No money, no panic, but only just

While we are using less cash we are increasingly dependent on cash machines as bank branches reduce their hours or have closed during the pandemic. Only 6% of payments are made in cash nowadays but it is useful to have a few folding plastic notes to hand for tips or taxis. Down to my last £20 I stopped at the machine outside my local supermarket. Card was accepted, so was the personal identification number. I opted for cash with receipt and the machine whirred, and whirred. A queue formed behind me – at a social distance – and the man […]

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Banks help fraudsters but not customers

How is it that fraudsters are able to open multiple accounts to launder the money they steal from bank accounts?  We are now 20 times more likely to be robbed through our online or telephone bank accounts than mugged in the street.   The Office of National Statistics reported last year that there were 5.8 million fraud and computer crimes in the UK in 2015. Hundreds of millions of pounds are stolen each year aided by the ease with which thieves can set up new accounts.  And while fraudsters seem able to open lots of accounts using dodgy documents to cash […]

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The poor need help to get better deals

I met the personification of the spirit of Money Fight Club when I was a fellow panelist at the Money Advice Service’s Financial Capability Week at the QEII centre this week.  Vanessa Simao is a trainee with the Young Women’s Trust in London and an outreacher in Barking and Dagenham so she knows that to help clients in her work she has to share her own experiences as a single parent. She knows what it is like to take a loan to provide food or heating and then to get behind and agree to consolidate the loans into one payment […]

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Savings rates that make us poorer

The email pings into my laptop from an oh-so-helpful bank wanting me to “make sure your account is right for you.” Interest rates are being cut again next month and I have been sent a list of 19 new savings rates. The accounts have encouraging names such as the Good for Life Isa but it will stop paying 0.5% and start paying a miserly quarter percent. My own eSaver is being cut from 0.6% to 0.35%. These latest cuts come days after Ros Altmann, the former pensions minister, announced that we all need to save more for our old age. […]

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Packaged bank accounts – insurance you don’t want

Many years and billions of pounds of compensation for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) later, customers are still being sold insurance they do not want. This week the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO) revealed that just over half of its new complaints are still from people who were sold PPI that they did not need.  THE FSO also revealed that non-PPI complaints were up by 45% in the first half of the year. And the star performer in the complaints hit parade was packaged banks accounts. These accounts cost anything from £2 a month to £25 and offer insurance for travel, […]

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So you want to make complaints about financial services? Yeah, right.

Financial services companies are still not dealing with customer complaints properly.  Just look at the figures for complaints about financial services. The majority of those brought to the Financial Ombudsman decided in favour of the customer in the second half of 2013. Okay, so banks have allocated more than £20 billion to compensate the victims for the outrageous mis-selling of payment protection insurance, but customers are still having to exhaust the banks’ own complaints procedure before they can take their complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Talk about making us jump through hoops! Financial services complaints Over the full […]

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Our banking standards submission

Money Fight Club has been through a few rounds with the High Street banks as they have invented new ways to part customers from their money over the years. The mis-selling of personal pensions, endowment mortgages, payment protection insurance and interest rate swaps have cost customers billions of pounds and damaged the reputation and the finances of the banks. Now the Banking Standards Review headed up by Sir Richard Lambert, former editor of the Financial Times, has proposed the setting up of an independent body to raise standards and to bring ethics into banking. It does not go far enough, […]

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Banking… standards?

The Banking Standards Review from Sir Richard Lambert proposes an independent body that will champion better banking standards. What’s not to like? But before anything can happen it has posed 19 questions on ethics, training, the assessment of a bank’s code of conduct, best practice, competence and much more. Sir Richard wants the body to raise standards of competence and conduct in banking but it is likely to fail abysmally if it becomes a “members organisation for bankers.” How can the markets and more importantly the customers begin to trust banks if their new body is little more than a […]

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40 year mortgage loans – it’s only lenders that win

Lenders have a new wheeze when it comes to lending money to home buyers. Now interest-only loans have been outlawed for all except buy-to-let borrowers they have moved to the next best thing (for lenders, that is, not borrowers) – 40 year mortgage loans. In particular, lenders are circling first time buyers who are back in the market. According to the mortgage statistics for last year, mortgage approvals rose by 122,000 to 734,969. First-time buyer numbers are well up. For example,they took out 27,000 loans in November, 2013, a rise of just 0.7% compared to October, but up 24% compared […]

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Complaints about packaged bank accounts double – have you got one?

Yet another report shows how careful we have to be when visiting our bank branch.  The latest statistics from the Financial Ombudsman reveal that large numbers of bank customers are complaining that they have been mis-sold expensive packaged bank accounts. These are the sorts of accounts that come with all sorts of bells and whistles on them, such as travel insurance, all fine and dandy if you need everything you get but otherwise an expensive way to bank. Complaints have more than doubled on 2012-13 and some bank customers were unaware that they had “bought” a packaged account.  The most […]

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