All posts by Mark Scott

About Mark Scott

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited. He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

6 Non-Financial Habits That Affect Your Finances

6 Non-Financial Habits That Affect Your Finances

You don’t need to misappropriate your finances to find yourself in financial problems. Many factors affect your finances indirectly. Most of these factors revolve around habits. In fact, your habits more so, non-financial habits play a crucial role in your finances. Forget about impulse buying and exceeding credit card limits for a second.

Below are the main non-financial habits that make/break your finances.

1. Planning – You need to be a good planner to get ahead financially.

The rich aren’t just good planners financially but in every aspect of their life. A good planner knows how to manage their time well. Good planners also avoid habits like procrastination which are among the leading causes of failure in life. Planners also have more clarity and direction in life. They are better placed to achieve non-financial goals which contribute to success. If you want to be financially free, start by planning every aspect of your life including your leisure. You will be startled by the amount of money you will start making/saving in the process.

2. Healthy living – Adopting a healthy lifestyle also has a big impact on your finances.

Exercising and maintaining a healthy diet can save you a lot of money considering most health problems are lifestyle-related. Eating right and exercising daily can save you multiple trips to the doctor and pharmacy. Although most people think living a healthy lifestyle is expensive, it is possible to cut costs and save a substantial amount of money. For instance, you don’t need to buy organic vegetables and fruits from an organic grocery shop. You can set up your own kitchen garden with a little money. You can also keep fit without paying for expensive gym membership. You can walk or cycle to work every day and keep fit while saving transport costs. Contrary to popular belief, healthy living is cheaper as long as you plan well.

3. Reading – Reading is another great non-financial habit that affects your finances.

Developing a reading habit is a great way to get financial education. Most people have a hard time becoming financially independent because they are not financially literate. Reading is a great way to learn everything you need to know to improve your finances. The internet has a lot of useful information about money, investments, budgeting, planning, self-discipline, etc. You don’t have to pay a financial adviser to become a good financial planner or investor. Furthermore, reading is a cheap hobby/habit. You can get books for free from your local library. The internet also has affordable books with priceless information that will help you improve your finances directly and indirectly. Avid readers never stop learning about finances and other crucial subjects.

4. Optimism/pessimism – Your attitude about life in general has a significant effect on your finances.

Optimists tend to be more successful in life because they don’t treat challenges as permanent setbacks but important lessons. To be successful in life, you need to have a positive outlook on everything including money. Optimism can be defined as a habit since pessimism comes naturally to many people who face challenges in life. To become successful, you have to believe you have what it takes first and trust the process regardless of the hurdles you find on your way. It’s impossible to work hard when you are a pessimist. Pessimists also have a hard time identifying and seizing opportunities in life.

5. Getting up early – Most successful people are early-risers.

Almost everyone who is someone today attributes this habit to their success. So, why is getting up early a good habit? Well, first and foremost, early-risers have enough time to read, plan their day, exercise and do many other things that have a direct/indirect effect on their finances. Furthermore, most people are more productive in the morning. You are bound to get more things done in the morning than late at night. Most people prefer a head start than trying to catch up. This is precisely why getting up early is such a great habit.

6. Resting – You need to have enough sleep to be productive (at least 6 hours of sleep every day).

Resting also gives you time to think and forge better plans. Fatigue/stress is also a cause for many health problems today. Considering everyone seems to be in a hurry today, resting is another great non-financial habit that has a positive effect on your finances.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

9 Great Ways to Save Money in a Fancy Restaurant

9 Great Ways to Save Money in a Fancy Restaurant

The UK is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. Although fine dining experiences bring great pleasure to many, they can be prohibitively expensive if you don’t know how to find great deals. This article is for people who love fancy restaurants and bargains. Here are some great tips to help you save on your next fine dining experience.

1. Use deal websites

The internet is a great place to find deals. You can use websites like Groupon to find great fine dining discounts in the UK. Contrary to popular belief, fancy restaurants also offer great deals through deal websites, so it doesn’t hurt to go online and see what your favourite restaurant is offering. Deal websites are easy to use. You just need to visit the site and search for fancy restaurants near you. Alternatively, you can subscribe for updates to get notifications in your inbox when there are deals that might interest you.

2. Attend restaurant soft opens

New restaurants always have launches packed with great deals. Attending a fancy restaurant soft open is a great way to enjoy fine dining experiences at a bargain since prices are usually subsidised to attract customers. You can even dine for free in dry runs where the kitchen and waiting staff practice food preparation and serving before the official open. This tip is great as long as you have your ears on the ground. You need to keep tabs with the expansion strategy of your favourite restaurant to utilise this tip effectively.

3. Attend restaurant weeks/restaurant festivals

Many cities in the UK including London have special restaurant events such as restaurant weeks where participating restaurants offer amazing deals such as fixed prices (”bottomless meals”) among other incentives to walk-in customers. You just need to find out when the next restaurant event is happening near you to save money dining in a fancy restaurant.

4. Dine during lunch hour

Sometimes it’s as simple as choosing the time you visit a restaurant. Most fine dining restaurants in the UK and around the world have cheaper lunch menus. Although lunch menus may miss some offerings, you are assured of scoring a great meal at a bargain when you fine dine during lunch hours and not dinner time.

5. Avoid alcohol

Alcoholic drinks are usually overpriced in fancy restaurants so avoid alcohol at all costs if you wish to save some money. Ideally, you should focus on the unique food and have drinks elsewhere, later. If you have to take alcohol in a fancy restaurant, ask for the drinks menu first and then choose accordingly.

6. Consider regular menus over specials

Special meals aren’t usually the best priced. Fancy restaurants spend a lot of time and special ingredients coming up with specials. Although specials are meant to offer unique meals, they are also used to maximize profits per plate on simple ingredients or food that needs to be cleared out. So, ”don’t buy the hype”.

7. Ask for deals, gift cards,…

Fancy restaurants offer deals to those who ask. You can ask for gift cards online or in person if you want to treat a special person to a birthday dinner, anniversary dinner, etc. Fancy restaurants have deals for special occasions so don’t be afraid to ask. You can also go as far as asking your waiter for the best value meal/s, wine, etc. You can pay less for wine with a ripped label or a damaged top. Fancy restaurants care a lot about presentation so asking for the ”bin end list” is a great way to enjoy significant savings.

8. Split meals or skip appetisers and desert

You don’t have to take the full course meal. Fancy restaurants are guilty of serving you more food than you can consume. If the restaurant serves big portions, you can split appetizers and dessert with a companion. But don’t forget to ask since some restaurants charge extra for splitting menu items. Alternatively, you can skip appetisers and desert if the offering is nothing out of the norm. For instance, you can have some ice cream and cake when you get back home. Appetisers and desert are usually costly in fine dining establishments. You can save over 30% by taking the main meal only.

9. Apply for a reward credit card

Lastly, there are many credit card plans in the UK today that offer cash backs or points on purchases. You can get one specifically designed for dining purchases and save money as you eat in expensive restaurants in your area.

You can ”have your cake and eat it” if you use the above tips before enjoying your next fine dining experience. There are many ways to save in a fancy restaurant. Choose any one or more of the above tips.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

FCA Warning: Are Young People In The UK Borrowing Too Much?

FCA Warning: Are Young People In The UK Borrowing Too Much?

In a recent ”Money Matters” interview with BBC, the C.E.O. of the FCA, Andrew Bailey expressed concerns about growing debt among young people aged between 18 and 34 years in the UK. His concerns came as the number of insolvent individuals in the 18 to 34 age bracket increased by 31% between years 2015 and 2016, according to the Insolvency Service.

The latest Insolvency Service statistics show that seaside towns in Wales and England have the worst debt levels among the youth in the UK. The towns that are worst hit include; Scarborough, Torbay, and the Isle of Wight.

The FCA is currently focusing on sustainable, affordable credit, i.e., reducing high-cost payday loans and long-term credit card debt. In his interview, Bailey warned that there is an increasing number of young UK citizens taking out credit cards and payday loans among other short-term credit loans to cater for basic living expenses.

Although Bailey goes ahead to state that the current debt levels haven’t reached a critical level from a macroeconomic standpoint, there are serious concerns about why debt levels are increasing among young people. Bailey attributes this new disturbing trend to a generational shift in patterns of wealth and income. He doesn’t view this trend as reckless borrowing per se, but an indication of the current basic living standards.

Bailey feels basic living costs have increased drastically over the decades forcing the young generation to borrow more to meet essential living costs. He points out specifics like the high cost of rental houses as well as poor/lack of income growth as the main causes of the debt problem. Today’s youth also have lower asset ownership levels which is a different generational experience from decades ago.

Bailey also attributes the current debt levels among the youth to an increase in ”unsecured lending” ranging from credit cards and overdrafts to car loan and personal loans. According to the latest Bank of England statistics, consumer debt now stands at over £200 billion and increasing drastically at 10% every year. Savings are also decreasing due to low interest rates and higher cost of living.

Other sentiments

According to Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Leader, the current debt problem among young people in the UK is attributed to the conservatives’ failure to implement their manifesto pledge on creating better laws for people facing financial difficulties. Cable claims the pledge to offer legal protection ranging from interest to charges and bailiffs for 6 weeks to individuals in distress because of debt will go a long way to solve the debt problem in the UK.

Jonathan Reynolds who is the Treasury’s shadow economic secretary finds a lot of human tragedy in the UK debt story. According to him, the youth don’t have a choice. Labour suggests there should be a cap on charges on other forms of short-term debt in line with the payday loan cap. According to Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, there is a need for special focus on credit card debt which has spiralled out of control. McDonnell has plans to help over 3 million people in the UK who are currently paying more than they should in interest payments.

Joanna Elson, the C.E.O. of Money Advice Trust agrees with Andrew Bailey’s sentiments. Elson states that although the current debt levels among the youth may not be severe to the economy, the trend has a critical effect on an individual level. Elson stresses the importance of debt advice but recognises the fact that very few young people are seeking financial advice when they find themselves in financial problems.

FCA intervention

The FCA is currently looking at some practices as well as forms of high-cost debt which are the main contributors to the UK debt problem. Although a lot has been done to regulate payday loans among other short-term loans in the recent past, the FCA boss would love to see increased focus on sustainable, affordable credit provision. The FCA has also turned its attention to the rent-to-own industry which charges high interest for ”white goods” like washing machines.

The FCA clampdown on payday loan lenders which started in 2015 brought sanity to a troubled industry. Payday loan charges are now capped. Borrowers don’t need to worry about affordability as long as they choose a reputable payday lender. Furthermore, there has been reduced over-dependence on payday loans according to Treasury select committee member, Kit Malthouse.

The next step is making the payday loan rules an industry standard. The FCA boss has stressed the importance of sustainable credit in society and offered assurances on maintaining a close eye on high-cost lending going forward.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

How Mobile Providers are Ripping You Off: Smartphone Money Saving Tips

How Mobile Providers are Ripping You Off: Smartphone Money Saving Tips

According to a recent Deloitte survey, Smartphone penetration rates now stand at approximately 80% in the UK. Smartphones have become incredibly popular in the UK and the world at large because they offer more communication options, endless applications, unlimited web browsing capabilities, unmatched entertainment and so much more compared to traditional mobile phones.

It is, however, worth noting that these added advantages come at a cost. Furthermore, there is a general consensus that mobile providers do very little to help their customers manage costs. Given the high cost of living and stagnant income growth in the UK, it’s important to find ways of cutting costs and saving to avoid over-dependence on payday loans among other types of short-term loans. Here’s how your mobile provider is ripping you off and what you can do;

1. Unlimited plans which aren’t unlimited

Smartphone users love unlimited data plans especially when data usage is concerned. In a world where live streaming rules, unlimited plans are highly sought after. What most Smartphone users fail to realise is; most unlimited plans have hidden limits which make them limited. For instance, unlimited data usually comes with speed and/or device limits if you exceed a certain limit. Mobile providers do maximize profits without causing congestion in their networks. To avoid paying for an unlimited plan which is not really unlimited, it’s important to do your own research before jumping on any unlimited plans that come your way.

2. Too much/too little insurance

Smartphone purchases via mobile providers usually cover repairs and replacements resulting from damage. There are however limits to this coverage. In most cases, you have to part with more money to insure your phone adequately against the most common Smartphone risks. In simpler terms, the insurance coverage you get when you buy a phone from your mobile provider is very basic.

On the contrary, mobile providers are also guilty of selling too much insurance to Smartphone buyers. You should check what is covered in your warranty, free insurance plan, and credit card plan (if you have any) when you buy your Smartphone to avoid incurring unnecessary costs. Mobile providers make money from selling Smartphones insurance, so research for a cover that serves you well instead of taking what is on offer. It’s also important to consider the fact that you may already have coverage.

3. Hidden contract terms

Mobile providers are also guilty of hiding contract terms, yet these details are crucial for controlling monthly Smartphone expenses regardless of the type of plan you have. You can find contract term details in your mobile provider’s website. It is important to read the terms yourself and seek clarification if needed as opposed to relying on what a mobile provider salesperson tells you. Mobile providers usually hide crucial information on upgrade fees, international roaming fees, overage fees and many other fees/conditions in lengthy contracts yet this information is vital for controlling cost. So, take time and read your contract to the letter.

4. Unauthorised/unnecessary text charges

Some mobile plans come with unlimited texting while others charge you a fee for every text sent. Others also charge for promotional texts received. It is important to avoid replying to unsolicited text which are promotional in nature. Such texts come in many forms i.e. as questions requiring an answer. You should avoid replying to such texts and anything you have not subscribed to. It’s also important to understand the texting limits of unlimited plans. You should also consider using free texting/messaging services today like Whatsapp or Facebook messenger to reduce your texting costs significantly. Such services are usually free if you have a Wi-Fi connection.

5. No cash on trade-ins

Mobile providers pay in credit as opposed to cash for old phones. They also tend to take longer compared to private options such as dedicated buyback companies which give cash instantly or send it within a few days. Furthermore, they tend to offer lower payouts for trade-ins (approximately 30% less) for old cell phones compared to buyback companies. It’s, therefore, better to sell your old phone through buyback companies when you are looking for an upgrade if you want to get the best value.

You stand to enjoy substantial savings and avoid reliance on short term loans by understanding how mobile providers rip off their clients. You can save £100 + pounds every year by understanding the terms of your mobile plan/contract and choosing insurance plans carefully. Avoiding texts and mobile provider trade-ins can also go a long way in reducing the money you spend on your Smartphone.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

House Prices - Biggest Fall in a Decade, Why?

House Prices – Biggest Fall in a Decade, Why?

Britain’s housing market is valued at approximately £7 trillion. Just recently London real estate prices experienced the biggest drop in 10 years. The recent drop came in the wake of Theresa May’s efforts to deal with criticism over ever-increasing prices and lack of housing. In case you are wondering what the recent fall means in regards to employment, investment, housing consumption, government deficit, etc. here’s what you need to know.

The ”Greater fool” mechanism

London’s real-estate prices have been fuelled by what is known as the ”greater fool” mechanism. Although London’s real estate buyers have known that property prices were ridiculously high for a long time, they continued to buy counting on the
fact that they would sell the property at a profit to a ”greater fool”. This phenomenon has been displayed in many instances the most notable being the free markets crisis. Although the ”greater fool” mechanism works, the upward usually reverses violently if the prices show the slightest indications of a fall. This happens when property investors start trying to sell in a hurry before property prices fall further. In the ”greater fool” mechanisms, property values which have been built over decades can collapse in months, and the slum is based purely on expectation.

London relies heavily on international property investors who view property as a commodity which can be sold readily for the sole purpose of maximising profit. International property investors accounted for approximately 82% of London’s property activity back in 2013. The ”greater fool” mechanism is a real threat in London now that the expectations are set.

Housing consumption and the Wealth Effect

Although real-estate prices in London are subject to the ”greater fool” mechanism, it’s important to note that most properties belong to households, mostly families who don’t need to sell. Nevertheless, a fall in property prices means that pension funds, as well as investment bonds, will suffer since they rely heavily on the property market to generate returns.

It’s also important to understand the Wealth Effect. Economists have shown that there is a strong relationship between spending behaviour and perceived real estate wealth. What this means is; property owners feel more financially secure if they believe their property is worth more. As a result, such property owners spend more and save less. This is evident given the number of people willing to subsidise their retirement using property generated wealth.

Considering 64% of England’s homes are occupied by owners, the negative effects of the wealth effect are dire if households start spending less. The Wealth Effect is crucial in most developed countries more so the UK which is heavily dependent on ever-increasing consumer spending for growth. A small drop in the value of homes/properties in the UK would result in a catastrophic loss of wealth. With the housing prices experiencing the biggest drop in 10 years, things don’t look good for UK households.

Ripple effects (Trade deficit and foreign direct investment)

The falling housing prices come with additional problems for the UK. Britain has been having a trade deficit for over two decades now. The effects of the deficit haven’t been dire since Britain has been enjoying hundreds of billions of pounds as foreign direct investment channelled to the property market over the same period. In a nutshell, the trade deficit has been manageable.

According to Bank of England statistics, over 50% of all commercial real estate deals since 2013 have been done by overseas companies. Since international investors expect a fall in prices, foreign direct investment inflows may slow down or stop soon. Britain may also see a sharp decline as foreign property investors choose to sell property instead of holding when there is a clear expectation of a decline.

A drop in foreign direct investment in the long-term will have a negative effect on the UK GDP and trade deficit. Britain will no longer have a cushion against its longstanding trade deficit when foreigners stop buying property. Britain’s credit rating would also fall which would, in turn, make UK government debt more expensive to refinance. When this happens, the UK government may be forced to tax its citizens more to handle an increasing deficit. Increased taxation would cause other effects such as increased unemployment.

Policy issues

The recent fall in housing prices has created a need for new policies to reduce Britain’s property addiction. There is also need to boost confidence in this single asset class considering it accounts for approximately two-thirds of Britain’s wealth. Theresa May’s efforts to push for more affordable housing are a step in the right direction although it has been politically challenging trying to push for such policies. The effects of targeting the UK real estate market are huge currently. Theresa May risks scaring away investors and triggering the ripple effects discussed above. Considering Brexit has introduced many risks, Britain may face a long period of economic stagnation.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Data Protection Laws Set to Tighten in the UK

Data Protection Laws Set to Tighten in the UK

The British government has proposed a data protection bill meant to give the British people more power and control over how their personal data is used. The bill proposes a number of changes to the current data protection laws the most notable being; easier access to all data held by companies, increased ability to withdraw access as well as the ability to request data deletion.

The regulation which will bring GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) into UK law is set to be in effect in less than a year according to Matt Hancock, the UK Digital Minister behind the proposed bill. Hancock states that the new data protection laws will offer the UK a more dynamic and robust set of data laws. In a statement issued by Hancock, ”UK citizens will have more control over how their data is used. The proposed data laws will also prepare UK citizens for Brexit.”

The new regulation has caused concern in organizations across the UK given the fines applicable are easier to issue and more damaging to companies which fail to comply. For instance, fines could amount to 4% of a company’s total global turnover which could easily lead to the downfall of many companies in the event of serve fines. Currently, data protection fines can’t exceed £500,000.

Data protection incidents

Data breaches in the UK have increased in the recent past. Hundreds of thousands of UK citizens have been left exposed by data breaches in the past. A notable example is the data breach that hit UK’s leading payday loan lender Wonga. The incident affected approximately 245,000 Wonga customers in the UK and 25,000 in Poland.

The Wonga data breach happened in March 2017. Wonga, however, waited until April 2017 to notify its clients after establishing the extent of the breach. The incident saw Wonga customer’s names, addresses, phone numbers, bank a/c and sort code numbers stolen. Wonga has suffered another data breach back in 2012/13. The identity theft incident saw Wonga customers lose £3 million after scammers made over 19,000 fraudulent payday loan applications.

UK telecom company TalkTalk has also been a victim of a data breach. In October 2015, TalkTalk systems were hacked compromising customer information belonging to 157,000 customers. The company was fined £400,000 which was far from substantial according to many people. The importance of better data protection laws can’t, therefore, be ignored. With the new laws, firms must be more vigilant in protecting customer’s data or face serious repercussions. Research from Veritas indicates that only 9% of companies in the UK have appropriate data protection practices in place today even with the ongoing regulatory changes.

Repercussions/effects

With the proposed data protection laws set to take effect in less than a year, it is important for organizations to take all the necessary steps in the right direction.

Information Technology

Organizations using cloud and automation technology already will find it easier to cope with the new data protection laws. When GDPR comes into effect, all organizations handling personal data belonging to UK citizens will have to comply. The first step towards compliance is getting the right IT systems in place. Safeguards must also be built into all processes from the beginning to the end.

Data migration

Organizations may also be forced to move data. According to Peter Godden, Vice President of EMEA at Zerto, businesses may be required to move critical data in/out of Britain to comply with the new regulations. Many companies stand to struggle to move critical data across various systems without experiencing problems like downtime. Good businesses continuity plans are crucial going forward for companies keen on avoiding data migration problems.

Data storage

The new data protection laws will also introduce data storage challenges. According to Matthew Bryars, CEO of Aeriandi, ”many companies have not considered the impact of GDPR on data storage processes such as storage of customer calls done to improve customer service. The new laws give customers an express right to demand for their personal call information/data to be erased. The laws are also more stringent on backup and storage of voice call data. Businesses must develop the capacity and ability to store and retrieve customer call data faster on request.”

Nexsan COO, Geoff Barrall also shares the same sentiments. According to him, ”CIO’s must evaluate their current IT infrastructure and create purpose-built secure data storage environments to be able to meet the new data protection laws. Barrall stresses the need for either cloud-based or on-site storage customer data storage solutions as long as they are flexible, agile and secure.”

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

The FCA Maintains the Payday Loan Price Cap in Place until 2020

The FCA Keeps the Payday Loan Price Cap in Place until 2020

On 31st July 2017, the FCA published the results of a review it had done on high-cost credit which included an assessment of the effectiveness of its recent payday loan price cap.

The review offers undisputed evidence that the FCA regulation on payday loan lending has worked in favour of consumers as intended given that approximately 760,000 payday loan borrowers in the UK are saving over £150m every year. The review also shows that payday loan firms are now seeing fewer borrowers and debt charities with debt problems arising from expensive short-term credit. For these reasons, the FCA has decided to leave the current payday loan regulation unchanged until 2020.

Other forms of high-cost short-term loans

Besides clearing concerns on payday loans, the review also addresses concerns on other high-cost credit such as overdrafts. According to the review, The FCA feels fundamental changes on overdrafts are necessary in the future. Fees charged on unarranged overdrafts remain high and complex.

Home-collected credit, Rent-to-own credit as well as catalogue credit sectors are also on the spot. Although high-cost products and markets have many similarities, there are significant differences on how these products and markets work as well as how borrowers use them. The FCA is in the process of making tailored solutions to address these issues and is set to give a way forward in spring 2018.

According to the C.E.O. of the FCA, Andrew Bailey, high-cost credit products are a key focus for the regulator given the risks they expose to vulnerable customers. Bailey is pleased with the current evidence showing a clear improvement in the payday loan market after a period where payday loan firms used unacceptable business models. Besides the obvious improvement, he feels there is more to be done in terms of identifying other areas where short-term credit consumers may be suffering. Bailey’s focus is now on the nature as well as the extent of problems surrounding unarranged overdrafts without touching on the positive that customers find useful.

Clarifications

Alongside the review are proposals published to clarify FCA rules on affordability and creditworthiness. Most lenders understand the regulator’s rules concerning checks on prospective borrower’s creditworthiness including the products they can afford, however, there are uncertainties in parts of the credit market. For this reason, the FCA is proposing to effect some changes to make its expectations clearer.

The regulator has also published additional details on its motor finance work highlighting the issues it is considering as well as the steps it will take to develop an understanding on the market. An update is expected to be issued in 2018 during the first quarter.

Industry reaction

The FCA review results and comments have been received well in the industry. According to Eric Leenders, Managing Director, ”UK Finance members are committed to responsible lending and serving better those clients who need access to credit regardless of the type of credit product they need.” Leenders affirms the importance of consumer credit in promoting economic growth when used sustainably and recognises the importance of lenders working hard to balance between helping customers and ensuring long-term affordability. Leenders also agrees that transparency is an important issue and UK Finance is doing everything necessary to make overdraft fees clearer. Leenders also stresses the fact that UK Finance members are open to help customers struggling with repayments and welcomes efforts by the FCA to work closely with lenders.

Stephen Sklaroff, Director General of the FLA (Finance and Leasing Association) is of the same opinion. According to Sklaroff, ”the FLA is working tirelessly to make sure its members lend responsibly as well as treat customers fairly. We are aware that the FCA has found that most lenders are addressing affordability appropriately and we look forward to engaging the FCA on affordability assessments as the regulator does more exploratory work in motor markets.”

Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice C.E.O. attests to the fact that the payday loan price cap has protected many borrowers from unmanageable debt. According to Guy, ”many people were subject to extortionate charges trapping them into debt. Since the price cap among other new measures, fewer people are seeking our help.” Guy, however, states that things have improved for payday loans only. ”Other high-cost loans such as guarantor loans, doorstep loans, rent-to-own services and overdrafts are experiencing problems. It’s good to see the regulator recognise this and take the necessary action. We think a similar price cap will help safeguard consumers of these other forms of high-cost credit.”

 

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

10 Years Later, UK is Getting Ready for Another Debt Crisis

10 Years Later, UK is Getting Ready for Another Debt Crisis

Ten years after the dreaded 2007 credit crunch, the signs of another impending debt crisis have begun to show. Prices are rising nonstop year after year while wages remain the same. Many people have also resulted to loans to survive. Unsecured consumer debt has reached the 2008 levels at over £200 billion and what’s shocking is; it’s rising by over 10% every year. In a nutshell, the UK is back to where it was before the credit crunch. The only difference is, there are concerns about it early.

Concerns

Credit rating agency Moody’s and the Bank of England are among the institutions which have raised concerns about the impending debt crisis. The concerns of these institutions are however focused on the risks the current debt situation has on the economy.

The FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) has also expressed concerns and appears to do a better job by breaking the problem down at street level. According to the FCA, one in every six people with credit card debt, personal lending as well as car loans is in serious trouble. This translates to approximately 2.2 million people.

A recent TUC report dubbed ”Britain in the Red” highlighted this issue in 2016. According to the report, 3.2 million UK households were experiencing debt problems with 1.6 million people in serious debt problems i.e. spending over 40% of their monthly income to service debt.

What’s to blame?

The 2007 crash was blamed on reckless spending on luxury as well as household goods. The situation today isn’t much different with the biggest blame falling on cars.

Repercussions

One of the most favourite ways of getting money to spend on luxuries and household goods as a home owner in the past was to remortgage your home. But this only worked for homeowners who had bought homes before the market reached its peak. For those who are buying now, remortgaging isn’t an option. If the interest rates rise by 1%, 18,000 Britons risk going bankrupt according to the Insolvency Service.

The problem

The UK is just about to get into another debt crisis because of several factors. One, zero-interest deals are in abundance again. Many people are managing their credit cards by simply transferring debt. According to recent statistics, 43% of all credit card users in the UK have zero-interest deals. This may appear favorable to borrowers on face value, however; it has left many in persistent debt. Lenders love customers who manage to meet their minimum monthly repayment objectives. There are millions of such borrowers in the UK.

Personal loans are also a problem. Before the 2007 crash, the payday loan industry in the UK wasn’t as big. Nevertheless, people had begun depending on payday loans for survival. Statistics indicate that approximately 250,000 people were using short term loans such as payday loans as of December 2006.

The demand for short-term loans is also a problem. The recent payday loan regulations have made it harder for payday loan lenders to exploit vulnerable borrowers. However, the regulation can’t deal with the demand. Today, few people can be able to survive without debt. In 2017, debt is being taken for basic necessities as opposed to luxuries.

The reasons behind this are obvious. Wages have stagnated, yet prices keep rising. After the 2007 debt crisis, households cut off spending on new items. With time, however, spending is inevitable since things become old or get damaged. Most personal loans today are on rent-to-buy deals. Modern necessities i.e. white goods are being acquired more and more this way today.

What’s more is; people don’t save to buy such goods anymore. The low-interest rates have discouraged saving. As a result, fewer households have funds for catering for emergencies, let alone white goods when they are needed.

The biggest problem of them all is Britain’s skewed economy where wages don’t match the cost of living. Although low wages have been a problem for a long time, there were incentives like tax credits before. Today, the welfare state is being used to punish people. Individuals who are dependent are forced into accepting poor pay/conditions as well as debt simply because they don’t have an alternative.

Unsecured loans replaced Government tax credits after the crash.

The effects of this is; the poor will get poorer while the rich get richer. All signs show that the UK is getting into another debt crisis soon, unless something drastic is done to boost wages.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.