Posts Tagged ‘money’
The 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.”
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.
There’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.
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.
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.”
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.”
In the last year, the Big Four lost more than a quarter of a million current account, with Barclays waving farewell to 98,400 customers. NatWest saw net losses of 71,040 for NatWest, with 45,119 ditching Lloyds Bank and 44,953 sacking off HSBC, according to Bacs data.
This is all thanks to the switching service, which was brought about in 2013, but is finally catching on, which makes it easier to change which bank you use. Now, the switching time for a current account is 7 days, rather than the old 30 working day period.
It also automatically switches you incoming and outgoing payments, and regarding all payments that are made to or requested from the old account in error, to be automatically redirected to the new account for 36 months after you’ve switched.
The big banks are losing a lot of customers and, including the banks outside the Big Four, last year, 1.1 million people changed to a new bank. With figures showing that only 69% of people have heard of this service, things could get real for some of the crapper banks, and fast.
It looks like the favourite of switchers are Santander (and their 123 current account), Nationwide Building Society and Halifax, who are offering £100 to switch and a £5 monthly reward too.
So shop around. See what works best for you and once you’ve found something better, apply to open a new account and, with the new lot, tell them that you want to switch to them and they’ll help you from there.
The Consumer Finance Association said that these new rules are the reason that there’s been a 70% reduction for those wanting to access short-term credit. When the Financial Conduct Authority started to play hardball with payday lenders, people wanting cash started to look elsewhere.
And while, according to Citizens Advice, the number of complaints and problems about payday loans have halved on the previous year, the CFA ‘Credit 2.0′ report says that people have gone to nastier lenders.
CFA chief executive Russell Hamblin-Boone said of their findings: “Credit 2.0 takes a fresh look at alternative forms of credit, including short-term loans, and shows that turning off the credit tap has had no impact on demand or debt levels. It is an attempt to educate all those who continue to call for further restrictions on lenders without considering the consequences for millions of families.”
“Our analysis of hundreds of thousands of loan applications proves that borrowers are being excluded from credit and concerns are growing for how they are filling the gap in their finances. It’s time to draw a line under the attacks on short-term lenders, recognise the huge improvements in lending and accept that we have a highly-regulated, legitimate market to keep people out of the hands of unscrupulous, illegal lenders.”
“The report shows the scale of the challenge for the regulator in finding the right balance between consumer protection and maintaining a competitive alternative credit market.”
What exactly is the scale of the challenge? Well, the report reckons that 39% of payday loan customers don’t have any other access to obtaining credit. The report adds that credit unions are not a viable option for many, and that trad. arr. lending services are outdated, being usurped by new technology.
Hamblin-Boone added: “The economy is growing again, but the financial landscape has changed forever. Technology is changing the way we live and our ‘instant society’ demands quick decisions, simple products and convenient ways to borrow small sums for short periods of time. Critics of innovation that refuse to embrace the change by trying to hold back the tide could find themselves swept away by modern life.”
So, now to know how to use Apple Pay, because we told you how – but that was no use to HSBC customers, who seemed to be getting left out of the whole thing.
The strange thing about the delay, was that HSBC were originally listed as one of Apple’s banking partners at launch, but that wasn’t the case. Weirder still, was the fact that HSBC were the ones to blab about when the launch date was.
Anyway, most of the big guns are on board already, but there are some people still waiting. If you’re a customer of Bank of Scotland, Halifax, Lloyds, M&S Bank and TSB, you’ll have to wait ’til Autumn. We’re sure you’ll live.
Barclays, meanwhile, are oddly quiet about the whole thing and all they’ll say is that a collaboration will be coming ‘in the future’.
So there you have it. HSBC have joined the future and some other banks, for whatever reason, haven’t. Meanwhile, everyone with an Android phone literally couldn’t care less.
Confused.com have published their Confused.com car insurance price index, which is a fantastically catchy name indeed. However, they’ve found something that won’t surprise you, but will irritate you to the point where you might grind all the teeth out of your face.
They’ve noted that the average price of comprehensive cover has gone up in the UK.
The average premium is now £600, which is a rise of £9 on the previous quarter, and £21 over the course of the last 12 months.
So what does this mean for you? Well, ‘you’ is a bunch of different people, so let us wade through some figures. If you’re a man who is between 21-25 years old, you’ve seen the largest annual increase, which won’t shock many. If you live in London, then you’ve got the most expensive car insurance in the UK.
The place which has been their insurance rocket by the most, is Dundee, where drivers have seen their insurance go up from £386 to £445 over the past year. If you live in Manchester or Merseyside, you’ll be glad to know that there was a small dip in how much you have to fork out, with comprehensive policies falling by £4, from £808 to £804.
Anyway, if you missed the link in the first line of this article, get all the information you need about this, by clicking here.
British Gas has announced a 5% cut in gas bills, which will give the average customer a saving of £35 per year. Now, normally, that’s pretty good news, but this is British Gas who have, to put it bluntly, been taking the piss for years.
Even though this is the second gas price reduction in six months, which combined, is supposed to save us £72, British Gas have enjoyed a 25% fall in the wholesale cost of gas since December 2014. While any reduction in bills is welcomed, they could have absolutely passed on more savings.
Stephen Murray, from MoneySuperMarket and not very happy about the whole thin, said that this price cut is “long overdue, and may seem underwhelming compared to how low wholesale prices are”.
Of course, British Gas have an answer for everything, and they’ve said that other costs had gone up.
Mark Hodges, from British Gas, said: “If you look at transmission costs – the cost of the pipes that move the gas around the country – actually those costs have been going up steadily for a number of years.”
Anyway, the drop in price will come into play from 27th August and will benefit 6.9 million customers.
Striking is a touchy subject among many, but here at Bitterwallet, we tend to side with workers, rather than chief executives and MPs. Now, there’s news that the government are drawing up new legislation which is designed to make it harder for workers to go on strike.
This means, there’s going to be a lot of bother for a lot of businesses, should it go through.
The Trades Union Bill proposes a number of things, including a requirement for a minimum turnouts in strike ballots, time limits on mandates for industrial action and changes to political levies. The government say that will provide some balance to those going on strike, and to the businesses.
The unions aren’t having that, saying that these measures will make it nigh-on impossible to go on strike, legally. This, of course, is a huge problem because that puts the odds in the favour of businesses, and, as we know from Steely Dan and the Super Furry Animals, the man don’t give a f*ck about anybody else.
Now, this isn’t a surprising move from a government run by the Conservatives because they historically don’t like people going on strike. The bill will get its first reading today, as it is officially introduced to Parliament. Alas, there won’t be a debate about it – yet.
The Tories wanted to introduce these new rules ages ago, but they were part of the coalition, and the move was scuppered by the Liberal Democrats. The new bill says that a strike affecting “core” public services (transport, health, fire services or education) would need the support of 40% of eligible union members if it is to go ahead legally. There would also need to be a minimum 50% turnout for strike ballots to be valid.
Another thing the Conservatives are looking at, is a change in rules so that the current restrictions on getting temps and agency staff in to do the work of those on strike, are removed.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Trade unions have a constructive role to play in representing their members’ interests but our one nation government will balance their rights with those of working people and business. These changes are being introduced so that strikes only happen when a clear majority of those entitled to vote have done so and all other possibilities have been explored.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady referred to this bill as “a slippery slope towards worse rights for all”, while Unite have taken the phrase “so far as may be lawful” from its constitution, with general secretary Len McCluskey saying: “Unite is not going to see itself rendered toothless by passively submitting to unjust laws. If the Tories wish to put trade unionism beyond the law, then they must take the consequences.”
“We are ready for the fight, and we will, I believe, find allies throughout society, amongst everyone who cares for freedom and democracy.”
Of course, there are a number of people who simply don’t agree with some strikes. The recent Tube strike saw a lot of angry members of the public ranting on social media, which provided some impressive zingers.
Our favourite head-to-head was this.
Anyway, whichever side of the fence you’re on, the government are trying to shake up things in the world of strike action, and this fight is invariably going to get very, very ugly.
We know that the Tories have form, but a lot of eyes will be on the Labour Party to see what they’ll do. You can smell the warm pants of trouble with all this and it feels like there’s going to be a lot of interruptions to public services and businesses.
There’s going to be bother.
Drops in the prices of clothes and food were the main reason for the rate change, according to the excitable folks at the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Bank of England governor Mark Carney jumped in as well, saying breathlessly that he thinks inflation will remain low in the immediate short term.
Get a load of that!
The rate of Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation – which just so happens to include housing costs, like mortgage interest payments and council tax, was 1% in June, which is unchanged from last month.
“Inflation has continued its pattern of recent months, when prices have been very little changed on the previous year,” said Philip Gooding from the ONS. ”The headline rate for June has dropped very slightly on May, back to zero, thanks to small downwards effects from movements in clothing and food prices and air fares.”
So, while this is good news for consumers, people who crunch numbers don’t like long periods of negative inflation. They think it bad for the economy. The reason for that is, that people might not throw their money around, on the off chance that everything continues to get cheaper.
“The data therefore raise questions over the whether underlying price pressures are really picking up to the extent than the Bank of England is anticipating,” said Chris Williamson, chief UK economist at Markit. ”The Bank of England needs to determine whether pay growth will continue to accelerate as firms compete for staff, or whether low inflation will keep the overall rate of increase below levels that would normally worry the monetary policy committee into hiking interest rates.”
You might be wondering how to do it, because you might not be as tech savvie as everyone on the internet. Don’t sweat it – we’re here to guide you through it.
What Do I Need?
Right, you’ll need one of the following – an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, an iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3, an Apple Watch that you’ve synced-up with your iPhone 5/iPhone 5c/iPhone 5s/iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus. Your phone needs to be running on iOS 8.3 or above. If you think you need to update your operating system, click here to sort that out.
You will also need to have your fingerprint with Touch ID, as well as having an iCloud account on a phone that has the United Kingdom set at the region. And of course, you’ll need a credit or debit card from a bank that is supporting Apple Pay.
I’m Not Sure If My Bank Supports Apple Pay!
The short answer is that Barclays haven’t signed-up with Apple yet. The long answer is that RBS, Nat West, Nationwide, Ulster Bank, MBNA, Santander, are. In the next 4 weeks, HSBC will have joined-in too. Later in the year, the Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Halifax, M&S Bank and TSB Bank will be on board too.
So How Do I Set Up Apple Pay On My Device?
Get on your device and open Passbook. If you need to go through the menus, go to Settings, then hit Passbook and Apple Pay. There, you’ll add your card by hitting the plus symbol. Or, it might say Add Credit or Debit Card. Depends which device you’re adding it to. You might have already added your card when you linked it with your iTunes account, in which case, you’ll only have to pop in your security code.
You’ll click ‘Next’ to get everything verified with your bank and, once they’ve given you the all-clear, you’re set. In the Passbook section, you can add a number of cards, if you like.
Where Can I Use Apple Pay?
There’s over 250,000 retailers who will be accepting Apple Pay, and we’re certainly not going to list them all here. You’ll see that some shops have signs saying they accept Apple Pay. However, some of the bigger stores include Lidl, Boots, M&S, the Post Office, McDonald’s, Waitrose, Costa, KFC, Starbucks, BP, Wagamama, Subway and Nando’s.
More and more shops will be getting down with Apple Pay in the coming months. You can also use it like an Oyster Card on the readers on London’s public transport.
So How Am I Supposed To Use The Thing?
Have you done a contactless payment with your debit card? If so, very similar to that. If not, it is really straightforward.
Hold your phone over the card reader with your thumb/finger (the one you stored with Touch ID – so sucks to be you if you did it with your nipple or dog’s nose) on the home button, and Passbook will automatically kick in. Your device will vibrate and make a ping! noise, and your payment is done. Just to be extra thorough, your device will day ‘Done’ on the screen.
If you’re planning on using it through your Apple Watch, then, when making a payment, double-click the side button to get your card up, then hold it next to the card reader and, again, it’ll vibrate and ping!, and you’re away.
What Is An iPhone?
Don’t you worry. You can still pay for things with money. Don’t get worked up about it all.
And that has been announced by a loudmouth from HSBC. In a tweet (since deleted), the @HSBC_UK account, when asked about the contactless service, said: “Yes! It’s due to launch this Tuesday! We are excited too.”
HSBC have since said that “there is no set date for launch”, but no-one is having any of that and the person running the social media account of HSBC has probably been locked in a stationary cupboard with a venomous snake, which will be then set on fire and used in a bankers’ ritual to some false god.
Of course, retailers have already been putting their signs up around the country, saying that they’ll be supporting Apple Pay, so we knew it would be soon. Everyone, apart from Barclays, have signed-up for the service.
Obviously, it’ll be compatible with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch, and if you fancy it, as soon as Apple give the official green light, you can go into your settings and add your card.