Category Archives: Money

PPI Warning Issued Over Adverts

According to MoneySavingExpert.com founder, Martin Lewis, payment protection insurance (PPI) claimants shouldn’t follow advice on the FCA’s new PPI adverts or risk losing up to 33% of their payout.

The regulator is telling people to search for “FCA PPI” via its new ads encouraging people to check if they have been mis-sold PPI before. However, MoneySavingExpert.com has discovered instances where other firms have charged claimants up to 36% for claiming PPI simply because those firms appear as top results for this search term instead of the official FCA website.

Advising claimants to use a search term (FCA PPI) instead of giving the official FCA website is risky since the regulator isn’t guaranteed a top result

for every search that happens using the “FCA PPI” search term. Although the FCA comes top for organic search results relevant to search terms related to it, paid ads “sit” above the search terms and these ads are what people see first.

The problem

The FCA launched a series of Arnold Schwarzenegger adverts urging people to check if they have been mis-sold PPI before. Those who suspect they have been mis-sold PPI covers in the past must claim before 29th August 2019. The ad campaign includes two different radio adverts, a TV advert, and two different poster adverts. The TV ad happens to be the only ad that features the full FCA site address. The poster and radio ads urge people to search for the term “FCA PPI” and don’t offer the official FCA website.

When the “FCA PPI” search term is tested on Google among other search engines, MoneySavingExpert.com discovered that there are multiple instances where paid-for companies rank higher than the official FCA site in search engine results. In some instances, the regulator appears 4th in a list of ads and firms ranking

above are entitled to a cut (up to 36%) on every successful claim.

According to Martin Lewis, the FCA must change the call-to-action for these ads because they are misleading. Lewis acknowledges the FCA’s efforts to try and educate the public but goes further to state that the regulator will not reach the intended people with the ads in their current state. According to Lewis, the regulator is targeting individuals who haven’t reclaimed PPI in the past ten years. A majority of such people are not web savvy. They are also vulnerable. Lewis argues that most people won’t be able to differentiate the ad with the official FCA website from those from claim companies which are entitled to take huge “cuts” from every successful claim they process.

In the recent past, Google has made it harder to differentiate between search results and ads on search engine pages. For those who aren’t web savvy, spotting the difference is hard which could lead to mistakes. In his humble opinion, Lewis cautions that the regulator is using public funds to pay search engine giant, Google, to rank higher yet most claim firms have bigger ad budgets having made a lot of money taking a third of people’s payment protection insurance payouts. In simple terms, these firms have the incentives to use a lot of money to dominate Google’s ad ranking for PPI and related terms. This, in turn, makes it easy for the FCA’s ad campaign to be “hijacked.” Clicks meant for the FCA are likely to go to claims management sites. What’s more; people may find themselves paying over 30% to reclaim what could have been reclaimed for free. Furthermore, the chances of a claimant taking action after seeing the cost are very slim.

Why it’s happening

The problem is simple. The regulator chose a search term over the official FCA website to control what a person sees when they search the term “FCA PPI”. This is despite the fact that search engines display paid-for ads as the highest ranking results today. Companies can bid on terms used by people to try and secure top search engine result spots for those terms.

Reclaiming PPI insurance

PPI is a special type of insurance policy sold to individuals who get loans. As the name suggests, payment protection insurance is meant to cover a borrower’s

loan repayments in case of eventualities like sickness, accidents, unemployment, etc. that may hinder their ability to make repayments. PPI is a good insurance cove; however, it has been mis-sold widely. Just recently, a ruling (known as Plevin) has made it possible for people to claim some money back on mis-sold PPI covers in the past. The landmark ruling was inspired by the fact that many people have been paying for potentially worthless PPI cover for years. MoneySavingExpert.com has a mis-selling checklist[1]. You don’t need to pay anyone/any company to reclaim mis-sold PPI.

Act NOW!

You must check and launch your claim before 29th August 2019 if you meet the mis-sold PPI guidelines. Complaints received before the deadline will be processed accordingly. However, some people may be able to claim after the deadline i.e., those who bought PPI policies after 29th August 2017. The deadline may also not be applicable for individuals disputing rejected PPI policy claims.

It is estimated that approximately 5.5 million people were victims of mis-sold PPI between years 2013 and 2015. Majority of these people haven’t launched claims.

The FCA’s take

According to an FCA spokesperson, auctions for PPI related keywords are extremely competitive, and the regulator can’t guarantee its ads will enjoy a 1st place position every time. The regulator is, however, monitoring this development carefully and working on an approach focused on increasing the value of its ads. Nevertheless, the regulator is confident about the campaign’s call-to-action given website traffic has increased significantly since the campaign launched.

Quick Guide to Debt Management Plans (DMPs)

What is a Debt Management Plan (DMP)?

A debt management plan or DMP is simply; a plan or program meant to help you repay your debts comfortably. DMPs are recommendable for people with non- priority debts such as store card debt, credit card debt, overdrafts or personal loans. Debt management plans are usually prepared by debt management companies. Your DMP provider will work with you and your creditors to come up with the most affordable debt repayment schedule for you that is agreeable to your creditors. A typical DMP will involve a borrower making one payment monthly to their DMP provider who in turn, pays creditors as per the agreed plan. Typical DMPs run for 3 to 5 years. They are part of debt consolidation plans designed to help individuals in debt regain control of their debt/finances while decreasing unsecured debt.

Types of debt that can be paid off using a debt management plan

Debt management plans are ideal for non-priority debt which includes; personal loans, overdrafts, building society loans, bank loans, money borrowed from family/friends, payday loans, credit card loans, store card debt, home credit, and catalogue or in-store credit debt.

Examples of debt that CAN’T be repaid of using a DMP include; council tax, court fines, utility bills (electricity and gas bills), child support, TV license, high purchase agreements, National insurance, income tax, VAT, rent, mortgage and any other loans secured using your home. Basically, all kinds of priority debt can’t be settled with a DMP.

Getting a debt management plan

Getting a DMP is easy. Many debt advice organisations in the UK offering free advice can help you get a debt management plan. Free debt advisers offer expert debt advice to many people in the UK every year. They are among the best-suited organisations to go to for advice when you find yourself in financial problems.

Before you choose a specific debt management provider in the UK, it is worth noting that all reputable providers have FCA authorisation. You can check for authorisation on the official FCA Financial services register. [1] This is particularly important when dealing with fee-paying providers.

Once you have identified a suitable provider, the next step is agreeing on a suitable monthly budget. This step is important for determining the amount of money you can afford repaying comfortably. After setting a budget, your provider will go ahead and negotiate with your creditors on new repayment terms. A good provider will be able to secure a good DMP that is agreeable to all parties. Most creditors don’t have a problem with people who owe them money as long as you show gestures of goodwill.

Important considerations

A debt management plan will help you take charge of your finances again. However, it doesn’t guarantee you “peace of mind”. Some creditors may still contact you. Also, as mentioned above, DMPs are available for non-priority debt only. It’s also worth noting that DMPs may affect your credit history.

What’s more; creditors are not obligated to accept DMPs. Creditors may also continue adding charges and interest which can increase the total debt repayment amount. A good provider should be able to negotiate great terms that offer safeguards against such practices. Lastly, it’s good to recognise the fact that DMPs may extend the amount of time it takes to repay your debts. Debt repayment methods such as contractual payments are faster.

Main advantages of DMPs

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Although DMPs attract some cons, they have notable advantages. One, you get debt consolidation without taking on additional loans. A DMP will also make you more organised with your finances. You could also improve your credit score and credit report over time. Last but not least, you stand to enjoy some reprieve from creditors or debt collectors because they have an incentive to stop pursuing you.

Why do you need a DMP?

You can choose to repay your debt on your own; however, this isn’t a good idea if you are in debt in the first place. Instead, you should focus on finding professional help externally. People who let debt overwhelm them before they can seek help face serious financial problems. For instance, no one may be willing to lend you by the time you decide to seek help. Your finances may also spiral out of control. Furthermore, taking long to seek help extends the amount of time you need to become debt-free. You can also get free debt advice in the UK!

Reference

[1] https://register.fca.org.uk/

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

What’s Happening In the Cryptocurrency World: South Korea Ban & More

Cryptocurrencies have become an overnight sensation. Bitcoin almost hit $20,000 in December 2017 after opening the year (Jan 2017) at $980. The price rally caught a lot of attention in 2017 resulting in numerous ICO’s (IPOs for Cryptocurrencies). There are now 1300+ Cryptocurrencies with more being released every day. Considering Cryptocurrencies aren’t backed by tangible assets like Gold, there have been concerns that they are capable of destabilising the entire financial system. Many financial experts have been on record stating that the Cryptocurrency bubble will burst. Others had speculated government and regulator intervention despite most cryptocurrency creators saying that would be out of the question.

We can’t say the bubble has burst yet although the price of Bitcoin (the most popular cryptocurrency) has been dropping in 2018. One Bitcoin costs approximately $12,466 as of January 17th, 2017. We are also starting to see government intervention with South Korea leading the way.

Developments

On January 11th, 2018, police raided Bithumb and Coinone offices, the two largest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea on suspicion of tax evasion. On the same day, South Korea Justice Minister Park Sang-ki made a statement implying that the government was going to ban all trading activities taking place on domestic crypto asset exchanges.

South Korea has one of the biggest Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market in Asia accounting for approximately 20% of the world’s global Bitcoin transactions. In fact, many Koreans have sizable portions of their money/savings in cryptocurrency. Furthermore, the country lacks good high-yield investment opportunities for ordinary citizens. A recent survey indicated that 30% of all salaried workers have invested in Cryptocurrencies.

News over the looming cryptocurrency ban spread like wildfire tumbling the price of Bitcoin. The price hasn’t recovered since despite reassurances from the South Korean government via a statement released on 15th January 2018 suggesting that the said cryptocurrency crackdown wasn’t imminent. The South Korean government through the Government policy Coordination office has tried to backtrack from recent comments by the Justice Minister as well as recent government action. However, many are convinced the current developments signify a looming clampdown.

This is because the government hasn’t ruled out intervention or a complete ban. The most recent statement suggests that the government is waiting to consult widely and coordinate options before arriving at a decision. As of now, the government hasn’t offered much relief to its citizens as well as many others who have invested in Bitcoin considering the effects of the remarks made by the Justice Minister on January 11th, 2018.

Furthermore, this isn’t the first time the South Korean government is displaying hostility towards Cryptocurrencies. On 28th December 2018, the government issued a warning stating that virtual currencies can’t play the role of actual currency. The warning also relayed concerns that excess volatility could cause massive losses. The latest statement suggests that some South Korean government officials and organizations don’t agree on how to handle the cryptocurrency boom. South Korea already banned ICOs in December 2017 as well as anonymous crypto trading accounts over criminal concerns. Popular exchange, Youbit, has also filed for bankruptcy after a hacking incident saw the exchange lose $35 million worth of Bitcoin.

China ban

South Korea is not the only Asian country facing a complete cryptocurrency ban. Senior government and banking officials have been on record calling for a total ban. Back in September 2017, Chinese regulators banned ICOs and introduced other stringent measures such as ordering domestic exchanges to halt all crypto-to-fiat trading services. Since then, major exchanges have shifted to over-the-counter as well as global crypto-to-crypto trading.

Many crypto skeptics in China have argued that the current measures aren’t enough given crypto trading services are still available for residents. China is a perfect example of how a cryptocurrency trading ban can fail. As soon as the Chinese authorities pounced on domestic exchanges to stop trading, most relocated overseas. Traders resorted to using trading applications such as telegram to trade directly or over-the-counter without an intermediary.

Reports indicate that Chinese authorities and senior banking officials such as Pan Gongsheng, China’s Central Bank Vice Governor are working on a framework that will allow local and central authorities to investigate as well as block all domestic and foreign platforms that support cryptocurrency trading.

It is however clear that a complete ban on cryptocurrency anywhere in the world will be easier said than done. Cryptocurrencies are designed to be free of centralized authority. Their decentralized nature is the main reason why they have become popular globally. Majority of the global population has lost trust in Fiat currency given its obvious shortfalls such as susceptibility to manipulation.

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.

Banks Issuing Debt at Fastest Rate in 8 Years While Household Debts Soars

According to the latest Bank of England data, net new issuance of commercial paper and bonds stood at £17.5 billion in November 2017. This statistic shows that November 2017 was the busiest month for UK businesses and banks since October 2009.

Debt markets have been growing at the fastest rate in eight years, and what’s more, bankers expect the trend to continue in 2018. From January to November 2017, UK businesses and banks raised a net £50 billion which was the yearly level since September 2010.

According to Davis Marks, a debt capital banker at JPMorgan, UK banks are expected to be more active in capital markets this year (2018) than they were in 2017. UK banks must, however, refinance existing debt as well as build additional capital to meet the 2022 regulatory requirement deadline.

Labour analysts have been on record warning over rising household debt. According to John McDonnell, the level of unsecured borrowing in Britain may hit record levels very soon. According to remarks he made in December 2017, McDonnell stresses a need for more decisive action from the government in 2018 regarding debt since the UK has already seen a debt crisis with payday loans where payday loan companies were making astronomical profits from people’s financial problems.

Analysts have predicted that the level of unsecured loans per household in the UK will exceed £15,000 in 2018 and could easily surpass £19,000 by 2022 if adequate action isn’t taken.

Million of Britons starting 2018 in debt

The latest National Debtline statistics indicate that 7.9 million Britons are likely to start 2018 with debt accumulated during the Christmas season. The debt advice charity estimates a record 16% of Britons will face difficulties meeting their financial obligations in January 2018 compared to 11% last year. This statistics clearly shows that people will be worse off this year than last year, but all is not lost.

The FCA has new rules in place that require UK lenders to prompt borrowers to repay debt faster. Lenders are also obligated to intervene early in cases of repayment difficulties. For instance, they can cancel interest and/or waive charges accumulated on short-term debt like credit card loans for customers who are in debt persistently.

Quick measures/steps to get out of debt in 2018

In case you are already in debt in January 2018, there are some measures you can take by yourself to repay the debt before more is done by the government and regulators to deal with the increasing rate of household debt. It doesn’t really matter if you took out a short term loan such as a payday loan that you didn’t need. It’s time to take action.

Step 1: List all your debt

If you have more than one loan to repay, you should start by listing all your debt. It may appear obvious; however, most people who take many short-term loans don’t know how many loans they service in a month among other important details such as interest amount and additional fees. A simple exercise such as listing current loans can help you assess affordability accurately preventing you from taking up more loans.

Step 2: Repay the most costly loans first

Step 1 should help you identify expensive debt. Repay such debt first to reduce the total time you take repaying especially if you make more than minimum repayments. Observing this step will also help you reduce the total charges incurred.

Step 3: Halt savings/investments for a while

It’s always prudent to save and invest after getting rid of debt especially if it is short-term debt which accumulates hefty charges in fees and interest. Instead of saving and investing every month, as usual, use the money to offset your debt. However, don’t forget to continue saving/investing once you are debt-free.

Step 4: Consider debt management strategies

If you accumulated a lot of debt during the festive season that may not be repayable easily/faster/comfortably using your monthly savings, you can consider consolidating the debt which is simply; combining many debts into one manageable debt. Many lenders offer this option. You can also visit a financial professional to advise you accordingly given debt consolidation has some risks that must be understood beforehand to avoid more debt problems.

Lastly, don’t get into debt again. If you must take a payday loan or any other type of short term loan, use the loan amount for the intended purposes. Loans should never be misused. Never take loans simply because they are available. You should also take a loan you can afford comfortably.

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.