GDPR - What you need to know as a consumer

GDPR – What you need to know as a consumer

Overview: GDPR

Data Protection Regulation has been a sensitive topic for the past several years. Conversations on the topic have been going on since consumers realised the effects of a data breach. There have been countless data breaches in the recent past globally ranging from large-scale website security breaches to consumer privacy violations involving large companies entrusted with sensitive consumer data. As consumers continue to learn about the implications of their data falling into the hands of “the wrong people”, data protection regulation will continue to be a hot topic.

The United States has lead in data protection regulation with most states now having regulation on data breaches. Almost all states have laws on one or more forms of consumer data protection. Europe has had data protection regulation covering its residents for over two decades now. However, most of these regulations are outdated.

The world has experienced massive technological changes. These changes informed the European Union’s decision to refresh its former regulation dubbed Data Protection Directive with more robust regulation i.e., the GDPR. Here’s more on what the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) entails for consumers.

What is GDPR?

The GDPR is an update to former EU regulation on consumer data after considering the latest technological changes and new consumer data threats posed by e- commerce, online advertising and general growth in data-driven marketing. The new law focuses on achieving three primary objectives. One, to give consumers more say/control over what companies do with their personal data/how they process/store it. The new law also focuses on standardising rules for reporting data breaches in European countries. Lastly, the GDPR aims to make accountability and transparency a priority for all companies dealing or entrusted with consumer

Data.

Majority of the provisions existing in previous regulation have been restated in the general data protection regulation. However, companies face more stringent fines for non-compliance. The GDPR also makes it compulsory for companies to report any breaches to regulators as well as consumers. The new law also allows people to find out what companies they do business with or work for are doing with their personal data.

The GDPR qualifies more as an evolution of the Data Protection Directive as opposed to a revolution. The new regulation, however, introduces crucial changes and reduces country-specific laws. The GDPR is a crucial regulation considering the nature of the world today. The world has become increasingly connected boosting the volume, prevalence, and value of personal data.

Who will be affected by the GDPR?

The GDPR will start being enforced on 25th May 2018 so, being well versed about the regulation’s impact is important. The GDPR has a broad personal data scope which covers online identifiers i.e., IP addresses and social identities to typical name and contact information (work and personal information in the EU). The regulation includes anything which is traceable back to an individual. The scope aims to enforce personal data protection as a human right. GDPR protects EU residents’ data in line with today’s data protection needs.

It’s worth noting that the regulation applies to all companies operating (collecting data) globally provided they serve EU customers. Any company conducting business with EU customers must meet specific requirements including implementing specific technical and organizational measures aimed at guaranteeing personal data security.

According to GDPR guidelines, companies must review how they collect as well as store consumer data. The law requires companies to keep special types of records (i.e., consent records) as well as maintain 100% transparency on how they utilise personal data. The regulation touches on data processors and controllers.

Under the new law, EU residents have the right to question companies on any issue regarding their personal data such as how it was obtained. EU residents also have the right to opt-out of marketing campaigns and in most cases, request for their personal data to be deleted.

Preparing for GDPR

With approximately a month before the GDPR takes effect, companies must be informed and prepared. The same applies to European Union customers. Companies must review their practices ensuring they are compliant with the regulation. Information regarding the regulation is readily available on the European Commission website. [1]

Consumers also have a role to play i.e., they must familiarise themselves with the rights accorded to them by the GDPR. This is important for consumers to be able to ask questions/place consent requests on data collection activities. An informed consumer will also be able to notice data breaches faster.

It may take a while before the GDPR takes full effect, however; it is a step in the right direction since companies are more liable in case of data breaches. Companies must tread carefully when it comes to all matters relating to customer data going forward.

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4-Must Have Insurance Policies For Your Family Besides Health/Medical Insurance

4-Must Have Insurance Policies For Your Family Besides Health/Medical Insurance

The main aim of insurance is to protect you against risks. There are insurance covers that can protect you from just about any risk you can imagine today. But given the nature of risks, i.e. there are too many risks, it is impossible to cover yourself against all of them. This leads us to a very interesting question; which risks should you consider first?

Eventualities like sickness can unsettle your finances. Many people take emergency loans to cover unexpected medical bills. Short term loans like payday loans can cover a small medical bill. What happens when you or a family member has to undergo an expensive medical procedure? We’ve gone through the trouble of selecting the most important insurance policies below.

Here are the 4-must have insurance policies for your family besides health/medical insurance.

1. Life insurance

Every family should have life insurance coverage for both parents/spouses. Life insurance is crucial for ensuring the family doesn’t suffer financially in case a breadwinner dies. Life insurance is crucial because it covers for funeral expenses, which can be very high. Life insurance also replaces the income of a spouse or parent for a long period allowing the family to go on with life as usual. You should have coverage amounting to at least a year’s salary. If you earn £50,000 for instance, you should have a £500,000 policy or more. The same applies for your spouse/partner. If your partner or spouse doesn’t work and you have children, it is still important to cover them because of their contribution to childcare among other chores which can take a huge portion of the family budget when they are gone. It is also a good idea to cover children as well if their demise will have a significant effect on the family’s finances. There are many types of life insurance covers for families in the UK covering all kinds of risks/expenses. Take your time an pick a cover that works well for your family.

2. Disability insurance

This is another essential insurance policy for your family. Life insurance coverage should come first due to the devastating nature of eventualities like death. Disability is equally devastating. Even though a parent/partner may still be there, disability can render one jobless as well as drain the family’s budget in regards to healthcare costs. Disability insurance policies protect from loss of income among other related expenses arising. This type of cover may be more important than life insurance to some people since it can render a person jobless for life and introduce costly expenditures till death. Some people overlook disability covers because of the mere fact that they are healthy and disability looks farfetched. The most important thing to note is anyone can become disabled in an instance i.e. in case of a car accident.

3. Homeowners insurance

A home is a priceless family possession. As a parent, you don’t want your family to be rendered homeless by any eventuality whether it is natural and manmade. A fire can destroy your home. Your home can also be destroyed by harsh weather, an earthquake, etc. Homeowners insurance covers the cost of replacing the structure as well as contents. Homeowner covers can also cater for the cost of buying a new home in case your current one is destroyed completely. Other related costs included in homeowner covers include the cost of living elsewhere while your home is being repaired. It is important to have coverage for such costs since they are significant and can easily plunge your family into financial problems. Although the chances of your home being destroyed are very slim, this eventuality can force you to take loans and living in distress. A homeowner’s cover allows you to live in peace knowing you won’t lose your home in case of anything. There are many types of homeowner’s covers available today that cover anything you can think of including the cost of upgrades, special features and injuries that may occur on your property. Consider getting such a cover. If you are renting, you should take renters insurance instead.

4. Identity theft insurance

In this current era where everything revolves around technology and the internet, it is important to protect yourself against identity theft. This kind of coverage may seem unnecessary but take some time and think of the consequences of identity theft. If you take payday loans, use credit cards or have a genuine online presence of any sort, you are at risk. Someone can steal your identity online and use your name to orchestrate crimes. You need money to protect yourself against losses arising from such eventualities. An identity theft policy can also cover legal fees involved when restoring your name. We are all at risk of identity theft today provided we use computers, Smartphones and online products/services. Payday loan giant Wonga suffered a significant customer data breach in April 2017. The incident saw the personal details of 270,000+ customers stolen including bank account details. Any victim with identity theft insurance would have been covered in such an instance. Get the above insurance covers first before considering any others. Motor insurance is equally important although it is mandatory in the UK and most, if not all countries in the world.

No. of UK Pensioners Seeking Payday Loans Has Risen by 200% in 2 Years

No. of UK Pensioners Seeking Payday Loans Has Risen by 200% in 2 Years

According to the latest statistics from payday loan company CashLady, 1.4 million Britons have joined the poorest 10% in Britain. The new shocking figures indicate a 95.2% increase (since 2015) in the number of Britons aged 65 years and above relying on loans to boost their monthly pension.

Hard-up pensioners have increased their borrowing by £157 (from; £1,478 to £1,635). The latest statistics show that this age group is now borrowing approximately £400 in payday loans (now dubbed Grey Day Loans) monthly to survive.

For the first time in Britain, charities have warned of the disproportionate number of seniors seeking financial aid for subsistence purposes. A record 1.4 million pensioners have joined the poorest 10% in Britain. Only 1 million pensioners were part of this statistic in 2015.

The statistics indicate a 26% rise in the number of loans requested despite a 10% increase in monthly income for pensioners. This shows that the average pensioner is struggling to cope with the increasing cost of living. In just two years (2015 to 2017), the average loan amount requested has risen from £302 to £382.

According to the MD of CashLady Chris Hackett, the figures show there is an increasing number of seniors struggling to get by solely on their pension. According to Hackett, inflation levels are primarily to blame. Inflation has reached a historic high. Although pensions have increased, there is still a growing shortfall between the cost of living and pension income.

Personal Finance Society statistics

This new data follows a recent report released by the Personal Finance Society showing that the poorest pensioners receive 75% of their pension income from the state pension. The Personal Finance Society report shows that millions of seniors in Britain are about to become entirely reliant on the £7,000 per year basic state pension for survival. Numerous charities have come forward urging the UK government to do more to support the elderly who are struggling.

Charities’ take

According to Caroline Abrahams, Age UK Charity Director, the UK is at risk of assuming all elderly persons are living comfortably when that isn’t the case. The recent pensioner poverty statistics clearly show that elderly pensioners are at risk once again.

According to Abrahams, surviving in Britain on a low income/wages is hard enough for individuals in any age bracket but extremely stressful for older persons, especially those living on their own and struggling buy food and pay utility bills.

Abrahams believes the State Pension is more important now, more than ever as a tool for fighting against pensioner poverty. She is however of the thought that there is more help for those in dire need. For instance, elderly pensioners can claim benefits they are entitled to. This can make a great difference according to Abrahams given the fact that a record £3.8 billion in benefits goes unclaimed by elderly people every year in Britain. Before seeking alternative income such as taking out payday loans to pay for utility bills or buy essential goods and services, elderly pensioners are advised to exhaust their cash benefits.

Age UK is one of UK’s top charities which helps elderly pensioners get unclaimed benefits. Before pensioners become so desperate to the extent of seeking help to pay for essentials and insolvency costs, they should consider contacting charities like Age UK.

Turn2Us is another charity that offers similar help. The national organisation helps the needy/poor access charitable grants and welfare benefits among other types of financial help. A statement from Turn2Us shows that there is an increasing number of female pensioners seeking Turn2Us’ help.

Many pensioners in the UK don’t get the government assistance they are entitled to like Winter Fuel Payment and Pension Credit. This is because many people have been able to live all their lives without needing these benefits before so they only naturally consider credit which is readily available whenever they need help.

In an interview with The Mirror, Pritie Billimoria, Head of Communications at Turn2Us stated that; most people who have been comfortable most of their lives risk being financially week after retirement. According to Billimoria, struggling financially when you are older can be very distressing which is why elderly pensioners need all the support they are entitled to.

Age UK offers FREE financial advice and help to elderly persons with financial problems. Contact 0800 169 6565. Website: www.ageuk.org.uk.

The FCA Poised to Protect UK Consumers from High-Cost Credit

The FCA Poised to Protect UK Consumers from High-Cost Credit

Since 2017, the FCA has been demonstrating an urgency to come up with new rules aimed at protecting Britons from high-cost credit. According to the latest reports from the regulator, UK borrowers could soon have better laws protecting them from doorstep lenders as well as household appliance rental companies. According to a statement released by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) on 31st January 2018, the regulator has concluded a review of the financial market. The review which has been ongoing since July 2017 shows an urgent need for intervention.

The FCA has promised to intervene although it will take actions that don’t compromise access to credit to individuals who can afford repayments. The regulator is planning to publish proposals and conclusions in Spring.

The Regulator’s take

According to Christopher Woolard, Executive Director for Strategy & Competition at the FCA, the regulator must address the variety and availability of credit. The regulator also needs to find ways in which the credit market works better for consumers.

Besides proposing new rules/laws where there is clear evidence of consumer exploitation, the FCA is also looking at solutions revolving around alternatives to high cost loans.

The FCA has identified specific consumer segments that are most vulnerable. One such segment is the rent-to-own consumer segment. The FCA’s analysis finds this particular segment extremely vulnerable given the outstanding debt of this segment doubled in the recent past from November 2014 to November 2016 (£2,000 to £4,300 respectively). Customers most affected are those who pay for household goods such as television sets and fridges over time.

The FCA is also concerned with customers who use overdraft facilities. The regulator is concerned about the high fees associated with unarranged overdrafts especially in comparison to the amount lent. The FCA is seeking more data from lenders who offer doorstep loans (loans offered in people’s homes).

According to the latest statistics, 700,000 Britons took out home-collected credit loans in 2016. The same statistics show that 1.6 million Britons had outstanding home-collected loans by the end of 2016 which translates to a record $1.1 billion pounds.

Doorstep loans aside, the FCA is also concerned about catalogue credit particularly, the complexity of fees/charges structure as well as the variety of repayment options available. Catalogue credit is offered to people buying things from catalogues on credit.

FCA efforts

Back in 2015, the FCA introduces a cap on the amount of interest charged on payday loans. The move has had a positive impact on the payday loan industry. Payday loan borrowers no longer have to pay more than the loan amount total in fees/charges. The cap has been deemed effective in getting rid of unscrupulous lenders who were thriving in a poorly regulated environment. Borrowers can now rest assured they won’t be exploited when taking payday loans which are supposed to assist in times of emergency and not act as a gateway to debt. The payday loan cap was introduced after widespread complaints and criticism from legislators, the clergy and public on the high interest charged on payday loans taken by the most vulnerable customers.

Protecting yourself from high cost loans

Although the FCA has done a lot, more needs to be done. The FCA will review the current payday loan cap in 2020. In the meantime, you need to protect yourself from high cost loan segments that are yet to be regulated adequately. Here are some tips to consider.

  1. Shop around: Although most people who consider taking out short term loans are usually in financial distress, it is advisable to shop around just to make sure you are getting fair terms. Shopping for loans in the UK is easy today. You can use loan comparison websites to find suitable and affordable loans fast and easy.
  1. Start an emergency fund: The main reason why people turn to lending institutions when in distress is because they don’t have their own funds to use in emergency situations. An emergency fund will reduce your overreliance on short term loans which will in turn reduce your exposure to high cost credit risks.
  1. Borrow from reputable lenders only: Lastly, borrowing from licensed and regulated lenders only can shield you from unfair fees and charges. The short-term lender you choose should be regulated by the appropriate body such as the FCA. You should also check online reviews to see what existing customers are saying about a lender before you take out any loan.
UK Gambling Regulator Warning on Gamblers’ ''VIP status''

UK Gambling Regulator Warning on Gamblers’ ”VIP status”

The Gambling Commission has issued a stern warning to online bookmakers on upgrading gamblers to the highest gambling status i.e. VIP status. According to the regulator, online bookmakers must carry out extensive affordability checks before upgrading their customers to VIP status.

Gamblers who are deemed VIP enjoy benefits such as free bets, bonus schemes and special offers when they bet with larger stakes. The gambling regulator warning comes in the wake of numerous complaints about gambling companies tempting problem gamblers to gamble recklessly.

According to information obtained by BBC via the Radio 4 ”You and Yours” program, gambling addicts are encouraged to gamble away their winnings after being given VIP status. Many addicts have been on record on BBC about their increasing gambling debts after gaining VIP status.

One such gambler, Joe, was on record recently accusing Vernons.com of encouraging him to gamble away his winnings. Joe, who is currently suffering from depression, won £60,000 on betting website www.vernons.com. Instead of getting an instant payout, the company delayed paying his winnings while purporting to verify his account. Meanwhile, Joe was made a VIP member on the site.

Joe believes Vernons encouraged him to gamble away his winnings by sending him betting prompts after making him a VIP member. Joe confesses to visiting the Vernons site over 100 times a day and placing bets at 3.00am sometimes on league matches he knew nothing about. In his correspondence with BBC, Joe admits to feeling out of control with everything.

After winning £60,000, Joe lost everything and ended up accumulating £30,000 in debt. Vernons.com has since paid off all his debt after his story was aired by ”You and Yours”. According to Betsson Group (the company that owns Vernons.com), Joe’s case predated the company’s acquisition of Vernons.com. The company, however, settled Joe’s gambling debts but failed to discuss the specifics of his case.

VIP status

Gambling companies usually offer VIP membership to players who gamble large amounts of money. VIP members get perks such as a VIP manager who manage their accounts. VIP membership also comes with benefits such as free tickets to concerts and football matches.

Joe isn’t the only problem gambler who has been on record. Another gambler, James, developed a gambling problem after Bookmaker 888Sport gave him VIP membership one year after opening his account. James is currently in debt after his gambling behavior spiraled out of control. James ended up £40,000 in debt after taking out payday loans to fuel his gambling habit.

According to James, 888Sport had a reward scheme for its VIP clients that would see him earn £500 for every £20,000 spent. James confesses to feeling very exclusive as a VIP to the extent of gambling irresponsibly. Although James alludes to feeling ”encouraged” to gamble, 888Sport has been on record stating that they enquired on his spending on multiple occasions. According to a 888Sport spokesman, James confirmed he was comfortable with his bets and activity levels multiple times.

James confesses to lying about his comfort levels because he feared 888Sport might close his account.

Gambling commission stance

According to the Gambling Commission, online gambling firms aren’t doing enough to stop irresponsible gambling habits among their customers. According to Sarah Gardner, Executive Director of the Gambling Commission, gambling operators are capable of doing more to protect customers given the fact that they collect a lot of customer data such as; failed deposits and cancelled withdrawals. Gardner believes operators have a responsibility to use such information to protect customers as opposed to merely facilitating their gambling.

Fines

The Gambling Commission is taking a tough stand on operators who may have violated the commission’s guidelines in the past. Such companies may face penalties in the future. According to a recent statement by the commission, safeguarding consumers isn’t optional. The commission also stressed the fact that VIP programs must not come at the risk of causing gambling-related harm.

Other developments

The Gambling Commission isn’t the only body taking a tough stand on gambling operators. The CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice) has announced tougher restrictions on gambling ads which offer free bonuses and urge gamblers to bet during live events. These measures have been announced to protect vulnerable gamblers.

The new measures will take effect on 2nd April 2018. According to the committee, ads which encourage repetitive play or create an unnecessary sense of urgency i.e., those with ”bet now” messages will be restricted.

Payday Loan Company Rapped by Advertising Watchdog

Payday Loan Company ”Rapped” by Advertising Watchdog

Payday loan company Allay Claims Ltd which operates as CheckMyPaydayLoan.com was just recently reprimanded by the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) for launching a radio advertisement that exaggerated the speed and ease of claiming with the company.

Allay Claims Ltd had previously contested the complaint, but the ASA declined their request and warned them against using the advertisement in its current form. The advertising watchdog upheld the complaint stating that the ad was indeed misleading.

The CheckMyPaydayLoan.com ad made repeated claims on how simple it was for customers to claim compensation after facing difficulties when making payday loan repayments. The ad stated that Check My Payday Loan offers claims which are hassle-free, with no obligation checks.

The ad went further to state that customers just need to have grounds for a case; the company will do the rest. Customers simply needed to text claims and let CheckMyPaydayLoan.com handle the matter. What’s more; the ad created a sense of urgency by including the words; ”what are you waiting for?”

Complaint

Advertising watchdog ASA received a complaint when a complainant discovered there were more requirements for launching a claim i.e., providing bank statements among other similar/supporting documentation.

In defense, CheckMyPaydayLoan.com’s broadcaster (acting on behalf of the lender) responded by stating that the additional information would be supplied to claimants after they sent a text. The broadcaster defended the ad by saying it clearly stated that a claimant must meet a specific criteria before their case was taken forward. The simple task of sending a text was meant to assess a claimant’s ground for launching a claim.

According to the adjudication, the ASA stated that most borrowers don’t know the process of launching claims for compensation against payday loan or short term loan lenders. The adjudication went further to state that it was accurate to conclude that people wouldn’t expect to do anything more after launching a claim via text given the ad’s wording. This decision was reached after considering CheckMyPaydayLoan.com’s defense of not stating the seemingly ”obvious”. According to the ASA, CheckMyPaydayLoan.com was found guilty of exaggerating the speed and ease of launching claims with them.

Main reasons behind the verdict

According to the ASA, the ad was deemed misleading because the process required claimants to offer more information than expected before a claim would be processed which was contrary to the ad claims of simply sending a text and letting CheckMyPaydayLoan.com handle the rest. According to the advertising watchdog, the ad didn’t create an accurate expectation of the entire claimant process i.e., on the need for more detailed examinations of bank statements and loan agreements of the claimant as well as a claimant’s correspondence with lenders.

Typical clams must follow a process requiring a claimant to offer more information. For a claim to be successful, a lender must also be found to have lent irresponsibly based on a claimant’s financial circumstances. Such a process requires a thorough examination of a claimant’s loan agreements, bank statements, and correspondence with their lender. The process can’t, therefore, be fast and easy according to the ASA which is why the watchdog declared the ad, misleading.

Recommendations

The ad can’t be broadcast in its original form again. According to the ASA, CheckMyPaydayLoan.com must make sure future ads don’t misleadingly exaggerate the speed and ease of processing claims with them.

In an effort to manage the situation, Allay Claims Ltd’s Director, Andie Stokoe, claimed that the radio ad was made by Capital and cleared to air by Radiocentre. He went on to state that Allay works extremely hard to ensure accurate communication between the company and its customers. In addition, Stokoe expressed his disappointment on the ASA ruling but promised to champion consumer rights address the concerns raised.

Lessons

As a payday loan borrower, the above case highlights the importance of borrowing from reputable payday loan companies which offer accurate

information. Although the best payday lenders offer fast and reliable services, they offer full disclosure on everything including; fees and procedures. You should avoid lenders that make offers which are too good to be true. Also, pay attention to the legitimacy of a lender before choosing them. All reputable payday loan companies have an FCA authorisation number. You should also consider online reviews. Reputable lenders offer exemplary services which attract numerous positive reviews.

Personal Lending in the UK Rises Four Times Faster Than Wages

Personal Lending in the UK Rises Four Times Faster Than Wages

According to the latest BBC News research, the total value of pending personal loans in the UK has increased four times faster than income/wages. The current value of outstanding loans stood at £37 billion in the financial year 2016-2017 according to recent UK Finance data.

The CAP (Christians Against Poverty) attests this fact by saying that January 2018 was the busiest month ever for individuals seeking debt advice. This is despite the fact that the FCA claims a majority of the loans taken in the recent past went to individuals who could afford to repay.

UK Finance statistics

UK Finance covers 10 of the largest building societies and banks in the UK. Their statistics indicate a 25% since in the value of outstanding loans since 2013-2014. However, wages have grown by just 6.5% over the same period according to data from the ONS (Office for National Statistics). UK households accumulated a record £37 billion in outstanding personal loans in 2017 alone which represents a £7 billion increase from 2014.

In Northern Ireland alone, outstanding personal loan debt stands at approximately £1 billion. Most British households say they have been forced to borrow loans because of the rising cost of living yet wages have stagnated.

UK households are borrowing to survive

According to a recent BBC News interview, Mel Reynolds, a Batley, West Yorkshire resident and mother of two says ”I borrow money to pay for food.” According to Reynolds, her salary is only able to cater for her mortgage and utility bills. The situation has been so bad for Reynolds she has had to choose between fueling her car and feeding her two boys. This is despite the fact that Ms. Reynolds works full time. She has accumulated approximately £28,000 in debt through bank and credit card loans from 2007 to 2015.

The CAP which has been helping Ms. Reynolds says January was the busiest month ever for individuals seeking help with their loan/debt problems. The CAP was started in 1996.

According to Daniel Kelly, the Creditor Engagement Manager at the charity, there are an estimated 8 million people in the UK worrying on a day-to-day basis how they will pay their bills. What’s more is; January 2018 was the busiest year ever for the CAP debt call centre.

The outstanding loan problem could be bigger given that the latest data from the UK Finance covers personal loans issued by building societies and banks only. Credit card loans, student loans, and payday loans have been excluded from the latest UK Finance data.

BBC England analysis

BBC England’s Data Unit has dived deeper to offer a more in-depth analysis of the debt problem in the UK. For instance, BBC England Data Unit reveals that the current outstanding personal loan debt translates to £1,384 per UK household in 2016-2017. The data analysis also reveals that the debt problem is most prevalent in areas which have experienced the lowest increase in average pay among full-time workers. BBC England data analysis also reveals that St Albans is the worst hit with an unsecured lending increase of 43%.

It gets worse. UK households have over £1.5 trillion in mortgage debt which could pose serious economic risks in case of a sharp increase in personal loan debt.

Welfare organisations’ take

Many welfare organizations in the UK have expressed concerns about the possibility of many people ever being unable to repay their outstanding debt. One such organization is Leeds-based charity, Money Buddies. According to Sylvia Simpson from Money Buddies, the charity has many clients who have confessed to struggling with debt but still willing to take more debt if banks are willing to lend more. This highlights why the FCA has intensified its efforts to crack down on irresponsible lenders.

The FCA’s take

According to Chris Woolard, the Director of Strategy & Competition at the FCA, the current personal debt levels have hit the long-term average triggering a concern for vulnerable borrowers who could be exploited further by high-cost lenders. Woolard, however, states that most lenders are following the rules. The FCA is also taking stringent action when lending rules are broken.

The UK Finance is also committed to responsible lending. This is according to sentiments expressed by one of the association’s spokespersons. ”UK Finance undertakes thorough risk assessment before approving credit applications. The association also advises struggling customers to talk to their lenders immediately.” The association also goes further and states that majority of its borrowers are able to meet their loan repayment obligations without problems.

4-Must Have Insurance Policies For Your Family Besides Health Insurance

4-Must Have Insurance Policies For Your Family Besides Health Insurance

The main aim of insurance is to protect you against risks. There are insurance covers that can protect you from just about any risk you can imagine today. But given the nature of risks, i.e. there are too many risks, it is impossible to cover yourself against all of them.

This leads us to a very interesting question; which risks should you consider first?

Eventualities like sickness can unsettle your finances. Many people take emergency loans to cover unexpected medical bills not covered under the NHS. Short term loans like payday loans can cover a small medical bill. What happens when you or a family member has to undergo an expensive medical procedure?

We’ve gone through the trouble of selecting the most important insurance policies below. Here are the 4-must have insurance policies for your family besides health/medical insurance.

1. Life Insurance

Every family should have life insurance coverage for both parents/spouses. Life insurance is crucial for ensuring the family doesn’t suffer financially in case a breadwinner dies. Life insurance is crucial because it covers for funeral expenses, which can be very high. Life insurance also replaces the income of a spouse or parent for a long period allowing the family to go on with life as usual. You should have coverage amounting to at least a year’s salary. If you earn £50,000 for instance, you should have a £500,000 policy or more. The same applies for your spouse/partner. If your partner or spouse doesn’t work and you have children, it is still important to cover them because of their contribution to childcare among other chores which can take a huge portion of the family budget when they are gone. It is also a good idea to cover children as well if their demise will have a significant effect on the family’s finances. There are many types of life insurance covers for families in the UK covering all kinds of risks/expenses. Take your time an pick a cover that works well for your family.

2. Disability Insurance

This is another essential insurance policy for your family. Life insurance coverage should come first due to the devastating nature of eventualities like death. Disability is equally devastating. Even though a parent/partner may still be there, disability can render one jobless as well as drain the family’s budget in regards to healthcare costs. Disability insurance policies protect from loss of income among other related expenses arising. This type of cover may be more important than life insurance to some people since it can render a person jobless for life and introduce costly expenditures till death. Some people overlook disability covers because of the mere fact that they are healthy and disability looks farfetched. The most important thing to note is anyone can become disabled in an instance i.e. in case of a car accident.

3. Home Insurance

A home is a priceless family possession. As a parent, you don’t want your family to be rendered homeless by any eventuality whether it is natural and manmade. A fire can destroy your home. Your home can also be destroyed by harsh weather, an earthquake, etc. Homeowners insurance covers the cost of replacing the structure as well as contents. Homeowner covers can also cater for the cost of buying a new home in case your current one is destroyed completely. Other related costs included in homeowner covers include the cost of living elsewhere while your home is being repaired. It is important to have coverage for such costs since they are significant and can easily plunge your family into financial problems. Although the chances of your home being destroyed are very slim, this eventuality can force you to take loans and living in distress. A homeowner’s cover allows you to live in peace knowing you won’t lose your home in case of anything. There are many types of homeowner’s covers available today that cover anything you can think of including the cost of upgrades, special features and injuries that may occur on your property. Consider getting such a cover. If you are renting, you should take renters insurance instead.

4. Identity Theft Insurance

In this current era where everything revolves around technology and the internet, it is important to protect yourself against identity theft. This kind of coverage may seem unnecessary but take some time and think of the consequences of identity theft. If you take payday loans, use credit cards or have a genuine online presence of any sort, you are at risk. Someone can steal your identity online and use your name to orchestrate crimes. You need money to protect yourself against losses arising from such eventualities. An identity theft policy can also cover legal fees involved when restoring your name. We are all at risk of identity theft today provided we use computers, Smartphones and online products/services. Payday loan giant Wonga suffered a significant customer data breach in April 2017. The incident saw the personal details of 270,000+ customers stolen including bank account details. Any victim with identity theft insurance would have been covered in such an instance. Get the above insurance covers first before considering any others. Motor insurance is equally important although it is mandatory in the UK and most, if not all countries in the world.