Posts Tagged ‘money’

Wonga to try out 90-day loans

November 27th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Wonga 300x195 Wonga to try out 90 day loansWonga – remember them? Well, they’re peering out from a cloud of trouble, fines, restructuring costs, and a lot of bad press, and looking to win customers over again with some new products.

They’re going to start testing a 90-day loan, so people can spread costs out over longer periods, and the idea is that there’ll be greater flexibility too. They need to do something to win people back to their business, as in April, they announced a loss of over £37 million.

For the trial, only existing customers will be allowed to apply for these new loans. Those that do, will be able to on the same terms as the existing product, paying interest of 0.8% – or 80p per £100 borrowed – per day.

A Wonga spokesman said: “We can confirm that we are planning to launch a pilot of a more flexible, three-month instalment loan to existing customers this week.”

The lender is still wrestling with a lot of mither at the moment, as they are still going through a process of authorisation by the FCA. They have been operating under interim licences since 2014. The FCA aren’t messing around though, and have said that they think the majority of payday loan companies are going to go out of business, since they introduced a cap on loans and repayment fees.

Can Wonga pull out of all this? Doesn’t look likely.

There’s been job losses at the company, with chairman Andy Haste saying: “Our focus is on creating a business that meets the demand for short-term credit sustainably and responsibly, resulting in good customer outcomes. However, Wonga can no longer sustain its high cost base which must be significantly reduced to reflect our evolving business and market. Regrettably, this means we’ve had to take tough but necessary decisions about the size of our workforce.”

Barclays hit with whopping £72m fine

November 26th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

barclays bank limited 300x300 Barclays hit with whopping £72m fineBarclays have been slapped with a whopper of a fine – to the tune of £72 million – by the Financial Conduct Authority. Why? The FCA say that the bank “ignored its own process” when handling a £1.9bn transaction for a group of people described as ‘wealthy and politically connected’.

*Harry Hill sideways look to camera*

The FCA said that Barclays “went to unacceptable lengths to accommodate the clients” and didn’t carry out sufficient checks on the deal which meant they “failed to minimise the risk that it may be used to facilitate financial crime.”

This transaction went through in 2011/12, and Barclays executives knew it involved “politically exposed people”, which should’ve seen the company being extra careful and monitored things more closely.

However, it turns out that the bank rushed the whole thing through, and made themselves £52.3m in revenue as a result. UK banks are supposed to be extra vigilant when it comes to doing transactions for those “who may be able to abuse their public position for private gain”, in a bid to reduce the risk of bribery and such.

The FCA found no involvement of financial crime in the transaction, and haven’t said who was involved. Either way, this penalty is the largest imposed by the FCA or its predecessor for financial crime failings. Barclays had to hand over the money they made from this dicky looking deal, and were fined £20m on top.

Mark Steward, from the FCA said: “Barclays ignored its own process designed to safeguard against the risk of financial crime and overlooked obvious red flags to win new business and generate significant revenue. This is wholly unacceptable. Firms will be held to account if they fail to minimise financial crime risks appropriately and for this reason the FCA has required Barclays to disgorge its revenue from the transaction.”

Millions can get free access to their credit score

November 20th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

barclaycard bespoke 300x200 Millions can get free access to their credit scoreMillions of customers at Barclaycard and Tesco Bank are going to be given access to their credit report for free!

Barclaycard customers will be able to look at their Experian credit score online, through the Barclaycard mobile app, which will be a thing early next year. You’ll also be able to get hints and tips at how to fix your credit score, and the access will be unrestricted.

Tesco Bank, meanwhile, are teaming up with Noddle, who are part of Callcredit, as they look to give customers access to their score. Existing customers can check it from today, while new customers will have to wait until December 11th.

Things like missing bill payments, being in your overdraft frequently, and applying for a lot of credit at the same time are among the things that can harm your credit score.

The ability to check your score means you can decide whether or not to apply for something, as it’ll give you an indication of how likely or not you are to be successful with an application. With two banking services jumping in on this, it looks likely that the other financial institutions will join in too.

Justin Basini, co-founder and CEO of ClearScore, said: “The fact that some lenders are giving customer access to their credit scores for free is a step in the right direction, but today’s announcements will only affect a relatively small group. Credit reports and scores are like a person’s financial CV and impact their lives in a myriad of ways. They help determine whether somebody gets the best deals on financial products, whether they can buy or rent property, and can affect their ability to get a mobile phone contract or even a job.”

“It’s encouraging that others are following our lead to give people access to their credit information.”

HBOS report points to formal investigation

November 19th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

1312161 hbos300 HBOS report points to formal investigationThe report about the complete mess at HBOS has indeed, shoved a load of blame at the feet of the bank’s former board, calling for formal investigations. In short, the investigation has called for another investigation.

The huge report (400 thrilling pages) was published, looking at banning orders against former chairman Lord Stevenson, and former chief executives Andy Hornby and James Crosby. Other people who used to be at HBOS like Mike Ellis, current chairman of Skipton building society, Colin Matthew from the international division, and Lindsay Mackay who ran the treasury, have also been named.

“Ultimately responsibility for the failure of HBOS rests with its board,” said the report. It also points a finger at the former heads of the now-defunct Financial Services Authority. The boardroom at HBOS has been described as lacking in banking nous, and creating a culture that wanted growth at all costs. The FSA meanwhile, have been described as making mistakes, and having an investigation that was too narrow, with particular emphasis on their decision to only investigate one former HBOS executive, Peter Cummings.

Cummings who was banned and fined £500,000 back in 2012, but the report says there were clear indications that others should’ve been looked at.

“It is my view appropriate that the FCA and/or the PRA should now take the opportunity to give proper consideration to the investigation of individuals other than Mr Cummings and thereby do that which their predecessor failed to do. There is plainly a public interest in the FCA and/or the PRA giving proper consideration as to whether to investigate any other former members of HBOS’s senior management in the light of the failure of this systemically important bank,” said Andrew Green QC, who did the FSA review.

The report quotes Clive Adamson, who used to be the FSA director of enforcement, saying that “the people most culpable were let off.”

Green continued: “It appears that because enforcement could not be certain of winning disciplinary proceedings against Mr Hornby, the decision was taken not to investigate him. This was a misguided approach in that placed excessive weight on a view of the prospects of success formed at such an early stage.”

The report says: “The FSA’s approach was too trusting of firms’ management and insufficiently challenging. The FSA executives management, led by chief executive John Tiner, designed (and failed to redesign) this deficient approach to supervision. Further the oversight of the executive by the FSA board, led by the chairman Sir Callum McCarthy, was insufficient.” It added that the regulators at the time were guilty of only employing a “light touch” when it came to controlling the City.

Regulators will now conduct their own review into whether enforcement action on the strength of this report, with decisions being made on that “as early as possible next year”.

HBOS chiefs pressured auditors over bad loans

November 16th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

1312161 hbos300 HBOS chiefs pressured auditors over bad loansThe bosses of HBOS, the mortgage vendors who were bailed out during the 2008 banking farce, reportedly put pressure on auditors to sign off lower bad loan provisions, so they could reduce concerns about their financial wellbeing. This is according to an official probe, which will wrap up this week.

Sky News can reveal that a report to be published on Thursday will make the explosive allegation that HBOS executives leant on KPMG to approve their own analysis of impairment charges, despite the audit firm taking a more pessimistic view about the bank’s balance sheet.

The news that auditors were being leaned on in such a manner is only going to see more action against certain business, which could end up seeing former HBOS board members being banned from ever working in the financial services sector again.

Sky News reports that the bank’s former bosses had tried to persuade KPMG to adjust its view of the level of provisioning required, which will be revealed in the report by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). There’s going to be a lot of fingers being wagged at former chief execs James Crosby and Andy Hornby, and former chairman, Lord Stevenson. Will enough be done to discourage others though? Don’t hold your breath.

Of course, regulators can’t fine any of the former executives, even if they are viewed as being culpable, thanks to a six-year statute of limitations, which has now expired. How very, very convenient. As such, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) will also be getting it in the neck, as they were supposed to be keeping an eye on all the banks.

“There is now a reasonable prospect that the public will at least have an opportunity for a full explanation of this catastrophic failure,” Andrew Tyrie, the Treasury committee chairman, said this week. ”The work of the advisers can give Parliament and the public more confidence that the role of the FSA, in the failure of HBOS, will have been fully disclosed.”

Are loose coppers becoming a thing of the past?

October 29th, 2015 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

child money 300x224 Are loose coppers becoming a thing of the past?Loose copper change is a bit of pain mostly, thrown in large bottles and tins all over the house, and painstakingly counted out at counters and the like.

Well, it looks like there’s moves to get rid of the smaller coins, kicking off in Ireland with a new scheme. If it is successful, it could be rolled out in Britain too.

So what’s going on? Well, the new rule see you having your change rounded up, or down, to the nearest 5 cent. There’s a trial going on in Wexford, which follows similar schemes in Holland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Hungary.

Dr Ronnie O’Toole, an economist at Ireland’s Central Bank, said: “Consumers may be surprised at first but, judging from the experience in Wexford, they will embrace rounding very quickly.”

Thing is, it costs mints a lot of money to issue the smallest coin denominations, and with the euro, Ireland has spent 37million euro (around £27million) issuing one and two cent coins, since it was introduced. That’s three times the rate as the rest of Europe. It is hoped that this new rule will reduce the need to make more, as there’s enough in circulation.

Obviously, the coins will still be legal tender, and the changes will only apply to cash transactions. If you’re paying for something on a card, or another form of electronic payment, you’ll just pay the normal total. It would also only be used on the final cash total of a bill, rather than individual items.

So, if you get a bill for something, and the amount ends in one and two cents or six and seven cents, it’d be rounded down to the nearest five. Those ending in three and four cents or eight and nine cents, would end up being rounded up. Sounds like a good idea, in principal, but the cynic in us makes us think that some businesses might use this as a scam to rinse more money out of customers.

Either way, would you like to see something like this over here?

money shop 300x199 The Money Shop owner looking at £15.4m customer payoutThe owner of The Money Shop is going to be refunding £15.4m to 147,000 customers after the lender was investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It is owned by Dollar Financial UK, who as trade as Paydday UK, Payday Express and Ladder Loans.

They are going to reimburse customers who have fallen foul of the way affordability checks were handled, as well as system errors and debt collection mistakes.

The investigation found that many customers were lent more than they could afford to repay, and as a result, the company has agreed to change their lending criteria.

Jonathan Davidson, director of supervision for retail and authorisations at the FCA, said: “The FCA expects all credit providers to carry out proper checks to ensure that borrowers don’t take on more than they can afford to pay back. We are encouraged that Dollar is committed to putting things right for its customers.”

The FCA said 65,000 customers are going to be contacted and will receive a cash refund, while 67,000 would see their current loan balance reduced. 15,000 customers will see both. Those affected will not need to do anything, as the FCA is making Dollar Finance do all the donkey work. The money will start to go out early next year.

Dollar chief executive Stuart Howard said: ”It is proper that we put things right where they have gone wrong and I have gone further than the review in reforming the way our business operates to reflect the company aim of being the most responsible lender in its market place.”

Which companies aren’t paying minimum wage?

October 23rd, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Accessorize 300x227 Which companies arent paying minimum wage?The government are naming and shaming companies that don’t pay minimum wage, and the biggest name on the list is Monsoon/Accessorize, who clearly make enough profit to do so. According to the powers that be, the fashion retailer owes its 1,438 staff £104,507.83, which is not to be sniffed at.

Also on the list is the Tyne & Wear Riding for the Disabled Association, which should be giving staff £27,151.79 extra.

Nick Boles the Business Minister, says: ”Employers that fail to pay the minimum wage hurt the living standards of the lowest paid and their families. As a one nation government on the side of working people we are determined that everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage receives it.”

“Next April we will introduce a new National Living Wage which will mean a £900-a-year pay rise for someone working full time on the minimum wage and we will enforce this equally robustly.”

So far, the government have doled out £513,000 in penalties to firms that aren’t paying their workers fairly. And the government don’t care how big or small your company is – they’ll name you.

Top 10 minimum wage offenders:

1. Monsoon Accessorize Ltd – didn’t pay £104,507.83 to 1,438 workers
2. Tyne & Wear Riding for the Disabled Association (trading as Washington Riding Centre) didn’t pay £27,151.79 to 6 workers
3. Project Security UK Ltd, Doncaster, failed to pay £23,857.11 to 18 workers
4. Carl Keith Salons Ltd, Prescot, neglected to pay £20,535.03 to 5 staff members
5. Cornwall Glass & Glazing Ltd, trading as Exeter & MacKenzie Glass Centre, who underpaid £14,253.66 to 9 employees
6. Mr Gholam Ghiassi, Chaigley, neglected to pay £14,208.40 to 2 staff
7. Helen Woodend, trading as New Brooms, Burton-in-Kendal, didn’t pay £13,447.01 to 14 employees
8. Stoke College Educational Trust Ltd, trading as Stoke College, Sudbury, neglected to pay £12,094.83 to 7 staff
9. Village Garage Engineers Ltd, trading as Village Garage, Plean, underpaid £9,159.80 to 3 workers
10. Aspect Plumbing & Heating Ltd, trading as Aspect Plumbing & Heating, Liverpool, failed to pay £8,280.45 to 1 person (they’ll be gutted today)

Bank customers losing out on £70 a year

October 22nd, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

banks 300x218 Bank customers losing out on £70 a yearWe spoke about the CMA investigating the banks earlier in the week, and now, the Competition and Markets Authority have published some of their findings.

One of the big things is that customers could save an average of £70 a year if they switch their account to another provider. It was thought that the regulator might start breaking the banks up too, but they haven’t gone for it on this occasion.

The CMA did conclude, however, that the current market is resolutely not working competitively. They think that too many customers have stayed with their bank for more than 10 years, which shows we’re not prone to moving to better deals when they’re out there.

57% have been with their bank for more than 10 years, with 37% sticking with their provider for more than 20 years.

Another thing that the CMA are not happy with, are complex charges. They suggest that banks should be required to prompt customers to switch when certain things happen – such as their local branch closing, or if overdraft charges change. They should also make it even easier for people to switch accounts, and that their should be a new price comparison website for small businesses.

The CMA pointed out that those who regularly go into the red could be saving £260 per year by switching accounts, and they’d like to see more effort made so that customers are aware of the fact that they can move between banks and products. They said in their report that people are still put-off switching their current account because they think it would be “complicated, time-consuming, and risky”.

“Despite some encouraging developments, particularly in the shape of challengers that have entered the market in recent years, for too long banks have been able to sit back and take their existing customers for granted,” said Alasdair Smith, head of the retail banking investigation for the CMA.

“We don’t think that customers will truly benefit from a more competitive marketplace until they can compare accounts more easily and feel confident that they can switch without risk,” he said.

The CMA’s final report will be published in May 2016

scam Latest scam sees your bosss email asking for moneyThere’s a new scam knocking about, which sees people being asked for money from one of their bosses. Now, most people don’t like their bosses and would think unprintable things if they asked them for money… but we’re still going to give you all a warning about it.

Basically, there’s emails doing the rounds which are fake, coming from your gaffer’s email address, telling them to transfer cash.

The Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) said this particular scam has spiked in the past couple of weeks, and a number of small/medium-sized businesses in the UK have lost between £10,000 and £20,000 as a result.

What happens is, staff will get an email from what appears to be senior management, where they ask for money for a pressing matter, like the need to secure a contract. Any money transferred goes straight in the pocket of the fraudsters.

“While an urgent request from the boss might naturally prompt a swift response, it should in fact be a warning sign of a potential scam,” said Katy Worobec, director of FFA UK.

There’s a host of advice being doled about about this scam, but Bitterwallet has the only advice you really need – don’t lend your boss any money if they ask for it in an email. If they do, ring them up and ask them about it (or tell them to piss off).

Pensions – the next PPI scandal?

October 19th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

pensioner Pensions   the next PPI scandal?The PPI scandal hasn’t even been sorted out, and we’re already looking at the next one to contend with. If you’re planning on making a PPI claim, do hurry up though – and here’s advice on how to do it.

Anyway, it looks like the next massive financial mis-selling scandal is going to concern pensions.

“These reforms have been in operation for six months now: long enough for the scammers to get going, working on defrauding people out of their life savings,” said Frank Field, chair of the Commons’ Work and Pensions Committee.

Some pensioners are already being hit with massive fees when they start using the freedoms they’ve now got with their pension, and there’s a lot to consider regarding the new rules on pensions. With all this to think about, Field said that the government need to start giving data – and fast – on how the reforms are working out for people, and fix any problems that have already arisen.

One of the big gripes is that, while the pensions now give people the right to take their savings as cash, advice needs to be given to any person who has not considered the long-term implications for later years, and make them aware of tax charges and the like.

“Good quality, co-ordinated and accessible guidance and advice will be the best tools to ensure people make the best, informed decisions about their retirement savings, and protect them from scammers,” said Field, adding: “We have seen all too clearly, too many times, what happens when financial information is not properly provided and regulated. We literally cannot afford another financial mis-selling scandal.”

Now, the government are doing something about this, and have set up the Pensions Wise service, which gives you a session over the phone, offering guidance and information about your pension and what you can do with the new rules. Sadly, it seems like there’s not many people using the service (so hop to it if you’re reading this – go and make the most of it) and pension companies should be doing more to point people toward it.

Hackers swipe £20 million from UK bank accounts

October 14th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

cyber crime 300x223 Hackers swipe £20 million from UK bank accountsThe National Crime Agency (NCA) are looking into a huge security breach which is affecting UK banks, warning people to make sure they’re being vigilant against viruses and the like. Investigators have noted that hackers have been using a virus called Dridex, which is harvesting online bank details, which of course, are then used to steal your money.

The NCA think that £20 million has gone missing because of this, which is not to be sniffed at. It seems to be mostly business accounts falling foul of this, but the NCA warn that members of the public may have been victims of the malware attack.

Seemingly legit emails are the source of this, which are opening up the malware on your devices, and the NCA think thousands of computers in the UK are affected.

The National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) head of ops, Mike Hulett, said: “This is a particularly virulent form of malware and we have been working with our international law enforcement partners, as well as key partners from industry, to mitigate the damage it causes. Our investigation is ongoing and we expect further arrests to be made.”

If you think you’ve had money taken through scams like the Dridex malware push, then you need to contact Action Fraud and of course, tell your bank.

Make sure you anti-virus software is up-to-date, and if you want the best protection, you can have a look at this good list of freebies over at HUKD by clicking here. You should keep your phone protected too, and we’ve got a round-up of the best anti-virus protection for your mobile, here.

Budweiser owner agrees to Peroni takeover

October 13th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

beer 300x2251 Budweiser owner agrees to Peroni takeoverThe owner of Budweiser has agreed terms with SABMiller, regarding a takeover.

Just imagine the sheer volume of very average lager that this is going to unify! Now, before merger fans start getting damp with excitement, there’s not been a formal offer submitted by  AB InBev, but SAB have said that they’d be happy to get this going, should someone ask.

It looks like there’ll be a deal worth around £70bn thrown on a table, which would be the fourth highest-value takeover OF AAAALLL TIIIIIME.

Merged together, the companies would be worth over £180bn, which is an eye-watering amount of money (eye water being the main ingredient in a number of their beers, no doubt). One of the things that AB InBev will be excited about, is that they’ll be able to get access to Africa, where they’ve not done too well. SAB, on the other hand, have been having a lovely time over there.

The markets are excited by all this, naturally. They love a takeover. SAB’s shares opened 9% higher when trading began on the FTSE 100 on Tuesday.

So there you have it. We wonder if this will mean almost all supermarket lagers are going to end up having exactly the same contents within a couple of years…

Scotland gets Pudsey money

October 9th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

The people of Scotland will be able to get their hands on limited-edition notes featuring Pudsey Bear, which are being auctioned off in aid of BBC’s Children In Need.

If you land one of these notes, you probably won’t want to spend it on beer and cigs, as there’s only going to be 50 printed in total. 40 of those will feature the serial code Pudsey01 through to Pudsey40, with the remaining 10 are going to have personalised serial numbers, according to the Bank of Scotland.

Look at the state.

pudsey money 500x333 Scotland gets Pudsey money

Most of these notes will be auctioned in December by Spink’s, who are well versed in selling banknotes and coins. That’s what they do. They’re really good at it.

We shouldn’t mock it really. The design itself was created by Kayla Robson, who is a child from Dundee. She won a competition to design part of the note.

She said: “I am very excited to see my design on the new £5 note. Art has always been one of my favourite subjects but I never expected one of my drawings to end up on a banknote.”

ppi 300x202 How to make a PPI claim   hurry, theres a deadline due!If you think that you’ve been missold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) and you’ve been lazy with regards to sorting it out, you’re going to have to get a wriggle on, because the Financial Conduct Authority is thinking about putting a deadline on the whole thing.

Now, you might think it is really difficult to make a claim, but it isn’t. You can do it yourself and should in no way be paying someone to do it for you.

The people who say they’ll do it for you will charge you a big ol’ fee, and they’ll add VAT to it. It really is a racket, but you can do it for yourself.

So, let us give you the low-down on how to sort out this PPI nonsense.

What The Bloody Hell Is PPI Anyway?

Basically, banks offered payment protection insurance, which were designed to protect your loans or credit cards or whatever. However, banks, loan companies and credit card firms missold them for high rates and, in some cases, customers were forced to have them without knowing about it. As a result, the establishments who did this have to pay compensation to those affected.

So, How Do I Find Out If I Was Missold Something?

Okay. If you’re unemployed, self-employed,  or retired or even had a medical problem that prevented you from working at the time you took out the policy, you’re good to make a claim. Or, if you were told that the insurance was compulsory before you could be approved for credit, you’re golden. Even if the PPI wasn’t properly explained to you, you could be in with a shout of getting some cash.

When Do I Need To Make A Claim?

Do it now. Stop mucking about and get your claim done. Now the FCA is talking about a time limit on this, you need to pull your finger out. Also, if your policy was taken out longer than 6 years ago, you might have some bother, but that shouldn’t stop you trying.

How Do I Make A Claim Exactly?

Get any paperwork you have. If you don’t have it, never mind, we can still get a claim done – you will need to ask your lender for copies of your paperwork. Thanks to the Consumer Credit Act, you can legally ask your lender to sort you out with copies of paperwork. It’ll cost you a quid to get them though.

If you can’t remember which who you took loans out with, then get in touch with credit report agencies like Experian.

Once you’ve got all your details, you’ll need to write to whoever you have your policy with. If you are not much a letter writer, worry not, as you can use the free templates for letters by clicking here. And if the company has gone belly-up, no matter, you can get in touch with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme people, by ringing 0800 678 1100 or clicking here.

Don’t be thinking you’ll get your money quickly though – there’s a massive backlog on this, but your bank should tell you within 8 weeks of you getting in touch, whether you’re successful with your claim or not. If you’re unsuccessful, but think the bank are having you on, then take your claim to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which is free.

Call them on 0300 123 9123 or go to the FoS site by clicking here. You can write to them too, via snail mail: The Financial Ombudsman Service , South Quay Plaza, 183 Marsh Wall, London, E14 9SR.

Is That It?

Pretty much. Get your bum in gear and make a claim! Good luck!