Getting credit is becoming more difficult today with lots of boxes to tick, forms to fill in and hoops to jump through. If you are looking for a loan or a mortgage I am sure you will have heard the phrase “depending on your credit score” but do you know what this means? We have put together a beginners guide to Credit Ratings and how to check your score.
The new year is always a time for reviewing your life and your finances should be no different. Why not take a little time to do the following checks on your financial situation. Here are our 5 financial resolutions for the year ahead.
There can be times in everyone’s life when they get in a muddle with their finances. Then the time comes when you apply for a new phone contract or energy supplier and are denied due to your credit score – arghh you think – where do I start ? Well, there are two main things you need to know: what is your credit score and how can you rebuild your credit score. It may sound daunting and all too scary but don’t worry it is more straightforward than you think. If you have just been missing a lot of payments and are just scatty then you should be able to vastly improve your credit in a year or two if you do all the right things.
Did you know that all UK savers have a savings safety net for the first £85,000 of cash protected in the event of their bank or building society going bust ? The limit is applied ‘per individual, per bank’. That means that if you have a joint account you both will get back £85,000; or up to £170,000 for both parties.
So if you’re bank or building society hits the buffers you are protected.
All UK-registered savings institutions have to sign up to the FSCS and agree that if one of them goes to the wall, the others step in and jointly repay depositors through the scheme. It’s the quintessential last line of defence for savers in banking crises.
My husband was recently speaking to a builder doing a bit of work on our home and he was moaning about how he didn’t have a decent pension and he had lost touch with where he used to work. My other half suggested he look up the pension tracing service but he thought it would be too much trouble. We got him the details and he gave them a call and thought nothing more of it. Last week he gave us a call to say they had found has pension and he had over £10k in the pot. Obviously he was delighted – we never got a discount though !! So if you have older friends and family why not ask them if there are any lost accounts you can help them find ?
From a pension provider
As workers you move around from job to job, it is easy to lose track of each employer pension.
It is estimated £3billion sat forgotten in pension pots in 2012 – that figure is likely to be even higher now as people move around with even greater frequency. Most of this amount is in small amounts of less than £5,000, but some could be significantly more
You can use the Pension Tracing Service online app to help find any lost pensions or you can contact them directly on Telephone: 0345 6002 537
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
A Forgotten bank account
If a bank account has not been active for a while, the bank or building society may write to its owner and ask them whether they want to keep the account open. This can happen even if the account still has money in it. If the bank or building society doesn’t receive a response, it will stop sending correspondence and the account is classed as ‘lost’. However just because this happens doesn’t mean the money is no longer yours.
There is a free service called mylostaccount.org.uk that will help you trace any money you may reclaim. This FREE service is brought to you by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), the Building Societies Association (BSA) and National Savings and Investments (NS&I) so is safe and secure to use.
From an electricity company
If you have a power cut you may be get for compensation from the electricity company. Your electricity company may on occasion have to disconnect your electricity to complete essential maintenance or upgrade work. You should normally be given at least two days’ notice of this – if you’re not you may be entitled to compensation. If a power cut is caused by a fault in the network, you may be entitled to compensation if it:
• lasts longer than 18 hours in normal weather where the power cut affects less than 5,000 homes
• lasts for 24-48 hours in severe weather and
• is the distributor’s fault.
The amount you can get will be based on how long the power was off and there are further payments for each further 12 hours you are cut off, up to a maximum of another seven payments. Contact your energy supplier in the first instance if you think you may be eligible for compensation
From the taxman
You may be eligible for a tax rebate. This could include not working a full tax year – for example, in the case of redundancy, or if you are a student.
Higher rate tax payers can also claim back tax on payments such as charitable donations. Sometimes employees are given the wrong tax code and so end up overpaying. It’s always worth checking to make sure your tax code is correct. Contact HMRC if you think you might have a claim.