Latest money news

Money: latest news
 20 January 2021

Santander cuts rates on its current accounts for fourth time

Santander is cutting the interest rates on its 123, Select and Private accounts on 12 April. The rate on the 123 account will fall from 0.6% to 0.3% from this date. The monthly fee for the account will fall from £5 to £4. Customers can still earn cashback on certain household bills.

Check home cover

Over half of UK consumers admit to never having read their home insurance policy in full according to new research from the Gas Safe Register, while almost 90% fail to realise home renovations can impact their home cover. Always check your policy small print and make sure you have sufficient cover in place.

Morrisons launches new £30 family recipe box

Supermarket Morrisons has launched a family food box which provides a family of four with the ingredients and recipes for five meals. The box costs £30 including next or nominated day delivery and includes 22 different ingredients.

Don’t forget pension tax relief on pension contributions

The 31 January tax return deadline is looming, and NFU Mutual is reminding higher rate taxpayers to claim any higher rate relief due on their pension contributions. You can go back up to four years and claim any higher rate relief due by HMRC direct. You can find out more about how to fill in your tax return here and how pension tax relief works here.

UK households face £84m energy bill hike

Energy bills could increase by as much as £84m at the end of January, as 68 fixed tariffs come to an end, according to research by comparison site Uswitch.com. Energy customers are being urged to check their tariffs, as those affected could see their energy costs rise by £171 a year if they don’t switch suppliers. You can compare tariffs and see if you can reduce your energy bills with our energy comparison tool.

Consumers warned of cryptocurrency dangers

Financial regulator the Financial Conduct Authority has warned consumers of the dangers of investing in cryptoassets such as Bitcoin, saying that if they choose to invest, they should be prepared to lose all their money. They are also unlikely to have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme should something go wrong.

Money: latest news
 13 January 2021

Don’t miss the Self-Employment Income Support scheme grant deadline!

If you’re self-employed and have lost some, or all of your income due to coronavirus, you have until January 29 to apply for a third grant of up to £7,500 from the government’s Self-Employment Income Support scheme. Find out how the scheme works and whether you’re eligible here.

Sainsbury’s Bank launches 29-month balance transfer credit card

Sainsbury’s Bank has introduced a new credit card offering an introductory rate of 0% on balance transfers for 29 months. After that, the card has a representative annual percentage rate (APR) of 21.9%. In your first two months, you can collect 750 bonus points each time you spend £35 or more on Sainsbury’s shopping using the credit card, up to ten times.

Fines waived for late tax returns due to Coronavirus

People who file their 2019/20 tax returns later than the January 31 2021 deadline due to Coronavirus won’t have to pay the usual £100 penalty, HMRC has confirmed. You must be able to provide “a reasonable excuse” as to why you were unable to get your form in on time to escape the fine. Find out which information you’ll need to complete your return here.

Mobile data charges for BBC Bitesize to be removed

BT and the BBC have announced plans to allow EE, BT Mobile and Plusnet Mobile customers unlimited access for free to BBC Bitesize educational content for primary and secondary school children by the end of January. The scheme will last until schools reopen across the UK.

Funeral costs continue to rise

Standard funeral costs have risen for the 17th year running, according to Sun Life’s annual Cost of Dying report. The average cost of a funeral is up 1.7% to £4,184 in 2021, up from £4,115 in 2020. Learn about some of the things you may need to consider when arranging a funeral here.

Money: latest news
 06 January 2021

Virgin Media customers face price hikes

Millions of Virgin Media customers are set to see price hikes of up to £54 a year, but those affected are free to switch to an alternative deal without penalty. In most cases, prices will rise from 1 March 2021, but if you’re locked into a fixed price contract the increase will come into effect when your deal ends. You can compare broadband deals quickly and easily using our broadband and phone comparison tool.

Nine out of 10 plan to tighten purse strings this year

Nearly nine out of 10 people in the UK (88%) are looking to make savings on essential outgoings and bills in 2021, including food bills, TV, mobile and internet contracts and car insurance costs, according to new research from GoCompare Money. Our article on How to save money has lots of tips on how to keep expenses down.

Are you claiming what you’re entitled to?

Six in ten pensioner homeowners are failing to claim their full benefit entitlement according to Just Group’s annual State Benefit Report. You can find out more about Pension Credit and whether you might be eligible to claim it here and about other retirement benefits here.

McDonald’s gives out free hot drinks

McDonald’s is giving new users of its app a free McCafe hot drink worth up to £1.79 when they sign up. Once you’ve downloaded the app, the free hot drink offer can be found in the ‘deals’ section. This deal is available until the end of January. You can download the app for iOS here and for Android here.

One in five bought a dog during lockdown

Almost a fifth of Brits added a dog to their family in lockdown, data from MoneySuperMarket.com reveals. The comparison site says that UK dog owners pay an average of £214 excluding claims for vet visits and specialist treatments each year, yet a third (35%) of dog owners don’t currently have pet insurance. Our article Everything you need to know about pet insurance explains what you need to know. 

Beat the January 31 tax deadline!

There’s less than a month to file your 2019/20 tax return if you haven’t done so already. Missing the deadline means you risk being slapped by a £100 fine. Find out what information you’ll need to complete your return and where to go for help if you need it here.

Money: latest news
 16 December 2020

10 Halifax customers will have their mortgage paid off

Halifax is introducing a bumper Mortgage Prize Draw for January 2021 and the 10 winners will have their mortgage paid off (up to £300,000 each). Halifax will give a further 150 winners a cash prize of £1,000 each. All customers need to do to take part is register online or on mobile banking.

Insurers extend Covid support

If you have to drive to and from your workplace because of the impact of Covid-19 you do not need to contact your insurer, insurers have pledged. If you are an office-based worker working from home, then similarly you don’t need to let your home insurers know and your cover won’t be affected.  These pledges were due to end on 31 December, but have now been extended until 19 March 2021.

Travelodge releases £25 rooms

Budget hotel chain Travelodge has released over 1 million rooms for £25 or less across its 563 UK hotels which cover the length and breadth of the UK. You can search for and book a £25 or less room here.

Beat the stamp price rise

The cost of a first class stamp will rise by 9p to 85p on 1 January 2021, with the cost of a second class stamp increasing by 1p to 66p on the same date. If you regularly send things by post and want to beat the price hike, buy stamps now at their current price. They don’t have a monetary value shown on them so you can still use them after costs go up.

One in four fall into debt due to coronavirus

Over half of UK adults (51%) fell into debt this year, according to financial website Money.co.uk, with one in four claiming that their debt was a direct result of the pandemic. If you’re struggling to manage your debts, see our article on Serious debt: Your options explained.

New green number plates rolled out this month

New green number plates are being rolled out this month for zero-emission vehicles and could influence almost one in five to switch to an EV, according to research from the AA. The plates will be identifiable by a green flash on the left-hand side and will be available for zero emission vehicles only. Owners of existing eligible vehicles can approach a Registered Number Plate Supplier with their original documents if they want to purchase a new set of plates.

Money: latest news
09 December 2020

NS&I to delay phasing out of prize warrants

National Savings & Investments (NS&I) has announced that it is delaying the phasing out of prize warrants (similar to cheques) until Spring 2021, due to the difficulties many customers have had registering their bank details online. It was due to begin phasing them out this month. Find out more about Premium Bonds and how they compare to savings accounts here.

Yorkshire Energy stops trading

Around 74,000 households who have their gas and electricity supplied by Yorkshire Energy are being moved across to Scottish Power, after Yorkshire Energy announced it has ceased trading. Customers’ energy supplies won’t be affected and any credit balances will be protected. Scottish Power will write to all new customers over the next few days. Once you’ve heard from them, you’ll be free to switch to a new provider if you want to. You can see if you can reduce your energy bills and set up a monthly savings alert with our energy comparison tool.

Challenger banks top for customer satisfaction

Starling Bank, Monzo and First Direct are the three most highly rated banks for current accounts, the consumer association Which?’s annual current account customer satisfaction survey found. Starling Bank achieved a customer score of 88%, with customers praising its “clear and honest communications”, along with how easy it is to open an account and use the bank’s app. Tesco Bank and Citibank received the lowest scores in the survey, which you can read here

Covid-19 hit to self-employed finances

Nearly four in 10 (37%) self-employed people expect it to take more than a year for their income to return to pre-pandemic levels, while a tenth don’t expect their income to recover at all, according to new research from the Money Advice Trust. The charity is calling for the government to come up with a ‘Self-employment Recovery Strategy’ to help those affected. Find out more about the Government’s support for self employed individuals here and if you’re looking for ways to reduce your outgoings try our guide to cutting costs here.

Electric cars cheaper to insure

Electric cars are nearly £90 cheaper to insure on average than petrol and diesel cars, according to comparison site comparethemarket.com. The average premium for electric cars over the past year stands at £629, compared to the average premium for petrol and diesel cars which is £718.

Growing numbers consider equity release

Covid-19 has changed people’s minds about equity release, according to new research from SunLife, with 6% of those aged 55 saying they would now consider equity release when previously they wouldn’t have. The main reasons for the shift in perception is because they are either taking a more ‘money is there to be spent’ attitude to life, or because they need a way to boost falling incomes, pensions or savings.

Money: latest news
02 December 2020

Investment scams on the rise

The total number of reported incidents of investment scams has nearly quadrupled from approximately 300 in July to 1,175 in October, according to the Investment Association. The estimated total reported loss to savers from these scams has more than doubled from approximately £4m to £9.4m.

Check your savings returns

More than 40% of cash ISA holders report that they don’t know the interest rate paid on their account, new research from Quilter has found. Asked if they were aware of the interest rate they received, 35% of cash ISA holders said they didn’t know and a further 8% said they had never checked. Make sure you find out how much interest you’re earning and check cash ISA best buys at Savings Champion to see if you could do better elsewhere. 

Sainsbury's points boost for new Nectar Credit Card customers

Sainsbury’s Bank has launched a new enhanced credit card which offers a bonus 10,000 Nectar points if customers use the card to spend a total of £400 or more at Sainsbury’s, Argos or Tu Clothing during the two months after your account is opened.  Customers collect up to three Nectar points per £1 spent at Sainsbury’s, Tu Clothing or Argos, and one Nectar point £5 spent when they pay with their credit card at other retailers.

Beware festive energy costs

Four million homes have already put up their Christmas lights, according to comparison site Uswitch.com, with three in five (59%) people saying they wanted to brighten up lockdown. The average display costs £52, but could add £79m to the energy bills of the seven million people in the UK with displays. Learn how you can save money on your energy bills here and you can use our energy switching service to see if you could reduce your costs by switching to a different provider.

Yorkshire Building Society relaunches mortgages for buyers with small deposits

Yorkshire Building Society has introduced a new range of mortgages for borrowers with a 10% deposit, available to first-time buyers and existing homeowners who want to move house or remortgage. These include a two-year fixed rate deal at 3.69% and a five-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.79%, each with a £995 product fee. If you want to compare mortgage deals from the whole of the market you can use our handy mortgage comparison tool here.

Unsuspecting homebuyers could face £1bn surprise stamp duty bill

As many as 325,000 property sales agreed between September of this year and January next year could fail to complete before next year’s stamp duty holiday deadline in March, according to estate agent comparison site GetAgent.co.uk. A huge surge in activity in recent months has meant there’s a backlog of sales waiting to complete, so homebuyers could be hit with a combined stamp duty bill of just under £1bn that they thought they had dodged.

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.

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.

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