CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

The safety of customers and employees is our main priority and we want to reassure you that we’re here to help.
 
Our team is working closely with government, health organisations and consumer advice organisations to ensure we continue to follow the very latest advice and we’re as prepared as we can be.
 
Following the recent government address, we are operating with reduced numbers of employees with a focus on the needs of our more vulnerable customers.

How to handle self-isolation?

We’re urging all customers to be aware of your finances as your spending may increase during these difficult times. As your spending increases, it may have an adverse affect on your ability to make repayments. If this is the case, please get in touch to see how we can help.   

Notice Period for late payments?

As of 23/03/2020 there will be NO additional fees for the duration of the isolation period however, you must give us prior notice as to when your scheduled payment will be made. If you fail to give notice, you will be charged at contract rate. After the isolation period, late fees and the normal 5 working days notice period will apply.

I’m struggling to make repayments, what should I do?

We always look at a customer’s ability to pay, taking your individual circumstances and vulnerabilities into account. So if you’re struggling, please get in touch. If you do not contact us, then we may be unaware of your situation and therefore unable to offer you assistance or forbearance on missed payments.

Going online helps everyone 


You can talk to one of our advisers online via Live Chat leaving our phone lines free for customers who need our help the most.

Keeping you updated

There are many ways we can help in these challenging times and you can find out more on our website, including ways to save money and what to do if you’re struggling to make repayments.
 
We’ll continue to provide regular updates as and when information is available on:

SAVING TIPS 2020

Saving isn’t as hard as it seems. If you’re looking for some smart savings guidance, these money saving tips should help you start to build up a handy nest egg.

· Create a budget by adding up your monthly spend on essentials like rent, utility bills, food shopping and car costs, to see if you have any spare money that could be moved into a savings account

· Start saving with a basic savings account. Saving even a small amount will give you peace of mind and get you into the savings habit

· If you have more money available, consider a higher-interest account or invest in an ISA. If you already have an ISA, maximise your allowance for this year

· Start long-term savings as soon as you can. Speak to your employer about possible pension schemes to join

· If you get a windfall of money, think about putting a percentage of it into your savings.

MAKE SAVING MONEY A HABIT

Saving money doesn’t have to be a chore. There are some easy ways you can get into the habit of saving money on a regular basis.

With a standing order, you tell your bank to pay money from your chosen account to another account at regular intervals – for example, once a month. If you’ve taken the time to work out how much you can save each month, make sure the money leaves your current account straight after you get paid. This way, there’s no temptation to spend the money you plan to save.

Some banks now offer you the ability to round up the amount you spend on your debit card to the nearest pound and transfer the difference into your eligible savings account. This is a painless way to start adding to a savings account

GET SMARTER WITH YOUR BILLS

· Are you using all your minutes on your current mobile phone deal? If not, see when your contract expires and get ready to switch to a cheaper one.

· And what about utility bills? Could you pay less for electricity and gas? What about home or car insurance? Some financial comparison websites have tools that let you work out if you could find a cheaper deal. Less spent on bills, leaves more to save.

· Some companies offer discounted rates when you pay by direct debit.

· Many companies (e.g. mobile phone companies, broadband providers, etc) offer short-term bonuses or incentives. Just make sure you know when these run out so you can check you’re getting the best deal.

RE-CAP: THE WANGIRI SCAM

Wangiri call scams are calls from international numbers you don’t recognise and it’s a scam that could leave you seriously out of pocket.

WHAT IS A WANGIRI SCAM?
The word ‘Wangiri’ is Japanese and means ‘one ring and drop’. It’s basically what’s known in the UK, as a ‘drop call’. Calls usually cut off just as the phone rings, leaving a missed call notification from an unfamiliar number with the intention of playing on your curiosity. If you do happen to take the bait, you’ll be routed to an expensive, premium rate service.

Phone companies have taken the initiative to invest in intelligence systems to proactively screen incoming calls for fraudulent numbers and are automatically blocking numbers known to be used for fraud.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF?
If you get an unexpected call from an unknown, international or unusual number, here are some simple steps that you can take to protect yourself from Wangiri fraud:

1. Don’t answer any unexpected calls from unknown, international or unusual numbers.

2. DO NOT CALL BACK.

3. Contact your service provider with the number you’re receiving nuisance calls from.

If you’d like to know more about mobile phone fraud, visit Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre.

 

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WAS BITCOIN AND CRYPTO JUST AN IDEA?

Author: John De’Reveal

In an age of ever-increasing technological innovation, I find myself looking back in time and remembering how the future was depicted in the past. Although the world as we “see it” in 2019 didn’t quite turn out to be a 100% match to its 1985 futuristic depictions, I can’t help but notice the similarities. It’s as though the future was being planned ahead

Growing up in the 70’s/80’s, I remember watching cartoons such as the Jetsons. This show was produced in the 1960’s and then again in the 80’s and depicted what life would be like in the future where robots would be the norm and everyday appliances and infrastructure would be automated. Even a meal would be in the form of a pill.

Also, movies like Demolition Man (credit system), Blade Runner (video calling), The Terminator (Robots & Drones), Back to the Future 2 (Google Glass) and more all exhibited signs of the world as we know it today. Is this just a coincidence or was this great planning?

With that being said/asked, it seems ever more likely that digital currency was always going to happen and did not just come about by individual design. So, I wonder, what’s the next step? Well, during a conversation I recently had with a close friend, he mentioned that his customers are increasingly requesting that he invest in a card payment device as credit/debit cards have become the more common form of payment for them. He like myself prefer the option of the limited freedom that comes with cash so this is what I think will happen:

1. Cash will eventually no longer be legal tender. Credit/Debit cards and smart phones will remain the alternative and then the only way to buy and or sell goods and services

2. Convenience and efficiency will demand that card payments be made obsolete and that all financial data be centralised and accessible via smart/android phone through apps

3. Make it impossible to authenticate identification without the use of an app. Key cards will be obsolete

4. Make the use of log in data obsolete by introducing the already existing RFID technology by way of a microchip that is etched just under the skin on your hand. This will be for the simplicity of buying and selling, tracking and authentication to combat cyber crime

5. Centralise all personal information (medical history, financial data, access to work areas etc.) on the RFID chip

6. Make it mandatory to scan the RFID chip to access any services. Without it, life will become increasingly complicated.

The RFID microchip is already in its testing phase and via the smart/android phone, it is in its infancy. The thought of having a microchip in my hand leaves a mark that I don’t feel appeals to me despite the benefits however, not having the microchip may make life in the future rather unpleasant.

Here’s something to ponder. One day in the future it will be make your mind up time to the question I ask today…

WILL YOU TAKE THE RFID MICROCHIP?

FINANCE IN THE AGE

PLEASE WATCH THIS CLIP AS PART OF THIS POST

As we move further into the re-emergence of technology, we must question whether these advances and innovations are in the best interests of humankind or are we being secretly and slowly herded into economic captivity.

It is common knowledge that our personal data and online activity is collected, analysed and used to “know us better” as individuals via AI (Artificial Intelligence). This way, advertisements are tailored to your everyday interests and among a host of other features, your mobile can predict your speech/typing patterns and styles.
Technology has become an addiction with people increasingly unwilling to forego their mobile phones. It has become our Proof of Identification, TV, Credit/Debit card, PC, Diary, supermarket, Personal Assistant & Best friend. Technology has replaced interaction are we are all in some part willingly becoming cyborgs in a system that will soon be solely based on technology. Cash will be phased out and payments will become digital. In a digital world, tax-payer power becomes obsolete because the man/woman pushing the buttons is god. If one push of a button can bankrupt you, what freedom will you have?

SOCIAL CONDITIONING VIA MEDIA AND FALSE FLAGS
If there were for example a sudden rise in bank and credit card fraud with criminals becoming more and more sophisticated in their approach, or targeted advertising displaying the inconvenience of having to carry around a credit or debit card, how many people do you think would willingly sign up for an implant that offers them 100% security. No more clutter or bother, just swipe

Imagine if money laundering were linked to terrorism, this would cultivate the perfect climate for a cashless world as fear is almost always followed by legislation

RELIGIOUS IMPACT AND THE REALITY OF THE MARK OF THE BEAST
Christianity has long held the belief that according to The Book of Revelation in the King James Bible, there will be a mark introduced to human kind by a beast system (some form of government). A large section of Christians believe that the RFID microchip implant is this very mark of the beast. For further insight on this subject, please click here

BENEFITS & DISADVANTAGES OF FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY
Please feel free to add to this list in the comments section

BENEFITS
Increased transaction speeds
Increased security
Open banking
Future value attached data: Your personal data should come at cost to businesses who make use of it
AI powered digital agent

DISADVANTAGES
Decreased personal interaction
Innovations in fraud & negative religious implications
Shared personal Information
Currently exploiting peoples’ data FREE of charge. This should NOT be the case
“You” are being stored on a database somewhere possibly indefinitely

FRAUD WATCH – Grab Finance/Seek Finance

WARNING!!! WARNING!!! WARNING!!!

Cognor international Finance PLC trading as Grab Finance
Company number: 08747323
Alleged address: 5th Floor, 6 St. Andrew Street, London, EC4A 3AE

This fraudulent firm is ironic as in their name ‘Grab Finance’ is exactly what they do. They grab the finances of unsuspecting start up businesses in need of funding.

Finding a grant can be tedious however, there is funding out there if you know where to look. Fraudsters like Cognor International Finance PLC have taken advantage of this market by offering FREE grants to businesses. The initial application process seems formal enough with:

1. An online form to fill in your basic details for a call back
This is relatively normal

2. A call back from a representative with a brief telephone interview
This is the fishing for information stage to see if you’re worth defrauding. The targets here are businesses that can afford to contribute a percentage of the full amount awarded, usually up to 30%.

E.g. if you’d be awarded a grant of £12,000.00, Grab Finance will supposedly contribute an initial £8,400.00 leaving £3,600.00 as your contribution.

3. A decision – Alarm bells start ringing.
If you applied for full funding without a contribution, at this point your application will be unsuccessful however, if you applied for the part funding option with a contribution, you will be overjoyed to know that your application has been approved for the full amount. At this point, most firms will be duped by the initial elation of being approved for funding and the promise of additional cashflow that basic due diligence is forfeit.

  • Did they request a business plan to access the nature and viability of your business?
  • Were you invited anywhere to meet regularly with a liaison to prepare you for panel?
  • When you call Grab Finance, is there ever any senior members or staff available to answer any of your queries or concerns?

4. Receipt of application pack
This is packaged in such a way as to… Well, see for yourself (attached page 3 of 5 page acceptance form. Full form is shown on our facebook and Google+ pages)

5. Set up online business pre-paid Mastercard account
You will be given a link to a fraudulent Mastercard website with an unofficial contact number to verify it. Here, you will need to set up an account (requesting your passport, date of birth, company name and your address with proof) to receive a special PIN which you must send to Grab Finance. Once they’ve received your PIN, they’ll upload the £8,400.00 onto the pre-paid Mastercard and as soon as you contribute your £3,600.00, they’ll… Grab Your Finance.

  • Call Mastercard’s official contact telephone number which you can find on the official Mastercard website. Get confirmation from a named representative
  • Mastercard will give you information that fraudsters cannot verify as in, the first 6 digits on the card and to confirm the card issuer for verification
  • Have you received your pre-paid business credit card? Or will you receive it only once your contribution has been uploaded? Does it even exist. Call Mastercard directly

If you have fallen victim to these fraudsters, please take the necessary steps to protect yourself by contacting:
1. Action Fraud
2. Your Banks / Building societies
3. Cifas (To avoid accounts being opened in your name)
4. Companies House (To avoid companies being opened in your name)

10 QUICK TIPS ON HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT SCORE

Want to take control of your credit score? Here’s everything you need to know about the factors that count. Credit scores are a complicated business. No-one has a universal credit score. This means there’s no rulebook to tell you how many credit points are lost and won with everything you do financially. Instead, we’re going to talk about the factors that may affect how lenders view you, and how these, in turn, impact your credit score.

1. BANKRUPTCY, CCJ’S AND IVA’S

If you have a CCJ (County Court Judgement) against you, an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) or bankruptcy, this information is on the public record and becomes part of your credit report.

If lenders see any of these three items marked on your report, it will have a negative impact on your credit score and it’s likely lenders will be less willing to lend to you. This is because your record shows you’ve gone back on some form of financial agreement in the past.

If you do have one of these on your record, make sure you comply with any rules or restrictions you are given. If you ignore what is asked of you, it can have more serious and permanent consequences on your credit score. Using a credit builder credit card very carefully will help you rebuild your credit score.

2. STABILITY WITH YOUR ADDRESS AND THE ELECTORAL ROLL

It’s no surprise to learn that banks and lenders like to know that the people they lend to are reliable and stable – and therefore can be trusted to repay any debts.

One way they determine stability is to look at how long you’ve lived at your address and if you are on the electoral roll. If you’ve been living in one place for a long time, this will be better for your credit score than if you are frequently moving between properties.

In addition to this, being on the electoral roll provides the lender with assurance not only that you are who you say you are, but that you’re settled at your current address (another sign of stability).

3. THE AGE OF YOUR ACCOUNTS

Just like with your address, banks and lenders like to see signs of stability in the age of your credit accounts. So, they like to see that at least one of your credit accounts has been held for several years. Just like your address, this not only proves who you are, but shows you’ve been trusted by another lender over a long period of time. It’s likely to have a positive impact on your credit score if you have an older credit account on there. If your credit accounts are all mostly new this could lower your credit score.

4. APPLYING FOR CREDIT

Every time you make an application for credit, a credit application search (or a ‘hard’ search) will be carried out on your credit report and a mark will be left on your file.

Making an occasional application for credit won’t make much of a difference to your credit score. However, if you make several applications in a short space of time, or if you’re rejected for credit, it’s likely to have a negative impact on your score.

If you want to limit the number of application searches (‘hard’ searches) on your report, you can check your eligibility for a credit product using quotation searches (‘soft’ searches) before you apply. This is better for your credit score, as only you can see the quotation searches on your report (they’re invisible to lenders). You can see your eligibility for products on the Clear Score Offers page of your account.

TIP: Don’t panic if your credit score dips when you’ve applied for a new credit card. If you start using your new product responsibly then your credit score should go back up relatively quickly.

5. MISSING PAYMENTS OR NOT PAYING YOUR DEBT

If you miss a payment or pay late on a debt, this will be marked on your credit report and it’s likely to have a negative effect on your credit score.

If you miss several payments your lender may place your account into ‘default’. Every lender will have different rules for how many payments you’re allowed to miss before you default. Some will allow you to miss up to 6 payments but for some lenders you may only be able to miss 2 payments before you are declared in default.

Defaulting on a debt carries a much heavier penalty on your credit score than missing a payment. Missing and default payments will be marked on your credit report and will stay there for 6 years (the maximum time your credit information is held for). Remember, it’s never too late to pay back a debt. It will always look better on your
credit report to pay down a defaulted account – even if the payment is late and it isn’t for the full amount. It will demonstrate to lenders that you’ve tried to make up for the defaulted payment, and this is always preferable to never paying a debt back at all.

6. HOW MUCH OF YOUR CREDIT LIMIT YOU’RE USING

Your credit utilisation will have an impact on your credit score. For example, if you use too much of your total available credit or too much of a single line of credit, it could damage your score.

Lenders may also consider this when they’re assessing your creditworthiness and ability to pay back credit. Equifax have created the following traffic light system as a guide to show how credit utilisation might impact your credit score:-

  • If you use less than 50% of your total credit limit, it shouldn’t have a negative impact on your credit score (‘green flag’)
  • If you use between 50% – 75% of your total credit limit, this will show up as an ‘amber flag’ on your credit report, meaning it may have an effect on your credit score
  • If you are using more than 75% of your total credit limit, this will be a ‘red flag’ on your credit report, and it’s likely to have a negative effect on your credit score.

This means, ideally, you should think about carefully managing your credit utilisation. So for example, if your total limit is £1000, you might not want to use more than £500. If you have multiple cards or accounts, you might want to share out the amount you’re borrowing across the cards, rather than maxing out one card (but only if this makes financial sense).

7. LARGER CREDIT CARD LIMITS

If you have one credit card with a relatively high credit limit, this may have a positive effect on your credit score as it shows you’re trusted with this level of credit.

8. MISTAKES ON YOUR REPORT

Mistakes on credit reports can and do happen, and these can have a negative effect on your credit report. Some of the most common errors include incorrect names and addresses, but other details such as whether you’re on the electoral roll, your debt levels and account status can have errors as well.

If your name or address have errors or if you have used different names/addresses for different accounts some of your accounts may not appear on your credit report. This may mean you lose out on any positive effects that these accounts may have on your credit score. Make sure you look at the ‘accounts’ section of your credit report to check all of your accounts are there and there’s nothing you don’t recognise.
If you want a cheat sheet of things to check on your credit report, you can use our article here.

9. NOT HAVING ANY ACTIVE CREDIT AGREEMENTS OR CREDIT HISTORY
If you don’t have any active credit accounts – i.e. ones that you’re currently using – this may have a negative impact on your credit score. The reason for this is that lenders have no current information about your ability to borrow money and repay it reliably, and therefore you may be seen to be a greater credit risk. If you have no credit history you may struggle to be approved for credit in the first place.

10. Other factors relating to your credit limit may also affect your credit score. For example,

  • Making sure your current Telecoms balance is kept low
  • Staying within your credit card limit each year

CREATE WEALTH AND FREEDOM IN 2018

The average person in the UK spends £16 per week on the lottery and lottery scratch cards and games of chance. They do that with a one in 14 million chance of being wealthy – but there is a better way! By investing your money you could have a 100% chance of being wealthy in your lifetime.

We may not be aware of exactly how much we spend on incidentals such as coffee each month, but research shows us that it is likely to be about £100 a month which is spent – or perhaps we should say ‘wasted’ on just buying coffee.

It is an absolute truth that if we just invested a little of this money wasted on incidentals we could make a significant difference to our financial lives over time, and we may even be able to make ourselves financially free with it.

There’s the hard way and then there’s the easy way and it can all begin with as little as £2.25…such a small amount of money.  In fact, it is less than a:

  • Fancy cup of coffee in a high street coffee shop
  • Magazine to read on the train
  • Drink at the pub

…and all you need to do is save £2.25 per day for your working life (for us that means from the ages of 18 to 65) into an investment fund which produces 11.7% return (or 12% to make it simpler), and you will end up with £1,000,000 or more.  And that’s it.

REMEMBER, money is the right of those who understand and apply some simple steps.

To find out how to make your £1 million….starting with just £2.25 simply click here and start reading Gill’s FREE guide.

7 BIG MONEY MISTAKES

1. Believing that wealth isn’t for you
We know the first step to becoming wealthy, is to believe that you can be – otherwise you won’t keep anything you make. The first step is to work out what you believe – and if you don’t know – keep a diary and when anything financial happens to you – you get paid or receive a bill, how do you feel – joyous or despondent? Once you work out what makes you feel bad then attack that belief by asking yourself – repeatedly until you have the answer and the belief changes:

2. Forgetting that pennies count
Money is like a plant on your kitchen windowsill – it will grow if you feed it and water it. Also most pot plants grow from tiny seeds– and money is the same. Small amounts of money properly planted and looked after WILL grow into a massive amount of wealth.

3. Putting your head in the sand
I meet people who tell me they haven’t opened a bank statement in many years and that all brown envelopes get put under the carpet, and sadly this ‘head in the sand’ approach to money is damaging, totally unsuccessful, and frankly ridiculous.

4. Not controlling debt
We may get overwhelmed with debt from time to time but as long as we maintain control then we can manage that debt without fear or panic. As with most things, if we are fearful we tend to make the ‘wrong’ decisions and create more challenges, but with a sensible, and controlled action plan, we can manage our way into calmer waters.

5. Not knowing or understanding your credit score
There are seven steps we can take to improve our credit score by getting control of the issue:
Turn detective
Turn cleaner
Be dull
Go solo
Get active
Be good!
Get Control

6. Ignoring the future
When you have got control of your current position now it’s time to look to the future as most people fail to plan for their financial future and if you fail to plan then sadly you are planning to fail! Most people in the UK, USA and most of the western cultures retire with insufficient means to see them through retirement – and in the UK that means that you have to try and live on the government pension which can’t be done because it’s pathetic!

7. Putting all your eggs into one basket
Doing this is risky. If that one thing gets lost, stolen or fails in any way then all the wealth is gone, so we must get used to the concept of spreading everything we have.

Click here to download the full guide