Are you Paying Too Much in Overdraft Charges?

Like all debts, overdrafts need to be managed to ensure that you’re not paying more than you need to. Left unchecked, banks can charge high fees for overdrafts which can leave you in an unfortunate financial position. If you’re paying too much in overdraft charges each month, there are a number of ways you can cut back on these costs.

Some arranged overdraft fees have been found to be more expensive than payday loans, so if you are about to go into your overdraft it may be cheaper to opt for a responsible direct payday lender instead.

Keep an eye on your account balance at all times – especially at the end of the month

Most payments and bills are taken towards the end of the month, which is when your account is most at risk for going into its overdraft and attracting charges. It’s always worth keeping a close eye on your account balances during this period, as certain bills can be charged “on or around” the specified date.

Switch banks

If you feel that your bank is charging you too much for overdrafts you can always switch to another bank! If you do your research on a comparison site you can switch to an account that has either lower fees or waives the fees for a certain period, saving you money in the long run.

Claim unfair charges back

If you feel that your bank has been excessive in charging you fees, you can try to reclaim them or come to an arrangement with your bank. It doesn’t cost anything, so it’s always worth a try. MoneySavingExpert have compiled a step-by-step guide on how to claim these charges back.

Manage your finances better

Better financial management is key to avoiding unexpected charges and fees. It always helps to have a savings buffer to ensure that any emergency expenses or bills don’t immediately push you into your overdraft. We have compiled a list of useful articles on how to best achieve this:

Remove your overdraft facility

If dipping into your overdraft leaves you concerned, you can always remove it! You can speak to your bank to request this, or otherwise change your account to one that doesn’t have an overdraft.

Set up account alerts

Most of the major banks allow you to set up text or email alerts when you go into your overdraft or reach a certain balance, allowing you to react much quicker and plan accordingly.

Transfer your savings

It’s always a good idea to have a savings account, as it can act as a financial buffer for unexpected expenses. If you’re about to go into your overdraft and attract fees, it might be worth temporarily transferring enough to maintain a positive account balance, and then transferring it back at a later date.

If you don’t have any savings, and you need to cover an unexpected circumstance; PiggyBank offer online loans for bad credit

Download the infographic:

overdraft_piggybank

Ranked: The 10 Best Jobs in the UK by Salary & Satisfaction

UK employment in 2017 currently stands at 74.8% – the highest rate since records began in 1971. Traditionally, jobs in tech and finance are usually rated the best by salary and job satisfaction, but a recent assessment by job search and review company Glassdoor shows that the best jobs in the UK come from a wide range of industries.

Here’s the 10 best jobs in the UK determined by job openings, salary and job satisfaction:

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Looking for your next big career step? PiggyBank have compiled a number of useful articles, including how to write a kickass cover letter and how to ace a job interview in advance.

PiggyBank Shortlisted for Six Awards in the Annual F5 Awards

PiggyBank is excited to announce today that it has been shortlisted as a finalist for six awards in the annual F5 Awards:

      • Best Fintech Lender
      • Alternative Lending Rising Star
      • Responsible Lender
      • Collections and Customer Service Excellence
      • Alternative Consumer Lender of the Year
    • Best Brand

The F5 Awards is the only dedicated awards ceremony that focuses on the evolution of the alternative lending market. The awards are designed to reward and recognise excellence and best practice within the industry.

The nomination for six separate awards is a prestigious honour for PiggyBank, as it demonstrates both commitment to customer satisfaction and innovative forms of alternative consumer lending compared to traditional high-street retail banking.

I’m incredibly excited by the announcement, as it shows just how hard the PiggyBank team has worked to ensure that our values remain at the forefront of all of our lending decisions and how we treat our customers fairly”, said Dan Ware, CEO of PiggyBank. “Everyone at PiggyBank is really looking forward to what the awards night brings”.

About PiggyBank

PiggyBank is one of the UK’s fastest growing short term lenders. First launched in 2012, PiggyBank has grown dramatically and enhanced its products based on customer feedback – who form the basis of every decision that PiggyBank make to ensure fair and responsible lending.

About the F5 Awards

The F5 Awards is an annual awards ceremony dedicated to recognising the new pioneers with non-traditional finance. The awards are judged by a panel of independently selected judges, with a black tie dinner and ceremony to celebrate the success of the excellent work being done in the industry.

The F5 Awards ceremony will take place at the Hilton London Bankside Hotel on the 1st November 2017.

For more information on long term lending contact today.

The Evolution of Budgeting Apps

“There’s an app for that…”

Managing your finances used to be a difficult and time-consuming task. Prior to smartphones, you’d often find yourself standing in a queue in front of a cash machine or your bank to get a statement. Then you’d have to balance your chequebook to make sure you’ve not gone over your limit and write down your monthly budget on paper. Planning your budget and setting spending limits has come leaps and bounds since then.

The major banks started small, offering online banking options that allowed you to check your balances and transactions, make payments and even open saving accounts, credit cards and short term loans. As larger institutions, the traditional banks weren’t as fast to innovate, which created an opportunity for app developers to create spending tracker apps. They would connect to your bank account and analyse your monthly spending, showing how much you were spending in certain areas, such as food, entertainment, clothes etc. It provided an easy way to visualise where your money was being spent, allowing you to make easier decisions on what to cut back on.

AI has taken things a step further, allowing apps to provide more intelligent insights into your spending habits. Instead of just showing you what you’re spending, apps such as Cleo can now act as your own personal assistant. Cleo can spot spending trends, habits and even automatically put money into a savings account based on what it thinks you can afford. As a chatbot, Cleo can hook into Facebook messenger and you can have a back-and-forth conversation, allowing you to manage your finances quicker and easier than ever before.

Since then, the banks have caught up. HSBC UK has recently announced that it has been testing a brand new smartphone app that will not just track what their users are spending their money on, but also “nudge” them if they exceed their spending limits. The “nudge” will consist of an alert sent by the app when users start spending more than their usual habits in certain areas such as grocery shopping or clothing shopping. HSBC have announced that will also allow customers from rival banks to use the app, which is due to go live in early 2018.

Apps have the opportunity to make our lives so much easier, but it’s always important to never to be too dependent on them. It’s always good to learn money saving skills that we can pass on to the next generation. Combined with intelligent apps, having both the skills and the tools can leave us with a good financial outlook.

How to Get Fashion on the Cheap

With London Fashion Week winding down, the eyes of every fashionista are trained on the British capital. For us mere mortals the catwalk trends and high-level fashion seems a world away, but there are a few ways in which you can step out in style without breaking your budget. Let’s walk as carefully through a few ‘fashion on a budget’ tips in the same way a catwalk model makes her way down the runway.

Look to Charity – You’ll find charity shops on most high streets, and many of them have a wide selection of clothing and styles for you to choose from. City centre charity shops and those located in more affluent areas could be the ideal destination for you to pick up a designer bargain!

Vintage Clothing – Vintage stores offer a glimpse into an elegant and stylish past, and they aren’t all expensive and over the top when it comes to price and style. Take a look at vintage clothing stores in your area and find something that will be entirely unique to you, doesn’t break your budget and makes you the envy of your friends.

Car Boot Sales – You just never know what you’re going to find at a car boot sale, but that is the beauty of them. Have some fun, rummage around for deals and you’ll find that if you do strike lucky and find some stylish fashion, the price will be cheaper than even charity shops.

Swap Shop – Why not play swap shop with a few of your like-minded friends? Take along some clothes that you have stopped wearing, are no longer the right size, or that you’ve become bored with, and you might be able to swap them for something brand new to you. You’ll be creating a whole new wardrobe for free, keeping your friends happy and having fun in the process.

Repair and Add a Twist – Some of your tired old clothes don’t have to be placed in the pile of unloved clothes to be thrown away. One way to rejuvenate your wardrobe is to take a needle and thread to your clothes. Resole your shoes, add elbow patches to worn-down jackets, and make essentially new clothing at a fraction of the price of buying brand new. This is also a fun pursuit for those of you with an eye for fashion, but without the large budget to keep up with the brand new trends.

Sensible spending is an approach that all of us at PiggyBank are in favour of. We are a payday loan direct lender,  and our service is designed to offer responsible lending to those who are in need of short-term loans and able to pay back within fixed and agreed repayment terms.

Are Brand Names Better Than Generic?

Whether it’s cereal, painkillers or batteries, recognised name brands will typically cost you more than their generic counterparts, which can add up in the long run. If you’re looking to save money on your food shop you might be cautious about switching to generic products – after all, aren’t they lower quality? Not necessarily! When comparing generic to brand name, you should always ask yourself three questions: Is the food as tasty? Are they as nutritious? Are they as effective?

Is the food as tasty?

Many shoppers go for brand name cereals, snacks and other products as they believe the extra cost is going to extra taste or quality. But did you know that taste tests by Consumer Reports found that generic was found equal or better than a number of their brand name counterparts? Everyone tastes differently, so it might be worth conducting your own personal taste tests to decide!

Are they as nutritious?

One of the concerns you might have is that generic products might not be as nutritious as they’re cheaper. A good tip when shopping is to take a look at the nutritional information box on the packaging of both the generic and brand name products to see what the difference is. Research by an independent consumer group found that brand cereals are actually loaded with more fat and sugar than generic cereals, so paying more doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more nutritious.

Are they as effective?

Similar to generic foods, you might be concerned that generic non-food products might not be as effective as their branded counterparts. Medication and cleaning products are heavily regulated industries and most contain the same active ingredients – just different packaging. Checking the ingredient labels will also help you save money on your shopping bill.

What items you should buy generic

    • Over the counter medication and cleaning products – a list of ingredients is always included on the packaging. For example, if you pick up a box of branded ibuprofen and generic ibuprofen you’ll see that they contain exactly the same ingredients at the same dose and will both work as effectively.
    • Staple foods – flour, sugar and pepper products are all regulated and some manufacturers will even produce both the generic and brand name products in the same factory. The only real difference is the packaging and the marketing.
  • Paper-based products – napkins and toilet paper are all made to the same health standards so you’re not getting much else for your money other than the design / colours when you buy brand over generic.

How much you could be saving

brand vs generic

Disclaimer: Data collected from MySuperMarket, not PiggyBank. PiggyBank is a payday loan direct lender offering quick and easy short term loans and has not conducted any primary research for this article.

How to Tackle the Unexpected

Life is full of surprises, big and small. We’re met with the unexpected every day of our lives, from unforeseen money problems to an emergency trip to the vet: and we all have different ways of how we deal with it. From minor changes to major life-shaking events, we all need ways to deal with and cope with the unexpected. If you’ve been left with an unexpected bill that has left you short, PiggyBank can help you with responsible loans for poor credit.

The best way to handle situations is to be prepared for them, but this isn’t always possible. We all deal with the unexpected in different ways – some people become stressed, some panic, some get angry and some freeze and don’t know what to do. None of these are good ways to deal with the unexpected.

You should always start by acknowledging that surprises and unexpected events are a part of everyone’s lives and are completely unavoidable. Accepting this simple fact will show you that the world isn’t ending and other people have dealt with similar issues before – there is a way forward!

Every issue has a solution, so it’s simply a case of setting a plan and following it. This could be a plan you keep in your head, written down or through a planning app. Once you have a plan you can break it down into individual steps that you have to follow. Checking off each step when it’s complete will give you a sense of accomplishment and show that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Your attitude is key to solving the issue – having a negative attitude can only hinder you in the long run, so always try to maintain a positive attitude. You should always try to see the positives in a situation. For example, if you’ve lost your job this could be a great opportunity to find a better one.

If you don’t know the best course of action for your problem, you can always speak to people. Whether it’s a friend, family member, work colleague or complete stranger, communicating is often be the best way to find a solution as you could find they’ve been in the same situation you’re in and offer useful advice. Money is often the unexpected cause of stress, especially if you’re either unable to afford an expensive bill or unable to repay your credit commitments. With PiggyBank, we understand that circumstances change that are completely out of your control. That’s why with our online loans for bad credit we’ll work with you to find a resolution for any problems you may encounter.

Remember that life is short, so there’s no point getting angry or stressed. If you start to notice signs of stress in your behaviour or feelings, it’s best to deal with it immediately and keep it under control. A stress-free life leaves you not only more happy and healthy, but can help you better deal with unexpected!

how totackle the unexpected

How to Avoid Identity Theft

Identity theft happens when fraudsters gain enough information about your identity to commit identity fraud. They can then use your identity to open accounts, get credit cards, loans, passports, driving licenses and anything else of value to them.

How to spot identity theft

In most cases of identity theft, fraudsters have already acted on your personal information. You could receive a letter demanding payment for an account or loan you didn’t set up or you may spot unfamiliar payments from your bank account.

This type of fraud can have a lasting impact on your personal finances and make it difficult to obtain credit in the future until the matter is resolved.

How to act if you’re affected

If you think you’ve been the victim of identity theft, it’s important that you act quickly and don’t ignore the problem.

If you’ve received goods or had credit opened in your name, you should immediately report it to the relevant organisation as quickly as possible. If the fraud is related to a bank, they will be responsible for investigating the issue and reporting it to the police.

You should also get a copy of your credit report and watch it closely for some time. A credit report will show you searches done by lenders and any credit accounts that are set up in your name. If you spot any problems as a result of identity fraud, contact your reference agency and they will help you resolve them.

How to protect yourself

Fraudsters commit identity theft by stealing your personal information, so you should be careful with any documents that contain this information.

  • Don’t throw out any letters with your name, address and financial details without shredding it first.
  • Never give out personal information such as bank account details, PIN numbers or passwords if you receive an unsolicited phone call or email. Your bank will never ask you for this information.
  • Don’t leave important documents or bills lying around for strangers to look at.
  • Regularly check your bank accounts and credit reports for any unusual activity.
  • If you move house, make sure to update your address details with your bank, utility providers and any other creditors. You can also set up post redirection to ensure anything missed will be caught and redirected to your new address.

 

Always remember: your identity and personal information are extremely valuable to fraudsters and should be protected. If you’ve fallen victim to identity theft you should report it immediately to Action Fraud as well as your affected credit providers.

How to Budget Like a Boss

Taking a few minutes each day to manage your money better can help you stay on top of your spending habits. It will help you create savings to pay off any debts you might have, pay for that holiday you’ve been planning or simply have it available for a rainy day. Here’s how to budget like a boss:

What you’ll need

To get started on your budget you’ll need to know exactly what you’re earning and what you currently spend it on. You’ll need:

  • Your payslip
  • Any household bills (electricity, gas, water etc.)
  • Your living costs (how much you spend on food, rent etc.)
  • Travel costs (car costs or public transport costs)
  • Leisure costs (restaurants, holidays, hobbies, sports etc.)

Getting back on track

If you’re spending more than you have coming in, you need to work out which areas you can cut back on. Here are some easy ways to cut back on your expenses:

Once you’ve reduced your outgoings to a suitable amount, you can start to set goals and then plan a more long term budget to reach those goals.

Setting a goal

It’s hard to motivate yourself without setting a goal. Setting a goal gives you something to reach for and a sense of achievement when you reach it.

Your immediate savings goal should be an emergency savings fund to deal with the unexpected such as losing your job. You should ideally have 3 months worth of expenses saved. Don’t worry if this seems impossible – it’s a target to aim for.

As your expenses are now less than what you have coming in you can set an amount to save every month and put it in a savings account. You can then use a savings calculator to determine how long it will take to reach your goal.

Once you’ve saved enough for an emergency fund you can start saving for other things such as holidays, a car, Christmas presents and anything else you can think of!

Budget planning

We all plan things differently so it’s about finding a way that suits you best. Some people like to record their budgets in a little notebook, some use spreadsheets, some use online tools or apps on their phone.

Sticking to the budget

Planning a budget is easy. The hard part is sticking to it! There may be times when an unexpected expense disrupts your budget – but this is where we can help. If you’re in need of money fast, a same day loan can see you through till payday. If you’re struggling with a low credit score, we also offer loans for people with bad credit. Just ensure the repayments don’t impact your other finances as this could impact your credit score.

Always remember: if it works, keep at it. If it doesn’t, try something new until it does.

Pocket Money: A Parent’s Guide

Pocket money is one of the first ways children can learn the basics of managing and spending money. It’s a great opportunity to teach them the value of money and useful habits for when they’re financially independent.

 

How do I budget for pocket money?

Before you agree to a certain amount of pocket money for your children, you should first make sure that you can afford it. If you have a budget, you should ensure that you have enough disposable income to cover the pocket money as well as your other expenses such as bills, transport etc.

If you can’t afford to give your children pocket money, you should wait until you can. Otherwise, you’ll be teaching them all of the wrong lessons about spending when you can’t afford it!

 

How much should I give?

As a rule of thumb, the average pocket money amount is £5 to £6 a week. You should always take into account how much you can afford and how old your children are.

 

How do I start?

Once you’ve decided how much to give, you’ll need to set some guidelines.

You need to define the minimum requirements for receiving pocket money, such as certain chores to be completed or good behaviour.
You’ll also need to see how you’ll be paying in – cash or bank transfer? Many banks offer children’s accounts that can help familiarise them with how it all works. There’s also a number of useful apps available that allow children and parents to keep track of pocket money and see what’s coming in and going out.

 

How do I teach my children?

Most pocket money is paid weekly rather than monthly, as giving a lump sum could encourage your children to spend it all at once. If they’re forced to save up for a bigger purchase, they’ll have more time to consider if they really do want it – discouraging frivolous spending in the future.

You can also offer extra pocket money based on certain conditions such as completion of extra chores (washing the car, cutting the grass etc.) or good school exam/report marks.

There’s a good opportunity to encourage your children to save by offering to match any savings they make in a certain week as long as they don’t spend it immediately.

 

At the end of the day pocket money is about teaching children the importance of working and savings towards a goal. The lessons they can learn through pocket money are endless because the real value isn’t the money you give them but rather the ability for them to understand how to manage their finances effectively in the future!