Posts Tagged ‘money’

Barclays customers can pay cheques via photo

July 3rd, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Barclays PA 300x225 Barclays customers can pay cheques via photoEven though there’s loads of ways of paying for things via ways that aren’t cheques, Barclays are seemingly reluctant to let them go, as they roll out their ‘cheque imagining’ service a million more of its customers.

What’s all this about? Well, you can pay in cheques by taking a photograph of it, rather than walking to a branch with it in your hand. Of course, this has been around on iPhone for a while, but now, it is on Android, on the back of nearly £750,000 deposited through the service.

This technology lets you pay in cheques worth (up to) £500, and the money is available to spend immediately.

Normally, a cheque takes a couple of days to go through clearing. If your cheque bounces, then you are notified and the money is removed from your account. Some of you are already thinking of ways to bend the rules on this, we can tell.

On its terms and conditions, it says: “You authorise us to take a cheque payment back out of your Barclays account – even if we have allowed you to make a payment or take cash out against it.”

This ruling allows for cheques accidentally paid into the wrong too, so that’s something.

Ashok Vaswani, Barclays personal and corporate banking chief executive, said: “Our customers have welcomed this convenient new way of depositing one of the oldest forms of payment, which is why extending to android phones is an important step forward in giving all customers the ability to pay in cheques using their mobile devices.”

bank sign Thousands free to reopen claims for compensation from banks?The High Court could be tearing up thousands of legal settlements between customers and their banks over the misselling of interest rate swaps scandal, thanks to a legal spat between the Lloyds Banking Group and the owner of a property company, Gary Hartland.

The Libor-fixing case brought by Hartland’s Wingate Associates could allow individuals to revisit settlement agreements. Lloyds are obviously very unhappy about this, as it has already cost them billions already.

So what’s the craic? Wingate Associates are claiming that the settlement they received in 2011 over misselling should be overturned, thanks to the bank’s involvement in fixing Libor. Lloyds argue that the settlement should hold, because they’re presumably bored of dealing with all this.

Thus far, over 12,000 settlement agreements relating to interest rates have been sorted out under the Financial Conduct Authority redress scheme, which has a value somewhere in the region of £2bn. You can imagine that, should even a small fraction of these claimants reopen their cases, it could be very costly indeed.

Stephen Rosen, the head of financial disputes at law firm Collyer Bristow, told the Indy: “The value of claims out there is still very substantial. When you add Libor-fixing to a claim it can swell its value very quickly and matters such as consequential loss are brought into play.”

What’s more, Hartland has sued before over Libor-fixing. Previously, he made a claim against Barclays through another company he ran (called Guardian Care Homes), which was settled out of court by the bank for £40m.

A spokesman for Lloyds said: “As the matter is now subject to legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate to comment in any detail. However, having previously agreed a full and final settlement with the customer in 2011, we do not believe the matter has any merit and it will be vigorously contested.”

barclays logo 2480 300x225 Barclaycard have three new NFC devices for contactless payingThere’s increased interest in paying for things contactlessly (yes, that’s a dreadful and clunky word, but we’re sticking with it), and Apple’s moves in the area are only going to see that increase.

Of course, Barclaycard have been supporting contactless tech for a while now, but they recently pulled their products as they wanted to do something new. And lo, they came back with three new products to help you pay for things with gadgets (and no, we’re not talking about those silly, silly gloves they were looking at).

Barclaycard is releasing three wearable bPay devices, in the form of a wristband, a fob and a sticker. While these might seem familiar to you, Barclaycard assure us that these are different.

For starters, the money botherers have launched a new website and app which allow bPay fanciers to transfer money into their digital wallet, look at their purchases and change payment settings for each individual device. And you don’t have to be a Barclays or Barclaycard customer to use them – if you have a UK-issued Visa or Mastercard debit or credit card, you can try these out.

Barclays won’t be supporting Apple Pay just yet, but eventually they will. It looks like they’ve been too busy tinkering with their own thing to be sorting out stuff for another company.

All three devices will go on sale via the bPay website from July 1st and they’ll cost you. For a sticker, you’ll pay £14.99 for the sticker, £19.99 for the fob and for the wristband, that’ll be £24.99 please.

Payments are limited to £20, and from September, that goes up to £30.

Apple Pay: only good for £20

June 26th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

apple pay 300x169 Apple Pay: only good for £20At some point next month, people in the UK will be able to use Apple Pay, which is backed by a shedload of merchants and retailers. However, the crappy news is that customers will only be able to spend £20 at a time.

It won’t be forever though, because when September comes around, you’ll be able to spend a whopping £30!

This is all a bit of a damp squib, as most people can make contactless payments for these amounts with their cards, but hey ho, some might want to show off that they’ve got an iPhone to everyone else for some reason.

Most people won’t be affected by all this, but it is definitely something to keep in mind, say, if you’re travelling to the UK and intent on using your phone as a payment option – get back-up.

It is worth noting though, that merchants with terminals “capable and configured properly” will be able to support larger transactions.

“To accept Apple Pay for transactions over £20, your payment terminal must be capable and configured properly, and your payment provider needs to support the latest network contactless specifications”, says Apple in its FAQ.

pensions 300x187 New pension freedoms see £1bn taken out over 2 monthsWe’ve been going on about the new pensions freedoms for a while now, telling you what to look out for and whatnot, and it seems a lot of people have been getting stuck right into it.

It has been reported that over-55s have withdrawn £1 billion from pension pots in the first two months since these new directives came into play. According to the chancellor, 60,000 individual investors had withdrawn an average of £17,000 each, after the government allowed pension savers to take money from their pensions whenever they like.

Of course, there’s a worry that these freedoms will allow people to fritter away their pensions and spend all their retirement money, and ultimately end up having to rely on state funds. Others have criticised this new pension regime, saying that all this might make things easier for fraudulent investment people, and that older people could be on the receiving end of unexpected tax bills and the like.

You try telling nana that, who has been getting stuck into the gin with her feet up in Majorca for the past 8 weeks.

“The UK has a problem with saving, not spending,” says Old Mutual Wealth’s Adrian Walker, “so care needs to be taken when deciding how to measure the success of the pension freedoms.”

“I would suggest that a more appropriate measure of success will not come for many years, when those people who have withdrawn money from their pensions are still enjoying the retirement they planned and saved many years for.”

Paying Bills 300x199 Could you save almost £250 a year by scrapping paper bills and going direct debit?It always used to be the case that those technologically-savvy sorts who wanted to pay by direct debit or service their account online got a discount for being so clever. Now, of course, it is the Luddites who still want paper who instead face a premium on their bills, despite the fact that Which!!! reckon that almost 60% of their members say they “have concerns” about managing bills online, with nearly half saying they find it easier to track their finances with paper bills. So just how much extra are you paying if you want, or need, those paper statements?

Which!!! totted up the extra costs faced by customers who paid for their broadband bundles, mobile phones and energy by bank transfer and received itemised paper bills, and reckon that these customers are paying up to £243 a year extra. They also decided to ‘name and shame’ the companies who have the largest penalty prices for paper customers, who are clearly charging over and above the additional admin cost of printing off statements.

Virgin Media customers who don’t pay by direct debit could pay up to £60 a year extra, plus £1.75 a month for paper bills. That’s an additional £81 on an annual bill. Virgin told us it provides a variety of payment options and continually reviews its charges.

TalkTalk doesn’t even give new customers the choice to pay by bank transfer – anyone signing up is forced to pay by direct debit. TalkTalk said most of its customers pay online and claimed it offered more ways to pay and to save money on bills ‘than any other broadband provider’.

If you’re on the Three network and you don’t pay by direct debit or arrange a continuous payment authority from a credit or debit card you will pay an extra £49 a year. EE and Vodafone charge non-direct debit customers £42 more a year. On top of that, EE, O2 and Three charge customers £1.50 a month for paper bills; Vodafone an even more (slightly)expensive £1.54.

Although it is harder to compare additional costs of energy services, given they are normally built in to different tariffs, Scottish Power’s standard tariff with paperless billing and direct debit is £95 a year cheaper than the equivalent tariff with paper and non-direct debit options, with the average premium cost of a paperless tariff being £37.

And it’s not just services- Which!!! found that half of the 10 top-paying easy-access accounts were online-only – and six out of the 10 major savings account providers offered better rates on accounts with no branch access- top penaliser here was HSBC whose Online Bonus Saver pays 0.75% interest, compared with its branch-accessible Flexible Saver, which pays just 0.1%- that would equate to a massive £65 loss in interest if you had £10,000 in savings.

So how much could you save by going paperless and using direct debit? Or do you feel it is unfair that you are penalised for choosing to manage your bills differently?

cash 300x225 Nice little earner  take a backhander from HMRCTimes have been tough, and what with summer holiday season coming up, who wouldn’t like a nice little extra in their pocket? Well, it seems there is a quick and easy way to get some spare cash, and all you have to do is snitch on your ex-partner/significant other/neighbours to HMRC…

New figures show that backhanders payments to tax informants have jumped by almost 50% in the last year. In 2014/15 a record £600,000 was paid to people who had reported suspected tax dodges by calling HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) confidential telephone hotline, with around 100,000 calls made, compared with £402,000 paid out the year before, and a similar amount (£395,000) in 2012/13.

Now, mathematicians will have spotted that £600,000 in payments compared with 100,000 calls does not add up to a fat lot of cash per call. But many of the callers to the helpline do not necessarily have a pecuniary motive behind the call. The majority of people who tell tales on report the tax affairs of others are bitter ex-wives (or husbands) or disgruntled former work colleagues. Sources suggest that a reward of between £50 and £1,000 is most commonly given, but only if the information leads the taxman to a “big win”. Of course, should you have extremely lucrative information, that could also translate to a higher pay out.

But why have the amounts gone up this year? Either people are just getting grumpier with each other, or people are wising up to the fact that, if they are inclined to share some juicy details with HMRC, they may as well be compensated for their trouble.

The ‘hotline’ for tax informants was set up in April 2006, and launched with a £1 million advertising campaign that showed a worker ‘getting away’ without paying tax. However, what is less widely publicised is the fact that HMRC have discretion to pay you  for your information- after all, if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it properly. Adam Craggs, a tax partner at law firm RPC, suggested insightfully that “if too many people know that they can get paid for information supplied to HMRC they may be less willing to provide information for free.”

A spokesman for HMRC said: “The majority of people who provide information to us do so without any expectation of a financial reward. Cash rewards are discretionary and based on what is brought in as a direct result of the information provided.

“We receive information from a wide variety of sources and it is always used to make sure everyone pays what they should.”

Now, the only question that remains is- are HMRC backhanders undeclared income too…?

Government to sell off RBS at a loss

June 11th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

george osborne 300x300 Government to sell off RBS at a lossThe Government is going to sell its majority stake in RBS, at a loss. Now, before we finish this article, how much would you like to bet that they blame it on Labour? Are you ready? Let us find out.

RBS was rescued from the financial meltdown which affected the whole of the Western world, with £45.5bn of public money. The 79% stake that us taxpayers have will be sold in the coming months, most likely at a loss.

At his annual speech at Mansion House, George Osborne said: ”It’s the right thing to do for British businesses and taxpayers. Yes, we may get a lower price than Labour paid for it. But the longer we wait, the higher the price the whole economy will pay.”

Boom! There it is! Although, that was quite a gentle dig from the Chancellor, so he must be mellowing. He continued: ”And when you take the banks in total, we’re making sure taxpayers get back billions more than they were forced to put in.”

Seems like the Government are tired of messing around with the sale of the banks involved, and they just want to get the whole thing done so they can focus on other things. The official line is that Osborne reached the “decision point” after a review concluded that taxpayers’ losses would be more than offset by profits on other bank share sales.

Either way, if this works out, the estimated profit on all this will be in advance of £14bn, which is better than a loss of between £20bn and £50bn, which was forecast at the time of the bail-outs. The problem with RBS is that their market value is somewhere in the region of £23bn, which is half the amount taxpayers put in.

However, the estimates aren’t universally agreed upon, with the New Economics Foundation saying that selling the Government’s stake in RBS will result in a total loss of between £13bn and £26bn. They described the sell-off as the “reckless fire-sale of a vital economic asset”.

There’s going to be hell to pay if the RBS sale goes off cheaply, like the Royal Mail shares debacle. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Surge in contactless card use

June 4th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

contactless payment Surge in contactless card useSince the limit on contactless payments went up, it looks like people are a bit more willing to use the service. That, and it still feels like the whole thing is powered by exciting witchcraft.

With chip & pin being ever-so-slightly time-consuming, it looks like UK consumers are getting into the idea of paying for small shopping trips and, according to the UK Cards Association, there was a 331% increase seen in contactless card spending last year, totalling an impressive £2.32bn of buying stuff.

Now that the limit is higher, it’ll only increase further.

This is good news for all those tech companies investing in contactless NFC payments that you can do with your mobiles.

That said, cards aren’t dead just yet – they’re still the preference for most and has seen an increase too. Richard Koch (stop laughing at the back), head of policy at the UK Cards Association, said: “Consumers are making more than twice as many card payments every day than they were 10 years ago, a clear sign of how people are now choosing to use the cards in their wallet rather than cash.”

“With more places now accepting cards, contactless payments and the rise in online shopping, the large jump in card spending we saw last year looks set to continue.”

It is thought that, by 2024, 52.5 million card payments will be made each day, because young people don’t like anything anything that’s in a physical format.

pensions 300x187 Small companies need to enrol staff with pension schemeIf you work for a small businesses that has less than 30 staff, then your work are being asked to enrol all staff in a company pension scheme from today.

These new regulations cover businesses that employ anyone over the age of 22 who earns more than £10,000 a year. That includes people who have only one member of staff, such as those who employee a carer or a nanny.

This is all part of the Government’s automatic enrolment scheme, and by the close of October 2017, it is thought that as many as 1.3 million small businesses will be signed up, giving 10 million workers a pension they didn’t think they’d get.

Of course, this could be rather tricky for some employers, but companies should heed this warning, as they could be fined for ignoring their auto-enrolment obligations.

It is great news for staff though, who will now be entitled to a pension, even if they’re the sole employee at their place of work.

Lloyds sale to step up within next 12 months

June 1st, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Lloyds Banking Group 001 Lloyds sale to step up within next 12 monthsThe sale of Lloyds bank is moving up a gear, as the government have confirmed that they’ll launch a share sale open to retail investors “in the next 12 months”, and ”further details will be set out in due course.”

George Osborne has said in the past that he is going to make some Lloyds shares available to small investors at a discount to the price on the market, as part of the sell-off.

The Treasury will also extend their plan to flog shares in Lloyds to the end of the year, as the scheme was originally meant to end at the end of June. By extending the sale, this will all help the Chancellor to sell a further £9bn Lloyds shares.

The government’s stake is now below 19%, as they’ve sold another 1% of shares in the bank, which we all bailed out in 2008 thanks to the worldwide banking crisis. The government originally owned a 41% stake, but they’re getting rid of it, bit by bit after putting £20bn in.

Thus far, they’ve got back over £10.5bn.

George Osborne thinks that the whole thing has been a “huge success” and that, by extending the sale, it’ll only fill the coffers further and help to reduce the national debt. We’ll see, eh?

android pay logo Android Pay   Googles latest coin generatorAs predicted, Google have announced that they’re giving everyone a new way of paying for things, called Android Pay. Like all the other apps, it allows you to pay for things by wafting your phone at a machine and will be introduced down the shops in due time.

All the tech and financial big guns are getting in on the action, despite the fact most people have never even seen someone complete a payment with a phone’s near-field technology, let alone used it themselves. Most people are still cooing at contactless payments on their cards like they’re in a science fiction film, set in Japan 4729AD.

Anyway, undeterred, Android Pay is getting cosy with over 700,000 shops in That America and then they’ll be rolling it out across the world. There’s no mention of a UK release date, so it looks like Android are doing the same as Apple and getting out in the States to iron out all the bugs first.

If you’re uninitiated in all this, basically, to use Android Pay, you’d unlock your phone as you normally would, and then, you hold your device over the machine in the shop, they wirelessly talk to each other, some of your data gets gobbled up and, hey presto, you’ve made a payment. You’ll be glad to know that retailers won’t store your account number, which is something.

In addition to this, Android Pay will work with other apps, so you can hit the payment button while looking at things in, say, Groupon.

If you don’t like reading words, here’s a video with the usual musical hipster drivel, telling you all about it. Beware – there’s a lot of irritating people in this.

banks Overdrafts stop people from switching accountsHave you wanted to switch bank accounts, but felt you couldn’t because you have an overdraft? Well, it seems that this is quite a common feeling in the UK, according to research.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have found that people aren’t looking around for better deals or looking to switch, even though a number of banks to accept customers who are overdrawn.

There aren’t any regulations that prevent you from switching accounts if you have an overdraft, according to a spokesperson from the Payments Council. Of course, there are some banks that might turn you down or ask that you pay off your overdraft first, but some are actually willing to take on the debt.

A lot of banks will be happy to take your overdraft because, instead of having to pay you interest, they can charge you for being overdrawn. It really is that simple.

This is all part of the CMA’s research into the competitiveness of UK banks, as consumers are really not keen on changing who they bank with, despite the change in rules which got rid of a 30 day switching period to a 7-day one. The figures show that only 3% of customers surveyed had actually bothered to change banks, with over half staying with the same bank for 10-or-more years.

The CMA said it hasn’t reached any conclusions and will carry on looking at customer perceptions of switching, and whether having multiple products from the same bank makes it harder to move.

loadsamoney 300x187 Cash   no longer the payment everyone loves

The best things in live are free – but you can give keep them for the birds and bees, I want… well… a card transaction or an online payment would be nice, actually.

You see, for the first time, cold hard cash is not the favoured method of paying for stuff in the UK, as cards and online transactions have overtaken the use of coins and notes. You want stats? Figures show that, last year, £19.8bn was spent using cards, online payments or cheques while £18.3bn was paid in actual physical money.

Of course, this doesn’t mean cash is going to vanish overnight – it is really pathetic to see someone trying to ‘make it rain’ in a stripclub by sending money via PayPal. No-one ever flaunted their wealth by simply pointing at the banking app on their mobile. You can’t really 2p someone with BitCoins.

Either way, the Payments Council reckon that, by 2024, less than a third of the money we spend will be in cash. And it looks like, with the advent of contactless payments and Click And Collect services, that people will have less reason to carry loads of money about their person, which is obviously bad news for muggers.

Stats show nearly 1-in-10 people say they now use cash machines less than once a month.

£20 note 300x180 Who would you like to see on the new £20 note?The public – aka ‘you reprobates’ – are going to be asked to choose someone to be the face of the new £20 note. Sadly, we’re not going to get rid of the Queen, but rather, whichever pin-making pillock currently resides on the reverse.

Sadly, you can’t just choose anyone you like, so don’t think we’ll all be able to get together and rig the result and end up with Bananaman or Sam Allardyce on the back – The Bank of England has launched a consultation to nominate a painter, sculptor, photographer or fashion designer who has made a great contribution to British society to appear on the money.

Want in? Well, nominations should be made over at the Bank’s website and you’ve got until 19th July to do it and the new note will come into circulation for three to five years, just in case everyone chooses someone rubbish.

Nominations can only be made for dead people, so don’t think about choosing anyone alive.

At the launch of the nomination thingy, governor Mark Carney said: “There are a wealth of individuals within the field of visual arts whose work shaped British thought, innovation, leadership, values and society and who continue to inspire people today.”

“I greatly look forward to hearing from the public who they would like to celebrate.”

So who would we like to see? Well, for starters, we’d like to see Alfred Hitchcock in silhouette form, possibly surrounded by a load of evil crows. In fact, we refuse to think of any other people. That’s clearly the best answer.