For all the resilience the UK economy has shown, there is no doubt that this year's ISA season is set against a backdrop of uncertainty. Whatever the pros and cons, Brexit, and a lack of clarity on what our future economic relationship with the EU will look like, has left us at a crossroads.
How fintech can make your holiday money go further
With the school holidays nearly upon us, it’s that time of the year when many can look forward to hopping on a plane, heading abroad to sunny, glorious pastures to recharge the batteries, and enjoying some much-deserved R & R. Most importantly, it is a time to share special adventures and experiences with family and friends, and make lifelong memories in the process.
Yet this summer, travelling abroad comes against a somewhat mixed economic backdrop, with the pound having depreciated considerably over the past 12 months. Added to that, there are the perennial financial pressures placed on families as a result of airlines and hotels hiking prices during the school holidays.
These factors need not prevent you from having the dream vacation you imagined, but it does mean that any opportunity to save a few pennies should be taken. Fortunately, the rising power of fintech can help your cause…
1. Building your travel kitty
Holidays always feel most hard-earned when you’ve been disciplined with your saving towards it. However, the days of slogging away, making hefty sacrifices and drawing up monthly budgets are coming to an end. That’s because platforms like Plum and You Need A Budget help users digitally keep track of spending, and automatically set aside your money into segregated savings accounts. These apps can help you get out of debt, or even channel investments. But one major benefit is the ability to squirrel money away towards your holidays, and once you’ve hit a specific savings target, you can withdraw it to your current account, and then spend money you never knew you had.
2. Cheap foreign exchange
Lending Works announced a ground-breaking new partnership with forex disruptor Revolut in March, offering instant loans at affordable rates to users of the app. But whether you require credit to fund your holiday abroad or not, signing up to Revolut is a no brainer in terms of changing your money. The app is free, and your card will arrive within a few days of application. Once you’re up and running, it’s a simple case of transferring pounds to your Revolut account, and then you can spend this money in scores of different currencies at the real exchange rate. Furthermore, there are no fees involved. Time to stop being ripped off at airport kiosks, hotels, banks or the Post Office – there are fintech-powered savings to be made!
3. Splitting headaches
One enduringly awkward issue when travelling with friends or other families is that of settling the bill, or sharing the costs of other holiday activities. Do you just split it, even though some spend more than others? To avoid any such discrepancies, and prevent any resentment from brewing, apps like Splitwise, Cospender, Divvy and Group Expense make it easy for you to keep track of all costs and expenses incurred by each party over the course of the trip, enabling you to settle things up fairly and accurately at the end of it. In fact, these platforms are linked to Paypal, so you can make these final payments to each other within the app itself.
4. Save smart
We touched on how to make saving easier in point one above. However, that’s only half the job – once you’ve done the hard work of setting money aside, you need to ensure that this money then works hard for you. Strictly within the savings domain, challenger banks such as Atom and Aldermore offer fixed-rate accounts paying over 2 per cent. And of course, should you be willing to look slightly further up the risk spectrum (due to the lack of FSCS protection), you can earn up to 4.8 per cent from peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Lending Works. Either way, there is no excuse for allowing your money to sit idle in a savings account paying derisory rates. Make the switch today, and give your holiday fund a boost.
The 2019 ISA season is now in full swing, and it's as good a time as any to focus on financial planning - and, within that, looking ahead to your retirement years to ensure financial security.
The Lifetime ISA (LISA), announced in 2016, would prove to be one of George Osborne’s last flagship gestures to UK savers and investors as Chancellor, eventually launching against a backdrop of anti-climax a year later in April 2017.
As the tax year end approaches, the financial services industry readies itself for a flurry of activity. That's in large part because, with just a couple of months to go, the so-called 'ISA season' is upon us.
Over the last decade, there can be little dispute that the reputation of mainstream banks – and particularly the so-called ‘Big Four’ (HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and RBS) – is at its lowest ebb.
The peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry is now regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The regulatory framework has been designed to protect customers and promote effective competition.
Loan underwriting is the process that we undertake to analyse all of the information provided by each loan applicant and their credit file to assess whether or not that applicant meets our minimum loan criteria. As part of that process all data is verified, analysed and summarised to paint a picture of each applicant.
When you earn interest from a regular bank savings account, for example, the bank automatically deducts basic rate tax (currently 20%) before paying your interest. With interest earned from peer-to-peer lending, tax is not deducted automatically so lenders will need to declare their income to HMRC.
As 2018 draws to a close, with our bellies full of Christmas turkey, it's only natural to look back on the past 12 months and reflect. No doubt, it's been a turbulent one economically and politically, and not everyone has had it all their own way.