Posts Tagged ‘money’

Scotland gets Pudsey money

October 9th, 2015 No Comments 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!

charity New fund raising rules for charities   some will face bansThere are some new rules for charities that have been proposed, that will see them banned from fundraising via mailouts and cold-calls, if they don’t do as they’re told. Not only that, but the government review has also recommended the creation of a new register, which will allow people to opt out of absolutely all charity contact.

This is a response to concerns that charities, while doing a good thing by and large, can be too aggressive with their fundraising. Some charitable organisations have been criticised for the tactics they employ, especially when dealing with vulnerable members of society.

Sir Stuart Etherington, from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, who headed up the review, said the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) “really doesn’t have the clout or the sanctions” to stop charities who are overstepping the mark.

He added: “We have to make sure that we restore public confidence in charity. Not all charities behaved in this manner, indeed I suspect it was very few, but we’ve got to tackle those problems, otherwise I think the charity brand, if you like, will be damaged.”

The report recommended that the UK gets a new regulator, which will be funded by a levy on charities themselves. The new regulator would report to a parliamentary committee. The would be able to stop charities contacting anyone, if they are found in breach of rules. Any charity that persists would be named-and-shamed also.

Sir Stuart said of the new regulator: “It will be able to say to charities, ‘That fund-raising method that you’re using, you’re using inappropriately and we’re going to stop you using that for a while.’” He added that Britain was a “tremendously generous country” but charities aren’t thinking hard enough about “what it was like to be on the receiving end of some of their fund-raising methods”.

“The reality is that most people give to charities when they are asked to, rather than spontaneously, so charities do need to ask. But they should inspire people to give, not pressure them to.”

Alton Towers reveal sales blow after accident

September 17th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

alton towers 300x300 Alton Towers reveal sales blow after accidentMerlin Entertainments, who own Alton Towers, have revealed the extent of their financial losses for the first time since the accident which left five people injured. They issued their first statement since the profit warning in July, which was down to people not wanting to go to the theme park after the Smiler incident which resulted in amputations.

You may recall that Alton Towers closed down for five days and shut a number of rides, which hasn’t helped the company books.

Merlin said that like-for-live revenues fell by over 11% across their theme park division over the first nine months of the financial year. Such is the drop, that this is likely to continue for the rest of the year and the company predict they’ll still counting the cost in 2016.

Chief executive Nick Varney said: “While near term challenges remain, the group is making good overall progress on its growth strategy. We have significant new investments planned across the estate and are well placed to deliver these in 2016 and beyond.”

Alton Towers are set to open a number of new attractions next year, but whether customers will feel safe at the theme park any time soon, is another matter entirely.

pensioner 1 in 6 six pensioners hit by £5,000 fee when cashing pension inWe blorted on about what to expect from the new freedoms around pensions, but as ever, there’s a catch. We spoke about the charges and tax consequences, and thanks to new figures, we see that 1 in 6 people over 55 will be hit by exit charges of (up to) £5,000 if they want to utilise new pension freedoms.

Around 700,000 people are going to have to pay if they want to get at their savings, and over 100,000 of these will pay more than £1,000, with 13,000 of them having to cough-up as much as £5,000. A lot of pensioners who have worked hard to have these savings could be charged even if they stay with the same pension firm, but want to switch to a more suitable, flexible product.

While it was a nice idea to let those with pensions use them like a bank account, it seems the financial institutions are imposing very steep penalties for those who want to. What a surprise eh? Finance companies acting like thundering arseholes!

Official data from the Financial Conduct Authority shows that around 670,000 over-55s are looking at charges before they can take their money. The FCA published this data, saying that they want pension firms to publish explicit details of all exit fees.

These exit fees are not the same as annual management charges, which pensioners will also have to pay for if they withdraw some money from their savings.

The FCA’s findings show that 204,500 pension policies have been accessed in the months following the reforms. However, with many pensions being started in the days before transparency about charges, many people will be finding out that fees could really hammer away at their money. There’s also the small matter of a lot of pension scams knocking about. It is thought that there’s been over 10,000 people who have reported these scams to regulators.

160 potential frauds are being looked at by the FCA, and they’ve launched full investigations into five, which now involve the police.

money 300x168 Tesco Bank scrap £5 current account fee   take that Santander!With Santander upping the fees on their 123 account, Tesco Bank have made a move in a bid to make themselves more attractive to anyone thinking of switching accounts.

They’ve said that they are going to scrap a £5 monthly fee which is currently charged to its current account customers. From tomorrow (September 17th 2015), the fee will be removed, provided you can deposit £750 or more a month into your account.

If you have a Tesco Bank current account, you get 3% interest on credit balances up to £3,000, without having to pay a monthly fee.

In simple terms, customers who pay the fee will be £60 a year better off, while Santander’s annual cost will be jumping up from £24 to £60.

This comes at a good time, as it really is easier than ever to switch your bank account. Your bank account can be transferred over to a new one within seven working days, and of course, Tesco Bank is part of the current account switching service. Of course, the state of Tesco’s affairs regarding their retail arm, may well put you off joining up with them, but this signals that there’s going to be a lot of competition over the coming months, from all corners of the current account world.

Santander 123 fees hit £60

September 14th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

santander g Santander 123 fees hit £60Millions have signed-up for Santander’s 123 account, but thanks to a change in fees, it is going to hit the pocket hard. From January, fees are going to almost triple.

There’s around 3 million in the UK using the current account, and pay in £2 every month (or £24 a year if you prefer) and, in return, you get cash back on bills and a 3% interest rate. However, as of next year, customers will be paying £60 every year, which is £5 per month.

If you have a smaller balance, you will invariably not reap the benefits. So if you have the minimum £3,000 in the bank, you will earn £90 in interest, with £60 of that gone in fees. That’s equivalent to a 1% interest rate.

So with that, it could well be time to switch accounts. There’s a number of good deals around (we’ve previously extolled the virtues of the Santander 123 account, but after this change, it doesn’t seem like the good value it once did). Some account providers will actually pay you to switch, which is half decent… however, do a little research first, as you don’t want to be lured in with a good offer with a bank that has lousy customer service or will sting you on overdraft fees or what have you.

One favourite to switch to, is Halifax, who will hand new current account customers to £125. Until the 18th October, those using the Current Account Switching Service to join the Halifax will get their dough. If you pay in £750, you’ll get a £5 monthly award too. You’ll need to set up two direct debits and be in credit every month for this to work.

First Direct are also paying you if you switch, giving new customers £100 to join them. If you want to leave them after 6 months, they’ll give you another £100 when you leave. Yorkshire/Clydesdale Bank are doling out £150 to switch, but you need to pay in at least £1,000 for at least two months, and have two or more direct debits.

The Co-op Bank, who have been in a lot of bother of late, are giving out £125 to those who switch, with £25 of that sum going to charity, if that’s your thing. You have to pay in at least £800 within 31 days of switching, and again, have two direct debits. First Direct’s 1st Account will get you £125 for switching, and a £250 interest-free overdraft bundled in as standard.

There’s more deals doing the rounds, so have a look and see what suits you best. uSwitch have a guide and comparison table, here.

Another NatWest cock-up to annoy customers

September 9th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

nat west 300x199 Another NatWest cock up to annoy customersMillions of furious NatWest customers are wondering why they bother banking with a company that makes so many boobs, and again, they found themselves locked out of their accounts after another IT balls-up.

Credit and debit card holders were not able to pay for things down the shops, or even withdraw money from cash machines after NatWest’s systems threw a wobbler.

NatWest have again found themselves apologising. This is the second time in a fortnight that their services have gone down.

In a statement, parent company RBS said: “Some customers may have experienced difficulties using our ATM network, and Chip and PIN facilities within our branches for a short period of time this morning. These issues have now been resolved. We apologise for the inconvenience caused to those customers affected.”

Only three months ago, half a million NatWest account holders were left without money following a systems failure. Back in June, both RBS and NatWest customers saw their payments vanishing from their accounts, leaving them without money. And there were more cock-ups in July. And of course, you’ll recall the fiasco in 2012 which saw millions of people locked out of their accounts and misplaced transactions, thanks to a software nightmare.

The latter saw RBS being slapped across the face with a record £56 million fine. And then what happened? Months later, the GetCash banking app feature was hacked.

Just remember – it is easier than ever to switch bank accounts and there’s a lot of decent offers knocking around to make it worth your while. Have look here for some info.

The next £20 will be plastic

September 2nd, 2015 9 Comments By Mof Gimmers

money 300x168 The next £20 will be plasticThe next £20 note that Britain gets will be printed on plastic. This will be the third note going to polymer, after the Bank of England had a 10-week public consultation which showed that 87% of those surveyed said they were in favour of this change. Or they said ‘not really arsed’.

Either way, it is happening and should be in circulation by the close of the decade.

You’ll remember that the £5 and £10 notes are already planned to go plastic, with the new fiver – starring Winston Churchill – being issued in Autumn 2016. The polymer £10 note will be in circulation some time in 2017.

Victoria Cleland, the Bank’s chief cashier, said that this switch to plastic is going to help to reduce fraud and make banknotes much more durable.

She added: “Experience from central banks that have issued polymer banknotes has been positive. Canada, for example, has seen a real reduction in counterfeit levels since launching its polymer series a few years ago. Polymer is also cleaner and more durable, leading to better quality notes in circulation.”

Will there be £50 polymer notes? We just don’t know. So few us get £50 in our hands, there’s a good chance we don’t care, too.

The next big question is from Mark Carney, the Bank of England’s governor, who wants to know who should be the next face of the £20 note. It should be a historical figure, who should “celebrate Britain’s achievements in the visual arts”. We’re hoping for Roy Race from Melchester Rovers or Max Headroom.

Co-op Bank’s losses nearly triple

August 20th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

co op bank 300x187 Co op Banks losses nearly tripleThe Co-operative Bank have been having a lousy time, beset by scandals and financial losses. Concerning the latter, those losses just won’t go away and the bank themselves have said that they won’t make a profit for at least another two years.

Their losses have nearly trebled in the first half of the year as the bank trundles on through their restructuring. The net-losses went up to £204m in the first six months of the year, up from £77m in the same period last year.

In a statement, they said that these losses are thanks to “the issues that came to light during 2013″ which “continue to dominate the financial performance of the business”. ”The required remediation and strategic investment together … [are] expected to drive losses in the bank for at least the next two years,” they continued.

Chief exec Niall Booker is overseeing the slow turnaround, and saw the bank narrowly avoiding a £120m fine from a pair of financial regulators.

“It is a campaign as opposed to a skirmish,” the chief executive said. “We have made some progress, but there is still a lot to do. The challenge is, we’ve got to keep the customer empathy and ethics, but change the other bits.”

Tough times.

creditcards Credit card holders can apply for compensation after being sold free security productsTwo million credit card holders are going to be able to make compensation claims, after being sold security products that were in fact, free.

There’s £270 each up for grabs for customers from RBS, Lloyds, AIB banks, Barclays, Capital One, HSBC, Santander, Clydesdale Bank, Danske Bank, Tesco Personal Finance and The Co-operative Bank.

So what’s the craic? Well, Affinion International Limited sold six different products, which were meant to offer protection if their card was nicked or subject to fraud. However, this was completely unnecessary because your bank would already reimburse you if your card gets reported lost or stolen, regarding unauthorised transactions above £50, once you’ve reported it.

Since customers may have been paying for this for five years, plus interest, that’s a compo payment of £270 for your troubles. It looks like the first compensation payments will be doled out some time next month.

If you’re eligible, you should receive a claim form within the next few weeks. You must return it no later than March 18th 2016.

When you get the form, fill it in, sign it and date it and return it in the envelope provided by AI Scheme Ltd. If you send a photocopy of it, it’ll be rejected, so no mucking about it. This is a claim you can do yourself, so if you get any claims management companies sniffing around you, they’re only after a cut, so bin all correspondence from them.

If you think that you’ve had one of the products, and haven’t received a form, then ring the AI Scheme helpline on 0800 678 1930 (or if you’re outside the UK, call +44 208 475 3103).

Claim as soon as you get the form and do not wait until the end of the seven month claim period, okay? Good.

Nationwide say tax changes could cost them £300m

August 18th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Nationwide 300x187 Nationwide say tax changes could cost them £300mThere’s a lot of changes going on in the world of tax, with shops saying new rules mean that ATMs may not be free any more. Now, Nationwide are saying that recent tax changes could cost them £300m over five years, which could well hit lending.

They say that changes to banking taxes which were announced in the Budget are going to cost them the equivalent of the capital needed to support £10bn of lending. Big talk indeed.

And then, passive aggressively, Nationwide told everyone how well they were doing, basically winking at the Chancellor with a ‘…and we won’t be able to help the country’s growth if you start playing silly buggers…‘.

In the first quarter, profit before tax increased to £379m, up from £253m the year before. Chief exec Graham Beale said: ”Nationwide accounted for more than a quarter of total net lending to the UK housing market.”

However, thanks to changes to the bank levy, and the addition of an introduction of a tax surcharge on banks, could hit Nationwide’s lending over five years. What are these changes? Well, George Osborne announced that the annual levy that banks pay on their balance sheets is going to be reduced from 0.21% to 0.1%, with the introduction of an 8% surcharge on banks’ profits.

Beale reckons that this stance will be useful to international banks in the UK, but detrimental to building societies.

“This represents a missed opportunity to support diversity by acknowledging that building societies are different to banks and to recognise the contribution Nationwide and other mutuals make by lending to the UK economy, and the housing market in particular,” he said.

sainsburys 300x192 Sainsburys drops cost of personal loans to 3.5%Sainsbury’s Bank have gone and hacked away at the interest rates for Nectar card havers for mid-sized personal loans. They’ve dropped it to 3.5%, which is very low indeed.

This rate sees Sainsbury’s undercutting Nationwide, M&S Bank, Cahoot, and First Direct, which were all the previous best-buys at 3.6%.

There is a caveat of course, but it could well suit some of you. You can borrow a 3.5% rate on loans of up to £19,999 if you agree that you’ll pay back what you owe within two and three years. If it transpires that you need more time to pay, the rate rises to 3.6% for 3-5 years to repay. If you need 5-7 years to pay back your loan, then that’ll come in a 5.6%.

There’s no penalties for those of you who would like to make overpayments, but if you’re going to clear what you owe early, you will be charged up to 58 days interest on the final balance.

Now, this is for those of you who already have a Nectar card. If you don’t have one, Sainsbury’s bank are charging a slightly higher rate of 3.6% for amounts between £7,500 and £15,000 (taken out over 1-5 years). If you don’t have a loyalty card, and are repaying over 5 or more years, then you get a rate of 5.6%.

So if you’re serious about getting a Sainsbury’s loan, then it would be wise to get yourself a Nectar card, which you can do online for free. Make sure you use your loyalty card in store or online within six months of applying for the loan, or you won’t get the discount.

Check out the Sainsbury’s Bank loan situation here.

TSB profits drop 44%

July 23rd, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

TSB bank 300x177 TSB profits drop 44%TSB – your new bank that is over 200 years old - have reported a 44% drop in profits in the first-half of their financial year.

So what’s the craic? Well, they said that their statutory pre-tax profit for the six months (to 30 June) weighed-in at £23.2m compared to £41.7m in the previous half-year, and one of the things that hurt them was the takeover by Sabadell.

TSB’s statement said: “Lower average loan balances and the recognition of the full-year Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy charge of £14.8 million in H1 (first half) 2015. Statutory profit before tax was further reduced by Sabadell transaction related costs.”

That said, the bank’s chief executive, Paul Pester, is bullish, saying that TSB is going “from strength to strength”. He pointed out that the bank is delivering a 6.7% share of all new and switching bank accounts in the last quarter, which is nice. They also launched a new mortgage broker service, which will coin it in for them.

Pester added: “Customers are really starting to see TSB as a destination for their mortgages, making us one of the fastest growing mortgage providers in the UK.”

“The completion of the Sabadell Group’s acquisition of TSB at a premium of over 30% to our IPO share price is recognition of the excellent progress and great potential of the Bank. We remain unwavering in our mission of bringing more competition to UK banking and, with the extra firepower of Sabadell behind us, we look forward to accelerating our growth plans and continuing to take on the big banks that have had a stranglehold on the UK market for far too long.”

Which!!! discover contactless security flaw

July 22nd, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

contactless payment Which!!! discover contactless security flawThe folks over at Which!!! have found a security flaw in contactless cards, which could potentially be something that criminals could exploit, and spend a load of money with your card.

There’s a limit on how much you can spend via a contactless payment, but the watchdog found that, by buying some cheap contactless card-reading technology, they were able to remotely make off with key details from a contactless card, and then use the info to buy stuff, including a telly that was worth £3,000.

That is considerably more than the £20 limit (increasing to £30 in September).

Which!!! tested 10 cards, and they found that, via software from what they call ‘a mainstream website’, they could read the card number and expiry date from all 10 cards. Don’t worry – the cards came from volunteers.

They were not able to get the CVV security code from the back of the cards, but it turned out that this didn’t matter, as they were able to make purchases without the cardholder’s name or CVV code.

With their dodgy reader, a mere tap saw Which!!! getting enough details to enable a trip to the online shops, and thanks to online transactions not being subject to a limit, some scamster could go crazy with your card.

Peter Eisenegger, a security expert who helped develop EU standards for contactless cards, told Which!!! that it would be possible for crims to get a card reader that could lift your details from further away than the one in this test.

He said: “It’s vital to protect consumers from fraudsters who have the knowhow to develop mobile card readers with much greater reading distances than those used by retailers.”