Industry News

Valentine’s Day: Is it worth the splurge?

Now is about the time that people’s minds turn away from Santa and snow and turn towards the most love-obsessed day of the year: Valentine’s Day. 

However true devotion isn’t necessarily the name of the game. Like many celebrated holidays, pressure to show off extravagant and expensive gifts given and received is high on February 14th.

Consumer borrowing is at highest rate in a decade

The amount of money that the British public is borrowing is growing at a pace not seen since before the financial crisis in 2008. 

Figures show consumer credit rose by 8.3% in the year to November, with an increase on borrowing on credit cards up by £411m according to Bank of England figures.

Annual real term wages worth £2,270 less than in 2008

Despite 2014-2015 seeing the first real term wage increase for several years, with the average annual wage increasing in real terms by £435 per annum across most of the UK, the TUC says that UK workers are still £44 a week worse off now than they were before the economic crisis. 

Debt management firm fined by Information Commissioner’s Office

Oxygen Ltd, a debt management firm based in south Wales, has been fined £120,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for breaching cold-calling regulations.

The ICO’s investigation found Oxygen Ltd had made more than 1m automated calls, via a third party, which claimed they could write off up to 70% of their debts, without people’s consent during April.

Regulator raises concerns about credit card debt

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today released its interim findings of its wide-ranging credit card market study.

The regulator has raised concerns that, whilst there was clear evidence of effective support mechanisms for the 2 million people that have fallen into arrears, the 1.6 million people that were just ‘getting by’ by making the minimum payment were not being helped as effectively.

The regulator said it was concerned that the profitability of these customers to the credit card companies may be contributing to the lack of support.

Latest figures show modest increase in insolvencies

The Insolvency Service’s latest statistical release, covering the period July to September 2015, shows an increase in the number of insolvencies for the first time in five quarters.  The 2.8% overall increase to 19,683 in Q3 was driven principally by a higher IVA volumes, which rose by 9%.

Payday lender Dollar agrees to pay £15.4m in compensation following FCA investigation

Dollar Financial UK, the owner of a number of short-term lending brands including The Money Shop and Payday UK, has agreed to pay £15.4m in compensation to its customers after a review by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The compensation relates to 147,000 customers, who the FCA believed had suffered as a result of the company’s affordability checks, debt collection practices and system errors.

This is the third FCA investigation in to the short-term lending sector in the space of twelve months following reviews of both Wonga and Cash Genie.

Changes to Debt Relief Order criteria come into effect

Today sees the introduction of new Debt Relief Order (DRO) criteria in England and Wales.

The changes include the maximum qualifying debt level increasing from £15,000 to £20,000 and the non-vehicle asset limit rising from £300 to £1,000.

Commenting on the changes, David Rodger, Chief Executive of Debt Advice Foundation, said "The charity welcomes the changes to Debt Relief Order eligibility, which hopefully should enable many more people to access this important form of financial remedy in the future."

One million interest only mortgage borrowers have no plan to repay capital

New research by Citizens Advice Bureau reveals that almost one million homeowners in the UK currently have an interest only mortgage with no plan to repay the capital element of the loan when the loan term ends.

The research, which was carried out by YouGov, also revealed 1.7 million people have no linked repayment vehicle, such as an endowment or ISA.

FCA to write to affected card protection customers

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is writing to two million people that were mis-sold bank card insurance to advise them on how to make a claim for compensation.

The compensation scheme covers anyone that purchased the insurance between January 2005 and August 2013.

Customers paid around £25 a year to protect themselves against the loss or theft of their bank cards.  However, the regulator deemed this unnecessary as cover was already provided by their banks.