National Counties Pays Fixed Rate of 1.9% on 8 Month Bond

Written by Karen Bryan

uk notes National Counties Pays Fixed Rate of 1.9% on 8 Month BondThe National Counties Building Society is offering a fixed rate of 1.9% on its 53rd Issue Savings Bond on a minimum deposit of £10,000. The current top paying 12 month fixed rate account, from BM Savings, pays a lower rate of 1.85%.

With the September 2014 rate of inflation (CPI) at 1.2%, basic rate taxpayers could net a rate of 1.52% on the National Counties account, giving them a small real return of just over 0.3%.

With a rise in the Bank of England base rate now looking like it’s been pushed back for a good few months, an 8 month fix until 30 June 2015 looks like a good bet.

If interested, I suggest that you open a National Counties 8 month fixed rate account as soon as possible, as best buy accounts are often closed to new subscriptions after a few days.

Rates of interest correct on 22 October 2014.

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Is the Purpose of a Pension Changing?

Written by Karen Bryan

4coins 150x150 Is the Purpose of a Pension Changing?The slew of recent changes to pensions in the UK has left me wondering if a pension is changing from being an income in later life into a general savings vehicle. A pension pot now seems to be something which you either pass onto your family upon your death and/or help your kids or grandchildren through further education and/or onto the housing ladder.

Now while these are laudable uses, where does it leave the pensioner with regard to income once they give up work?

The new single tier UK State Pension is due to be introduced in 2016. It will offer the equivalent of around £145 a week, as long as you have paid 35 years of National Insurance Contributions.

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10 Tips for Safer Online Banking

Written by Karen Bryan

I often read all sorts of banking scams and tricks that try to relieve you of your cash. While some of these attempts are more obvious, e.g. receiving an email asking to download and complete a form with your details, others are pretty sophisticated.

In fact, the last time that I had a phone call and text from my bank to inform me that, because of a suspicious transaction in the US my debit card had been cancelled, I initially thought it might be some kind of scam. However, as the call progressed I was reassured that it was genuine.

Santander fraud infographic 480x480 10 Tips for Safer Online Banking

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My Money Podcast #96

Written by Karen Bryan

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The My Money Podcast #96 covers the recent articles below.

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Nationwide Drops Rate of Loyalty Saver -  The rate of interest paid by the Nationwide Loyalty Saver to members of 15 years has dropped to 1.5%. This can be beaten by 1.6% paid by the open-to-all BM Savings Online Extra (Issue 14).

Do Multi-Appliance Warranties Offer Value for Money? – Looks like a resounding no according to my calculations.

It’s a Pity That the New £1m Savings Protection Won’t Cover All Deposits – The new £1m savings protection is only for short-term deposits e.g. cash from an insurance payout.

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Check Your Travel Insurance If You’re Flying with Non-EU Airline Outside the EU

Written by Karen Bryan

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viewfromplane 300x225 Check Your Travel Insurance If Youre Flying with Non EU Airline Outside the EUAs the vast majority of my air travel has been within Europe, I’ve been covered by EC 261/2004 duty of care regulation. This legislation means that an airline departing from an EU airport or any EU based airline has to reimburse your expenses if your flight is delayed or cancelled and re-route your flight.

This covered us when ash cloud led to the cancellation of our Ryanair flight from Malta to Edinburgh on 2011. I was able to go online and book seats (without additional payment) on the next Malta to Edinburgh flight two days later. Ryanair reimbursed us for 2 nights half board accommodation and a taxi to the airport.

However, when I read about the possible eruption of the Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland three weeks before we were due to fly from Edinburgh to Chicago with United Airlines, I thought I’d better check out the situation if there were ash cloud delays.

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Has The Government’s FLS Scheme Really Made Borrowing from Banks & Building Societies Easier?

Written by Karen Bryan

£20 notes close up1 240 150x150 Has The Government’s FLS Scheme Really Made Borrowing from Banks & Building Societies Easier?Two years since it was first introduced, it’s about time that someone looked at whether or not the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending (FLS) Scheme has succeeded in trying to make personal loans from building societies and banks a more viable option for the average householder.

What is the FLS?

For anyone that was looking to borrow money back in 2012, the introduction of the government’s revolutionary FLS initiative looked like the perfect solution to a steadily worsening problem;

Pioneered by the bank of England, this scheme promised to make borrowing from banks and building societies much easier for the average citizen.

It worked by offering to exchange pre-existing loans for treasury bonds that can be used to heavily subsidize borrowing; a tactic that would (hopefully) help lenders to access more funding, and, as a result, encourage the majority of high-street banks to offer more accessible rates to the consumer.

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A Better Deal for Borrowers

Written by Karen Bryan

£1 coin stack1 150x150 A Better Deal for BorrowersThe personal loan market is an interesting place at the moment. Lenders have been lowering rates, offering great deals to consumers. However, behind the headline offer things might not be so straightforward. Many lenders, including HSBC and Sainsburys often restrict their best offers to existing customers, leaving the rest of the market wanting and a lack of flexibility and transparency can leave borrowers wishing they’d shopped around.

New player in the loans market Hitachi Personal Finance (HPF)has just launched its best ever rate of 4% available for loans between £7,500 and £10,000 over two to five years, and it’s rate is open to everyone. The business launched last year and as a relatively new entrant in the loans market, it has been able to offer something different combining low rates and a unique approach to customer service.
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It’s a Pity That New £1m Savings Protection Won’t Cover All Savings

Written by Karen Bryan

£20 and £10 notes diagon al 500 150x150 Its a Pity That New £1m Savings Protection Wont Cover All SavingsWhen I read the headline that the Bank of England is proposing to protect savings of up to £1m, I thought great. The current Financial Services Compensation Scheme only covers savings of up to £85,000 per institution.

However, once I started to read the article it transpired that the £1m protection was only for short-term deposits (up to 6 months) such as inheritance or proceeds from a house sale.

Although the present £85,000 sounds like it would cover the majority of savers, it’s not that generous. Someone who had been putting aside the maximum into tax-free Cash ISAs and the earlier TESSAs every year, would have amassed well over £100,000 by now. It’d be good to have the option to leave that as a lump sum if you find a good rate of interest at one institution.

There’s also the confusion caused by the fact that some financial institutions share the £85,000 FSCS between several brands, e.g. AA, Aviva, Bank of Scotland,  BM Savings, Halifax, Intelligent Finance and Saga all share £85,000 protection.

I am crossing my fingers that the £85,000 FSCS cover is increased when it’s next reviewed in December 2015.

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Do Multi-Appliance Warranties Offer Value for Money?

Written by Karen Bryan

washing machine control panel Do Multi Appliance Warranties Offer Value for Money?Within three months of replacing our broken fridge/freezer, our washing machine packed in.  Spending £540 on two appliances got me wondering if we should buy a multi-appliance warranty.

A warranty for these two appliances cost around £10 a month. However, most of the policies had excesses and only covered appliances up to eight years old.

Our previous fridge freezer lasted for almost 15 years and our washing machine for 9 years, so neither would have been covered by the warranty.

Paying £10 a month for a 8 years warranty cover on these two appliances would cost £960 (£120 x 8). That’s looking like poor value, especially considering that as both our appliances lasted for more than 8 years, we’d have paid out for the warranty and still have had to pay £540 for replacements.

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Nationwide Drops the Rate on Its Loyalty Saver

Written by Karen Bryan

nationwide logo blue card 300x101 Nationwide Drops the Rate on Its Loyalty SaverI was disappointed that the rate of interest paid on the Nationwide Loyalty Saver dropped on 1 October 2014. As I’ve been a member for more than 15 years, I was previously earning a rate of 1.7% on a balance of up to £50,000. The rate has dropped to 1.5% for 15 years membership.

Now I could earn the same rate of interest of 1.5% on an Saga Telephone Saver (Issue 14), as I’m aged over 50.

As the interest rate paid on the Nationwide Loyalty Saver for 5 years membership is now 1.4%, this can be matched by the open-to-all Post Office Online Saver account.

It’s looking as though loyalty no longer pays with the Nationwide.

Nationwide will probably bleat that competitive pressures forced it to drop the rate of interest paid on its Loyalty Saver. I think that they should just ditch this so-called exclusive account, exactly what they did with their best buy Regular Saver ISA on 1 August 2014. That’ a more honest approach, than implying that long-standing customers will be rewarded with a higher rate of interest.

Rates of interest correct on 5 October 2014.

Update 15 October 2014 – The BM Savings Online Extra (Issue 14) pays 1.6%, made up of 1.1% fixed rate bonus for 12 months and underlying variable rate of 0.5%. That’s a higher rate then the 1.5% paid by the Nationawide Loyalty Saver to members of 15 years.

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