Tag Archives: Money

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Advice on getting your first credit card

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Credit cards are the king of convenience and there are many benefits to owning a credit card, like building up an essential credit rating or paying for something in an emergency such as a new washing machine. The best thing is they provide great financial insurance, so if the company that you bought your product off goes bust; the card issuer repays the amount, something impossible with a debit card.

Yet they can leave you in financial ruin if they aren’t respected and used wisely.
So to help guide you into the intimidating choice of credit cards here are a few useful tips to consider to make a credit card a beneficial asset.

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Pay it off monthly and pay it in full

If there’s only one thing you take away from these tips make sure it is this one. If you fail to adhere to this you will start to accumulate heft interest charges. Additionally there are also penalty fees for late and missed payments so be sure to pay your monthly fees and pay them in full.

Don’t have it on you all the time

It’s so easy to pay for things on credit card that it’s easy to forget how much you’re spending. If you know yourself to be a shop-a-holic then you should get into the habit of leaving it at home when casually shopping and instead use it for vital purchases such as repairs or travel tickets.

Pick the right card

With so many options out there picking the right credit card can be hard, especially your first one. Cards that charge 0% interest on purchases are ideal if you are looking to spread the cost of a purchase whereas cards that offer 0% on balance transfer are a better option if you have already built up a debt on another card.

If you are looking to stay with the same card long term then you may prefer a card that offers a low lifetime rate for both purchases and balance transfers. These are ideal for people who frequently travel as they incur a low charge to use abroad.

Optimize your finances

By maximising your income, reducing your spending and most importantly budgeting you can afford to make the necessary repayments you need to as well as live the lifestyle you want.

Having a stable job and decent income go hand in hand with owning a credit card, they are not an option for fast cash and should be avoided if you are already in debt as things can quickly spiral out of control.

If you know it’s going to be a tight month financially then consider cutting back on things you don’t need. Miss the gym that month or perhaps miss that show or two but don’t miss your repayments!

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What do with do with our PPI refund money?

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Post the fall out of the Payment Protection Insurance scandal, banks have been forced to put aside millions of pounds to compensate the customers who they had wrongly taken money from.  The victims of the bankers were everyday people who had taken out mortgages, loans or credit cards, and had been opted into this additional insurance product without their knowledge, consent or had been told it was a compulsory purchase they had to take with their borrowing. Many were signed up for PPI who were not ever even eligible for the product as they were retired or self-employed and could never have made a claim on the payment protection insurance policy – thereby meaning they were paying premiums for an insurance that was completely useless to them.

The good news however is that for the thousands of people who the banks wrongfully took money from, there is the likely possibility to getting their money back.  They can go to a PPI claim company to get a refund for them or lodge a PPI claim directly with their bank, either way, more than £13 billion has been paid out in refunds from the banks and there are still actual billions waiting to be claimed (many people still aren’t aware if they ever had PPI or may be eligible so its worth checking!).

The average payout in a single PPI claim is £2,750.  And what do us Brits do with the money we receive in compensation? A survey conducted into this very question by online site VoucherCodesPro.co.uk reveals that the most popular thing to do is spend it on a holiday. Just under a quarter of all respondents chose to do so, with buying a new car coming second place at 22%.

The payout money was on average used for spending in some form within three weeks.  Household appliances (19%) and furnishings (13%) were high up in the list, and other items such as clothes, gadgets and shoes were also in the top 10: numbers 7 to 9 respectively.  17% used the money to pay off bills, whilst only 12% decided to save any of the money.

The additional consumer spending that the PPI claims payouts have fostered are therefore responsible for a huge boost to the UK economy, much needed in these austere times. The bankers have, however inadvertently (with all their blunders and misappropriations), actually helped the economy after all.

If you feel that you may have been mis-sold PPI, why not try an online PPI rebate calculator to figure out how much you may be owed. Most PPI claims companies offer a free PPI check or can look into you case on a no win no fee basis, so it won’t cost you a thing if you’re not eligible.

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Cash Back on Your Holiday Shopping

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With the festivities oh Bonfire night and Halloweeen having been out behind us, we are yet to celebrate the biggest one of them all, Christmas! The key question for shoppers however remains one of finance and how much you are willing to spend this year on the daddy of the festive holidays. There are a number of credit cards out in the market which, depending on where you chose to do your Christmas shopping, can offer cashback and rewards of up to 15% which is definitely worth considering.

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The Santander 123 is just one of the latest credit cards to offer cash back, which will give back 1% to its customers on all Amazon online purchases which lasts until the 31st January 2014. The offer also includes a 1% cashback reward when spending money in major supermarkets, as well as 2% cashback when using the card in all big name department stores and 3% cashback on purchases at major petrol stations across the UK and purchases on London underground and National Rail. The promotion is available to both existing and new customers and provides shoppers with a great little treat around the holiday season. However, there are some downsides to the 123 credit card the first of which is the cost it comes at. In order to benefit from the cashback offer you will need to pay a £24 annual fee for the 123 credit card which also charges a 22.8% APR. The good news is that this is now waived to the first year meaning that new and existing customers do not have to pay the charge if they are holders of the account until the 31st December 2013.

Another rewards card scheme which seems innovative has been released by Lloyds. The bank says that it is giving 1000 current account holders who have set up internet banking a refund of purchases worth up to £500 every week. The selection is made randomly and is a great way of saving money around the holidays if you are one of the lucky selected account holders. The cashback scheme is valid on purchases made in retailers such as Homebase, Morrisons, Argos and Ocado with more major stores set to sign up to the scheme in the coming weeks before Christmas. Halifax is also currently offering cashback to its Reward current account holders once again the industry average of up to 15% with its partners including major brands such as Argos and Morrisons.