looking for personal loans remains that they must ensure they are taking all the measures available to them to get the best and most appropriate products for their circumstances.

“Digital marketplaces are a great way to shop around as they automate the process through just a single application and, because they use soft-search technology, consumers will only be offered loans or credit cards that they are more likely eligible for.

“As we’ve seen from the latest Credit Union data, record numbers of people in the UK are

By James Mabey, Senior Associate at Winckworth Sherwood

Amid the current cost of living crisis and economic backdrop, it is understandable that many executors will decide to administer a deceased’s estate themselves and dispense with the cost of instructing a solicitor. We have compiled a list of 5 key reasons why it pays to pay for Probate.

  1. Protection from financial risk:

Executors are accountable to beneficiaries and are liable personally for anything that goes wrong, and so administering an estate oneself, rather than instructing a solicitor, means taking on additional risk. This can be exacerbated by the fact that for many executors, it will be the first time they have carried out the role.  Unfamiliarity with the Court system, dealing with HM Revenue & Customs, HM Land Registry and generally with financial organisations can all mean that important deadlines are missed and financial penalties can result.  If something goes wrong and you have instructed a solicitor, you can complain to them and have the benefit of their indemnity insurance. . Instructing a solicitor to handle the estate can therefore give you peace of mind – not just that you are in safe hands, but also that you have an added layer of protection.

  1. Relying on a solicitor’s expertise and access to resources

Instructing a solicitor who carries out this work on a daily basis and is familiar with the deadlines and organisations mentioned has a lot of advantages. A solicitor will have access to precedent letters and software specifically designed for completing and filing necessary documents, not to mention technical resources if there is a point of law or procedure which needs addressing, or the expertise within their firm to draw on. Unless you have access to these resources and software yourself, it is likely to take you longer than it would take a solicitor to complete the same work.

  1. It saves you time

Administering an estate is a time-consuming process, with lots of the correspondence involved still needing to be carried out by letter. It is not uncommon for the administration to take one or even two years. More complicated estates can take even longer to administer. The amount of work required often comes as a surprise to an executor and the time involved can interfere with other work you might be carrying out, or simply eat into spare time. A solicitor can therefore help to free up evenings and weekends which you would otherwise spend on administering an estate.

  1. It is a burden

If the person who has died is a family member or friend, you will be grieving at the same time as dealing with their estate, which is a double burden. As the months go by, beneficiaries can get restless and want to know when a property is going to be sold or when they are likely to receive their inheritance. Solicitors are familiar with the stages of an administration and timeframes and can manage expectations accordingly in their capacity as professionals.  The recent delays in applications for Probate have put an even greater strain on executors trying to manage expectations themselves.

  1. And finally…The costs are more manageable than you might think

While solicitors’ fees for administering an estate may seem large, they often amount to between 1.5% and 3.5% plus VAT of the value of the gross estate. The fees are not payable by you personally and are payable out of the estate.