DAF News

Credit card review "urgently needed"

Credit cards represent the single biggest source of unsecured debt for people who are struggling to pay their bills.  Now the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced it will carry out a competition review of the industry later this year.

In a detailed analysis of almost 400 Debt Advice Foundation clients with debts worth £9.1 million, credit cards were the largest category and represented £3.7million – 40 per cent of the total.

A happy retirement – or towering debts and depression?

While much attention has been focused on the financial difficulties facing families with low incomes facing steeply rising bills, there has been a steady and growing chorus of alarm about the future finances of the over-50s.

Last year our research showed that shown that the 65+ age group had seen the fastest rate of change in bankruptcy over the last decade.  The second fastest rate of change was in the 55-64 age group; so serious and worrying implications for those in and those approaching retirement.

Sales spending aftershock?

Whether you see it as consumer confidence or reckless overspending, the £2.7billion that flew into the tills on Boxing Day will have meant one thing for certain – the vast majority will have been on credit and much of that will have been simply unaffordable.

Halifax Bank reported on Twitter that on Boxing Day 2,500 people applied for a new overdraft or extended an existing one, and 1,400 applied for a credit card online.  And that’s on top of the average of around £3000 that is owed on the UK’s credit cards.

The hard facts on children’s exposure to payday lending advertising

News scrolls past so quickly these days that sometimes we have to press the pause button in order to properly digest a significant fact.

And this week, that fact is this: children in the UK between the ages of four and 15 are estimated to have watched a total of 596 million payday loan advertisements on television in 2012 – an average of 70 each. 

Almost 18 million of those “impacts” – the times when an individual child saw an ad – were on children’s TV channels.

Merry Christmas - or misery in January?

Whatever your view of Christmas, there’s one thing we all know – it’s going to cost us money.  And more than we can afford, unless we’re very careful.

For many families, their enjoyment of the season is spoilt by the worry of how they are going to afford all the extra spending. 

Unlike Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, none of us can produce wonderful clothes, presents and banquets with a wave of our magic wand.  But we can make sure that we don’t let Christmas leave facing horrendous debts in January.

Payday lending rate cap welcome but far from the whole solution

News that the Government is to introduce further controls on payday lenders, designed to “cap the overall cost of credit”, has been welcomed by Debt Advice Foundation.  But the charity warns that the real harm is done by the aggressive marketing techniques of the industry, which pressures people struggling with debt to take out more and more loans.

The myths of credit checking

We read constantly in the media about how easy it is to access our personal information, so it is hardly surprising that most people assume that credit checking by loan companies is comprehensive and thorough.

You fill out an online loan application form and instantly the computer wizardry of which they are so proud checks your story and confirms you are a suitable person to receive £500. Isn’t that what happens?

Not true.  Not by a long way.

Running for Joining Jack

A rather different take on money for this piece of news... and a success story for Debt Advice Foundation’s intrepid team of runners who took part in the recent Wigan 10k.

The run, which was being held for the first time, was in support of Joining Jack, a charity which raises money for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  Four-year-old Jack, for whom the charity is named, is the son of former rugby league star Andy Johnson and his wife Alex.

Facing up to the payday lenders

Much has been made in the media of the announcement of the latest results of short-term, high-interest lender Wonga, which has reported a 68% increase in lending – up to £1.2 billion – and a 35% increase in net profits.

The company, which describes itself as “one of Britain’s most successful technology companies”, made four million loans to more than a million customers in 2012, with net profits of £62.5 million.

When is a bailiff not a bailiff?

Recent Citizens Advice research among clients who “have a bailiff problem” sparked a debate here about how much people understand about bailiffs. 

These concerns were heightened by a tweet from a commercial debt adviser, which should know better, talking about debt collectors and bailiffs as if they were interchangeable terms.

They are not – and if debt advisers don’t know the difference, where does that leave ordinary people, whose life is complicated enough even before they fall into unmanageable debt?