Author Archives: Tashema Jackson

About Tashema Jackson

Tashema knows the consumer finance industry inside out and always keeps on top of who is providing the best deals for loans, credit cards, mortgages and current accounts. Having started out on the frontline of customer service before moving into the world of price comparison, she pairs her financial industry insight with an understanding of what consumers want to know. Her goal is to share her knowledge with consumers in a simple, straight-forward way to help them get a better deal.

uSwitch comments on payday lender CFO Lending being forced to repay £35 million to borrowers

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In response to the FCA’s announcement that payday lender CFO Lending will pay out £35 million in compensation to customers, Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch.com, says: “This ruling is a significant victory for consumers who were vulnerable and offered loans they could never afford to pay back. The FCA has clamped down on payday lenders, but it can’t make up for the emotional distress caused by the escalating debts.

“For many people who feel they have nowhere else to turn when struggling to make ends meet, a short term credit provider who asks fewer questions may seem like an easier option. The truth is, the long term pain outweighs any perceived short term gain, as not only is there the escalating debt to deal with, but there can be a potential negative impact on your credit rating too.

“There are other, potentially cheaper, options like talking to credit unions and peer-to-peer lenders – or even borrowing money from friends and family. So if you find yourself with an unexpected expense, don’t think you have to resort to taking out a payday loan.

“If you have taken out a payday loan, and are struggling to make the repayments – get in touch with a debt charity such as StepChange, they’ll be able to help.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on anniversary of current account seven day switching service

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Commenting on the three year anniversary of the Current Account Switch Service Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Over three million people have switched their current account in the last three years and, given the range of switching incentives currently on offer, we could see another month of record switches.

“Our research shows that more than half of current account customers have been with the same bank for the last ten years. There is a huge opportunity for banks and building societies to attract new customers if they focused on creating products meeting the needs of the modern consumer – such as finger print ID to access mobile banking.

“Customers could also benefit from a better deal on their savings – with some providers offering up to 5% interest on in credit balances – and better overdraft rates which could save regular users hundreds of pounds. Undoubtedly more can, and must, be done to educate consumers about the benefits of switching, but for those prepared to make that change there are real benefits of doing so, including some extra cash in your pocket.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on complaints data published by the Financial Ombudsman Service

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Commenting on today’s complaints data published by the Financial Ombudsman Service, Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch.com, said; “It’s disappointing to see complaints about the mis-selling of PPI still dominating the Ombudsman’s time – especially given that the FCA is now proposing to introduce a deadline for claiming compensation. Many people could face losing out if they don’t make their claim in time.

“Unsurprisingly the banks which received the most complaints also rated badly in our last customer satisfaction survey, with Lloyds, HSBC and RBS making up the bottom three in terms of overall customer satisfaction. With ever an ever increasing number of challengers shaking things up in the market, the high street banks still have a lot of work to do to earn back the trust of their customers.”

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on drop in Help to Buy Isa interest rates

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Commenting on the Daily Mail’s article about the drop in Help to Buy Isa interest rates over the summer, Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch.com said, “Dwindling returns on Help to Buy Isas are a slap in the face for first time buyers trying to save for a deposit. Savers have been lured in by tempting headline rates only to see them slashed a few months later. What’s more disappointing is that while the Bank of England cut its base rate by just 0.25%, most providers have cut their rates by significantly more than this – up to 2.5% in some cases. This shows just how challenging life can be for savers right now.

“However, despite the steep cuts to Help to Buy Isa rates, they still offer some of the best returns for savers. In light of this, consumers looking to save should make sure to compare all available options, including high interest current accounts, to make sure they’re getting the best possible return for their money.”

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

Brits overspend by nearly £500 on their summer holidays

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• Three fifths (59%) of Brits[1] went over their holiday budget by an average of £500 this summer[2]
• Nearly half (45%) blamed the poor exchange rate for the additional spending[3]
• A third (34%) of those incurring extra costs relied on their credit cards to pay for the added expense, while one in ten (11%) turned to their overdraft[4]
• Holiday overspending has taken its toll, with nearly half (46%) in a worse financial situation than before their holidays[5]
• Those who overspent on holiday say it will take an average of four and a half months to clear the debt[6].

British holidaymakers are blaming poor Sterling exchange rates against the Dollar and Euro for blowing their summer holiday budget, with nearly three fifths (59%) sinking into debt[1] after forking out an extra £491.78[2]. That’s according to research from uSwitch.com, the price comparison site and switching service.

Of those spending more than they budgeted for, nearly half (45%) said the plunging pound had made everyday items pricier on holiday[3], and a quarter said their final accommodation bill was more than expected[7].

This increased expenditure has led to many holidaymakers slipping into debt to cover the costs, with a third (34%) using credit cards and one in ten (11%) dipping into their overdraft[4]. Others chose to curb their spending on luxuries – putting a dampener on their week in the sun – with nearly a fifth (19%) dining out less, and another one in five (19%) buying fewer gifts for friends and family[8].

Extra holiday debt has squeezed budgets hard, with nearly half (46%) saying they are now in a worse financial situation than before their holiday[5]. Of this group, many are being forced into action to manage their debts post-holiday, with two in five (41%) taking out another credit card[9] and almost a third (30%) resorting to a payday loan to help make ends meet[10]. Others are making lifestyle changes to pay off debts – a quarter (27%) are taking on extra work shifts[11], while 26% expect to reduce their spending this Christmas[12].

However, despite people’s best efforts, this extra debt could be hanging over many until the New Year, with those struggling saying it will take an average of four and a half months to clear[6].

The experience of a pricier holiday has also put future summer holidays in the balance, with nearly half (49%) of holiday makers vowing to delay going on holiday again until it becomes cheaper to buy foreign currency[13].

Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Many British consumers have been caught out by the weaker pound when traveling abroad this summer.

“There is little control you can have over foreign exchange rates, but there are ways you can help ease the financial strain of a trip away. A credit card offering 0% interest on purchases made abroad, for example, can help reduce the cost of your trip.

“For those struggling with post-holiday debt, it’s important to not stick your head in the sand. Balance transfer cards with an interest-free period could be a lifeline for those needing some breathing space. Those looking to transfer their debt should shop around to find the right card – and remember to carefully consider any transfer fees, as well as the length of the 0% offer.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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Notes to editors

To illustrate rising holiday prices, uSwitch has looked at prices of holiday items over the summer based on the changing exchange rate[14]:

Item

Average cost in €s* Cost on
1st June Exchange Rate
(£1 = €1.29)**
Cost on
30th August Exchange Rate
(£1 = €1.17)**

Difference in cost

Family day-pass to Disneyland Paris

€220

£170.54 £188.03

+£17.49

Meal out for family of four

€60

£46.51 £51.28

+£4.77

A pint of beer €5.90 £4.57 £5.04

+0.47p

A glass of wine

€3.90

£3.02 £3.33

+0.31p

10 minute taxi ride

€15

£11.63 £12.82

+1.19p

Sun cream

€7.60

£5.89 £6.50

+0.61p

Beach ball

€3.80

£2.95 £3.25

+0.30p

Bucket & Spade

€5.70

£4.42 £4.87

+0.45p

One ticket to water park

€30

£23.26 £25.64

+£2.38

*prices are estimates based on online sources unless a specific source is highlighted
**Exchange rate taken from xe.com at 12:00 on Tuesday 30 August.

Top Balance Transfer card recommendations:

Balance Transfer Cards

 

Fee

0% balance length APR reverts

Other perks

Halifax Credit Card

3.5% 41 months

18.9%

 

Virgin Credit Card

4% 41 months

20.9%

 

Sainsbury’s Bank Credit Card

2.89%* 40 months 18.9%
  • *Reduced to 2.42% in first 3 months if you have a Nectar Card
  • Earn Nectar points: 2 points for every £1 spent on Sainsbury’s shopping or fuel. 1 Nectar point for every £5 spent elsewhere.
  • Bonus 5000 Nectar points if you spend £800 at Sainsbury’s in the first three months.

Balance Transfer Credit Cards (no fee)

Fee 0% balance length APR reverts Other perks

Halifax Credit Card

0% 25 months

18.9%

 

Tesco Credit Card

0% 24 months

18.9%

  • Earn club card points (1pt for every £4 spent in store, 1pt for every £8 spent elsewhere)

Santander 123 Mastercard

0% 23 months 18.4%
  • Cashback on spending in major supermarkets (1%), major department stores (2%) AND petrol stations and on train fairs (3%).
  • Free if you own a 123 Account, £3 monthly fee otherwise.

All research referred to was conducted online by Censuswide between 15th August and 18th August 2016, among 2000 adults who have been on holiday this summer

1. When asked “Was the total amount you spent on your summer holiday abroad more or less than you expected it to be before the trip?”, 17.9% answered “Yes, it was a lot more than I expected”, 41.4% answered “Yes, it was slightly more than expected”.17.9%+41.4%= 59.3%
2. Looking at the 59.3% sample from point 1, when asked “How much more did you spend than expected?’, the average was £491.71
3. Looking at the 59.3% sample from point 1, when asked “Why was your spending higher than expected?”, 45% answered “A weak pound (£) meant it was more expensive to pay for things on holiday (using cash, credit card, current account etc.)”
4. Looking at the 59.3% sample from point 1, when asked “How did you pay for any unexpected spending? (Tick all that apply)”, 34.2% answered “I used a credit card to cover unexpected costs”, 11.1% answered “I used my overdraft to cover unexpected costs”
5. When asked “To what extent do you agree with the following statement: My financial situation is worse now than it was before my holiday abroad”, 11.7% answered “strongly agree”, 34.2% answered “agree”. 11.7%+34.2%=45.9%
6. When asked “How long do you think it will take you to pay off any debt following your holiday abroad?”, the average time came to 4.5 months.
7. Looking at the 59.3% sample from point 1, when asked “Why was your spending higher than expected?”, 26.5% answered “When paying the final bill for the hotel / resort I was staying in, the price was higher than previously expected due to the weak pound (£)”
8. When asked “While on holiday abroad, did you have to make any sacrifices because your budget was tighter than you expected it to be? (Tick all that apply)”, 18.9% answered “I dined out at fewer restaurants and instead relied on cheaper food”, 18.8% answered “I bought less holiday presents for my friends and family”, 9% answered “I took extra food from the breakfast buffet so I didn’t have to buy lunch”
9. Looking at the 45.9% sample from point 8, when asked “Have you or are you planning to do any of the following things to manage any additional holiday debt?, 21.7% answered “Apply for a new credit card to cover my holiday spending (I have done this) and 19.6% answered “Apply for a new credit card to cover my holiday spending (I am planning to do this)”. 21.7%+19.6% =41.3%
10. Looking at the 45.9% sample from point 8, when asked “Have you or are you planning to do any of the following things to manage any additional holiday debt?, 16.9%answered “Take out a pay day loan (I have done this )” and 14.7% answered “Take out a pay day loan (I am planning to do this )”. 16.9%+14.7%=31.6%
11. Looking at the 45.9% sample from point 8, when asked “What lifestyle changes will you be forced to make as a result of your holiday abroad expenditure? (Tick all that apply)”, 26.8% answered “I am taking on an extra job/shifts to bring in extra money”
12. Looking at the 45.9% sample from point 8, when asked “What lifestyle changes will you be forced to “I will limit my spending this Christmas”
13. When asked “To what extent do you agree with the following statement: I will delay booking another holiday abroad while the pound (£) is weak”, 13.5% answered “strongly agree and 35.5% answered “agree”. 13.5%+35.5%=49%
14. To calculate costs, uSwitch choose an average price and then calculated the price in £s using the exchange rates on 1st June and 23rd August 2016 (source – XE Currency converter). Prices are estimates unless exact costs were available (e.g. price of beer source).

About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

New index reveals best place to live for families in UK

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  • Top GCSE grades, good pay and weather, close proximity to GPs and fast broadband place Hertfordshire as the best place to raise a family in the UK – according to the uSwitch Better Family Life Index
  • The Index ranks 138 local authorities on 33 factors important to family life
  • Top three regions are all in the East of England, with Cambridgeshire and Central Bedfordshire taking second and third places
  • Scotland fares least well, with East & North Ayrshire mainland taking the last spot – due to higher crime, lower exam results, lower pay and less time spent with loved ones
  • Second from bottom and ranked worst in England is Leicester with fourth worst employment in UK, fewer primary schools, high council tax and poor exam results
  • Almost half of parents (49%) would consider moving to improve their circumstances and over four in ten (43%) worry they are not giving their family the best start in life
  • com report suggests ways both public and private organisations can improve the quality of life for the UK’s 19 million families including better financial education, childcare and housing plus an investigation into parental stress.

The first Better Family Life Index from uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service, officially names the East of England’s Hertfordshire the best place for families to live in the UK, and Scotland’s East & North Ayrshire mainland the worst.

The Index ranks the UK’s 138 local authorities on 33 aspects important to family life – including health, housing, crime, childcare, sleep, sunshine and time spent with family. Based on government data and new consumer research, it creates a comprehensive study of modern family life in the UK.

Best region for families

Hertfordshire boasts the third highest employment rate in England with 81% of residents aged 16-64 in work and earning a healthy average gross salary of £33,435. The area benefits from fast average broadband download speeds of 38Mbs and is seventh in the UK in exam results, with 64% of pupils achieving five or more A*-C grades at GCSE including English and mathematics.

Cambridgeshire is ranked second in the Index, with 80% of those aged 16-64 in the area employed and high average annual pay of £32,761. Central Bedfordshire takes third place with low levels of young people not in employment, education or training and just 4% of children in workless households.

All top three regions, situated in the East of England, benefit from their close proximity to local amenities. It takes residents an average of just nine minutes to get to their GP and just under ten minutes to reach their local primary school – compared to the average of almost 12 minutes.

Those living in the East of England also manage to spend more time with their loved ones than many other regions in the country, clocking up 4 hours 51 minutes of quality time on an average day. Locals receive two days more holiday than the UK average of 25 days and even say they sleep better than many of their regional counterparts, enjoying seven hours on an average night compared to the UK average of 6 hours 48 minutes.

Sun worshippers should also consider moving to any of these top three ranking areas, which all see an average of 4 hours 34 minutes of sunshine every day, compared to just 3 hours 3 minutes in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

Worst region for families

East & North Ayrshire mainland comes bottom of the rankings with higher crime rates (115 crimes per 1,000 residents), poorer exam results with just 35% of pupils achieving five or more A*-C grade GCSE-equivalents and just 67% of those aged 16-64 in employment. Those living in the region also earn less, with an average annual salary of £26,962.  As well as having less sunshine, locals say they sleep less than anywhere else in the UK, getting just 6 hours 37 minutes’ sleep on the average night.

The area suffers from poor 2, 3 and 4G mobile signal coverage and slower average download speeds of 19Mbs. On a positive note, residents benefit from relatively low average annual council tax at £1,171 and low car insurance premiums of £380 a year.

Scotland dominates the bottom of the league table, driven by a high percentage of young people not in education, employment or training and poor mobile signal coverage. Higher crime rates also pull Scotland down the rankings with Glasgow City reporting 235 crimes per 1,000 population – more than in any other region. But Glasgow City does have a high number of GPs per 1,000 residents and good mobile phone coverage.

Second from the bottom, and worst in England for family life, is Leicester, with the fourth worst employment rate in the UK and higher council tax at £1,599. Residents in Leicester may also struggle to find childcare as the area has a low number of nurseries per 1,000 residents compared to other areas, and they also spend the least amount of time with their family and friends at just 4 hours 14 minutes each day. Just half of pupils achieve five or more A*-C grade GCSE-equivalents and there is one primary school per 4,178 people – compared to one primary school per 773 people in the Shetland Islands. However, the area does enjoy good average download speeds of 37Mbs and low CO2 levels.

Parents’ money matters

The study shows that life can feel pressured and hectic, with almost half of parents (49%) considering moving to improve their circumstances and over four in ten (43%) worrying they are not giving their family the best start in life. Money is very much on the minds of British families, with more disposable income (57%), cheaper cost of living (53%) and cheaper bills (52%) the top three things that parents believe would enhance their quality of life.

Interestingly, the fourth most important influence is better weather, with over four in 10 parents (43%) believing this would improve their lifestyle. So it’s no surprise that the East of England – the sunshine capital of the UK – is the best performing region in the study, taking over a quarter of the top 20 spots.

Recommendations

This report shows that life is far from equal for the nation’s 19 million families. As the UK enters a period of increased uncertainty after the vote to leave the EU, the Better Family Life Index provides some simple measures for families to bring greater certainty and stability to their finances. In collaboration with Chartered Educational Psychologist, Dr. Kairen Cullen, it recommends steps that both public and private organisations could take to further improve the quality of life for the UK’s families, including:

  • Better financial education for adults and young people
  • Community and private sector playing a greater role in childcare
  • Increased government focus on family housing requirements
  • Further investigation around parental stress levels across the UK.

Tashema Jackson, uSwitch.com money expert, says: “The Better Family Life Index shows that life is far from equal for families across the UK. Although there is much to celebrate in many areas, it’s not surprising that so many families are thinking about moving to a new region to improve their circumstances.

“For many consumers, the prospect of increased uncertainty in the run up to Brexit may be a turning point, leading us to re-evaluate both how we manage our household budgets and how we provide stability for our families in the future. Policymakers would do well to follow suit. With the new government yet to announce its budgetary priorities it is vital that positive changes are made to help give all families fair opportunities no matter where they live – whether it is access to a good education, childcare, housing, GPs or jobs. Quality of life should not be a postcode lottery.

“In the meantime households can take an honest look at their budgets to see if there are any savings they can make to improve their own standard of living. Even simple steps such as switching energy or your broadband provider could put hundreds of pounds back into the household kitty.”

Table 1: Top Ten Areas in the uSwitch Better Family Life Index 2016

1 Hertfordshire
2 Cambridgeshire CC
3 Central Bedfordshire
4 Warrington
5 York
6 Tyneside
7 Norfolk
8 Northumberland
9 West Cumbria
10 Calderdale and Kirklees

Table 2: Bottom Ten Areas in the uSwitch Better Family Life Index 2016

(areas ranked from 129-138)

129 North Lanarkshire
130 Kingston Upon Hull
131 Falkirk
132 Sandwell
133 Nottingham
134 Clackmannanshire and Fife
135 Isle of Wight
136 Glasgow City
137 Leicester
138 East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire mainland

Read more about the uSwitch Better Family Life Index here, along with our top tips to save money

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on Santander halving interest rates on 123 account

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Commenting on the news that Santander has halved the interest rate on its 123 account to 1.5%, Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch, says: “It’s disappointing to hear that Santander is halving the interest it will pay customers on its flagship 123 current account. As we had expected savings rates to be affected by the Bank of England’s cut to base rate, it’s perhaps unsurprising that one of the most popular current accounts has followed suit.

“There are still a number of alternative current accounts offering a high interest rate on your savings. However, make sure you shop around to find the best bank account for your needs as some of the accounts will have upper limits on the balance that can benefit from the higher rates of interest, while others will have conditions such as depositing a minimum amount each month or paying out a certain number of direct debits.

“Santander customers who are thinking of switching should wait until November – when the cut to interest rates will be made – before deciding whether or not to switch, as other banks may follow this lead and make changes to their high interest accounts.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

Interest rate drop a double edged sword, says uSwitch

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Commenting on the Bank of England’s decision to lower its base rate to 0.25%, Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch.com, says: “The lowering of the Bank of England base rate to a historic low of 0.25% is a double-edged sword for consumers.

“The good news for homeowners on a tracker rate mortgage is that lower interest rates should mean their repayments will decrease in the immediate future. However, it remains to be seen if the banks will pass the benefit of lower rates on to other mortgage customers.

“Most of the best savings accounts have already vanished from the market, as the banks look to mitigate any potential losses, and we may see a freeze on mortgage and loan rates to prevent the cut to the base rate eating into profits.

“It would be incredibly disappointing if borrowers weren’t to benefit from the cut in interest rates – so for anyone looking to borrow from a bank, shop around to find the best rate for your individual circumstances. When choosing a mortgage or a loan it’s important to remember that the lowest headline rate isn’t necessarily the cheapest in the long run.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on proposal to introduce PPI deadline

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Reacting to the Financial Conduct Authority’s proposal to introduce a deadline for submitting PPI complaints by the end of June 2019, Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch.com, says: “By proposing to set a deadline the Financial Conduct Authority is sending a signal that consumers impacted by PPI mis-selling should get their skates on to seek payback.

“However, as PPI is still the biggest cause for complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service, there’s still a lot of work to do before the industry can finally draw a line under this scandal.

“It’s now important that the banks, regulator and Ombudsman work together to raise awareness of the new deadline, so that those yet to claim do so – without having to pay fees charged by claims management companies.

“If people think they’ve been mis-sold a PPI policy, they should complain to their bank. If they remain unhappy, they can escalate their complaint with the Ombudsman for free – and will be entitled to keep any compensation awarded themselves.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

Fear of overdraft rejection prevents two thirds of consumers from switching their current account

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  • Almost two thirds (63%) of current account holders are in the dark about whether they can switch banks if they’re overdrawn[1]
  • Over a third (34%) of people are reliant on their overdraft to make it through the month[2] – and one in eight (13%) are never in credit[3]
  • On average, Brits are overdrawn by £266 every month, and families are even more dependant on their overdrafts, finding themselves nearly £400 in debt every month[4]
  • Despite overdrafts being essential for many people, 14% of consumers switching accounts are given a smaller overdraft and face a possible financial shortfall[6]
  • uSwitch is calling on Bacs to change the Current Account Switch Service so customers are told the overdraft they will receive before making the decision to switch account.

Despite a push from the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) to encourage more people to switch, two thirds of current account holders are in the dark about whether they can do so if they are overdrawn[1]. That’s according to research from uSwitch.com, the price comparison site and switching service.

Seven out of ten UK current account customers have access to an arranged overdraft[7] and on average go overdrawn by £266 every month[4]. And a third (35%) of people are heavily reliant on their authorised overdraft to get through the month, including 13% being permanently overdrawn and a further 5% falling back into debt almost immediately after being paid[3].

Families with children face a more challenging financial situation, as they are especially reliant on their overdraft. The research showed that nearly a quarter (23%) say they are permanently overdrawn or almost immediately after payday slip back into their overdraft[5]. On average, families are almost £400 into the red at the end of each month[4] – and with authorised overdrafts fees at the main high street banks reaching up to 20% Equivalent Annual Rate (EAR), on top of any other charges, each family could be paying out nearly £150 every year just for using their authorised overdrafts[8].

Despite many customers being dependent on their overdrafts, when it comes to switching it is not possible to find out if they will be offered an overdraft with their new account before they switch. This lack of clarity has left one in seven (14%) current account holders high and dry with a lower arranged overdraft[6].

This lower limit can have severe consequences for those regularly using their overdrafts – with 30% of people saying they would be unable to pay essential bills or meet unexpected costs and 15% admitting they would turn to credit cards to make up the shortfall[9].

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has already said that overdraft users are less likely to switch account than other customers and that the heaviest overdraft users stand to save up to £260 by switching to a different provider[10]. So ahead of the CMA’s retail banking report next month, uSwitch is calling on Bacs to ensure CASS gives customers clear information about their arranged overdraft before they commit to switching.

Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch.com said, “Millions rely on their overdraft every month just to make ends meet. Yet they’re not only being stung by high charges and fees, but many also feel like they’re not eligible to switch to a better deal. With some accounts charging nearly three times more than others for an arranged overdraft, customers should be able to simply compare all the options so they’re not paying over the odds.

“While the CMA has said it will take a tough stance on capping unarranged overdraft fees, it’s doing little to help overdraft prisoners who feel trapped and unable to switch. We’re calling on the banks to assure people that if they do switch their current account, they won’t be left high and dry by an overdraft that doesn’t meet their needs.”

Standard current account overdraft charges for the major high street banks

Overdraft table

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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Notes to editors

  1. When asked “Do you agree with the following statement ‘It is not possible to switch bank accounts if you are using an authorised overdraft’, 14.8% said ‘yes’ and 48.1% said ‘Don’t know’. 14.8 + 48.1 = 62.9%.
  2. When asked ‘Which of the following statements best describes the way you use your overdraft facility’, 13.1% said ‘I am never out of my overdraft’, 4.5% said ‘I am ‘in the red’ almost immediately after I am paid.’, 7.9% said ‘I dip into my overdraft between one and two weeks after I am paid’ and 9.3% said ‘I dip into my overdraft between two and four weeks after I am paid’ 13.1% + 4.5% + 7.9% + 9.3% = 34.7%.
  3. When asked ‘Which of the following statements best describes the way you use your overdraft facility’, 13.1% said ‘I am never out of my overdraft’
  4. When asked ‘How far into your overdraft do you go every month?’, the average amount was £266.25. For families with children, the average amount was £394.40.
  5. When asked ‘Which of the following statements best describes the way you use your overdraft facility? 16.1% said ‘I am never out of my overdraft’ and 6.9% said ‘I am ‘in the red’ almost immediately after I am paid’. 16.1% + 6.9% = 23%.
  6. When asked ‘Have you switched your bank account in the past three years’, 20.7% said ‘yes’. Those who replied ‘yes’ were asked ‘When you switched current account, did you receive the same authorised overdraft limit as your previous account?’ 14.3% said ‘No, I was given less than my previous account’
  7. When asked ‘Do you have access to an authorised overdraft with any of your current accounts?’, 69.6% said ‘yes’.
  8. Lloyds Classic account charges an Equivalent Annual Rate (EAR) of 19.94% plus a monthly usage fee of £6 on any overdraft over £25. An average overdraft debt of £394.4 at 19.94% = £6.14 + £6 monthly usage fee = £12.14. £12.14 x 12 months of the year = £145.68
  9. When asked ‘What would be the consequences if you lost access to your overdraft?’, 16% said ‘I would be unable to pay essential bills’ and 13.9% said ‘I would not be able to pay for any unexpected costs e.g. broken boiler, new washing machine, car repair’. 16 + 13.9 = 29.9%. 15.2% said ‘I would use a credit card to make up the shortfall.’
  10. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-proposes-better-deal-for-bank-customers

About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.