Categories
Banking

How to Pick the Best Student Bank Account

If you are a student or you have a child that is a student then you may be on the look for a specialist student bank account. It is a good idea to think this through quite carefully. Many banks and building societies want to encourage students to bank with them. They would like them to start off banking with them in the hope that they will continue to bank with them once they start working. They will also be keen to have that student loan money paid in so that that they can have it in their bank. Lastly, they may be keen to take on a student who might need to use an overdraft as they will benefit from the fees that they charge on that. However, with so many to choose form, it is important that the student picks the one that suits them the best, rather than just picking the one that looks most attractive. There are various things that they should be looking out for in a good student account.

Cheap Overdrafts

Most student accounts will offer an overdraft. The banks and building societies will assume that students will be hard up and that they will need extra money. This could very well be true and it could be extremely useful to have access to an overdraft. Some of the places even offer free overdrafts for the full time the student is studying. This can be extremely useful. It could even be utilised by students who do not need to use an overdraft. They could potentially put the money into a savings account and gain the interest on it and then repay it to the account before interest starts having to be paid (which is likely to start as soon as the course ends). This can be a good way to make a little extra money, although it will only be a little bit with savings rates being so low, but it is worth considering. When comparing the overdraft rates, make sure that you find out whether those rates will change one the student graduates and what the rates will change to. 

Freebies

Some student account will offer freebies to students. For example, they may offer a free student railcard which normally has to be paid for and can give students around a third off train fares. If the student was going to buy one, then this could be a great freebie. However, some freebies will not be so useful and so it is worth making sure you check what they are calculate their value and work out whether they will benefit you. Even if you have hundreds of freebies they will not be any good to you if they are not things that you will use.

Interest

Even though these accounts are effectively current accounts, some may offer interest. So, look into this carefully and think about whether this will be worthwhile. You will need to consider whether you think that it is a good idea to take out an account which pays higher interest or whether the cheap overdraft and freebies are more worthwhile going for. No account will have it all and you will need to compare them and try to guess which will be best for you. Remember, that you will be able to switch, so if you find that the account you have chosen is just not right then you can move to another. It is well worth doing a yearly check anyway because you may find that certain account change in how competitive they are and you may find that the account that you thought was best one year, turns out not to be so good the following year.

Categories
Remortgaging

Should I Remortgage?

If you have a mortgage then you may often wonder whether it is a good idea to switch to a different mortgage provider. You may like the one you are with or have been with them a long time, so you may feel loyal to them. However, it is worth checking out a few things to see whether it might be a good idea to switch to a different provider.

Interest Rate

The interest rate is the thing that we tend to look at when we are comparing mortgages and it is important. It shows how much interest we will be paying on the money that we owe. The higher the interest rate, the more money we will have to pay. This means that we will often look for the smallest interest rate to pick the cheapest lender. However, it is worth remembering that although interest rates are important there are other things that we should consider as well.

For example, how long will the loan last? Different mortgage lenders may offer different terms. If you are repaying over a longer time, then you will owe the money for longer and therefore pay more interest overall. It is also worth noting that some will have a fixed rate of interest which means that it will stay the same for a particular time period and then may move onto a variable rate, which could potentially be high. With these, you may be tied in as well, which means that if there are other cheaper rates available, you will not be able to move to these. Therefore you do need to look beyond the interest rate and check what else is going on as well.

Charges and Fees

You will also find that some mortgages will have fees charged as well as the interest. These tend not to be regular, but there may be admin fees when you switch over. The big one to look out for an early redemption fee, which is a charge you will pay if you decide to pay the mortgage off early. Some lenders do not have them at all but others could charge massive amounts of money so if you are interested in making overpayments or repaying early then you need to bear this in mind.

You also need to check the late payment fees. If you miss or are late with a monthly payment then there will be a charge for this. Check what these are. Even if you feel that you will always make the payments on time, it is wise to check and see what it will cost if you do not. This will allow you to compare different lenders in a different way, so if their interest rates are similar, this could be a way to decide which you think is best. Also being aware of that fee may help you be more motivated to make sure that you repay the loan on time.

Service

It is also worth thinking about value for money. You might want to choose a mortgage provider that has a good reputation, provides good customer service, that you have heard of, has a local branch, provides online banking, that you have used before or something else. Think about the factors that might be important to you so that you can check and see whether the mortgage lenders you are considering fit in with the criteria that you feel is important. This may not be as important as the cost of the mortgage but it could make a difference and if rates are close, then it could be these sorts of things which you find will make the difference and help you to make the right choice.

Categories
Travel

Is Travel Insurance Worth it

There are many different types of insurance policy and we will usually not have insurance for everything that we do. However, there will be some that are legal requirements, some that are part of a contract and some that are just sensible to take out. However, when it comes to things like travel insurance, we may not be sure whether it is a good idea to take it out or not. It is worth thinking it through.

Health Cover

If you are going abroad on holiday, then you will need to think about the cost of any health cover that you might need. For example, if you are unwell and need to see a doctor or have hospital treatment then there will be a cost associated with this. You will also need to consider what might happen if you have an accident and need care of some sort. In some countries care will be free, particularly in Europe. However, you may need certain documents before you go to show when you have the care to prove that you are a UK citizen and entitled to free care. Do bear in mind that not all European countries will automatically offer this, particularly after leaving the EU. So, make sure that you check before you go.

You may feel that you are too young and not at risk of needing any sort of medical care. Do find out how much it will cost though, if you do not have cover and then you can decide whether you think that it is worth it. It could be quite a risk that you are taking and if you are young with no medical conditions, you will find that the insurance will be cheap for you anyway.

Damaged Luggage

You may find that your insurance will cover you if your luggage gets lost or damaged. This could be something that may happen on the plane or during transit or perhaps it may get stolen form the place that you are staying. Having cover for this could be quite worthwhile as you may have a lot of expensive things in that luggage. Find out whether the airport will pay to replace lost items and if the accommodation will cover theft and then you will be able to decide more easily as to whether it is worth paying for the insurance or whether you will be covered for this anyway.

Cancellation

If you have to cancel the holiday, particularly at short notice, it is important to think about whether you will get your money back. Often you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit and you may have to pay for the whole thing and you may not be entitled to any money back if you cannot go. Check whether this is true for you, with regards to the costs of travel, accommodation and anything else you have prepaid for. Then check whether insurance will cover this and whether there are any exceptions too. You may find that some things will be covered by law – so if the government blocks travel to a certain place, then the company may have to legally reimburse you, but make sure that you are aware of the law in case it is better to get insurance for this sort of thing.

It is worth adding up all of the risks that you will be undertaking and getting a quote for the insurance. Then you will be able to decide whether you feel that it is worth paying this money in order to have the peace of mind and save the money that you might otherwise have to pay out.

Categories
Credit Scoring

How to Improve Your Credit Score

We may often hear a lot about credit scores and may possibly wonder what they are or how we might be able to improve ours. It is something which we should be aware of as it can have an impact on us. Lenders and landlords will use our credit record to see whether they feel that we can be trusted and so it is important to make sure that they are in good shape if we want to be able to be able to have the freedom to rent a home or to borrow money in the future. There are various things that we can do to improve our credit score to make sure that things are looking as good as they can do.

Make Sure Details are Correct

The first place to start is to look up your credit report and make sure that all of the information is correct. There could be out of date or even completely incorrect things on there so it is good to check for this. For example, you want to make sure that if it says you have contractual obligations, that you still do and if it says you have missed repayments that you actually did miss it. Also check all of the other details such as your employment details and things like this.

Keep Making Regular Payments

Something which looks good on your credit record is the fact that you are capable of making regular payments. This means things such as rent or mortgage, loan repayments, contracts and utilities. If you do not have your name on many of these, then it could be good to add it. So, if your spouse or partner has their single name on certain items, then it could be a good idea to add your name. Then it will show up on your credit report and show that you are making these payments too. Chances are that you are sharing financial responsibility of the home finances so it is only right your name should be on it too anyway.

Pay off Debts

If you can have less debts then this will look better. Even if you are keeping up with the repayments, it can still be a worry form a potential lender if you already have a lot of debt. Therefore, it could be wise to see whether you can stop paying some of them and this will help you to have a better credit report. Therefore, look into whether you are able to overpay your debts or repay them early without charges. Some lenders will charge for this and these are more likely to be mortgage companies. Having a mortgage will not be frowned upon so much, as long as you are keeping up with repayments, compared with other loans. Therefore, it may be better to pay off other things first anyway, particularly as they tend to be more expensive as well.

Keep Earning

Your income is really important as lenders will want to see that you are earning money so that you will be capable of making a payment on a loan. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you keep earning money. You will also find that they will look more favourably on employment as compared to self-employment as they feel it is a more secure income. They will also look more favourably on those with higher incomes.

Do not Apply for Lots of Loans

If you apply for lots of loans in relatively quick succession, it can look like you are desperate for money. This does not look good and those applications will show up whether they are turned down or accepted, so make sure that you are careful with what you are doing.

Categories
Utilities

Are you Paying too Much for your Broadband?

There are many things that we buy and broadband is just one of them. However, like other utilities, it could be the case that we are paying too much for what we have. Many of us will just stick with the same provider all of the time and it could be the case that we may be paying too much by staying with them. There are some ways that you can find out and ways that you can reduce what you pay.

Compare Prices
You will need to start by comparing prices. You will find that there are comparison websites where you can do this. Although these are not necessarily the best places to go to as they do not compare all providers, it is a great place to start. You will be able to have a look and see if you are paying more than necessary. If you find any companies offering the same service that you are getting, but charging less money, then you are paying too much money. It is as simple as that. You could even find that you are paying significantly more than you have to and if you switched to them you could spend a lot less. If you imagine how much those savings could add up, you can begin to see why it is important to compare prices and then potentially change providers.

 Negotiate with Current Provider
However, many of us do not really want to change providers. If we wanted to switch, we would have done so already. We may feel that we can trust the provider that we are with or perhaps we are concerned that we will not get such good customer service from anyone else. The good news is that it is possible that you will be able to stick with the same provider and pay less. This is because you can call them up or contact them online and let them know that there are other companies providing the same service as them but charging a lot less. They may then drop their prices for you, in order to keep you on as a customer. Each company tends to have a budget that they can use to reduce what they charge their customers. This is because they know that it costs a certain amount of money to be able to find a new customer and so they can spend that budget retaining an old one. This can be about £200 so they might reduce your bill by this much for the year. Unfortunately, if you are tied into a contract, you will have to wait for the contract to be near to the end before you can start to negotiate with them.

Switch Providers
If you have no joy with negotiating, then you will need to switch providers if you want to save money. Many people do not like doing this because they think that it will make things hard. They think that they may lose their service for a while, it could be complicated and it might even affect their phone number if it is tied in with their broadband. In fact, this should not be a problem at all, you will be able to retain your number and the switch over could be seamless. If you are concerned that look at a few reviews of the company or ask people you know beforehand and you will be able to find out what other people have experienced when using them. You should hopefully be able to boost your confidence by speaking to others and finding out what they think about the company first.