Browsing "Personal Debt"

Relief for debtors as Wonga abandons ill-conceived loans

Oct 2, 2014   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Breaking News, Personal Debt  //  Comments Off on Relief for debtors as Wonga abandons ill-conceived loans

Wonga TV Advert Screen

Hundreds of thousands of people will be able to breathe easier today after payday lender Wonga agreed to write off more than £200 million in loans as part of an overhaul of its lending practices.

The firm has developed a reputation for intimidating customers into repaying its high-cost loans which they can scarcely afford.

But new chairman, Andy Haste, who has been in post since July, said the firm needed “urgent” change after a thirst for profit give rise to some questionable business practices.

Mr Haste announced that the firm would now operate with revised affordability checks, which would result in far fewer loans being issued.

In a measure designed to show the firm’s determination to change, he said that 330,000 existing customers who would not have met these criteria will now have their loans written off. 45,000 more customers will not face any interest charges on their loans.

The measures will cost the firm a total of £220 million.

“I agreed with the concerns expressed by the FCA [City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority] and as a consequence of our discussions we have committed to taking these actions,” he said.

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Designed to con: Tyrie’s tirade against banks’ fake letters

Sep 8, 2014   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Breaking News, Personal Debt  //  Comments Off on Designed to con: Tyrie’s tirade against banks’ fake letters

AndrewTyrieThe chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, Andrew Tyrie, has condemned banks for sending letters from debt collection firms to frighten customers into making repayments.

The committee has published letters exchanged with banking bosses which addressed how the banks intimidated customers into thinking that they were being pursued by debt collectors.

Mr Tyrie wants banks to account for their actions, which, he said, were “designed to pull the wool over consumers’ eyes.”

“From these responses it seems that this practice was widespread,” he said.

RBS, Santander, HSBC and Barclays all confessed to having used similar ends in an attempt to make struggling customers pay up. The boss of HSBC, Alan Keir, said the practice dated back as far as the mid 1980s.

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Is your partner cheating on you financially?

Jan 23, 2014   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Credit Cards, Personal Debt  //  Comments Off on Is your partner cheating on you financially?

Visa Contactless

We don’t like discovering dirty secrets, and they don’t come much dirtier than lying about money.

Money worries are one of the biggest causes of relationship strain, but the damage can become irreparable if one partner becomes secretive and begins lying about their finances to keep the arguments at bay.

A live interactive web TV bulletin took place this week to help people spot the signs and think about ways to solve the problem.

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Taking a Closer Look at Your Credit Report

Dec 13, 2013   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Credit Guides, Personal Debt  //  2 Comments

Experian Credit Score Summary

Your credit report, also known as a credit file, is an important repository of information. It is routinely used by lenders to help decide whether to approve your application for a loan, credit card or mortgage. It may also help the potential lender determine the terms of your arrangement.

It is important to note that your credit report is not the definitive factor in whether you will be granted credit. Still, it is a useful indicator, and as a result, it is important to know exactly what might be in your credit report and exactly how you can access it.

Firstly, let’s be clear that not anyone can compile a credit report on you. In the UK, there are three registered credit reference agencies permitted to compile the relevant information and sell it to a potential lender for a fee. Most obviously, these include banks and building societies, but potential lenders might also include innocuous mail order companies and mobile phone companies who may also want reassurances that you will pay on time.

Credit reports can also be used for employment purposes when it comes to deciding on hiring or promotion. However, they cannot be used for this purpose without your prior, written permission.

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The Slippery World of Advertising: Who’s In Charge of What?

May 10, 2013   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Commentary / Editorial, Personal Debt  //  1 Comment

You have to hand it to them – payday loans companies don’t miss too many tricks. And we’ve grown familiar with plenty of them.

Last year, lest we forget, Wonga was caught out targeting its extortionate rate loans towards students. In its defence, Wonga said that the page in question was out-dated and ‘gave rise to misunderstandings’. I challenge you to try and misconstrue the plain English.

Now, a television advert featuring that paragon of financial prudence, Kerry Katona, has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for luring customers into high-cost loans – over three months after it launched across 26 channels.

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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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