Your Guide to Reclaiming PPI – You have until August 2019

You’ve almost certainly seen ‘PPI’ mentioned in the press and online. It’s a term often used by companies looking to entice consumers in with the promise of free money. However, it’s not always as straightforward as it seems and you can often end up losing a large chunk of money receive for a successful claim. What is PPI? You could have been sold PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) when you took out a credit card or a loan. It’s a type of insurance that was designed to provide consumers with cover for making payments on the loan or credit card if they fall ill or are unable to pay for another reason. However, because this insurance was mis-sold to so many people it has become the subject of multiple compensation claims. You may not even realise that you were paying PPI and because of that there could be years of payments due, which could result in a fairly sizeable compensation payment. How much PPI is really unclaimed? Since 2011, banks have now paid out more than £23 bi


A Guide to the new Innovative Financial ISA (IFISA)

Being a UK saver hasn’t produced much in the way of benefits over the past couple of years. ‘Miserable’ savings rates have made traditional cash ISAs and regular savings accounts almost not worth the effort. The volume of cash that we’re putting aside is down, and most people feel fairly disillusioned about the opportunities for earning income with saved money. So, a fairly gloomy picture – or is it? The Innovative Financial ISA (IFISA) went live in April 2016 but it’s only this year that we’re beginning to see the potential of this new savings vehicle. Could it be the change British savers need? What is the Innovative Financial ISA (IFISA)? All ISAs are tax wrappers that surround a form of saving or investment which mean any growth/profits are protected from being taxed. The new IFISA is simply the same tax wrapper around the relatively new saving/borrowing product of peer-to-peer loans (with the IFISA extended to include debt crowdfunding from late 2016). Returns subs

A guide to self storage in the UK

Self storage has become quite a phenomenon in the UK. According to a 2016 UK Self Storage Association report there are now 1,077 self storage sites in the UK and the industry is valued at around £440 million. With all of us increasingly pushed for space, self storage can often provide a money saving alternative to office rentals, moving home or paying unnecessary rent. The UK loves self storage Ten years ago few people really used self storage, or even understood what it was for. Today, 90% of us are aware of it as a service and 37,600,000 of square footage is dedicated to the industry. That actually makes the UK the largest self storage market in Europe, followed by France, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Sweden. Where did self storage come from? The ancient Chinese might have invented self storage but the industry, as we know it today, was developed in the US in the 1960s. The first self stores were created by those with…well, something to store (although some believe it was

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

A practical guide to applying for bankruptcy

If your debts are overwhelming you and you do not see a way out, then applying for bankruptcy might be a way to restore some control to a situation that may be threatening to spiral out of control. While you can apply to make yourself bankrupt, one of your creditors can also make the same application about you if you owe at least £5,000. Bankruptcy is often the most straightforward solution to a serious debt problem but it may not be the only one. Other options may be more appropriate for your circumstances. In this article, we look at the pros and cons of applying for bankruptcy without a lawyer and what those alternatives might be. The pros of applying for bankruptcy If you successfully apply to be made bankrupt, then you will immediately get a relief from pressure from your creditors. They will no longer be able to pursue you for the money that you owe them Once an application has been accepted, then you will be earmarked a certain amount to live on and be allowed to keep certai

A buyer’s guide to gym membership

If you’ve ever thought about joining a gym, January is the month you’re most likely to do it. Overindulgence at Christmas and the need for a new start sends thousands of us to a local fitness spot at the start of the year. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that, for many of us, these New Year’s resolutions just don’t last. By the summer many of us won’t have seen the inside of a gym for months and we’ll be paying membership for nothing. To avoid the guilt of an unused gym membership and wasted fees how do you choose a gym set up that’s right for you? Look for free trial days Most gyms will offer you either a free trial period or a couple of days when you can drop in and try out the facilities. Although this won’t ensure you stay committed all year, it will give you an idea of whether this gym is somewhere you’ll want to be. Go and try out the machines, experience peak times and do some of the classes. What do you think of the changing rooms, are the facilities br

The Definitive Guide to Guarantor Loans

In the years since the start of the global financial crisis there has been rapid growth in a whole range of personal loans that we might refer to as alternative loans. These are loans that are not obtained through the traditional sources of mainstream banks or other lending institutions such as building societies but more typically through loan brokers and niche lenders. There are many reasons why people are increasingly choosing to avoid the more conventional sources of lending and are seeking out these alternative types of borrowing. One reason is simply lack of availability – banks have implemented increasingly strict lending criteria so if you don t have a whiter than white credit history you may be unable to secure a bank loan at all; or will only be able to secure one at a high rate of interest. The other factor driving more and more people to seek alternative loans is the cost. If your credit score is not perfect then the bank or other lending institution may agree to a loan