A guide to Secured Loans and how they work

Secured loans are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among those who own their own home and want to borrow a more substantial sum but may be struggling with an impaired credit rating. A secured loan is exactly as it sounds: you borrow money and the loan is secured against your property so you have to be a homeowner. In a bad credit situation secured loans generally come with lower interest rates than with sub-prime unsecured loans. That’s because the lender is exposing itself to less risk it has the value of the home to fall back on in extreme circumstances. But this also means that tenants, people in social housing and many others in shared-ownership schemes are not eligible for secured loans. Don’t confuse a mortgage with a secured loan: the former is known as a ‘first charge’ while the latter is a ‘second charge’ and this difference becomes relevant if the borrower become unable to repay the loans (see below). What Secured Loans are available? Secured loans ar


Borrow what you need – don’t buy it!

Anyone with an older sibling knows the benefits of The Borrow . Rather than paying for something yourself, simply borrow from an older brother or sister and then return it before they notice. In the adult world, this principle is getting a new airing thanks to a wave of technology designed to help you get what you want without paying full price. The range of borrow-able items is broad, whether you’re looking for a bouncy castle for a kid’s party or a pair of shoes for a wedding. And of course it works the other way around too – you can be the lender or the borrower. In the modern world, many consumers have two major issues. Firstly, we probably don’t have the money to buy everything we want. And secondly, most of us have got a houseful of items that we don’t really use that much. It might be the skirts bought in the sale that just never looked good. Or perhaps a fantastic electric drill that comes out once every couple of years (statistically, a household drill only gets 12

Crunch – Are Car Loans the next subprime crisis?

A massive boom in new car registrations fuelled by new financing methods are storing up trouble for British consumers already stretched by rising fuel and food prices, according to economic analysts. Households in the UK are increasingly choosing personal contract hire (PCH) and personal contract purchase (PCP) schemes to finance new cars. Recent figures showed that a record £31.6 billion was borrowed by households last year to finance brand new cars. The figures represented a 12% increase on 2015, according to the Finance and Leasing Association. How are people financing new cars? The largest growth in car finance has been with PCPs with 90% of all new car sales now financed through this method. It involves putting down a small deposit and then making monthly payments over the following two, three, four or five years before making a final payment covering the residual value of the car or handing it back. Another rapidly growing area is PCH where a motorist makes a deposit on a new c

Cutting the cost of your utility bills the smart way

Utilities can make quite a hole in your monthly budget. However, they’re a necessary part of life for all of us. Gas and electricity, TV, phone, broadband etc keep us in heat, light, communication and entertainment. But, while we all have to cover the cost of them, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to pay full price. If you’re looking to cut the cost of your utility bills then there are some simple ways to do it. Fix your energy bills Experts estimate you can save around £300 a year by fixing your energy bills as prices continue to rise. Choose a dual tariff and you’ll save money too. You can also make savings by option for the right payment method – most energy companies will give discounts to customers who pay by direct debit, rather than cash or cheque.  And if you re on a pre-payment meter read about how to move to a credit account. Opt for broadband without a phone line Not everyone uses a landline these days. For many, a home phone is just an annoying sourc

Where to save your money with interest rates so low

It continues to be hard going for Britain’s savers. With interest rates continuing at record lows, returns on savings are negligible or worse for the clear majority. One of the main areas affected by low interest rates is that of cash Isas where the average rate paid is just 0.99% with the possibility that this could go even lower as Britain starts to negotiate its withdrawal from the European Union with many economists predicting an economic slowdown. It may be hard to believe that the rates paid on Isas could drop further – particularly when you consider that NatWest only pays 0.01% on its Isa – but the likelihood is that they will. So, where should savers wishing to get a half decent return on their investments put their money. Here, we look at the alternatives to cash Isas where the tax saving benefit seems to have become negligible: Interest-bearing current accounts Bizarre as it may seem, many of the current accounts available on the high street and online now pay much hi

UK holiday hotspots for 2017

According to Laterooms.com, two thirds of Brits are planning to holiday in the UK this year. After the upset of Brexit and the increased cost of heading off overseas, the UK is looking like an increasingly popular choice. Plus, as most of us have only seen around 2% of what this country offers, there is plenty of undiscovered terrain, whether you’re looking for city breaks or classic seaside stays. Glasgow An exciting alternative to culture rich city breaks, such as Berlin or Amsterdam, Glasgow is forecast to be one of the most popular staycation spots this year. Despite what you may have seen in Trainspotting, Glasgow has been named the World’ Friendliest City’ and is a goldmine of culture and history. Finnieston is the city’s food quarter, a haven for everyone from craft beer enthusiasts to fresh seafood lovers and vegans. Street art, Charles Rennie Mackintosh design, stunning architecture and vibrant nightlife all contribute to Glasgow’s appeal. Margate There are few coas

How are business rates changing and will it affect you?

Tens of thousands of smaller businesses are likely to be hit by higher business rates following the revaluation of the rateable values of their premises. The change – which has sparked howls of protest among business organisations – is likely to see much higher business rates for those based in parts of the South East and London where property prices have risen strongly in recent years. On the flip side, businesses based in other parts of the country where property price rises have not kept pace with those in London are likely to see cuts in business rates. What are business rates and how are they calculated? Every business – apart from those which operate from so-called ‘home offices’ – have to pay business rates on the premises that they use including shops, warehouses and factories. The rate that a business pays is worked out according to the value of the premises as well as the value of any equipment that a business uses there plus the economic sector the business ope