Browsing "Banking and Savings Accounts"

Technology, Savings and the Older Generation

Jan 11, 2013   //   by Daniel Morris   //   Banking and Savings Accounts, Technology  //  Comments Off on Technology, Savings and the Older Generation

Gone are the days in which technology was a young person’s game. Now more elderly people than ever are taking to their smartphones and tablets for just about every aspect of their lives.

With so much potential for making retirement easier, it’s no wonder that over half of all those 55+ have taken up a smartphone and are more than happy to use it for their every day needs.

This comes at such a crucial time in financial terms, with the Autumn Statement revealing government plans to reduce the allowance for pensions schemes meaning that once people reach the age of retirement, they will have less to fall back on.

With this in mind, it’s worth checking out these applications that promise to help you save in retirement.
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Breaking the Ice: Positive Omens

Dec 12, 2012   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Banking and Savings Accounts, Breaking News  //  Comments Off on Breaking the Ice: Positive Omens

Admittedly, there hasn’t been a great deal of good news recently on the financial front. Savings rates are plummeting; the Autumn Statement was hit and miss; there’s colossal fines for HSBC; gas and electricity prices are heading up again… So, as it happens, two slices of good news on the same day seems quite a novelty.

And not only that, but it’s comparatively rare that two separate stories from the same day see a resolution or a twist months later on the same day again. So, for the sheer delight of serendipity, I thought I’d bring them to the fore.

Cold as Ice

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How Can You Improve Your Credit History?

Nov 30, 2012   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Lending Guide, Personal Debt  //  1 Comment
  • Which regions are susceptible to bad credit?
  • What puts people at risk of decline?
  • Why is your credit record important?
  • How can you improve your credit score?

Aqua Age Acceptance

We’ve all heard of the postcode lottery. But it seems that residents on our doorstep in Leicester are among the most likely to be rejected for their credit card or overdraft applications due to a poor credit score.

The ‘Mind the Credit Gap’ survey commissioned by Aqua, a provider of poor credit history cards, has determined that residents in the East Midlands are most at risk of rejection by lenders.

According to the survey, which asked participants questions that would help to constitute a credit report, almost two-thirds of people in the region (65%) are not expected to meet credit approval criteria.

The next most vulnerable areas are Wales and the North-West, where it is estimated that 63% would not meet creditors’ requirements.

Regions with more creditworthy residents include London, where 52% would apparently struggle to obtain credit, and Northern Ireland, the only region of the UK where the majority (albeit a small one) would expect to be successful in their application.

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What is an ISA allowance?

Nov 22, 2012   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Banking and Savings Accounts, Guest Post  //  Comments Off on What is an ISA allowance?

Twenty Note

An ISA is a financial tool that allows you to legally avoid tax that would usually be paid on your savings and investments. In effect, a proportion of your money can be placed within an ISA each year, allowing you to opt out of paying tax on that element of your finances.

As you accrue interest, or make gains from your investments, you’ll find that you can keep all of the profits. There’s no need to make any sort of declaration referring to this income.

If you’re thinking about getting an ISA, then it’s worth knowing that they are provided in a couple of different formats. There are clear limits on how much you are able to legally invest within an individual tax year and these limits are known as your allowances.

The first type is what is known as a cash ISA. This is a type of financial product that is available to all UK residents, as long as they are aged 16 and over. Your maximum individual allowance for the current tax year (up to 5 April 2013) is £5,640.

Although you are only able to invest into one cash ISA each year, it is possible to carry your previous savings over on an annual basis. What this means is that you’ll be able to keep adding to the ISA. As a result, it’s actually possible to build up a substantial level of investment over time.

It is also possible to transfer your ISA savings, old and new, from provider to provider. This allows you to maintain the best rates, which rarely last longer than a year for variable rate ISAs. See more in our guide.

You may prefer the idea of investing in a Stocks and Shares ISA, which is available to UK residents over the age of 18.

Investing money in a Stocks and Shares ISA means that you are effectively investing in the stock market. Any gains that you make as a result of this investment will not be liable for tax. Hence, this can represent a highly cost-effective approach to investing.

The total ISA allowance in 2012/2013 is £11,280 and though only half of this allowance can be invested in cash, you are able to invest that entire sum in a Stocks and Shares ISA. You’ll also find that there is plenty of flexibility within the system.

You might choose, as a result, to save some money into a cash ISA, with the remaining element of your allowance being invested in a Stocks and Shares ISA. You don’t have to use your full allowance.

It’s important to remember, however, that unused allowances do not roll over into the following tax year. In effect, they are lost for good.

Many cash ISAs, in particular, will allow you to get access to your money without the need to give much notice. This means that you can treat them in a similar way to a savings account, with the added benefit of tax-efficiency.

Despite the age limits that are in place getting an ISA, it is possible for parents or guardians to open a Junior ISA for children aged 17 or under. The current annual allowance for a Junior ISA is £3,600, although no money can be withdrawn until the child reaches the age of 18.

In order to ensure that you have the most tax-efficient approach to savings and investments, it makes sense to understand ISAs and the allowances that apply to you.

This is a guest post for Which4U provided in association with iCrossing Ltd.

Small Businesses Could Have A New Way to Get Paid

Nov 7, 2012   //   by Daniel Morris   //   Banking and Savings Accounts, Credit Cards  //  Comments Off on Small Businesses Could Have A New Way to Get Paid

It’s an unwritten rule that technology becomes outdated every few months, with something new and exciting – and often a lot better – coming out that makes all models that came before it look like a rock with a number pad carved into it.

And after a year of great improvements in the way we pay for services and goods, it seems that there’s at least one more trick in the bag to move us away from our cash. Which is looking more likely than every with the introduction of 4G Network, Everything Everywhere (EE) in the UK.

This week could see yet another new technology making a step towards a cashless system in the very near future in the form of the iZettle. This small device allows small traders to take credit and debit card payments, and is arriving in the UK after a promising roll-out in markets across the globe.

The small device plugs into a range of smartphones and tablets, and allows the consumer to pay for their products or services through their card rather than in cash, being incredibly handy when looking to pay the plumber, mechanic or window-cleaner. Read More »

The Great Nostalgia Theme: Banks and their Music

Nov 1, 2012   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Banking and Savings Accounts  //  4 Comments

How many of your favourite television adverts can you name? What is it that makes them memorable? Is it the emotion factor? The clever rhetoric? The sequence or narrative? The humour, perhaps?

What about the music?

Advertising guru David Ogilvy believes that music is only “emotional shorthand” and adds nothing to the selling power of commercials. I’m not so convinced, however – quite possibly because music played its part in selling a bank to me once upon a time.

I see his point that advertising agencies are unlikely to play background music when pitching to clients (though that’s hardly relevant to TV ads). And, granted, I don’t think music has quite the same influence today as it might once have had, purely because our modern digital culture is saturated with it. But I am convinced that identifying the right tune can really drive brand identification like little else.

Crockett's Theme

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