Archive for the ‘News’ Category

How to manage debt better

Being in debt can be very stressful especially when your expenses are more than your income; this means there has to be some form of reassessment and management introduced where all frivolous expenditures are cut out. Below are a few tips to help people in debt manage better.

Spending habits:

It is important to exercise discipline about spending money for something that cannot be afforded for the moment, and think of saving for it before actually purchasing it. Also maintaining a list of expenses so that you know which ones to avoid till things become better is a good idea.
Planning for essential expenses:

Since these cannot be avoided, you need to save money by looking for better deals. For example you can look at alternatives to supermarket brands as that will definitely result in a lot of saving.

Saving on Interest Rates:

It is advisable to always look around for better deals on interest rate savings on credit cards, the interest rate you are getting on your savings and so on. It may not be a bad idea to open a new account with a bank who offers you incentives to do so.
If you have certain fixed mortgages as well as other loan expenses, then you can think of remortgaging so that you can get some relief in the form of lower interest repayments.

Settling outstanding bills:

It is crucial not to let outstanding bills accumulate as the interest rate on it can become very expensive over a period of time. Always endeavour to always pay off the entire bill and not just the minimum due.

Seek help:

If you find that you are still struggling even after incorporating the above steps, seek debt management advice from an expert. They will help you consolidate debts, develop debt management plans and help you make repayments gradually over time so that you are able to settle all outstanding without adding more through heavy interest costs.

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How to protect yourself against identity fraud online

It’s no secret Identity fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes in the UK; we love online shopping for the deals and convenience and with more people banking online than ever, we are all sitting ducks when it comes to fraud schemes.

To combat this we all have to be vigilant online so we don’t fall prey to online identity fraud schemes.  As technology has gotten more sophisticated, so has cyber-criminals, they keep coming up with more inventive ways to scam us.

It’s really important that people remain vigilant whenever they are making financial transactions online and don’t allow themselves to become victims of scams or frauds.”

Here are a few things to look out for when online;

PHISHING SCAMS

Phishing is a common tactic used by hackers and identity thieves to acquire sensitive information like usernames, passwords and bank details. Fraudsters create a website identical to big brand sites and use an email link to direct you to the dodgy website, where you are asked to enter your personal information into what appears to be the trusted site’s ordinary log-in form. However, your details are actually collected and stored on a database which is likely to be sold on to another fraudster.

SOCIAL NETWORKING SCAMS

Sites such as Facebook, Bebo, Twitter, Linkedin and MySpace can seem like a bit of fun but be careful not to divulge personal information. Fraudsters use it to find out answers to personal questions such as your pet’s name, or maiden name – which are often security questions used to access bank accounts.

SPOOF WEBSITES

Such websites usually contain several spelling and grammatical mistakes as well as lots of pop-ups and banners; it is advisable not to give out any valuable information on such sites. Similarly, if you come face-to-face with any pop-ups telling you that you need to download software you’ve never heard of, close the window and try not to visit the site again.

How to protect yourself against credit card fraud this summer!

Anti-fraud agencies have their busiest periods during summer seasons because credit card fraudsters seem to work over time during summer.

Also credit and debit card owners tend to be less vigilant during this period especially those abroad on holiday meaning they become they become vulnerable to credit and debit card fraud.

Most people don’t actually find out they are victims of fraud until they return home and by that time fraudsters have raided their bank accounts or rack up large credit card bills in their names.

So how do you protect yourself against card fraud during this high season?

Swipe and Sign

The personal identification number (PIN) was introduced to help cut out both card fraud but thieves have devised ways of retrieving your pin after you have used the machine so whiles on holiday abroad, swipe and sign for purchases as signatures are harder to fake.

Shred Everything

This advice is not just for the holiday season, it should apply all year round. One of the easiest ways to obtain someone’s credit card number is to go through their rubbish so shredding all receipts, invoices and bank and credit card statements makes it impossible for fraudsters to get your details.

Read Your Mail

Most people just skimp through their bank and credit card statements and ignore general mail from such institutions which is a big mistake. Checking your statements thoroughly will allow you to notice any unusual activity on your accounts. Also if you don’t check the mail on a regular basis, you could mistake an important notification for a credit card solicitation and disregard it. You should also shred credit card solicitations because information such as your address and name is written directly on the envelope making it ripe for stealing.

Never give your Credit Card to an Unverified Source

Whether you are abroad on holiday or at home, never give your credit card number or pin to anyone on the phone or internet. It could be fraudsters impersonating a bank representative so they can get access to your details. When you get such calls, always hang up and call the card company yourself.

To avoid becoming a victim of card fraud this summer, those going abroad for holidays should consider purchasing a prepaid credit card. Prepaid credit cards are convenient, they save money as you don’t have to pay commission on transactions when abroad and they help you stay within budget as you can only spend the amount you have loaded on the card. Most importantly, if stolen, thieves can only spend the amount on the card; they can’t rack up a huge bill in your name.

Where to top up your prepaid card

Since the 2008 recession, prepaid cash cards have become increasing popular; prepaid cash cards are a form of pay as you go credit and debit cards which allows users to deposit money and then use it to pay for goods and services just like you would with a normal card.

The main attraction to prepaid cash cards is the amount of flexibility it gives users, people with bad credit rating who can’t get traditional credit cards see it as a great alternative.

Prepaid cash cards are also a way for users to check their spending and avoid the debt associated with traditional credit cards as users can only spend the amount loaded on it.

Prepaid cash cards have become so popular that even traditional banks and credit card companies have moved into that market. But once you have got your prepaid card, how do you top it up?

As the popularity of prepaid cash card have increased in the UK, providers have made efforts to find easier, flexible and more convenient ways for customers to top up their prepaid cards with money.

Post Office:

Many pre-paid card issuers allow their cards to be reloaded via the Post Office. With a network of around 14,000 branches, there is bound to be a branch near you.
Once money has been paid onto the card at a Post Office, it takes 1-2 working days for the money to become available on the card. Reloads can usually be made by debit card or cash and are restricted to a maximum single reload of £999 or £500 (depending on the issuer).

High street Banks:

Certain prepaid cards can be topped up at high street banks, not all banks offer this service so it is important to verify with the card issuer. Monies paid over a bank counter can take anything from a few hours to two days to become available on the card.

PayPoint:

This is one of the UK’s leading networks for convenient local prepaid card top-ups. With over 18,000 retailer outlets located in newsagents, garages, supermarkets, convenience stores and off-licences, PayPoint is one of the most convenient ways to top up a prepaid card.
Funds are usually made available in your prepaid account almost immediately, but this varies, depending on your prepaid card provider.

Payzone:

Payzone has over 30,000 local retail outlets in the UK just like PayPoint. Funds are usually made available immediately, but please check this with chosen prepaid card issuer as this can vary.

Online Payment:

Some card issuers allow debit card reloads on their website or direct internet banking payments. Salaries and government benefits can also be paid directly onto some prepaid cards.