Finance

51% Of UK Card Payments Are Now Contactless

New data from Barclaycard’s Contactless Spending Index shows contactless card payments rose by more than a third in the last year.

In a record-breaking year for “touch and go” payments, which have a limit of £30, 51% of in-store transactions were made using contactless cards in 2016.

Unsurprisingly, there has been a significant rise in debit and credit card payments – doubling over the last decade. Our fondness for paying by contactless card might have something to do with a recent rise.

(more…)

How the Spring Budget Affects Your Finances

On 8th March, Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered his Spring Budget to Parliament. Will this budget help or hurt your finances in 2017? Read on to find out.

Car Insurance

Lord Chancellor Elizabeth Truss increased the ‘discount rate’ (or Ogden rate) that changes the way personal injury compensation payments are calculated. Insurers estimate this will boost motor premiums by £70 a year. Industry insiders estimate that, as a result, younger drivers could pay £1,000 a year extra, as they are statistically more likely to be involved in serious accidents. (more…)

The Pitfalls Of Property Sharing

Nearly 80,000 British homeowners earn supplemental income through the use of property sharing services, such as Airbnb. However, by letting out available rooms, these homeowners may be breaking or even invalidating the terms of their leases or mortgages as well as their insurance policies, according to a ruling from the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).

In general, most leases have a condition that states that the property cannot be used for any purpose other than a private residence. This means that by letting out available rooms to paying guests, leaseholders could be in violation of that condition and at risk of breaking their lease. (more…)

Lowering Debt After the Festive Season

Feeling bogged down by debt after a hectic and expensive festive season? Try these simple tips to lower debt and start 2017 with your finances in check:

  • Organise your debt into a spreadsheet so you can see a comprehensive picture of what you owe. From there, you can choose which debt to tackle first.
  • Contact credit card companies to see if you can reduce your interest rates, or transfer balances to lower interest cards.
  • Pay off high-interest debt before low-interest debt.
  • Make a budget, and stick to it.
  • Track your spending so you know where to make cuts.

(more…)

Tips for Offsetting Rising Inflation During Festive Season

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), inflation rose to 1 per cent in September, up from 0.6 per cent  in August. This is the highest inflation rate in nearly two years, and it is mostly attributed to the rising prices of petrol, hotel rooms and clothing. There is no explicit evidence that the weaker pound was to blame.

If inflation continues to rise, it would most noticeably affect the households who rely heavily on benefits and tax credits, which are frozen until 2020 and won’t account for rising costs. And if inflation rises to 2.8 per cent in the next few years, more than 11 million households will be worse off by an average of £360 per year. Lower income  families, who receive more in benefits, will feel a bigger hit to their wallets, losing approximately £470 per year.

This news comes at a time when many families are getting ready for festive season purchases. To help counter rising prices, the following simple guidance can help cut costs as Christmas draws near. (more…)

Avoid These Fresher Money Mistakes

As uni starts up again, freshers are often faced with financial responsibilities for the first time in their lives. If your child is starting uni next term, help him or her avoid these money mistakes:

  • Paying full price for textbooks – Try to buy used books and then resell them at the end of the term, or rent textbooks instead.
  • Underestimating the cost of ‘cheap’ restaurants – Eating out should be for special occasions only.
  • Overspending at the pub – Avoid buying rounds for your mates. There’s always someone who skips his or her turn. Instead, buy your own drinks or put your money into a shared ‘kitty’ at the beginning of the night.
  • Considering a railcard ‘too expensive’ – A railcard saves you about 30 per cent on all UK rail travel for 12 months. While many students make the mistake of considering it an unnecessary expense, the savings can far outweigh the initial cost.
  • Keeping savings and spending money together – Your savings should always be separated from your living allowance. Otherwise, you could be tempted to take more than you should every now and then, while your savings slowly whittles away by the end of the year.

(more…)