Debt news round-up – Mar 29th 2015

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A week that has been dominated by FCA announcements (including their business plan for next year) and articles about pensions reforms, now only a week away including two key announcements, one from the Insolvency Service and one from the DWP. Here is my personal selection - did you miss anything? 23/03/2015 PwC’s published report Precious Plastic: How Britons fell back in love with … [Read more...]

Is your pension safe in an IVA?

Is your pension safe if you are in IVA?

The pension changes in April 2015 mean that many more people aged 55 and over will be able to take some or even all of their pension pot in cash. You need to know how this may affect you if you are considering an IVA. If you already have an IVA, you may be wondering if your pension is safe. I'll look at these two situations in turn. First a warning: IVAs are individual arrangements and it is … [Read more...]

New Insolvency Service guidelines on pensions

New Insolvency Service guidelines on pensions - a new can of worms?

On 26 March 2015, the Insolvency Service published Undrawn pension entitlements: Summary of guidance for insolvency practitioners and debt advisors. With "pensions freedom" now only days away, coming into force on 6th April 2015, the Insolvency Service's aim was to clarify the murky situation around bankruptcy and pensions. Some bits of it are certainly clearer, but others aren't; indeed a whole … [Read more...]

Are you worried about a charging order?

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Can your house really be at risk if you get into difficulties repaying something like a credit card bill? You might think the answer is "no", but there are some rare situations where this can happen. It helps to know the facts, so you can make good decisions about how to deal with your debts. This article looks at unsecured debts - credit cards, unsecured loans, catalogues, payday loans etc. It … [Read more...]

Debt News roundup 22 March

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The saturation media coverage of the budget means that some other important personal debt news stories this week received less attention than they would otherwise have got.  Did you see these articles on pensions, two important Supreme court benefits decisions and an announcement about delaying the 7 day waiting period for Universal Credit? And on Friday the long awaited review of MAS was … [Read more...]

Splitting up – how to separate finances

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For some people financial concerns are absolutely top of the list of things to worry about when you and your partner/husband/wife separate - how will you be able to manage with only one income? are there any benefits that you are entitled to? etc. But even if emotions and coping with the children's concerns are your immediate priority, it's a good idea to try to sort out any money problems and get … [Read more...]

How can my creditors find me?

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If you are very worried about your debts, you may be wondering how easy it would be to disappear and leave them all behind. Will your old records be linked with new ones on your credit records? Can your creditors find you if move, go abroad, change your name? Most of these sorts of ideas aren't very sensible - and you almost always have much better options! - but let's see what the problems … [Read more...]

Debt news round-up 15th March

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Another varied week for debt news: PPI reclaims after an IVA, payday lending, the direction of FCA regulation, EU rules and credit card charges and lots more. Did you miss something interesting? Here is my personal selection. Starting with one from two weeks ago that I missed: 02/03/15 A potentially important insolvency case - High Court in Manchester rules that PPI reclaim after IVA … [Read more...]

Will 0% credit card deals disappear?

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On 10th March 2015, the European Parliament passed a law to reduce the amounts credit and debit card issuers charge retailers when a card is used.  The hope is that when these changes are brought in - which is expected to be in October - shops and online sellers will pass on these lower charges to customers by reducing their prices. At present these card costs can be as high as 0.8% - the new … [Read more...]

I have debts – can I get a mortgage?

Can you get a mortgage if you have debts?

In April 2014 the mortgage market in Britain changed: mortgage lenders now have to assess in detail whether a loan is really affordable for the borrower. This means looking at your regular commitments, including repayments on your credit cards, any bank loans, HP on your car etc and also looking at your credit record to see if you have had problems in the past. This doesn't mean you can't get a … [Read more...]

Debt news roundup – Mar 8th 2015

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Foodbank stats, increases to court fees, more about pensions reform, why have CitA made massive cuts to its Specialist Support Services and lots more  - a varied week for news about personal debt. Did you miss something interesting?  Here is my personal selection. 02/03/15 An analysis of the reasons why people turn to foodbanks, published by West Cheshire Foodbank. No surprises, the … [Read more...]

Improving “The Lending Code”

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An independent review of the Lending Code is being conducted.  The Lending Code is adopted by most of the largest UK banks, building societies, credit card lenders and some debt collectors.  Its aim is as follows: This is a voluntary code of practice which sets standards for financial institutions including debt collection and debt purchase firms to follow when they are dealing with their … [Read more...]

Debt news roundup – Mar 1st 2015

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It's been a really busy week for news about personal debt - did you miss something interesting?  Here is my personal selection. 23/02/15 Solicitor's Journal article on last week Judicial Review: Southwark Council unlawfully turned away homeless people Student debt - puts many children off going to uni and will cost the UK tax payer a fortune. This Mirror article includes a table on … [Read more...]

When can I offer a token payment to a debt?

Should you only pay £1 to your debts?

A reader asked if he should offer a token payment to his debts, wondering if his creditors would ever accept it. The simple answer is that you should make token payments offers IF it is all you can afford AND you expect your situation to improve at some point. Let's look at the problem in detail, including how your creditors are likely to react. What is a "token payment"? Normally if you … [Read more...]

Payday loans – competition comes too late

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After a 20-month investigation into the payday loans market in Britain, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published its Final Report. Its main proposals, however, appear to have been largely overtaken by recent events. The CMA report proposes increasing price competition between payday lenders in order to help borrowers get a better deal. Payday lenders will have to publish … [Read more...]