Stay safe online on Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Shopping online? Do you know how to stay safe online?

Try out Experian’s fun new interactive quiz to find out how security savvy you are, which of our online security personas describes you best and get some great online safety tips along the way. This video shows you how it works. TAKE THE QUIZ NOW! 

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How could the Spending Review affect you?

budget-family-350The Chancellor today (25 Nov) announced his Autumn Statement and Spending Review, and many of us are likely to be affected in different ways, from tax to benefits, from housing to local amenities.

Some of the headlines are:

Tax Credits/Welfare –  The planned £4.4bn cuts to working tax credits as part of plans to reduce the welfare bill by £12billion, has now been abandoned and tax credits will now remain unchanged.

The Chancellor said the £12bn of welfare savings will be “delivered in a way that helps families as we make the progression to a national living wage

The Chancellor also says that ”more than a million” more jobs will be created over the next five years.

Council Tax – It’s been confirmed that local councils have the freedom to increase council tax bills by more than 2 per cent, to help pay for social care funding.

Childcare – 30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds from 2017, to parents working more than 16 hours and earning less than £100,000.

Pensions - The basic state pension will increase by £3.35 a week next year, taking the weekly ‘single tier’ total up to £155.65 for new pensioners.

Housing -  £2bn has been set aside for more than 400,000 “affordable homes” to be built in England, to buy and to rent. Stamp duty for Buy To Let homes will be 3% higher than for regular stamp duty.

Right-to-buy is being extended to housing association tenants starting with a new pilot in five housing associations from midnight.

Help To Buy will be a shared ownership venture aimed at allowing people to get equity loans to help buy a home. London Help to Buy gives a 40% interest-free loan to first-time buyers.

Find out more about the Help to Buy ISA here

Arts & sport: Arts Council funding will be increased so as to keep free museum entry. UK sport budget will increase by 29% “so we go for gold in Rio and in Tokyo”.

Get set for some heavy-duty shopping on Black Friday

1000X800_experian_blackfriday-300x240Black Friday (the last Friday in November), and Cyber Monday (three days later) may have originated in the USA but they’re now big annual news in the UK.

British online shoppers spent £810 million on Black Friday last year, according to figures from Experian and internet retail experts IMRG. This year, the figure may be about to get bigger – with forecasts that Black Friday 2015 will become the UK’s first £1 billion online shopping day.

Why are Black Friday and Cyber Monday so popular?
Not only is it the busiest pre-Christmas time of the year for internet shoppers, but it neatly follows many people’s final payday before the need to go Christmas shopping. Continue reading

Could the Help to Buy ISA help with property dreams?

what is help to buy ISA

The home ownership dream can seem just that for many of us – a dream. New mortgage affordability rules – where mortgage lenders require more current financial information as well as examining your ability to pay in the future – have made the home-buying process more complicated. Add to this, booming house prices and it means that many hopeful homeowners have to find larger deposits than before. 

According to the Nationwide House Price Index, the average UK property price in October 2015 was £196,807 – up from £173,678 in October 2013 (a rise of 13.3 per cent). On a mortgage that offers 90 per cent loan-to-value (LTV), this means finding a deposit of nearly £20,000, with estate agent and legal fees on top of that too.

On 1 December 2015, as trailed in the Chancellor’s March 2015 budget, the Help to Buy ISA will be launched, in which the government will make a contribution towards the deposit on a house purchase.

The scheme allows first-time or existing buyers to get onto, or move up, the housing ladder with as little as a 5 per cent deposit. Depending on your circumstances and the property you are trying to buy, such as a new build, the scheme can help you with an equity loan or mortgage guarantee.

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Buying a car? The young want them new – and leased

salesman-car-dealershipHow much did you spend on your first car? Many of us will have handed over a few hundred pounds at most just to get our young hands on a car of our own, even if it had seen better days and was hardly the most prestigious car on the road.

Well, things have changed these days, with a generation gap when it comes to car-buying habits.  One in five 18-24 year olds, rather than buying a used and fairly old car, now chooses to lease their car. This is more than double any other age group, with just 5% of 41-45 year olds, and 6% of 46-50 year olds choosing this type of credit.*

Older people – those who may have started with a relative old banger – are more likely to use cash or savings – up to 70% amongst those aged 61 and over. Meanwhile younger drivers appear to be taking advantage of affordable credit deals to skip a step, and move straight up to newer, more desirable models. Continue reading

Online Identity Fraud: What do fraudsters want most?

Jayne from Experian Experts talks about what kind of things online identity fraudsters are looking for, and how checking what’s on your credit report can help prevent identity fraud.

Is your credit report missing information?

By Neil Stone, Experian UK social support team

credit-score-report-history-300x200I’ve been looking to get some improvements done around my home lately. The kitchen has been looking a bit tired so I was thinking about getting a loan to cover the cost.

Before I even contacted my bank, I checked my credit report to make sure that all of my accounts that I expected to be showing were on the report. The more information a lender can see the better picture they will have of my credit history. If you have well run accounts then you want to be sure the lender can see them!

There are times though, when information that you might be expecting to show on your report doesn’t appear. Continue reading

Video: What’s the ideal type of password?

We’ve got some top tips about how to choose a strong password that can help protect your identity online. Jayne from Experian Experts is joined by Joanna Fowler from Saga Personal Finance.

5 tips if you’re working for yourself

employed-v-self-employed - UK Workforce-300People become self-employed for all sorts of reasons. Perhaps they want more freedom and want to fit their work around their lives more, perhaps it’s just the best option available, or maybe they feel ready to take on the challenge of doing it all themselves. 

Either way, more people than ever are taking the leap into self-employment. According to the Office for National Statistics, 4.53 million people in the UK are self-employed, out of a total of just over 30m in work, with 1.67 million taking the plunge in the past five years alone.

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