Why you shouldn’t use auto renewal for your annual services

A major investigation by a British newspaper has found that many banks, insurance companies and utility providers are giving customers the wrong information about their rights when it comes to cancelling auto renewal annual payments for their products. Millions of Britons pay for things like car, home or travel insurance; breakdown cover; subscriptions; and even gym memberships by direct debit or standing order. But millions of others enter into so-called auto renewal continuous payment authorities – which are also called recurring payments – to pay for these services. These payments are set up using either a credit or debit card. This means you are authorising the service provider to take the payments for the service directly and without notifying you of its intention to do so. Wrong advice Many companies the major high street banks included have apparently told customers that once a continuous payment has been authorised neither they nor the customer concerned can cancel it. The


Amigo Store joins Solution Loans | FCA to investigate Rent-to-Own sector

The FCA, who regulates amongst other things consumer credit in the UK, announced today that it may impose a price cap on high street rent-to-own companies, such as BrightHouse and Perfect Home. We ve already blogged about the high costs of buying typical household appliances from this type of company: Do rent to buy retailers make financial sense? Is high street rent to own a sensible financial choice? The FCA stated that this review is part of a wider review of high cost consumer credit that also encompasses unauthorised overdrafts. It s initial analysis of the UK high cost short term credit market led to a price cap being applied to payday loans at the start of 2015. In the 18 months since that cap was put in place the number of payday loans issued has reduced by 800,000 with far fewer people falling into arrears and defaulting on their loan. The Review of Rent-to-Own is very Welcome The UK rent-to-own sector has grown considerably in recent years. There are now hundreds of stores s

How to get help with your winter fuel costs

Winter is almost here and with it the likelihood of for cold days and nights. While recent winters have been mild, the Met Office contingency forecast for the first half of winter 2016/17 has indicated that colder conditions are more likely than during the previous three. If you are old, infirm or on a low income, then heating your home and staying warm through the colder months can be both challenging and dispiriting. But there are some government schemes designed to help you cut your winter fuel costs. And even if these are not as generous as you might like, every little helps as they say. How you can get help with winter fuel costs Budgeting loans If you are in receipt of pension credit, the income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income support of the Employment and Support Allowance, then you may be eligible for a Budgeting Loan from the Social Fund. People who are in receipt of Universal Credit can apply for a Budgeting Advance. If you’ve been receiving one of these benefits fo

Why a Will is important and how to make a will

Making a will is important and yet it’s thought that more than half of people over the age of 50 have not written one and made no provision in the event of their death. A will sets out what happens to your estate – your money, all your possessions and your property – when you die. If you don’t make a will, then the courts will end up deciding how your estate is apportioned after your death and this may mean that your relatives do not get the inheritance that you or they want. Everyone s impression of what a will looks like something formal and dull. But it is critical you have one and making one need not be hard.   What’s important about a will? When you make a will, your family and friends will have a much simpler time sorting out your estate after your death. If you die without making a will, then it’s almost guaranteed that this will be more complicated, take longer and cause unnecessary stress and anxiety for your loved ones. When you die without a will being in pla

How to cut the cost of Sky TV or find cheaper alternatives

Sky TV was one of the first providers to offer forward thinking home entertainment. Over the years, it has remained at the forefront of the market but it’s not the only choice. Today, many of us still opt for Sky TV out of habit. However, whether you’re looking for broadband, cable or pay per view you might be paying more than you need to with Sky. Sky Price increases As of June this year, Sky increased its prices once again – some subscriptions rose by as much as £72 a year. That’s a significant increase for any annual budget. Sky currently has more than 12 million UK subscribers across the country. So, that means for about a third of households in the UK, prices have gone up, some quite substantially. The reality is that we may be paying more than we need to. Sky has said that individual prices increases are capped at 8% for each customer. However, if you add the price increase to various ad ons, such as multi room cable or non-packaged sports channels, the end cost can be

How to get the best travel money foreign currency exchange rates

Exchange rate forecasts have been somewhat gloomy since the Brexit vote. However, although the pound may have dropped, you can still get the best possible rates on travel money if you know how. Perhaps you’re planning some winter sun for the new year. Or maybe you’re looking to gift currency to a traveller in the family for Christmas. We’ve got some great tips on how to find the best travel currency rates right now. Make sure you know the lingo The fastest way to get a bad deal on travel money is to get confused. Key to this is understanding what the jargon means. A ‘sell rate’ is what you will get when you hand over British pounds. A ‘buy rate’ applies to a situation where you’re exchanging currency you didn’t spend back into pounds. And the gap between the two rates is the profit margin earned by the currency trader it can be quite large! Buy your foreign currency online Many of the best travel money exchange rates are to be found online. Even if you’re buying fr

What does a “bad credit history” mean? What to do about it, and how to get credit with it.

Nobody likes rejection and when it comes to credit, being declined for a loan can have a serious effect on your plans. Not being able to buy the car you want, consolidate your other debts or make home improvements are more than just inconveniences, they can be major setbacks. If you’ve been rejected for credit, then it’s probably because you have an impaired or bad credit history. Credit scoring is carried out on everybody who borrows money, uses credit cards or has an overdraft and it is a way for lenders to assess the risk that you won’t keep up with repayments if they extend further credit to you. If you do have a bad credit history, then you are not alone. Thousands of British people are in the same boat with poor or bad credit records. But many others have successfully taken steps to repair their poor records and to be able to start borrowing at low interest rates again. And once you have restored your credit rating, then so long as you continue to behave responsibly and m