My Money Podcast #107

Written by Karen Bryan

The My Money Podcast #107 features the recent articles listed below.

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First Direct Regular Saver Account Pays 6% Interest

Written by Karen Bryan

first direct regular saverI’ve been aware of the First Direct Regular Saver account, which pays a fixed rate of 6% for 12 months, for some time. You can save between £25 – £300 a month. As you had to hold a First Direct current account in order to access the regular saver account, I’d been put off.

Before opening a First Direct Regular Saver account you should be certain that you won’t need to withdraw money from this account, as you can’t make partial withdrawals. If you close the account, the rate of interest paid will be reduced to that paid on the standard savings account, currently a paltry 0.05%.

You can vary the amount which you pay in every month. If you don’t save £300 in any given month, you can carry over any unused subscription to the following months. It’s best to put as much as possible into the account as early as possible during the 12 month period to maximise the interest earned.

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Making the Most of Your Stocks and Shares ISA Allowance for 2015

Written by Karen Bryan

uk notesThere are many benefits to opening a stocks and share ISA. Firstly, you don’t have to pay any tax on the capital gains made from your investments as they go up in value. Secondly, you don’t have to pay any tax on interest on bonds meaning you get to keep any returns earned there too. Thirdly, income earned on any shares investments is taxed at just 10 per cent which is a significant saving for higher and additional-rate taxpayers who would otherwise have to pay higher rates of 32.5 per cent 37.5 per cent respectively.

While some people take a DIY approach to investing and choose where best to place their money through meticulous research, others prefer a little help to build up a high-yielding portfolio and make the most of their annual ISA allowance (£15,000 for the tax year 2014-15, rising to £15,240 for the ta year 2015-16).

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Snubbed for Credit: What are the Reasons?

Written by Karen Bryan

creditcardblueThe first thing to do after having a credit application turned down is to make sure you understand why it happened. After being turned down, the loan or credit card company can tell you if you were refused because of a credit check and which of the credit reference agencies was used. If you think there’s been a mistake, you can ask the credit reference agency to correct your file straight away. You should do this in writing, and the agency will then have 28 days in which to act. The relevant item will be given a ‘disputed’ label while an investigation is ongoing.

If you’re turned down, definitely don’t keep applying for more and more cards and loans to see if you are successful. All applications, if you are successful or not, will be recorded on your file and can cause even more damage to your credit rating. If you still need to borrow, ensure you find a loan or credit card that you are likely to be accepted for. Secured loans may be the best option if you have a property, as you are more likely to get one of these even if your credit rating is poor, or you may need one of the self-employed loans that are available, for example from Evolution Money.

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Getting the Best Price for Your Old Mobile Phone

Written by Karen Bryan

sell my mobileLet’s face it, most of us have a least a couple of old mobile phones lying around at home. Why not sell them to make some extra cash? I’d recommend that you keep at least one old phone as a backup, in case you damage or lose your main mobile. Recently, I was glad that I had my old Samsung Wave to use when my Sony Xperia Z Ultra was being repaired after liquid damage.

One of the best ways to find the highest price for your old mobile phone is to use a price comparison site such as SellMyMobile.com, which searches through the prices offered by more than 30 mobile phone recycling companies. This saves you the time and effort of looking on several different websites.Your phone needs to be in working order, minor signs of wear and tear are OK.

To compare price you just need to enter the make and model of your phone. Almost instantly, the search results appear. Sometimes you are offered a higher price if you accept shopping vouchers instead of cash. Unless the differential between the cash and voucher value was high, I’d prefer to take the cash, so I could spent it wherever I wanted, rather than being tied to one retailer.

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Using ebookers Bonus+

Written by Karen Bryan

The ebookers Bonus+ scheme offers discounts on hotels, packaged trips and flights. It starts off with a discount of 3% on hotels, 2% on packaged trips add 1% on flights.

ebookers bonus

As the discount is only applicable on your next booking, it’s a marketing ploy to get you to make your next booking on ebookers. However, I was able to use Bonus+ to get a further discount in addition to a 20% off hotel booking promotions.

I was looking for hotels for my trip to Marseille and Nice in April. As usual, I began my search on the HotelsCombined.co.uk price comparison site. I identified hotels in a central location that had good reviews and cost under £50 a night. I took a note of possible hotels.

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Confusion Over Standing Order Due Dates

Written by Karen Bryan

santander123cxurrentaccountI logged into my Santander 123 Current Account to check that the new standing order for a monthly payment to my M&S Regular Saver was set up. I carried out this check on the 11th, the day before the standing order was due to be paid on the 12th of the month. Strangely, the standing order information showed that the next payment was due on the 12th of the following month.

I did a bit of online research which led me to conclude that, as standing orders can only be cancelled a couple of days in advance of the due date, a standing order due within the next two days doesn’t appear on the online banking screen as you can’t amend or cancel it.

I decided that the only course of action was to log into my Santander current account the following morning to check that the standing order had been paid. If if hadn’t been paid, I’d have then made a faster payment.

In my opinion, this is confusing for customers like me who are looking for reassurance that the standing order will be paid on the next due date.

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My Money Podcast #106

Written by Karen Bryan

The My Money Podcast #106 summaries the Help Me To Save articles below.

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Lodging a Missing Cashback Claim with TopCashBack.co.uk

Written by Karen Bryan

topcashbackThree weeks prior to our trip to Chicago, I booked single trip travel insurance with Aviva. I selected their policy as it offered travel disruption cover including ash cloud. The Aviva cover wasn’t the cheapest, but with the Bardarbunga volcano on red alert. I thought it was worth paying a bit more to ensure that we wouldn’t end up out-of-pocket. As our flight home would be with an non-EU airline from a non-EU airport, we would have been responsible for additional costs incurred if our flight had been delayed.

I booked the Aviva travel insurance through a link on the TopCashBack.co.uk website, which was offering £9.45 cashback on a single trip policy.

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Can You Make Money Doing Online Surveys?

Written by Karen Bryan

£5 notesI thought that doing some online surveys might be a good way to earn some extra cash. I signed up with Ipsos Mori’s I-Say research panel.

I believed that I’d be able to complete the online surveys quickly, as I’ve previously worked as a market research interviewer. I reckoned that being a female aged 55+ who was working full-time would mean that I’d fit the quota for a fair number of surveys. I also thought that as I’m online for a few hours a day, I’d be able to start doing the surveys quickly, before the required number of interviewees was filled.

Within the fist week of signing up to I-Say, I received a few emails from I-Say informing me that a survey was available. However, I was only able to fully complete two surveys, one earned me 150 points and the other 25 points. One survey wouldn’t load on my laptop.  I spent at least five minutes answering questions on two of these surveys, about internet usage and broadband/phone providers,  before it was deemed that I wasn’t suitable for the survey.

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