Monthly Archives: May 2016

How your credit report can help fight against identity fraud

You may not realise it but your credit report can be a powerful tool in the fight against Identity fraud.  (guest post by Neil Stone, Experian UK Social Support team)

Fraud in the UK  
Last year alone Experian helped 14428 people who were victims of identity fraud up by 15% on those we helped in 2014.  The number of people our Victims of Fraud team has helped has increased every year since it was set up 10 years ago*.

While the majority of people that we helped last year were male, aged between 30-40 and living in the South-East, we found that fraud occurred across all age ranges, genders and all in areas of the country. So we all need to be aware of how we can protect ourselves against fraud.

Chris talks about Experian’s customer services and how they resolved the fraud against him, and the great service he received.

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Financial fitness fans: Join our 30-day #FinancialPlank

Financial Plank 1

Getting financially fit needn’t feel like hard work – in fact, some simple pain-free changes to your everyday spending habits can help set you on the road to getting your finances in shape. 

Recently we’ve been talking about how our financial lives have changed throughout the generations. We’re now focusing on money – how we spend it and how we save it – and small things we could do to get great benefits now and in the future.

So why not join us on our 30-day ‘Financial Plank’! Check out our daily money-saving tips on Twitter at @ExperianExperts, and find out how much you could save as you get your finances in shape.

And we’d love to hear some of your own great money-saving tips too – just tweet @ExperianExperts using #FinancialPlank & we’ll re-tweet the ones we like best!

The pressure of running the Bank of Mum and Dad

poor family counting money to pay bills at homeThe Bank Of Mum and Dad is often thought of as a bottomless pit of financial assistance for children needing a leg up after they’ve ‘flown the coop’ – but a third (33%) of parents have been under financial pressure as a result of bailing their children out financially.

Over half the parents Experian surveyed[1] last month said their children (aged 18+) have ‘used’ the Bank of Mum & Dad an average of four times –  and to the value of £6,000 –  since becoming financially independent.

Some recent findings have also shown that parents will provide £5bn this year to help offspring on to the property ladder.

*Check out our tips for young people breaking away from the bank of mum and dad*

The slippery road to financial independence
Our research found that 41% of parents were called upon as their child had no savings to cover for an unforeseen expense, with almost a quarter (24%) admitting that their child is simply bad at managing money and ran out of money. 15% of children had to ask for help as they had got themselves into a debt they couldn’t afford to repay. Continue reading

7 ways Eurovision has changed over the years

Map of EuropeYes, it’s Eurovision 2016 this weekend –a feast of ‘douze points’, tacky costumes and unfathomable voting decisions which it seems Britain’s entrants never win any more.  

Still every year we watch it: an average of 6.6 million viewers on BBC1 last year, part of an estimated 197 million viewers in 40 countries worldwide.

But for those of us who’ve been watching Eurovision since childhood and the days of Abba, Bucks Fizz and Terry Wogan, like most things in life it’s gone through a whole lot of generational changes in the past 30 years.

1. The number of participants – By 1987 the number of countries taking part had reached 22, which was unofficially set as the limit. However, the fall of the Berlin Wall two years later, and the subsequent break-up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, quickly led to a massive rise in entrants peaking in 2018 with 43 countries. And that’s before Australia were invited to take part last year!

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Wedding guest: how much does it cost?

Being a wedding guest should be great fun, but for some of us the ‘wedding season’ can be a source of financial pressure and domestic strife.

In this week’s news, one wedding guest said on the Mumsnet forum she was left ‘utterly gobsmacked’ after being asked to ‘adjust’ the £100 cheque she’d sent, the bride and groom emailing her with the suggestion her gift wasn’t generous enough. The post has so far got over 1,000 replies, the vast majority in support.

An Experian survey* in August 2015 suggested that the rising cost of weddings can rock the boat for many couples, and not just for the bride and groom.
Wedding guest infographic-600

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Remortgaging: how can I improve my credit score?

Many homeowners may find that once that their deal comes to an end, their interest rate and mortgage payments may well go up. This could be a good time to check out whether you can re-mortgage and get a lower rate elsewhere.

In this case you are generally going to be taking out a mortgage which is the same size as the one you already had. Your monthly payments may be higher or lower than you currently pay, depending on the mortgage you go for. Alternatively, you may just want the stability of a fixed rate, if you’ve been on a variable rate that you think may fluctuate.

It can take a few months to process a mortgage application, so it’s best not to wait until your current deal ends before you start looking around. Watch our new #AskExperian video to find out what some of the options are.

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Where will you retire to?

It used to be that the retirement dream was to leave the city and head for the seaside – if not the year-round sun of the south of Spain, then perhaps the clean air of the British coast.

But could it be that the emergence of the ‘Smarties’ – Senior Market Town Retirees – is set to change that?

retired-couple-in park-300These tend to be couples and singles aged 65-plus, who have chosen to move to green and pleasant market towns for their retirement . Places with a thriving community of all ages, small enough to have a ‘villagey’ feel but large enough to have all the regular amenities and social needs that they would be used to.

“Old age and retirement used to be a more homogenous group,” explained Richard Jenkings from Experian.

“In the past people would go on holiday to the seaside and then a lucky few would then retire to those same resorts. Today we still see this happening, but a rising trend is for better-off retirees to move not to the traditional sea-side resorts, but instead to pleasant, often historic, cathedral cities and quality market towns. Continue reading

Home Ownership: the generation game

At a time when younger people are finding it harder than ever to buy their first home, it’s not exactly a surprise to find out that many of them are relying on family support to make buying a property a reality.

Experian research has found that over a quarter (27%) of Britons aged 55+ have provided support to their children or others to help them buy their own property – regardless of how financially comfortable they are, and a significant proportion (15%) of those people say they are ‘not at all’ financially comfortable.

It’s a far cry from how things once were. 60% of 55s and over who have ever owned their own home paid £20,000 (that figure, in 1986, would be around £54,000 in today’s money) or less for their first home, compared to recent figures showing the UK average cost of smaller homes today as £182,926[1].

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Why do I keep failing my security check with my bank?

Dear James,

When my bank asks me security questions I always fail, even though I know what they say about me is incorrect. When I dispute this they advise me the information comes from my credit report. The information on my credit report is clearly incorrect. How can I get access to it and correct any errors? 

Adrian, London


Dear Adrian,

Sorry to hear you’re having problems confirming your identity with your bank. It’s important for banks and lenders to take steps to verify your details when you get in touch to help keep your money and details safe.

When you first open an account it is quite common for companies to carry out quite rigorous checks which can include asking questions based on the contents of your credit report held by one of the three credit reference agencies. Now if, as you suggest, questions and answers based on your credit report suggest there may be some incorrect information held about you it would be a good idea to order a copy of your report from the agency in question and check it through very carefully. If you do this and spot any discrepancies you can ask the agency to help you put this right.

It’s important for the information on your credit report to be accurate and up to date. The easiest way to check your report is online, where you’ll find more information about your options including obtaining a copy of your £2 statutory credit report.  Read more about correcting any mistakes on your credit report in this previous Ask James question.

Once you’ve opened an account with a bank or lender, for example, you usually set up some personal security details, such as a username, password, memorable word and PIN. If you’ve done this and are having problems accessing the account its best you contact the bank’s customer support team for advice as I’m sure they’ll be able to help.

Get tips on keeping your money and details secure when your online from the identity protection area of our website (April 2016)

James Jones Signature

To see the latest questions answered by James, visit our Ask James Q and A section on the blog.