Nowhere for Savers to Turn

Written by Karen Bryan

knifeI feel bombarded by letters and emails from financial institutions informing me of their decision to take the knife to the rate of interest paid on my accounts.

Worst of all is the cut from 3% to 1.5% in the rate of interest paid on balances between £3,000 to £20,000 on the Santander 123 current account, The reduction takes place on 1 November 2016. This is on the back of the more than doubling of the monthly account fee from £2 to £5.

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Halifax Ditch £5 Clarity Card Reward

Written by Karen Bryan

halifaxclaritycardThe £5 monthly reward on the Halifax Clarity credit card is being removed from 30 September 2016.

It’s never been that easy to fulfil all the eligibility criteria to earn the £5 reward. You had to hold a Halifax current account into which you paid at least £1,000 a month, make at least £300 of purchases on your credit card that month, stay within your credit limit, and make the minimum monthly payment on the due date.

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Earn £25 With Three Mobile’s Refer a Friend

Written by Karen Bryan

three mobileBoth you and your friend could earn £25 in Amazon vouchers through Three Mobile’s refer a friend scheme.

Your friend must sign up online to either a pay monthly contract, or a 12 month SIM only plan, with Three.

I’ve been using Three Mobile for a few years and I’ve been happy with the service.

I started off with a SIM Only PAYG 12 which offered 12 GB of data which could be used at any time during a twelve month period. I liked the flexibility as my trips are irregular, and most data plans offered so much data per month,

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Review of Malmaison Edinburgh

Written by Karen Bryan

I stayed at the Malmaison Edinburgh on a Monday night in June 2016. I booked the double room at a price of £47 on the Agoda website, during a Malmazing promotion. This flexible rate, which could be cancelled without penalty up to the day of arrival.

The hotel is located in Leith, Edinburgh’s port, a couple of miles from the city centre. However, there are plenty of cafes. bars and restaurants within a five minute walk from the hotel.

malmaison edinburgh exterior

The Malmaison Edinburgh’s free car park is at the back of the building. If you’re travelling to Edinburgh by car, free parking is one of the big advantages of staying at a hotel out of Edinburgh city centre, where parking is expensive and it can be hard to find a space.

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Review of the Workfast Online Workplace Market

Written by Karen Bryan

workfastIt’s getting simpler and quicker to find work with online temp agencies such as Workfast. You can use Workfast either on your laptop, or download the app to your mobile phone or tablet, from Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Once you have registered and set up a worker profile on Workfast, you can start bidding for work.

You can choose when you want to work, in which location you wish to work and for whom you wish to work. You may prefer the variety of  different workplaces, be testing the water before setting up your own business, or just looking to earn some extra money.

Listed jobs display a job description, the hours and/or days required and the rate on pay offered by the employer. You can ask questions about the job. Then you can make a bid for any listed jobs which appeal to you.

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First Direct Reduce Cash ISA Rate of Interest by 0.4%

Written by Karen Bryan

£20 and £10 notes1First Direct is reducing their rate of interest on their Cash ISA from 1.3% to 0.9% on 18 October 2016.

In my opinion, this cut is unjustified, as the recent drop in the Bank of England Base Rate was only 0.25%.

Some other financial institutions, such as Nationwide, have pledged not to reduce the rate of interest paid to savers by more that the 0.25% cut in the Bank of England Base Rate.

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Check Your Card Before Making an Overseas Purchase

Written by Karen Bryan

I decided to pay upfront for one year’s backup service for both my websites. As the backup provider charges in US dollars,  I knew that I’d need to use a credit card which doesn’t charge a fee for overseas transactions.

I pulled what I thought was my Nationwide Select credit card from my purse.

Just after making the payment, I realised that I had used my Nationwide Flex Plus debit card, which levies a 2% fee for transactions not made in UK pounds.

I was so annoyed with myself. I wondered how I could make such a silly mistake. Then I realised that both the Nationwide Select credit card and the Nationwide Flex Plus debit card are silver.

I acknowledge that I should have been more careful and checked it before entering the card details online to make the payment.

nationwide select credit card and flex plus debit card

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Review of the Belhaven Hotel Glasgow

Written by Karen Bryan

I stayed at the Belhaven Hotel in Glasgow for one night in mid May 2016. I searched for a single room for a Friday night. I booked the Belhaven as an Expedia Secret Saver Hotel. This means that the hotel name is only revealed upon booking, offering savings of up to 40%.

This secret hotel was described as being a three and a half star establishment in “Glasgow’s West End – Kevlingrove Art Gallery – Bohemian Quarter with free parking and free internet.

belhaven hotel glasgow exterior

After some research, I had mixed feelings about having gone for a secret hotel.

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I Backed the Wrong Horse With Tracker Bonds

Written by Karen Bryan

£10 and £20 notes 240I have two savings accounts which track the Bank of England Base Rate.

With today’s 0.25% in the Base Rate, I backed the wrong horse by opting for tracker bonds.

My Halifax Tracker Bond, which matures in January 2017), tracks at 1.48% above Base Rate, which equated to a rate of 1.98% at the time of purchase. When I bought that bond in July 2015, I thought that the Bank of England Base Rate would remain at 0.5% for the 18 month period.

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Charter Savings Bank Should Pay Withdrawals on Day of Bond Maturity

Written by Karen Bryan

charter savings bank logoMy Standard Charter Savings Bank One Year Fixed Rate Bond matured on Sunday 31 July 2016.

However, as the payment of the matured funds is made on the day after the  next working day, I should receive the cash into the requested Halifax Reward current account by the end of the working day on 2 August 2016.

I am annoyed that my savings will be in limbo earning no interest for two days.

If the matured funds had been sent by Faster Payment on Sunday 31 July, then I could have transferred the money into a savings account that day.

In my opinion, financial institutions should be legally obliged to pay matured funds from a fixed rate bond by Faster Payment on the day on which the bond matures.

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