If you think you weren’t being exploited enough by advertisers, think again.
Moneysupermarket.com are hoping to develop a new revenue stream worth millions, by selling consumer data from approximately a third of the UK.
Advertisers will have access to a wealth of personal data, if these plans go ahead. Moneysupermarket revealed that their financial growth over the next 12 months would be driven by the exploitation of the company’s data and users.
“The data asset in Moneysupermarket is a real foundation for growth,” said Peter Plumb, chief executive. “I don’t think there’s any other business out there that has the breadth and depth of quote data that we have.”
The company, whose revenue passed £225 million in 2013, expect that they can rake in around £10 million from this, but stress that it wants to offer trend data rather than sell off individual customer data.
Now throw your internet into the sea. We’re all for sale basically.
It turns out that one in five of us missed an important bill payment last year, and one in 10 have received a court summons as a result. This cheering news comes from research commissioned by Moneysupermarket.com for their far-too-jauntily named ‘Bill Barometer’, which showed that we’ve missed a total of 15 million bill payments.
And when you examine our monthly outgoings compared to our piffling and paltry wages, you’ll see why we’re ‘accidentally’ losing that gas bill down the back of the sofa. The average household spends £1360 on essential bills like rent, mortgages and utilities.
So what are we neglecting to pay? Well, we’re most frequently failing to pay credit cards, loan repayments, and often childcare costs. And even more worryingly, one in five people say that their outgoings would only have to rise by £50 a month to make them completely unmanageable.
‘Many households are precariously juggling their bill payments, choosing which to pay and which to ignore.’ Says Claire Francis from Moneysupermarket. ‘It’s a balancing act that can’t continue long-term without significant implications. Given interest rates are likely to start rising next year, leading to increases in the cost of borrowing, it is a real concern that many people won’t be able to cope.’
Excuse me, Mr Osborne – before the Bank of England puts up interest rates – please can we have some more?
Despite the fact that payday loans are instruments of the devil, there’s been a huge rise in people desperately applying for payday loans at INFINITY APR. That’s according to debt charity Step Change, who are dealing with an 82% rise in tearful people coming to them after getting into a mess with their Wonga.
At the moment, their average client has a staggering THREE payday loans, with an average debt of around £1700. And on average, they’re struggling to pay them back on a wage of £1,381 a month. Some people have only started out with small debts, which have ballooned because of the ridiculous interest rates. One man only borrowed £200, and now owes almost £2000.
The widespread harm and misery caused by payday loans continue unabated.’ said Mike O’Connor from Step Change.
‘The industry has failed to address the problems causing untold misery and damage to financially vulnerable consumers across the UK.’
In April the FCA is taking over the payday loans industry, and Step Change has suggested running real-time credit checks so that customers can’t borrow multiple loans, as well as a ‘debt escalation cap’ which will limit the amount of charges they can pile onto beleaguered borrowers.
Leaving a train of devastation in their wake, payday loans really are the worst thing to happen to Britain since Jim Davidson.
The RBS, after announcing an £8.2bn mega loss, has decided to turn into a nice, cosy, manageable British bank, ‘with the needs of its customers at its core.’
While you may be excused for approaching this new way of thinking with the same skepticism you might apply to the Big Bad Wolf dressed up as granny, the question is – what will RBS’ proposed changes mean for us?
For borrowers, RBS propose to cut 0% balance transfer deals on credit cards to stop the current practice of people borrowing from elsewhere and then moving their debts around from bank to bank. Instead they’re offering a range of credit card deals with initial interest free periods, including a platinum card which is interest free for the first 28 months.
Hmm, ok. Except, according to financial expert Andrew Hagger: ‘People are quite happy to shop around for these deals, they don’t necessarily take a credit card from the bank their current account is with, so if they want a 0% deal they will look elsewhere.”
They’re also going to stop offering online customers different interest rates, giving savers a less confusing range of products. But unfortunately the rates aren’t very competitive.
The problem is, other banks are also scrapping 0% balance transfer deals and simplifying their range of savings accounts, too. Got anything else up your sleeve, RBS? Well, their final promise is to improve customer service, but we’ll believe THAT when we see it.
So why would you trust RBS? Perhaps they need to offer something more exciting. Like free biscuits? Offer me some free biscuits, and we’ll talk.
The number of working days lost to sickness fell to 131 million in 2013, and was down by over a quarter on the figures from 1993.
According to the jazzily titled ‘Sickness Absence in the Labour Market, February 2014‘ report, the number of sick days may be falling, but more working days were becoming lost to stress and depression.
Perhaps those who are still in work are so worried that the minute their back is turned, they’ll be shafted by some kind of zero hours affair, or the stress of being maybe the only breadwinner. They don’t seem to have factored those considerations into their results.
The Office for National Statistics has said that the average worker took 4.4 days off in 2013 due to sickness, compared with 7.2 days in 1993. Over the same period the total number of days lost has fallen from 178m. So that’s good, if you’re hot for official figures.
Among the most common causes for lost days was down to neck and back pain (31m days off), stuff ranging from a light sniffle to both-ends-burning flu accounted for 27m days. Stress, anxiety and depression were the cause of 15m absence days, up from 11.8m in 2010.
If you put any trust in Bitcoin as a valuable commodity, rather than made up money generated by spods and sold on eBay, you may find yourself out of pocket. In the real world, this is like Barclays going bust, or something. It’s big, anyway.
It’s not the first time Mt.Gox has been hacked – it happened way back in 2011 when 400,000 Bitcoins were lost. But back then they were only worth $9m and the company was able to reimburse its customers. Now, it’s well and truly in Bits, with an estimated 1 million customers having lost the lot. And because it’s not a bank, and the whole thing is ephemeral internet money, customers have nothing to fall back on. No insurance, no account protection – nothing.
So does this mean the end of Bitcoin? Will this most unpredictable of currencies go on to fight another day, or will we all start trading Monopoly money, pebbles or groats instead? Well, there are still plenty of Bitcoin companies out there, who vow to thrive after what they call ‘this tragic violation’ of Mt.Gox. So it depends whether the Bitcoin community still has confidence in these unregulated sites.
Most of us though, will probably remain unaffected. Because we still have no idea what Bitcoin is.
Despite the economic recovery that everyone is being told is happening, a survey by Legal and General has shown that 4 in 10 of us feel even less job security now than they did at the height of the recession.
Perhaps as a result of being battered round the head continuously for the past few years with frozen wages, high cost of living and dismantled public services, it seems that it’ll take more than some blah blah-ing about economic recovery to help us feel better.
L&G’s Job Security Index revealed that only 1 in 10 workers felt more secure in their job since economic growth returned, compared to 37% who said they felt more insecure. 46% of people said that the economic climate had nothing to do with their job security – but they probably filled in that box really quickly while they were busy slopping out pigs/working in Greggs.
Mark Holweger from Legal and General said:
‘It’s interesting to see that despite the reports of green shoots in our national economy, and significantly lower unemployment rates in recent months, this hasn’t quite filtered through into how many UK workers feel about their own job. It’s clear that it will take time for economic improvements to result directly in increased confidence.’
Maybe it’s because we’re still not seeing any MONEY and we’re living on Fray Bentos pies from Poundland?
Would you believe it – the Bank of England says it has ‘no power’ over the massive property bubble at the higher end of the housing market, bringing a return to outrageous prices in London.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, Mark Carney, the guv’nor, played down the idea that there actually WAS any bubble, and mumbled something positive about recovery and the Help to Buy scheme.
Carney explained that as massively rich people were buying properties in London with cash, there was little it could do but ‘watch’ as prices soared.
‘It’s driven in many cases by foreign buyers’ he said. ‘We as the central bank can’t influence that. We change underwriting standards – it doesn’t matter, there’s not a mortgage. We change interest rates – it doesn’t matter, there’s not a mortgage, etc. But we watch and we watch the knock-on effect.’
This comes as the most expensive property in London went on the market last week in Mayfair, a 21 bedroom mansion priced at £90m.
So soon we’ll all be living in ditches, priced out of the market, while the oligarchs fiddle around in their home cinemas and underground swimming pools. But you know, everyone’s hands are tied – sorry!
Still, while all that lovely foreign money rolls right in, the Tories would be delighted to give all you ‘hardworking families’ a 95% mortgage on a terraced hovel in Rotherham. Will that do?
It seems as though with a percentage of the country now underwater, and flood warnings being handed out left right and centre, so it’s probably a sensible idea to see what you can do should you be affected.
It can’t be great to wonder what you can do, when half your possessions are either destroyed or floating out of your bedroom window, so The British Insurance Brokers’ Association and insurer Direct Line are offering advice on claiming for flood damage.
Here’s what they suggest:
What do you need to submit for an insurance claim?
Provide full details of the circumstances surrounding anything that’s been lost or damaged, plus any evidence of that. Take photographs of the damage to your home, contents or car, or film the footage. This may help provide proof.
How to claim if vital documents are damaged or destroyed
Seek copies from the relevant provider, such as the DVLA for motoring documents, brokers or insurers for duplicate insurance documents, utility providers and the Passport Office. Check Gov.uk for details on how to replace birth certificates.
What will insurers accept as evidence of ownership if items are really badly damaged, say if personal possessions have washed away?
Any photographs of you with that item when undamaged, or held by friends and relatives, will demonstrate you owned the relevant item. Also receipts, credit card bills or bank account statements that show purchases. Importantly, don’t throw away damaged possessions without first discussing it with your claims adviser, as they will need to be assessed.
What if you can’t get access to your home? What are insurers likely to do for you in the interim?
Home insurance nearly always includes cover for alternative accommodation.
How long do you have to make an insurance claim?
It can vary, but typically 180 days. It’s always best to act as swiftly as possible.
Who can people turn to for help?
A broker should help, as will the insurer and its loss adjuster. You may appoint a loss assessor at your own cost for a larger claim. If there are any disputes, you can complain to the independent Financial Ombudsman Service.
What if I plan to redecorate myself?
Don’t rush to redecorate your home as it can take weeks for a flood-damaged property to dry out. And don’t lift wet carpets unless absolutely necessary, as they may shrink.
What about protecting my home against a future flood?
Here are some tips for those who live in flood-prone areas:
• Ensure drains and gutters are clear of debris so rainfall can drain away.
• Place valuable and electrical items in high cupboards or on high floors to prevent damage.
• Ensure outdoor furniture and other items which are likely to float away are safely restrained.
• Store important documents in a watertight bag in a dry, accessible place, preferably upstairs.
• Make a list of useful numbers you may need – such as your insurer, local council, emergency services and Floodline: 0345 988 1188.
• Buy air brick covers or flood boards to block doorways.
Further information can be found at biba.org.uk
So no-one told you things were gonna be this way…dum dum dum..your jobs a joke, you’re broke, but NATIONWIDE IS GIVING AWAY FREE MONEY, so get yourself down there now, because if you recommend it to a friend they’ll give you and your pal £50! Result!
Yes, the building society has just launched their Refer a Friend scheme, which will give you £50 for every mate who switches their current account to Nationwide. You can refer up to 10 friends, which means that you could be £500 better off, which will make you more popular, and then maybe girls will talk to you.
The scheme comes 6 months after the new switching rules that made it easier and quicker to change banks – intended to end the monopoly of the big high street behemoths. But Nationwide aren’t the only place to offer a new incentive. At the moment, if you switch to the beleaguered Co-op, you’ll get £100 and £25 to a charity of your choice.
But Nationwide are the first financial services business to offer a refer a friend scheme. Nationwide’s head of current accounts, Phil Smith, said:
‘Word of mouth is valuable to us as it shows that our customers are pleased with the products and service we offer and that they are willing to recommend us to their friends and family. There are a number of switching offers on the market, but ours is the only one that rewards existing customers as well as new customers.’
Just one question, though. If you haven’t got any friends, will they accept imaginary ones?
20 years ago Snoop ‘Doggy’ Dogg was once considered a menace to society, and so dangerous that newspapers were demanding he was refused entry to the UK lest he pervert the nation’s youth into becoming drug dealing gang bangers, or something.
Now, in a new advert for MoneySupermarket, he’s become a frontman for car insurance. In a new advert – to be debuted during this Sunday’s Dancing On Ice (oh my) – which is apparently a ‘celebration of old school hip hop videos’ and authentically ‘shot in South Central LA’ using the What’s My Name? hitmaker mooning about to What’s My Name?
Aside from the argument “well, if it’s good enough for Iggy”, what’s the message sent out by the site? That they will be brilliant and helpful enough to steer you through your financial woes? Or that they’ve done so well that they can spunk several grand on an advert shot on location with one-time ‘evil’ rapper Snoop Dogg, on the basis that some bright spark renaming it MoneySNOOPermarket. Oh God.
Well, at least it’s not the bloody meerkats.
Rumours ahoy bounded around the financial world that HSBC may be heading towards a bit of a crash, after the bank refused to let their customers take out more than £3000. However calm down everyone, they just changed the rules and failed to tell, well, everyone.
Reports flooded in to BBC Radio 4’s Moneybox programme of branches demanding actual evidence of what the customer plans to use the money for, when they’ve requested amounts from £5000 upwards. With one listener in particular refused £7000, even when he said he was paying a loan back to his mum* (*planning to blow it all on drink, more like).
The bank has defended its actions and admitted it made a change to its policy in November without informing customers. They also admit they may not have communicated the rules properly to members of staff. Which is quite comforting news for everyone there.
In a copied and pasted statement, the bank said: “We ask our customers about the purpose of large cash withdrawals when they are unusual and out of keeping with the normal running of their account.
“Since last November, in some instances we may have also asked these customers to show us evidence of what the cash is required for. The reason being we have an obligation to protect our customers, and to minimise the opportunity for financial crime.”
“However, following feedback, we are immediately updating guidance to our customer facing staff to reiterate that it is not mandatory for customers to provide documentary evidence for large cash withdrawals, and on its own, failure to show evidence is not a reason to refuse a withdrawal.”
“We are writing to apologise to any customer who has been given incorrect information and inconvenienced.”
Well that’s okay then. Perhaps some sort of ‘writing to customers’ situation could’ve prevented all this HYSTERIA.
People are putting off having kids because they’re so bloody expensive to keep in nappies, booze and iPads. Now it costs an average of £227,226 to bring up one of the little buggers until they’re 21– and even then they probably won’t be able to afford to leave home and will sit forever on your sofa, smoking pot and killing hookers in Grand Theft Auto.
According to a survey by LV= one in five would-be parents are delaying having children because they just can’t afford them. In fact with the sky high cost of living, and the ridiculously inflated cost of childcare – not to mention child benefit cuts – it’s a wonder we haven’t all gone down the clinic to get our tubes tied.
Anyway, if you are already a parent, I’m sure you’ll be delighted to hear that EVERY SINGLE cost involved in bringing up a child has increased.
If you are going to have a kid, though, here’s a top tip – move to Wales. Welsh children are cheaper to raise for some reason, at £210,715. But whatever you do don’t bring them up in London, where visits to Giraffe and Boden togs for little Atticus and Boudicca will set you back an eye-watering £224,997.
Hmm, looks like it’s vasectomy time, guys!
If you’re lucky enough to have money to put in a savings account, then BEWARE. Banks are slashing rates across the board on cash ISAs and Easy Access accounts, and some companies like Intelligent Finance have closed their doors to new savers entirely.
While the housing market becomes more buoyant, people who actually have a bit of real money in the bank are suffering. So where should you go for the best deal?
Well, if you save with Intelligent Finance already, you should know that they’re going to cut their Cash Isa rate to 0.96% on March 24th. For a better deal, switch to a Virgin Money Easy Access E-Isa – interest on that is 1.75%.
If you have an easy access, taxable account, one of the better rates is with Tesco – their Internet Saver pays 1.24%. Or if you’d rather support the smaller building societies, Coventry offer a slightly healthier 1.28%, but you can only withdraw four times a year without being charged.
Really, you’d probably be better off putting it under your bed in a chamber pot, but if you don’t have any other cash ISAs, one of the best easy access rates around is with good old National Savings and Investments. Despite cutting rates from 1.75% to 1.5, it’s still the best deal for savers in the doldrums.
According to new figures from Shelter, the financial situation for many is so dire that one in five people are borrowing cash to pay their rent or mortgage.
Their survey of 3500 people revealed that they’re not just occasionally borrowing from someone they know to pay the rent – they’re getting into a mess with unauthorised overdrafts, credit cards or – YIKES – payday loans.
2% of those asked had taken out a short term high interest loan to meet housing costs, and if that figure was replicated across the whole of the UK, that means 1 million people are paying their mortgage or rent with Wonga money at 364642838346438393% APR.
Last year Shelter helped around 9000 people who were getting into rent and mortgage arrears, which is 2000 more than in 2012, but the nature of the problem is that many people won’t admit that they can’t afford their homes, and end up spiralling into debt.
Campbell Robb from Shelter said:
‘We’re now hearing from record numbers of families up and down the country who are desperately struggling to keep the roof over their heads. But the truth is, we’re more worried about the people we don’t see.’
Shelter advise anyone struggling to pay their mortgage or rent to contact them before the situation gets to crisis point. But with rents so high and wages so low – isn’t a crisis inevitable?