Latest money news

Money: latest news
25 November 2020

Check Black Friday prices

If you’re planning to snap up a Black Friday bargain on Amazon this week, check out the website Camelcamelcamel.com first. The site tracks the prices of goods listed on Amazon so that you can see whether the item you want is a real bargain, or whether sellers have advertised it at an artificially high price for a period, so that it looks like you’re getting a big discount. 

New ‘present finder’ tool launched for grandparents

Grandparents are set to spend £104 on each grandchild this year, according to research by SunLife, but more than 300,000 risk spending more than they can afford. The insurer has launched a freegrandkids gift findertool to help grandparents find the perfect present, online, within their budget. 

Dwindling numbers of credit cards with lengthy 0% interest-free periods

The number of cards with a 0% purchase offer of 20 months or more has reduced from 18 available a year ago to just six now, according to research by financial website Defatqto. If you don’t want a card which charges a monthly fee, Defaqto says the best card for purchases is Tesco Bank’s Clubcard Plus which has a 0% purchase offer for 24 months.

Lloyds Bank launches ‘Trusted Person’ card

Lloyds is introducing a ‘Trusted Person’ card at the end of this month to make it easier for friends, family and carers to help those who need additional help to make everyday purchases and access cash. The new feature will give customers who need support the ability to apply for a separate debit card so a trusted person can make purchases in shops, or withdraw cash, on their behalf

Make a note of last Christmas posting dates

If you want to save cash by sending Christmas cards out second class rather than first, the last posting date to ensure they get there in time for Christmas is 18 December.

Test and Trace Scam seen in England and Wales now also targets Scotland

A Scottish version of the Test and Trace scam which has been doing the rounds in England and Wales has been reported and mimics the Scottish Government’s Test and Protect system. The Chartered Trading Standards Institute is reminding people that a genuine contact tracer will never ask for personal details such as your bank account and medical records, nor will they try to sell you anything. If you have any doubts about a message from Scotland’s Test and Protect team, please call 0800 030 8012 to verify it.

Money: latest news
18 November 2020

Financial advice pays

People who take financial advice are on average £47,000 better off in retirement than people who don’t, according to a report by the International Longevity Centre. You can find a local financial advisor on VouchedFor or Unbiased, or for more information, check out our guide on How to find the right financial advisor for you.   

How big is your savings buffer?

UK employees would on average be able to meet the cost of everyday expenses for up to four months if they were to lose their main source of income, research by fund managers Fidelity International shows. This falls to three months or less for almost half (48%) – and less than a month for one in ten (11%).

New 'Fix your Bike' vouchers now available

The second batch of ‘Fix Your Bike’ vouchers was released on Monday (16 November). The scheme allows members of the public to receive a voucher worth up to £50 towards the cost of repairing a bicycle. The scheme is open to anyone in England who has an unused cycle in need of a repair. You can apply for a bike voucher here and there’s a map of registered bike mechanics who can repair your bike here

Festive spending increase

Despite the pandemic, one in five people say they plan to increase their spending on Christmas this year, revealing they will be likely to spend £240 more than they spent last year. Research from money app Yolt found UK consumers said they tend to spend over £120 on days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Beware Council Tax scam

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has uncovered another telephone scam from individuals pretending to represent HMRC. The caller claims the recipient has underpaid their Council Tax, due to a supposed change in their tax band under COVID-19 measures. They are then asked for payment details to make up the shortfall. If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to Action Fraud, or if in Scotland dial 101 and report it to Police Scotland. 

Barclaycard to increase minimum payments

Barclaycard is changing the way it calculates its credit card customers’ minimum payments, so that they may end up paying more each month. Payment levels will be personalised for each customer so that rather than everyone paying the highest of 2.25% of their balance, 1% of their balance plus interest, or £5, they’ll pay the highest of 2%-5% of their balance, 1%-3% of their balance plus interest or £5The changes are due to come into effect on 26 January next year.

Money: latest news
11 November 2020

Less than one-in-six self-employed workers save into a pension

Only 15% of the 5m self-employed people in the UK currently save into a private pension, according to a new report by the Pensions Policy Institute and NOW: Pensions – a situation expected to worsen due to the pandemic.

Act quickly to take advantage of the Stamp Duty holiday

With the average property purchase taking a lengthy 123 days, just 18 days remain for homebuyers to find a property and submit a mortgage application in order to complete their move ahead of the government’s Stamp Duty holiday, according to analysis from comparison site MoneySuperMarket.com. Find out more about the Stamp Duty holiday, which finishes on 31 March next year, here.

Grab an M&S Monthly Saver account while you can

M&S Bank’s competitive Monthly Saver account paying 2.75% annual interest will close to new customers this Friday (13 November), so you’ll need to get your skates on if you want to apply. You need to pay in between £25 and £250 a month into the account, which lasts for a year.

Is your family financially dependant on you?

More than a third of those retiring this year are still financially supporting their family. A third (34%) of those who are planning to stop working in 2020 continue to provide their families with regular handouts amounting to over £3,700 per year, research from equity release provider Key shows.  One in four (24%) gives regular cash to cover everyday living costs, with some using housing equity to do this.

Bills and subscriptions used to boost credit scores

Subscription services and Council Tax bills are now being used by credit reference agency Experian to help improve consumers’ credit scores. Experian’s service now takes account of these regular payments which, if they are always paid on time, can help boost credit scores.

New campaign to beat pension scams

The Pensions Regulator, supported by the Pension Scams Industry Group has launched a new campaign to stop pension scammers in their tracks. It is calling on the pensions industry to raise awareness of scams and to do more to protect members from becoming victims.

Money: latest news
4 November 2020

Millions consider retiring sooner than planned

The number of workers expecting to work beyond State Pension age has fallen from 71% in 2019 to 51% this year, according to research by Canada Life. The insurer says that with health issues brought on by the virus and an increase in unemployment and redundancy, COVID-19 appears to be accelerating retirement plans.

Grab a cheap mega-fast broadband deal with £75 Amazon voucher

Virgin Media is offering broadband with average download speeds of 108Mbps for a monthly cost of £24. This deal comes with a £75 Amazon voucher. You’ll need to act quickly though as it’s only available until 8 November. You can find the Virgin Media offer and compare other broadband deals using our broadband and phone comparison tool.

Mortgage rates rise while options reduce

Mortgage borrowers are facing higher interest rates and fewer products, financial company Defaqto has found. It says the average two year fixed rate for someone borrowing 75% of the property value has risen from 2% in April to 2.33% today, and the total number of mortgage products available has fallen by 55% since January. For more on mortgages read our article Four good reasons to remortgage now.

Marks & Spencer offers cut-price beauty box

Spend £30 across clothing, home and beauty at M&S and you can pick up a beauty box containing 10 beauty buys worth over £120 for just £20. Items in the box include Percy & Reed Define and Hold Finishing Cream and a Smila Smudge Stick waterproof eyeliner.

Interest in gold soars

Purchases of gold bars and coins from first-time investors have jumped by a massive 923% over the last two weeks, according to the Pure Gold Company, possibly driven by COVID-19, the US election and Brexit negotiations and the potential effect of these on the economy.

Beware computer takeover scams

Consumer association Which? is warning people to watch out for computer takeover scams, with reported losses from this type of fraud exceeding £16m in the last year.  This type of scam involves the fraudster telephoning and pretending to be technical support from a company such as Microsoft or BT. Victims are persuaded to install software that gives access to their computers so that banking and personal details can be stolen.

Money: latest news
28 October 2020

Four days left to apply for a payment holiday

If you’re struggling to cover your mortgage, credit card or loan repayments because your income has fallen or stopped as a result of Coronavirus, you have until 31 October to apply for a three-month payment holiday.

Mortgage rates rise

The average two-year fixed rate mortgage for someone borrowing 75% of their property value is now 2.33% compared to 2% on 6 April six months ago, according to financial information company Defaqto. This means that the average home bought with a mortgage now costs £585 more in interest over two years than it did at the start of the summer.

Motorists may need Green Card to drive in Europe

Unless an agreement with the EU is reached beforehand, motorists will need a Green Card to drive their car in Europe from 1 January 2021. Admiral Insurance is reminding drivers that if they don’t have a Green Card, motorists run the risk of being denied entry at the country borders, being fined for not having proper insurance in place or potentially having their vehicle seized.

Virgin Holiday customers to receive £203m in refunds

Virgin Holidays has committed to refund all customers whose package holidays were cancelled due to coronavirus, following intervention from the Competition and Markets Authority. The company has promised that customers whose holidays were cancelled before 1 September 2020 will be repaid by 30 October 2020, whilst those with holidays cancelled between 1 September to 31 October 2020 will be repaid by 20 November. Virgin Holidays will also ensure that people who are entitled to a refund for a holiday cancelled on or after 1 November 2020 will be paid within 14 days.

One in five women have a secret savings stash

More than a fifth (22%) of women have saved money secretly from their partner to provide them with financial support in case their relationship ends, according to research by Fidelity International. This rises to 27% amongst women with children. Learn about what happens to savings when you split with a partner in our article Sorting out your finances when a relationship ends.

Mobile phone companies to be banned from selling locked handsets

Mobile phone companies from December next year will be banned from selling locked handsets under new rules from Ofcom, the telecoms regulator. This will allow people to move to a different network with their existing handset without having to unlock their device, which is usually done by obtaining a code from their current network provider.

Money: latest news
21 October 2020

Sainsbury's Bank launches new Nectar credit card

Sainsbury’s Bank yesterday (20 October) introduced a new reward credit card enabling customers to collect 10,000 Nectar points worth £50, when they spend over £400 in Sainsbury’s, Tu Clothing or Argos in the first two months after opening the account. The card also enables cardholders to collect up to three Nectar points per £1 spent at Sainsbury’s, Tu Clothing or Argos and one point per £5 spent elsewhere.

Over 50s missing out on free pension guidance

Nearly half (47%) of those entitled to a free impartial guidance session from the government’s Pension Wise service haven’t heard of the service. According to analysis by Just Group, this means about a million people aged 50-54 with defined contribution pensions are set to miss out on guidance because they’re not aware of the service. 

New instant access account paying 0.55%

Investec Bank has today (21 October) launched a new Online Flexi Saver account paying 0.55% on balances between £5,000 and £25,000. Savers can make as many deposits and withdrawals as they like, whenever they want to, without penalty, and interest is paid on a monthly basis.

Beware car-related scams

Motorists are being urged to watch out for car-related scams, including fake vehicle sales, DVLA scams and staged car accident fraud. Comparison site GoCompare has warned that economic uncertainty coupled with tighter lockdown measures create “perfect conditions for fraudulent activity”.

NatWest offers £125 switching bonus

NatWest is offering a £125 switching bonus if you transfer to its NatWest Reward current account before 19 November. The account has a £2 monthly fee but you can earn £5 cashback a month if you pay out two direct debits of at least £2 each a month and log on to your account using your mobile. You can also get a £125 switching bonus if you move to NatWest’s Select account, which doesn’t pay any cashback.

One in three women aged 54 expect debt increase

Nearly a third (30% ) of women aged 54 and over said they expect the Covid-19 crisis to cause an increase in the amount of debt they have over the next six months, with 13% believing the crisis would lead to a large increase in their debt levels. This was more than double the number of men (6%) who believed Covid-19 would cause a large increase in their debts according to new research from equity release lender more2life and economics consultancy Cebr. If you need support, read about Serious debt: your options explained and  Five charities that help women in need.

Money: latest news
14 October 2020

Five days left to claim the second Self-Employment Income Support Grant

If you’re self-employed and have lost some, or all of your income due to coronavirus, you have until 19 October to apply for a second grant of up to £6,570 from the government’s Self-Employment Income Support scheme.

Beat the energy price cap

There are more than 70 fixed tariff energy deals that are cheaper than the new energy price cap which came into effect on 1 October, research by uSwitch.com found. See if you can reduce your energy bills with our energy comparison tool. Over half of Rest Less users (51%) who have switched using the tool have cut energy costs by an average of £167 a year, and one in 10 have saved £340 a year.

Bank of Mum and Dad help fund property purchases

More than half (56%) of first-time buyers aged under 35 received financial support from the Bank of Mum and Dad to help them get onto the property ladder, data from Legal & General shows. Some parents are drawing on retirement savings to help, even though this could leave them with less to live on later. Find out about the pros and cons of dipping into your pension here.

Act now to shift debt

Balance transfer credit card deals are fast disappearing, according to independent financial information company Defaqto, with just 66 deals available today compared to 94 last year. The best balance transfer deals are currently from TSB and M&S Bank which charge 0% interest on credit card balance transfers for 29 months and 28 months respectively. Find out more about the TSB card and the M&S card.  

Poor broadband hits home workers

Poor internet connections have impacted four out of five home workers with issues while working from home, a survey from comparethemarket.com found. More than one in 10 (11%) describe their broadband as ‘bad’ in terms of speed, reliability and reach. If you’ve had broadband issues and want to switch to a new supplier, you can compare broadband deals today using our broadband comparison tool.

Clearer debt letters proposed

The letters borrowers receive from their lenders when they are seriously behind on repayments will be easier to understand and less intimidating as a result of new rules proposed by the Treasury.  Lenders will also now be able to replace legal terms with more widely understood language and letters will clearly signpost people to the best sources of free debt advice. Find out more about the options that may be available to you if you’re struggling with debt here.

Important information

Please note that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you. If in doubt, please seek professional financial advice.

Whilst we endeavour to provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so although they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them. We accept no liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site and in our emails, nor can we be held responsible for any content on websites that we link to. Trust and transparency is important to us. If a link has * by it, it means that we may receive a commission or payment from the site being linked to.

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