Banking and borrowing
To make sure you can control your money, you need to be able to make sure it's safe. Here are some tips on how to keep your money safe.
- Bank accounts
There are lots of reasons why you might need a bank account.
1. Receive wages
Many employers will only pay your wages into a bank account, if you are looking for work opening a bank account will prepare you for when you get a job.
2. Automatically pay bills
Having a bank account means you can arrange for your bills to be paid automatically each month at a fixed time and some companies even offer discounts if you pay them by direct debit.
3. Receive benefits
The government has stopped making payments by cheque – having a bank account makes it easy to receive and access your benefit payments.
4. Mobile banking
Many banks now have apps for your smartphone or tablet which allow you to easily transfer money and check your balance and spending.
5. Shop online
Having an account means you can for things online which can be cheaper than buying on the high street.
6. Avoiding debt
If you opt for a basic bank account you will not be able to withdraw more money than you have available in your account and some providers offer a text alert service so you know when you are running low on funds.
Do you ever wonder where your money went? Every month you will receive a bank statement either through the post or online which gives you a breakdown of your transactions, this can make it easier to manage your money.
- Credit unions
Your local Credit Union can sometimes offer loans at lower rates of interest as well as encourage you to save for the future. They sometimes also have ‘white goods schemes’ where you can get a reasonably priced package of goods for your property.
If you pay your rent direct to us and find it difficult to budget your local Credit Union may offer an account to help you manage your money and pay your bills.
Your local Credit Union may have a Christmas Saving scheme. These schemes allow you to save a set amount throughout the year and the money can only usually be withdrawn in November and December. These schemes are a great way to budget for Christmas without getting into debt.
Some of your local Credit Unions are listed in the attached Cost Of Running Your Home leaflet or you can check the Find Your Credit Union website to locate one in your local area.
- Before you borrow
Find out if you need to borrow money and if you can afford it. Money Advice Service has some great guides on the different types of borrowing and can help you to decide if you can afford to borrow.
If you have already decided to borrow some money the Money Saving Expert website may help you to identify best buys on the market.
- Payday lending
Are you considering a payday loan or maybe struggling to keep up with your payday loan repayments?
The Money Advice Service and Money Saving Expert websites have guides to payday lending and the Financial Ombudsman Service may be able to help if you are worrying about your payday loans.
- Loan sharks
Loan sharks are illegal moneylenders who often charge very high interest rates. You can check if a company is authorised to lend money and report loan sharks anonymously on the gov.uk website.
- Doorstep scams
Doorstep scams are when someone comes to your door with the aim of scamming you out of your money. Or a fraudster may pose as an official in order to access your home and steal money and valuables.
While there are many legitimate trades people and officials, it’s wise to be on your guard when you answer your door. Doorstep scammers can be pushy and persuasive and it can be easy to fall victim.
You don’t have to let any stranger into your home. Dial 999 if you’re suspicious or the caller won’t leave. Call the police non-emergency number 101 if you’re not in immediate danger but want to report an incident.
Watch out for these common doorstep scams:
A cold-caller may offer you a service you don’t really need. They may try to push you into agreeing to unnecessary home repairs or improvements, often at extortionate prices.
- Don’t agree to sign a contract or hand over any money until you have talked to someone you trust.
- Never disclose your personal identification number (PIN) or let anyone persuade you to hand over your bank card or go to the bank to withdraw cash for a payment.
- Don’t be afraid to ask a salesperson to leave. If they refuse, call the police.
A common trick is when someone pretends to be from your electricity/gas company or Housing Association as a way to get into your home and steal from you.
- Ask for their identity card and check it carefully. Keep your utilities services phone numbers handy so you can easily call and check an official’s identity.
- Join your utilities companies’ password schemes. This is where you arrange a password with the company to check their representatives are genuine.
- Useful links