WIN £24,000 of prizes for schools with our Personal Finance Teacher of the Year Awards 2020

WIN £24,000 of prizes for schools with our Personal Finance Teacher of the Year Awards 2020

Has a teacher inspired your kids to be financially savvy? Then nominate them for one of our prestigious awards

The Moneywise Team
Fri, 01/24/2020 – 16:10

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At Moneywise, we believe it is never too soon for young people to learn about their finances. By mastering money basics early on in life, they can grow up to be the most financially savvy generation yet.

We have teamed up with our parent company, interactive investor, to offer schools with the best personal finance teachers a share of £24,000 to spend on equipment. Teachers at both primary and secondary level in UK schools are eligible for the competition.

We will make separate awards to teachers at primary and secondary school level, splitting the £24,000 between the winners and runners-up in several categories.

Are you a parent, pupil, school governor or teacher? Do you know someone who is teaching personal finance at school? Would you like to nominate someone for this award? We want to know how they make the teaching of personal finance fun, interactive and relevant to their pupils.

To put forward your nominations, please email editor@moneywise.co.uk with the name of the teacher(s) and the name and address of the school(s), plus why you are nominating them.

Teachers can also enter the awards directly. For an entry form, please email editor@moneywise.co.uk

Moneywise will then contact teachers who have entered the competition, inviting them to submit their entry, including at least one personal finance lesson.

Personal Finance Teacher of the Year – Competition Terms and Conditions

The competition is open to all qualified teachers employed at a primary or secondary school in the United Kingdom but nominations can be made by anyone who is resident in the UK (including parents, guardians and pupils).

How to enter:

Nominations can be made by anyone (including parents, guardians and pupils) who is resident in the UK. They should be emailed to editor@moneywise.co.uk before 17.00 on Thursday 9 April with the teacher’s name, and the name and address of the school. Teachers will then be contacted and asked to submit at least one lesson plan for a personal finance lesson and a supporting statement by 17.00 on Thursday 23 April 2020.

Teachers can also nominate themselves by sending at least one lesson plan for a personal finance lesson and a supporting statement to editor@moneywise.co.uk before 17.00 on Thursday 23 April 2020, along with their name, the name and address of the school and their email address and telephone number.  The first 250 teachers who submit an entry for themselves will each receive a £50 Amazon voucher.

Only one entry may be submitted by any person.

The prizes:

The following prizes will be awarded to schools:

Personal Finance Teacher of the Year (primary school) 

Personal Finance Teacher of the Year (secondary school) 

Runner-up prizes, Judges’ Awards and Highly Commended prizes may be awarded at the judges’ discretion. The full prize money will total £24,000. 

All prize money will be awarded to the school.

Moneywise Publishing Limited reserves the right to alter, withdraw or amend this competition at any time.

Winner selection and notification:

The winners will be selected by a panel of judges selected by Moneywise Publishing Limited during May 2020. Judging will be on the basis of the lesson plans and supporting statements supplied in connection with nominations.

The winners will be notified by mail, telephone or in person as soon as reasonably practicable after the judges have made their decisions. The notification will include details of how the prize can be claimed. In the event that a winner does not accept their prize, Moneywise Publishing Limited reserves the right to select an alternative winner.

The prizes will be presented at an awards ceremony in London on 3 June 2020.

Personal Details:

The winners consent to the use by Moneywise Publishing Limited of the winner’s name, and school name and town/City, for the sole purposes of announcing the winners. By claiming the prizes, all winners consent to the same.

Winners consent to their photos, names and the name of their school being used in Moneywise Magazine. By claiming the prizes, all winners consent to the same.

Winners consent to their photos, names and the name of their school being used by other media unconnected with Moneywise. By claiming the prizes, all winners consent to the same.

By allowing their nominations to be considered by the judges, all participants agree to be bound by these terms and confirm that the decision of Moneywise Publishing Limited is binding.

The competition will be governed by English law and entrants to the competition submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

Promoter:

The competition is run by Moneywise Publishing Limited, 201 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3NW.

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Are notice accounts a good option for savers?

Are notice accounts a good option for savers?

Notice accounts offer middle ground for savers who want something in between easy-access accounts and fixed-rate savings bonds

Stephen Little
Thu, 01/23/2020 – 17:09

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If you do not want to lock your savings away and want quick access to your money an easy-access account is normally the best option.

However, if you are looking to gain some interest on your savings and still have some flexibility you might want to consider a notice account.

These allow you to dip into your savings as long as you inform your bank in advance. You can earn a higher rate than with an easy-access account, but not quite as high as with a fixed-rate savings bond.

Typically, you will have to give advance notice of 30 to 90 days to your bank or building society before you take your cash out.

Some accounts are even more restrictive and may require notice of up to 180 days.

Notice accounts are good for savers who would like to make an occasional big purchase, but still want the benefit of receiving  interest. For example, they are useful if you are saving up to buy a car or a holiday later in the year.

However, if you are saving money for a rainy day and want to draw the money out quickly, a notice account may be too restrictive for you.

If you are looking to use the account regularly, it won’t be of much use as you will lose your interest.

The highest paying notice account is from the Bank of London and the Middle East at 1.71%. It comes with a 90-day notice period and can be opened online.

However, it requires £10,000 to open the account so might be out of reach for most savers. This account offers an ‘expected profit rate’ (EPR) instead of traditional interest.

The Moneybox 95 Day Notice account offers a rate of 1.65% and can be opened on your smartphone with a deposit of £1. Just behind at 1.6% is ICICI Bank’s 95-day notice account, which can be opened through the online Raisin savings tool with a deposit of £1,000.

If you are looking for a shorter notice period, the Secure Trust Bank 60 Notice Account has a rate of 1.5%. You will need £5,000 to open the account.

These accounts offer higher rates than the best easy-access account from Gatehouse Bank at 1.41%. It can be opened online with a deposit of £1,000 and there are no limits on the number of withdrawals you can make. This account also offers and EPR rate.

Notice accounts with the shortest notice periods tend to pay the lowest rates.

OakNorth Bank’s 35 Day Notice Deposit account has a rate of 1.2% while Aldermore’s 30-day notice account pays 1.3%. Both accounts can be opened online.

Cash Isa notice accounts

Notice Cash Isas give you greater flexibility over ordinary fixed Isas.

However, savers are increasingly finding their options for notice Cash Isas limited, while rates are also lagging behind their easy-access counterparts.

The Moneywise Best Buy is the Aldermore 30 Day Notice Cash Isa, which pays 1.3% to customers who give 30 days’ notice.

The account can be opened online with a deposit of £1,000. If you deposited £5,000, over a year you would earn £65 in interest.

The top-rated easy-access Isa is from Al Rayan at 1.36%. You can open this account with a deposit of £50.

If you deposited £5,000 in this account, you would earn £68 in interest over a year.

FEATURED PRODUCT

Moneybox 95 Day Notice Account

This account pays 1.65% interest and can be opened online. It has a 95-day notice period and requires a £1 initial investment.

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Consumer confusion about tax return expenses

Consumer confusion about tax return expenses

One in three people who do their own tax return could be paying more tax than they need to or risking a fine from HMRC because they don’t understand expenses, according to Which?

Emma Lunn
Thu, 01/23/2020 – 15:07

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The consumer champion surveyed nearly 1,300 Which? members about their experiences of submitting a tax return.

Of those who submitted a return, only four in 10 (39%) said they normally claimed expenses – meaning many could be missing out on expense claims that could help them save on their tax bill.

One in 10 (9%) felt their expenses were negligible, while half (49%) of those surveyed believed that they did not have expenses they could claim for. However, when presented with a list of potential claims that could be expensed, more than three in 10 (31%) said they didn’t know which could be claimed.

Those omitting expenses risk overpaying their tax bill. However, trying to claim for expenses that are not eligible for tax relief could potentially result in a fine from HMRC.

HMRC penalties

A penalty charge from HMRC is based on the amount of tax owed, as well as whether HMRC believes the person submitting the return has just been careless, or if they intentionally tried to claim tax relief they are not entitled to.

Among the responses illustrating the confusion, one person told Which?: “I just claim £104 – £2 a week. Someone told me the Inland Revenue just accepts a small amount like this without having to show your expenses. Don’t know if that’s true.”

Receipts and expenses

More than nine in 10 (93%) of those surveyed said that HMRC had never asked for additional information regarding their expenses claims.

However, Which? says you should keep a record of all your receipts and expenses in case you are asked for proof. One respondent to the Which? survey said HMRC requested seven years of all their income and expenses, while another said they were asked for a complete review, which took months to finish.

Gaps in tax knowledge

Last year, Which? revealed a number of gaps in consumers’ tax knowledge, with just over half of adults unaware of how much money can be earned tax-free.

Which? Money editor Jenny Ross says: “Few people enjoy the annual ordeal of submitting a tax return, but getting to grips with the rules will help you to avoid paying too much, or being hit with a hefty fine.

“Get organised by keeping hold of all your receipts and reading up on what HMRC considers as reasonable expenses, and think about using an online calculator to simplify the process of submitting your tax return.”

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Revealed: UK credit score hotspots – how does your compare?

Revealed: UK credit score hotspots – how does your compare?

New data reveals the best and worst areas for credit scores. 

Brean Horne
Fri, 01/24/2020 – 10:20

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People living in Eastern Central postcode (EC) have the highest average credit score in the UK, according to new research from MoneySuperMarket.

The price comparison site analysed more than 200,000 credit reports from the MoneySuperMarket Credit Monitor.  

Residents in the EC area hold an average credit score of 583 out of a possible 710 points.

The average UK credit score stands at 562.

People living in the Surrey town of Guildford (GU) hold an average credit score of 578 – the second highest in the UK.

Kingston upon Thames (KT) came in as the third highest credit score area, with the average resident holding a score of 577.

The table below shows the postcodes with the highest credit scores.

Location Average Credit Score
EC – Eastern Central London 583
GU – Guildford 578
KT – Kingston upon Thames 577

RG – Reading

W – Western London

576

E – East London

RH – Redhill

575

Worst areas for credit scores

Residents in the north of England and parts of Scotland were among the areas with the lowest credit scores.

Sunderland (SR) has the lowest average credit score of 548.

The second lowest average credit score is held by people living in Wolverhampton (WV).

Those living in the Scottish town of Kilmarnock (KA) have an average cred score of 550 – the third lowest in the country.

The table below shows the postcodes with the lowest credit scores.

Postcode Average Credit Score
SR – Sunderland 548
WV – Wolverhampton 549
KA – Kilmarnock 550
DN – Doncaster 550
HU – Hull 551

How to improve your credit score

Your credit score can affect your ability to get anything from a mortgage to a mobile phone contract, so it’s important to keep yours in good shape.  

The following three tips could help you boost your credit score.

1. Check your credit history

Monitoring your credit history regularly will help to identify errors on your credit file which could be affecting your score.

If you spot any inaccuracies, try to get them resolved as soon as possible.

Regularly checking your credit score will also help you identify instances of fraud.

2. Register to vote

Making sure that you’re registered to vote is a simple way to improve your credit rating.

MoneySuperMarket found that the average credit score for someone on the electoral register was 566 whereas the average credit score for those not registered was only 538.

Registering is easy, just head to GOV.UK/register-to-vote

3. Keep up with your repayments

Paying off your credit card balance each month as well as keeping up with repayments on personal loans and mortgages will help boost your credit score.

It shows lenders that you are reliable with credit and can manage your debts.

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Banks accused of denying reimbursement to scam victims

Banks accused of denying reimbursement to scam victims

Current account providers are ignoring new industry rules, according to Which?

Emma Lunn
Fri, 01/24/2020 – 09:05

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Which? has raised concerns that some of the UK’s biggest banks are refusing to reimburse blameless victims of transfer fraud, despite the introduction of new industry standards intended to protect fraud victims.

A voluntary code was introduced in May 2019 that would ensure innocent victims get their money back – but Which? has heard from a number of people who say they have been denied reimbursement unfairly.

Fraud warnings

The consumer champion described a “worrying trend” of banks relying on fraud warnings to justify not refunding customers. It says these decisions from banks fly in the face of the voluntary code most banks have signed up to, which pledges to reimburse all blameless victims.

Online or mobile banking customers now often see fraud warnings when transferring money, as banks introduce a range of features aimed at making a customer think twice about whether they are being scammed.

However, a Which? survey found that almost half (49%) of people are not aware that new fraud warnings have been introduced by banks – it says this is further evidence that victims should not be arbitrarily turned down for reimbursement because they have “ignored warnings”.

Working with experts, Which? also analysed the effectiveness of banks’ fraud warnings, to establish whether they are adequately “understandable, clear, impactful, timely and specific” – as set out in the code. The experts raised concerns about elements of the warnings from some of Britain’s biggest banks.

Generic messages

One researcher voiced concerns over the “generic” messages displayed by First Direct, HSBC, Lloyds, Natwest and Royal Bank of Scotland. Petko Kusev, from Huddersfield Business School, said that it was perfectly rational for customers to ignore generic information when conducting bank transfers.

A second researcher, Patrick Fagan from Goldsmiths University, suggested that some warnings can come too late, as once people have already been targeted by scammers they typically commit to seeing the action through.

Which? supports the introduction of fraud warnings but says if a bank can’t prove its warnings are effective then the customer should not be deemed at fault.

The consumer champion also wants the industry code to be made mandatory for all current account providers as many haven’t signed up.

Jenny Ross, Which? money editor, says: “People are losing life-changing sums of money every day to devastating bank transfer fraud – so it’s shocking that some current account providers still haven’t signed up to offer their customers vital protections.

“All banks must prove that their online warnings are up to scratch – especially if they are denying victims reimbursement, as we’ve seen in some cases.”

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Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland raise overdraft rates to 49.9% for some customers

Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland raise overdraft rates to 49.9% for some customers

Customers with Lloyds Banking Group will see their overdraft rates more than double in some cases

Stephen Little
Wed, 01/22/2020 – 15:17

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Millions of Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland could see their overdraft rates go up to as much as 49.9% from April.

From 6 April, Lloyds Banking Group will be charging overdraft users a new personalised rate depending on their credit score.

Lloyds says that most customers will pay 39.9% while those with a Club Lloyds account will pay 27.5% interest.

However, customers with a poor credit history who fall under its ‘risk-based’ pricing model could end up paying a rate of 49.9%.

Lloyds says that the fee-free buffer will also be reduced to £50 on some accounts, while those with a Premier account will see it fall to £250.

Arranged overdrafts and student or graduate accounts will remain free.

Currently, Lloyds charges 1p for every full £6 you borrow up to £1,250, 1p for every further full £7 you borrow between £1,250 and £2,500, and then a further 1p for every full £8 you borrow over £2,500.

A spokesperson from Lloyds says: “We are writing to our customers to explain the new overdraft rates that will apply from April 2020. As a result of these changes, 90% of customers with an overdraft will pay less than they do today.

“The majority of customers will pay the APR of 39.9% on most of our current accounts, 27.5% on our Club Lloyds account. Customers will be offered a personalised overdraft rate, up to 49.9%, depending on their circumstances. We have not charged unarranged overdraft fees or returned item fees since 2017, and this will not change.”

Lloyds says 90% of its customers with an overdraft will now pay less and everyone will pay a lower rate on their borrowing. Of those that will pay more, the average monthly increase is £1.89 and no-one will pay more than £10 extra a month.

If you have a Lloyds Classic account and you are overdrawn by £500 for seven days you will pay £3.22 at a rate of 39.9%, while those on 49.9% will pay £3.85.

What are other banks charging?

The news comes after a number of similar announcements from other major banks and building societies.

The charges from Lloyds Banking Group are the highest that have been revealed so far and more than double than what you would pay on a standard credit card.

Nationwide was the first lender to announce it was introducing new overdraft charges in November with a rate of 39.9%.

Other lenders charging 39.9% include HSBC, First Direct, M&S Bank and TSB.

NatWest and RBS both charge 39.48%, while Barclays charges 35%. Monzo and Starling charge the lowest rates, starting at 19% and 15%, respectively.

Why is this happening?

Under new plans from the Financial Conduct Authority, banks and building societies will no longer be able to charge higher interest rates on unarranged overdrafts than they do on arranged ones from 6 April.

They will also not be allowed to charge fixed fees for overdrafts. Instead they will have to introduce a simple interest rate.

The watchdog has done this to remove expensive unarranged overdraft charges of up to £5 a day in some cases.

However, with most banks and building societies charging 40% for overdraft fees, the move has drawn widespread criticism, with fears customers could end up paying even more.

John Crossley, head of money at Comparethemarket, says: “Lloyds has said it will decide a customer’s interest rate based on their credit rating – similar to Monzo and Starling – but customers with a low credit score could see their overdraft rates jump as high as nearly 50% – the highest amount we’ve seen announced so far.

“Customers should take note of these new overdraft rates and consider switching current account to a better deal with potentially lower overdraft rates. Equally, if you need to borrow money, using a 0% credit card can be a more cost-effective option than dipping into your overdraft.”

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