We get plenty of deals submitted to us at Moneybright week on week, and as such – it’s always our pleasure to pick our favourite from the bunch to share with our readers. This week, we’re bringing to you a free delivery offer you won’t be able to refuse, especially for the home-decor enthusiasts amongst us.
For as long as there have been banks, there have been established names in the industry of which everybody uses one or the other of. Halifax, Lloyds, Natwest and Santander are just a few of these big corporations, which when asked ‘which bank or building society are you with?’, will likely be your answer. But, as the term ‘challenger bank account’ has become more prevalent over the past few years – it’s time to question the possible benefits of these digital banking competitors, and whether you should be using them instead?
The rise of challenger bank accounts
The idea of app-based banking isn’t necessarily new, though. Just a few years ago, the big player in the online-only banking industry was PayPal. But now, names such as Starling and Monzo are hot on the tails of this corporate giant and are winning more and more customers from both PayPal itself, and the other ‘big four’ than perhaps initially expected.
So, is what we’re seeing basically just a glorified PayPal?
Well, no. The big difference between the two is that, although having many innovative features, PayPal is primarily a money transfer software tool only. Most business operations include the sending and requesting of money digitally, and individuals; between family and friends. Though you can pay for more and more with PayPal (including offline transactions), it doesn’t classify as a ‘bank’ as it does not possess all the features needed to be categorised as one.
Challenger banks do. And (the clue’s in the name) they’re getting well up to speed with the UK’s most well-known businesses and hold the potential to even overrule them in the market.
But what is a challenger bank account?
Technically, the term challenger bank is used to describe any bank that’s looking to challenge the big four in Britain: Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group (which includes Halifax, Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland), HSBC and RBS (which includes NatWest and Ulster Bank).
Established players, such as TSB, Virgin Money and Metro Bank, do actually fall into this bracket, but are not necessarily seen or known as ‘challenger banks’ as they’re pretty widely recognised already. The colloquial term has only recently come into play, and is largely used to describe banks that operate solely online – the two biggest names are ‘Starling’ and ‘Monzo’.
These two UK challenger banks, amongst other names in their industry, focus on modern design, personalisation, low fees and convenient customer service to tempt people in. Tried and tested in real life by our team, to apply for a bank account with Starling, all you need to do is send over some details, a snapshot of ID and a very short video confirming that it is in fact you applying – and you’re done. No back and forth trips to the bank with lengthy meetings to get started.
With e-banking and mobile banking at the forefront of their business, UK challenger banks like these operate solely online (even at the sign-up stage), setting them apart from their traditional competitors.
They also feature real-time payment notifications, meaning you receive an alert every time there is any activity on your account. This, as credited by users of the challenger banks, makes it easier to keep track of your spending, but also helps you to instantly spot any anomalies – meaning preventing fraudulent activity is far easier.
Is it worth opening a challenger bank?
There are many reasons that more and more are choosing to open a bank with one of these nifty alternatives as opposed to the big players, mainly because of how easy they are to use. With real-time control over your spending, impressive user experience and there-when-you-need-it customer service, these challenger banks play on the frustrations that customers have with the ‘top 4’ and use them to their advantage.
But, as with anything, there are always drawbacks to bog down the positives. And challenger banks, though largely popular now more than ever, are not free from ‘cons’ either. To help you decide whether they’d be right for you, we’ve put together a quick table of advantages and disadvantages to help steer your decision.
As with anything, there are certain ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ to challenger banks, so your decision depends on what you want out of a bank. If you’re open to new ideas and like the thought of managing your finances online, then the likes of Monzo or Starling will certainly offer you an abundance of helpful features in exchange for you opening an account with them. But on the flip side, if you prefer the security of a traditional and reputable bank, then you may be better off keeping your money where it is.
Do you have an account with a challenger bank, or are you considering opening one? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Tweet us at @moneybright, or with the hashtag #MoneyBrightAdvice and let us know today.
We get plenty of deals submitted to us at Moneybright week on week, and as such – it’s always our pleasure to pick our favourite from the bunch to share with our readers. This week, as January’s ‘new year, new me’ attitude is in full swing, our deal of the week presents an offer you won’t be able to resist on a product that’ll give you all the workout-motivation you could ever need.
- The UK’s PPI deadline is 29th August 2019
- After this cut-off date, you will not be able to make any PPI claims or receive any compensation
- PPI is short for Payment Protection Insurance, which was a policy that was widely missold in the UK by banks, mostly between 1990 and 2010, to people who did not need it
- Over £29 billion has been paid out to individuals since the scandal was unearthed
- PPI complaints rose by a massive 40% last year, seeing firms forced to pay £415.8m out in reparations
When is the cut-off date, and what does this mean?
The UK 2019 PPI deadline is fast approaching – in fact, there are just months to go with the final UK cut-off date being 29th August 2019. After this, you will not be able to make a PPI claim nor receive any compensation.
What is PPI, and how were policies mis-sold?
PPI stands for Payment Protection Insurance which is a legitimate policy that was unfortunately largely mis-sold across the UK. With some cases dating back to 1990.
PPI was designed to cover repayments in certain circumstances where you couldn’t make them yourself. For example, if you were made redundant or could not work due to an accident or illness.
As many as 64 million PPI policies have been sold in the UK, and a huge part of this figure includes schemes that were wrongly sold by banks to customers who did not need them, or who were put under pressure to sign up. In some cases, it has been recorded that agents selling the scheme even enrolled people without their permission.
As the deceptions were outed, the ability to be able to make a claim if you believe you fell victim to a PPI wrongdoing came about. An initiative which has cost banks over £29 billion collectively already (and there’s still seven months left until the deadline to make a claim). Lloyds Bank plc have paid the most so far, forking out almost £19 billion in claim money for their mis-selling of the insurance.
Source: Moneybright (Flickr)
There are plenty of ways you can check if you were mis-sold PPI. And you could very well be sitting on a gold mine, with many who’re owed thousands being completely unaware that they were even eligible to make a claim. Some, in fact, don’t even know that they were enrolled in the scheme in the first place.
Which is why, of course, it’s important to find out whether you fell victim to the PPI scandal – you could be rightfully entitled to a large sum of money and you may not even know it.
How to check if you were mis-sold PPI – and make a claim before the deadline
For a more in-depth explanation to finding out if you’re entitled to a PPI payout, check out our article. There’s a lot of information online, much of which becomes very confusing and complex but fear not – we’re here to explain the easiest way to check if you can make a PPI claim, in the most simple way possible.
Source: One Click Group (Flickr)
How to check if you were mis-sold PPI under 6 years ago
If you believe you may have been mis-sold PPI recently (within the last 6 years), we would recommend the following tips.
- Check through your loan payment statements
- If you don’t have your bank loan statements, contact your bank and ask them to check if you have a loan with PPI
- Alternatively, check your credit report and look for repaid loans. It won’t show you right away if your loan was covered by PPI, but does mean you can contact the right bank to enquire and take it from there
- If your bank for whatever reason refuses to make a payout, you can take the matter up with the Financial Ombudsman Service – but be mindful of the PPI deadline
How to check if you were mis-sold PPI over 6 years ago
If you believe you may have been involved with PPI at an earlier date, here’s our advice.
- After 6 years, the lender will not be required to keep any documents – so you’ll need to gather evidence yourself.
- Realising this can be a little stressful, we would suggest checking all files (online or offline) you may have relating to the following: credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, secured loans, dealership car finance, store cards, catalogue credit, monthly-paid insurance and overdrafts.
- Check out our advice for further guidance on filing a claim that involves a PPI policy from over 6 years ago
If you believe you were mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance and have the necessary documents to make a claim, remember you have until the 29th August 2019 to do so before the PPI cut-off date.
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Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for shopping. A combination of last-minute present dashing and final Christmas food hauls often results in huge surges in online traffic and over-crowded high streets during the festive period.
All of that rarely compares though, to Boxing Day. With football games dominating the TV all day, and with brands slashing their prices and reducing Christmas gifts to next to nothing, for those who prefer shopping – this day can fast become one of the busiest in high-street history. Boxing day sales and New Year bargains are renowned for being spectacular every year. And, to make it a little easier for you this year, MoneyBright has rounded up the best January deals for 2019 that are expected to grace stores shortly.
One of our big indulgences is a good quality scented candle. Cosying up on the couch, reading a book with the warm fragrance of a candle creeping around the room is a wonderful extravagance. But scented candles can be expensive – with a 2.5kg Jo Malone luxury candle retailing at around £300.
Luckily, the high street has come to the rescue and giving the luxury brands a run for their money. We look at some of the best budget copycat versions of fragrant candles on the market.
So, should Jo Malone be worried? Let’s find out!
B&M – Karina Bailey 15cmx15cm
The budget store that you cannot help but love have released their own range, which could give Jo Malone a run for their money. Their line of Karina Bailey candles are available in Cedar & Plum (which is reminiscent of Jo Malone’s English Oak & Redcurrant) and Raspberry & Oud (which is identical to the upmarket brand’s Velvet Rose & Oud), which will fill your home with the most gorgeous of fragrances and retail for £14.99.
Aldi – No.1, No.2 and No.3
Launched amid much fanfare last year, the first round of these candles sold out in Aldi stores in about 7.6 seconds. The supermarket duly responded to demand, and now the candles are regularly stocked in store, together with a reed diffuser line. These candles are an unashamed rip-off of the Jo Malone big three fragrances – Pomegranate Noir, Lime, Basil & Mandarin and Blackberry Bay and at £3.99 – we’re willing customers.
Aldi – Scentcerity Tin Candles
The German supermarket is at it again, this time leaning heavily on the Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery line with its copycat versions of the Lily-Flame tin candles that normally retail from £7 to £20 in shops like John Lewis and Waitrose. The Scentcerity range is a purse-friendly £2.79, however, and are available in Velvet Rose, Autumn Garden and Moonflower.
Moneybright conclusion: While the cheaper versions from B&M and Aldi lack the complexity and intensity of the posher versions, these are incredible value for money. And as we’re sinking into winter, a great day-to-day candle to have on the go when you get back from work. We’re stocking up for the coming season!
30 postcodes around the UK have been identified as hotspots for crash-for-cash scams that have affected countless of motorists over recent years.
And drivers in the north of England will not be happy.
Birmingham has taken the top three spots – with B8, B6 and B10 being the areas that experience the most fraudulent accidents.
Bradford comes in next, with BD8 and BD9 taking the fourth and fifth spots.
Manchester takes sixth place – and Bradford, Birmingham and Oldham return to steal the top ten places.
Last year, the Insurance Fraud Taskforce (IFT) introduced a set of measures aimed at curbing the increasing number of fraudulent crash-for-cash attempts being made by scammers.
This included insurance data being shared with anti-fraud organisations and collaborative work between regulatory bodies and the insurance sector to identify those masterminding the criminal activity.
However, research by insurer Aviva said it detects a new crash-for-cash claimant every three hours since the IFT’s planned crackdown
Graphic courtesy of Insurance Fraud Bureau
With the indomitable rise of Amazon, eBay and other online retailers, the footfall on the traditional high street has significantly reduced. More and more shoppers are turning to their keyboards to find the latest deals, rather than rifle through disordered sale rails.
The ease, convenience and speed of internet shopping has made it the success story of the past decade.
Data released by the Office of National Statistics, (ONS), has revealed online shopping figures for 2017.
While the figures are up, the increase from a decade ago isn’t that drastic. There has been no increase in the past twelve months, and only 24 percentage points up since 2008.
The bottom line shows that this year, 77% of adults in Great Britain have bought goods or services online – and the majority of these consumers are younger. Yet, evidence suggests that older generations are becoming savvier when it comes to buying things over the internet.
According to ONS, the largest growing sector for online shopping is the 55-64 age group, which has grown by 30 percentage points since 2008. In contrast, the age group that shows the slowest growth is the 25-35 year age group, which grew by just 17 percentage points.
Despite this, the 25-35 year age group bought more regularly than any other age group – with 26% using the internet to buy goods eleven times or more over the past three months. Only 7% of the 55-64 year age group matched this frequency.
When it comes to the most popular items to buy, clothing and sports goods are at the top of the list, bought by 56% of adults in 2017. Household goods, including furniture and toys, was the second most popular – and bought by 50% of adults. Holiday accommodation came third.
Train travellers disgruntled in economy class now have a chance to upgrade to first class from £5 – thanks to a new app launched yesterday.
Seatfrog has been hailed as the answer to empty first class carriages and over packed economy seats.
The app enables customers on Virgin Trains who have already booked standard class tickets to bid on empty first-class seats from as little as £5.
Seatfrog is available to download for free on Apple and Android devices.
How it works:
- Download the free app and create an account with your email address. You will also have to give payment card details.
- Enter your train booking reference and set your maximum upgrade bid.
- App will notify you when the auction begins.
- Travellers can view the current price and what others are bidding.
- After a winning bid has been placed, Seatfrog will send an updated train ticket to the passenger’s smartphone to board the train.
There are no credit card or booking fees. The online auction opens two hours before the train is scheduled to leave the station and ends thirty minutes before departure.
While passengers can choose to up their bids while the bidding is underway, they are also given the choice to put in a ‘pre-bid’ from as soon as they book their original seat.
This will kick in as soon as the auction goes live to save them the time and hassle of manually updating their bid.
The app also allows users to upgrade straightaway – echoing eBay’s ‘Buy it Now’ button. This facility is available to travellers five days before the date of travel.
However, the app promised that the auction cost will never exceed the ‘Buy it Now’ price.
While upgrade costs change depending on the journey, taken through the auction process will mean that it is guaranteed.
Quieter services will usually mean that the upgrade costs will be lower than busier services. Rush hour trains, and busy services like Friday nights out of London will see rates go up.
According to the app, an upgrade from Leeds to London cost £10. A midweek train from London to Edinburgh cost £15.
Tips for getting a good deal
Seatfrog advises bidding early. ‘Place a pre-bid any time before you travel and Seatfrog will bid on your behalf up to that price.
‘The software is much faster than you’d be able to do it yourself,’ says a spokesperson.
Bid your best price – there’s no point hanging back, bid your highest, because Seatfrog will bid against other travellers for you up to that price and you’ll always get a deal.
At launch, only passengers travelling on Virgin Trains will be able to use the app to upgrade cheaply.
But the network is extensive, with routes spanning the majority of the mainland Britain – from London to Glasgow.
However more train operators are due to come on board, and interest has been shown from several airlines.
It’s Fresher’s Week, and the merry-go-round of student unions, halls of residence, making friends, late nights and Freshers’ Fair is in full swing. It’s exciting, it’s raucous and for most of you, it’s your first taste of proper independence.
But with this freedom, is some hefty responsibility. You are now in charge of your own finances, the food in your cupboard and your bank balance.
The plastic might be getting swiped left, right and centre right now, but you’ll need to learn to live within your means very quickly. Here’s a few tips on how to get through the next few years without ending up ringing up the Bank of Mum and Dad.
- Don’t get excited when your loan/grant comes in
It may look like a sizeable amount in your bank account, but this has got to get you through the next few months. While it may be tempting to go on a celebratory bender or a massive extravagant food shop at Waitrose, it’s all about pacing yourself. Work out a weekly budget and stick to it.
- Reward yourself
There are ways to reward yourself while living frugally, though. If you’re saving up for festival tickets, or a trip to Europe, you can put aside a little money every week. By not buying Starbucks, or not going to the Student Union every night, you’ll feel better because your good behaviour is being rewarded. While you miss out on a night out, it’s all good, because you’ll be going on holiday while will be a hundred times more fun than drinking cheap cider from a plastic pint pot at the same place you go every week!
- Separate budgets
That money in your bank account will be spent on different things, so work out how much you’re going to put aside for food/entertainment/bills/savings each week. There are some brilliant apps which are available to download for free, like DailyBudget, which can help you divide your money up to give more order to your finances.
- Come to terms with your balance
Checking your balance can terrify people who haven’t got control over their finances. While nights out and shopping sprees are fun, the fear of checking your balance the next day and trying to budget around it, is not. Make it a habit to check your balance everyday, that way you get to see the impact of buying those trainers on a whim, or stopping off at that deli for a nice lunch.
- Get a job during the holidays
Make sure you get a job at half term and holidays, the wages will come in very handy. Check in at pubs and cafes, anywhere that can takes on casual staff. And don’t think that because you’re earning, you can be frivolous. This is the real world now – all that money has to be put aside for when you will really need it!