Money To The Masses http://moneytothemasses.com Putting you in control Thu, 21 Aug 2014 09:37:05 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 The best way to take money on holidayhttp://moneytothemasses.com/quick-savings/travel-quick-savings/the-best-way-to-take-money-on-holiday?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-best-way-to-take-money-on-holiday http://moneytothemasses.com/quick-savings/travel-quick-savings/the-best-way-to-take-money-on-holiday#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 09:20:25 +0000 http://moneytothemasses.com/?p=12675  

the best way to take money on holidayHere are the various options available for carrying money when abroad and some help in deciding what is best for you. Around this time of year you may be planning for your annual holiday and, if travelling abroad, how much spending money you will need. Once you have decided on the amount of money to take, you will also need to decide what is the best way to take money on holiday.

Cash

The simplest method of carrying money when abroad is just carrying cash in the currency of your destination. However, there are a couple of drawbacks with this option.

  • Security – obviously carrying a large amount of money anywhere creates a security problem, often when abroad we inadvertently advertise the fact we are tourists – checking maps, asking for directions etc. – thus leaving us vulnerable  to theft.
  • Exchange rate – All foreign currency services advertise two exchange rates – buying rate and selling rate, this means that you buy foreign currency at a higher rate than the one offered if you have money left over at the end of your  holiday that you wish to change back.

Obviously, you will always need to take some cash on your holiday to pay for things like taxis and tips, but make sure you take no more than necessary and be mindful of security at all times.

Credit card

One of the safest sources for travel money is a credit card as the security issue is minimal and you don’t have to decide in advance how much money you will need. If you do lose your credit card, or have it stolen, then just contact the card provider and they will issue a replacement. There a couple things you need to be aware of before deciding on this method for your holiday spending.

  • Conditions – check the conditions for your particular credit card as there will usually be charges for cash withdrawals and even for just using your card abroad. One thing to note is that most cards charge interest on cash withdrawals even if you repay the balance.
  • Dynamic currency conversion –  this means that suppliers may charge you in sterling rather than the local currency, the rate used for these sterling transactions is invariably uncompetitive so always opt to pay in the local currency.

If you do not currently have a credit card then there a number of credit cards offering 0% interest, for a period of time, as well as reduced or no transaction fees,  but again make sure you check all the conditions.

Using a credit card will also require a degree of discipline to make sure pay off the balance on returning from holiday, and not end up still paying for this year’s holiday next year.

Some of the best credit cards with no overseas transaction fees are:

Halifax Clarity

  • No worldwide load fee (exchange rate fee)
  • No ATM fee
  • Representative APR on spending: 12.9%
  • Representative APR on cash withdrawals: 12.9% if balance fully repaid, 12.9% if not fully repaid

Aqua Reward

  • No worldwide load fee
  • ATM fee of £3 or 3%
  • Representative APR on spending: 34.9%
  • Representative APR on cash withdrawals: 39.9%-59.9% if balance fully repaid, 34.9% if not fully repaid

Other good alternatives are the Post Office credit card or, if you are over 50, the Saga Platinum credit card.

Prepaid card 

Prepaid cards are a fairly new way of providing money when abroad,  you can put as much cash as you want on the card before the start of your holiday. These cards can then be used in a similar way to a credit or debit card as well as used to withdraw cash at an ATM, a pin number will be sent to you after setting up the card. Most cards will  allow you to check the card balance and add or withdraw funds,  either by phone or over the internet. The charges on these cards vary by provider, so again check the conditions. At present, prepaid cards are only available in the main world currencies but as their usage increases more currencies will inevitability become available.

Be aware – if you use a prepaid card when checking into a hotel or hiring a car you need to be aware that the provider may ‘ring fence’ an amount on your card to protect themselves against future charges for services used or damage incurred. Typically a hotel will ‘ring fence’ around £250, whilst with a car hire firm this could over £1,000. This amount will not be charged taken from your card but will mean you cannot use this amount until you have checked out of the hotel or returned the car. It may be wise, therefore, to use your normal credit card as security in these instances but make sure you settle the bill in the local currency as the providers currency exchange rate will normally provide poor value.

The current best travel prepaid cards are:

Ukash*

  • Free cash withdrawals
  • No charges on spending
  • Top up is free via direct/debit or online
  • Currencies: Dollar, Euros
  • Exchange rate: the best prepaid card rate in the market, which is determined daily by Ukash. You can find more on the Ukash card here*

Caxton FX*

  • Free cash withdrawals
  • No charges on spending
  • Top up is free via direct/debit or online
  • Currencies: Dollar, Euros
  • Exchange rate: one of the best rates out there,  determined daily by Caxton. You can find more on the Caxton card here*.

Travellers cheque

For years this was the most popular method of carrying money abroad but more recently their usage has reduced dramatically due to the rise in the usage of cards.

Travellers cheque are still a viable option but there are a couple issues with this option.

  • Fees – there will be a fee charged for buying the cheques and another charged for changing them into the local currency.
  • Ease of usage – with the reduction in their usage, not all stores and restaurants will accept travellers cheques leaving you to change the cheques for cash at your hotel or local bank.

Conclusion

In my opinion the best way to take money on holiday is a mixture of cash and a prepaid card, if available in the currency required. Keep the amount of cash to just the amount needed for low ticket items, such as taxis or tips,  leaving the card for bigger purchases or withdrawing top up cash when needed. Although withdrawing cash at an ATM may incur a small charge (usually levied by the ATM operator and not the prepaid card provider), this is a small price to pay for the security provided.

Also read my article – 7 ways to keep your money safe while travelling

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Latest interest rate predictions – when will rates rise?http://moneytothemasses.com/owning-a-home/interest-rate-forecasts/latest-interest-rate-predictions-when-will-rates-rise?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=latest-interest-rate-predictions-when-will-rates-rise http://moneytothemasses.com/owning-a-home/interest-rate-forecasts/latest-interest-rate-predictions-when-will-rates-rise#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 20:00:39 +0000 http://moneytothemasses.com/?p=12789 bank of england This article is continually updated to bring you the latest analysis on when interest rates are likely to rise, so be sure to bookmark it.

If you wondering whether you should fix your mortgage rate, but don’t know a mortgage adviser whose opinion you trust, then an award winning mortgage adviser and contributor to MoneytotheMasses, is happy to help with a FREE no obligation chat, just click here).

When will interest rates go up?

(in summary: until recently the market consensus was that the BOE’s would not increase interest rates until after the General Election in May 2015. This shifted when the BOE hinted at a possible rate rise by the end of 2014. But the latest wage growth and inflation data has pushed this back and the market now expects the first rate rise early 2015 to 0.75%. Then this will increase to 2.25% by 2017 and 2.5% by 2019 – see bolded bullet points below)

The forecasting of the Bank of England base rate has been transformed in recent months. First of all Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England (BOE), issued new ‘forward guidance’ on when the Bank of England will raise interest rates.

This is a policy which he employed during his previous role in Canada’s central bank to try and control the market’s expectations of when interest rates will rise. The reason for doing this is that an expectation of a rate rise is as important as the actual rate rise itself. If a market thinks that the BOE will increase rates then the cost of borrowing throughout the economy will rise. This can prove damaging for a stuttering economic recovery, meanwhile artificially low interest rates also make cash deposits unattractive, which in turn boosts consumer and corporate spending.

Mark Carney originally created a notional link between the UK unemployment rate and BOE base rate. In a pledge to keep rates lower for longer Mark Carney said that rates would not rise until UK unemployment fell below 7%. But this threshold has now been hit, somewhat unexpectedly, so Mark Carney had to ditch the unemployment trigger when it looked like a breach was imminent, instead replacing it with 18 economic indicators.

So now Mr Carney has moved the goal posts on when interest rates will likely go up:

  • the BOE has now decided it won’t tie interest rate rises to any particular economic indicator but a range of 18 of them
  • the market had thought that the the BOE’s first interest rate rise was unlikely to occur before the General Election in May 2015
  • But at the annual Mansion House Speech on June 12th Mark Carney dealt a shock by saying that rates could rise before markets think they will. So there is now the slight possibility that interest rates could go up by the end of 2014 but more likely by the beginning of 2015
  • And the latest minutes from the BOE rate setting meeting show two committee members voted for a rate rise.
  • but when rates do rise the BOE has said it will be gradual and , in the medium term, materially below the 5% level set on average by the BOE historically
  • But it was the latest data showing that average earnings have increased at their slowest rate since 2001 which has pushed back the date the market expects the first rate rise into 2015.

Markets are now pricing in the first rate rise (to 0.75%) as early as the first quarter of 2015 with interest rates increasing again to 1% by the end 2015.

Whilst the BOE is now claiming that not just one economic indicator will be used in any ‘forward guidance’ of when rates will rise, a range of them will still determine when they actually do put them up. So economic indicators are still important in judging when interest and mortgage rates are likely to rise. Below is a roundup of the most important indicators which will influence when interest rates go up:

So what might influence when rates rise, despite the change in the BOEs ‘forward guidance’  

  • Inflation has unexpectedly fallen – in July the official measure of UK inflation unexpectedly fell from 1.9% to 1.6%. Don’t forget that the Bank of England’s target inflation rate is 2% (with anything above 3% getting them a slapped wrist from the Chancellor). To combat inflation interest rates would be increased. So this sharp fall in inflation has fuelled speculation that the first interest rate rise will now not occur until 2015.
  • Increasing official support for a rate rise?  – last month the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), who are the guys who decide the UK base rate, once again voted to keep the base rate at 0.5%. But what has ruffled a few feathers is that the vote was not unanimous for the first time in 3 years. 2 out of the 9 committee members voted for a rate rise. Also minutes from a previous meeting suggested the BOE was ”surprised by the low probability attached to 2014 rate rise”.
  • The UK economy is growing again –  the Office of National Statistics has confirmed that the UK economy grew by 0.8% in the first 3 months of 2014. And The National Institute of Economic and Social Research has estimated that UK economy grew by 0.9% in the second quarter of 2014 – which would make it the strongest quarter in 4 years. This is good news and the evidence suggests that economic growth is back at its pre-crisis level, although a growing economy increases the prospect of a rate rise.
  • There’s optimism about future economic growth - be it the UK services, manufacturing or construction sectors data has pointed to improved signs of economic recovery. Importantly the services sector, which accounts for about 75% of the economy, has been growing at its fastest rate in years. Also, there are signs of continued optimism with a recent survey of British business confidence coming it at its highest rate in 20 years! With the economic recovery becoming increasingly entrenched it has led to some analysts expecting (and in some cases demanding) a normalisation of interest rates sooner than suggested by the official guidance.
  • Unemployment is falling– The number of people out of work fell by 132,000 to 2.08 million (a six-year low) in the three months to June. The UK unemployment rate now sits at 6.4%, below the BOE’s old ‘forward guidance’ threshold, a threshold the BOE hadn’t expected to be breached until 2016. But while unemployment is falling wage growth has slowed to the lowest rate since records began, a sign of slack in the economy which some analysts say indicates that a rate rise is some way off.
  • UK economic growth forecasts are being upgraded – such is the optimism for UK economic growth that the British Chambers of Commerce, the BOE as well the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have upgraded forecasts for economic growth in 2014. The IMF in particular now expects the UK economy to grow faster than any other major European economy in 2014, while the BOE now expects a growth rate of 3.5%.
  • Governor Carney is on a mission – Mark Carney took up the post of Governor of the Bank of England over a year ago and he is  making it clear that interest rates will not be rising until there is clear evidence that the economy is growing but more importantly that unemployment is falling. Both are now occurring so watch this space.

So should you rush to fix your mortgage now while rates are low?

Fortunately I’ve answered this question in my  post ‘Should you fix your mortgage rate now?‘ But if you want more help or advice then you can contact an award winning mortgage adviser here.

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Train fares set to rise by 3.5% – how to beat train fare rises and get cheap rail ticketshttp://moneytothemasses.com/quick-savings/travel-quick-savings/train-fares-set-to-rise-by-3-5-how-to-beat-train-fare-rises-and-get-cheap-rail-tickets?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=train-fares-set-to-rise-by-3-5-how-to-beat-train-fare-rises-and-get-cheap-rail-tickets http://moneytothemasses.com/quick-savings/travel-quick-savings/train-fares-set-to-rise-by-3-5-how-to-beat-train-fare-rises-and-get-cheap-rail-tickets#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:47:38 +0000 http://moneytothemasses.com/?p=16423 cheap rail ticketsHow to beat the train fare rises & get cheap rail tickets

With the recent announcement of a 3.5% annual increase in rail fares, it’s time to get cute if you want to avoid the increases and get cheap rail tickets.

Annual season ticket

For regular commuters an annual rail ticket is  a big saver as you can travel for 52 weeks and only get charged for 40 weeks. Try this smart little calculator to find out how much you can save on a season ticket for your daily commute. You can calculate the price for any period not just for annual season tickets.

Don’t forget the best time to purchase an annual season ticket is on 31st December, this way you will buy your ticket ahead of the annual ticket increases.

Railcards

If you travel during peak times there are always plenty of savings to be had on a variety of Railcards. Savings of around a third can me made on most Standard and First Class fares.

Two Together Railcard

Get a third of rail fares when you travel with another named adult. You can get cheap rail tickets by travelling after 9.30 am Monday to Friday or at any time at weekends and public holidays. The Two Together Railcard costs £30 a year for a couple and you can use it as many times as you like during the year. For more information visit www.two-togetherrailcard.co.uk.

16-25 Railcard

If you aged between 16 and 25 or a mature student (26 years or older and in full-time study) you can get a third of most rail fares throughout Great Britain. The 16-25 railcard costs £30 a year or £70 for 3 years.

Family and Friends Railcard

A Family and Friends Railcard can give you a third off most adult fares and 60% off children’s fares throughout Great Britain. Railcard discounts are not available on tickets during morning peak period services for journeys solely within the London and South East Network. Cards can be issued in the name of two adults and either adult can use the card to get the discount as long as there is one child over the age of 5 travelling. Family and Friends Railcard cost £30 a year or £70 for 3 years.

Senior Railcard

If you are 60 or over a Senior Railcard gives you a third off Standard and First Class rail fares throughout Great Britain. Senior Railcard costs £30 a year or £70 year for 3 years.

Buy tickets in advance to get cheap rail tickets

Advance tickets are Single (one-way) tickets offering great value for money on many longer distance journeys. You must book in advance and the number of tickets are limited, tickets are valid only for the date and time selected and are not transferable.

Some of the savings when booking in advance are staggering. A ticket from Edinburgh to London purchased on the day is £125.80 whereas if you bought the same ticket 5 weeks in advance it would cost you £59.50.

Split ticketing

This is a method where instead of buying a ticket for the whole of your journey you buy tickets for the constituent parts. Interestingly you don’t have to change trains, it is perfectly legal and you can save a significant amount of money. You can use this split ticketing calculator to work out the total cost of your split ticket and then link through to a Raileasy to purchase cheap rail tickets.

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Best of the Sunday papers’ PROPERTY sections 17th August 2014http://moneytothemasses.com/news/best-sunday-papers-property-sections-17th-august-2014?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=best-sunday-papers-property-sections-17th-august-2014 http://moneytothemasses.com/news/best-sunday-papers-property-sections-17th-august-2014#comments Sun, 17 Aug 2014 07:52:12 +0000 http://moneytothemasses.com/?p=16411 The Independent

The average cost of renting or buying a home in every London borough

The new coastal homes with fast commuter routes

Spotlight on Chelmsford

The Telegraph

Houses with horrible histories for sale

Oooh la la: 10 gorgeous chateaux in France for sale

What can you rent in London for £27,000?

The Sunday Times (subscription)

Why we love Norfolk

How to sell your house by Christmas

Family fortunes drives market

Mail on Sunday

Make sure your home’s value keeps climbing

Leeds Building Society launches 5 year fixed rate mortgage with low fee

How to get best home insurance

The Observer

Let’s move to….. Kirkudbright and the Colvend coast

House prices won’t collapse yet

More home owners open their doors to lodgers

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Best of the Sunday papers’ MONEY sections 17th August 2014http://moneytothemasses.com/news/best-sunday-papers-money-sections-17th-august-2014?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=best-sunday-papers-money-sections-17th-august-2014 http://moneytothemasses.com/news/best-sunday-papers-money-sections-17th-august-2014#comments Sun, 17 Aug 2014 07:24:52 +0000 http://moneytothemasses.com/?p=16408 The Independent

Find a football deal that suits – without paying the penalty

How couples can protect their financial interests when cohabiting

‘Dismal’ eurozone data sparks concerns

The Telegraph

‘The Isa switch that will save us £10,000′

Give middle-class families a tax break, government adviser urges

The fraud traps set by your bank

The Sunday Times (subscription)

Global gap years need not you the earth

Charges that lie in ambush if you use a card abroad

Claim every break you can as the taxman gets tough

Mail on Sunday

Haggle hard to bag a bargain motor

How to protect yourself when shopping

El Tel’s new goal: 12% return from football fund co-launched by Terry Venables

The Observer

Keep switching providers: loyalty never pays

HSBC plans to introduce £5 a day overdraft charge

Students who say ‘no’ to £50,000 of debt

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The latest MTTM Podcast – How to make it, How to save it, How to spend ithttp://moneytothemasses.com/news/podcast/latest-mttm-podcast-make-save-spend?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=latest-mttm-podcast-make-save-spend http://moneytothemasses.com/news/podcast/latest-mttm-podcast-make-save-spend#comments Sat, 16 Aug 2014 20:00:00 +0000 http://moneytothemasses.com/?p=15948 Money to the Masses podcastWelcome to the FREE MoneytotheMasses.com podcast.

MTTM Podcast episodes

You can listen to the latest episode of the podcast by clicking on the play button in the player below. To hear past episodes simply click on ‘More Episodes’ in the player’s top menu. Here is the full list of episodes:

  • Episode 11 - Get a pay rise, credit myths & business start-up gems
  • Episode 10 – Lets talk about tax baby
  • Episode 9 - Buying, Selling And Letting Advice – The Property Special
  • Episode 8 - Huge Amounts on Current Accounts and You Can’t Go Wrong With Honest John
  • Episode 7 - Reader and Listener Question Special – Pensions, Trusts and IFA’s
  • Episode 6 – Big Picture Budgeting and The Fiver Challenge
  • Episode 5 – Organic Pear and Best Airfares
  • Episode 4 – Writing a Bestseller & Magnificent Melons
  • Episode 3 – House Buying Tricks and Life Insurance Tips
  • Episode 2 – Insider Secrets and DIY Investing
  • Episode 1 – Interesting Apps and Interest Rates

For those who don’t know, the show is jointly hosted by myself and Andy Leeks (author of the brilliant As They Slept – The comical tales of a London commuter) and aims to be informative as well as enjoyable. Every show is split into 4 sections:

  1. How to make money – covering ways to make money whether it be apps, websites, investing, business ideas or any way we can make you richer
  2. How to save money – this section teaches you how to not loose it. Be it saving, cutting bills, secret tricks or insurance
  3. How to spend money – this section covers how to spend it and how others do including celebrities.
  4. Reader / listener questions – I answer questions sent in by you guys!

Please have a listen below and if you do enjoy it then please thank us by downloading the podcast from itunes and leaving a 5 star review. I realise that you might listen to the podcast in the window below so be thinking ‘why the hell would I want to download it as I’ve already heard it once?’ Well by downloading it you will help push the show up the itunes charts and help us spread the word. Think of it as a thank you from you to us.

Download from iTunes

Alternatively here’s the show’s RSS feed – http://moneytothemasses.libsyn.com/rss.

Get in touch

If you want to get in touch, whether it’s a reader question or just to give feedback on the show then you can contact the show here.

Once again, please leave a review of the podcast on itunes here.

 

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Vehicle tax discs scrapped – know the new rules or face £1,000 finehttp://moneytothemasses.com/quick-savings/motoring-quick-savings/vehicle-tax-discs-scrapped-know-the-new-rules-or-face-1000-fine?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vehicle-tax-discs-scrapped-know-the-new-rules-or-face-1000-fine http://moneytothemasses.com/quick-savings/motoring-quick-savings/vehicle-tax-discs-scrapped-know-the-new-rules-or-face-1000-fine#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 14:32:04 +0000 http://moneytothemasses.com/?p=16379 Vehicle tax discs scrapped, Vehicle tax discs scrapped

From 1st october 2014 the paper tax disc will no longer need to be displayed on a car windscreen. If you have a tax disc with some months to run you can legally remove this from the vehicle if you wish.

How will these changes affect motorists?

Liability for vehicle tax

To drive, or keep a vehicle on the road, you will still need to pay vehicle tax and the DVLA will still send you a reminder when your vehicle tax is due. This applies to al types of vehicle including those that are exempt from vehicle tax.

Buying a vehicle

From 1st October 2014, when you buy a vehicle, the vehicle tax will no longer be transferred with the vehicle. The buyer will need to get new vehicle tax before they can use the car.

Selling a vehicle

If you sell a vehicle after 1st October 2014 and have notified the DVLA you will automatically get a full refund for any complete months remaining on the vehicle tax. Refunds will automatically be processed when a vehicle is scrapped, exported or removed from the road and a Statutory Off Road Notification (NORF) has been submitted.

Paying by Direct Debit

From 1st October the option to pay your vehicle licence by Direct Debit will be available, these payments can be monthly, 6 monthly or annually. Providing an MOT remains valid payments will continue automatically until you tell the DVLA to stop taking them or cancel the Direct Debit with your bank.

 

(image by dan, freedigitalphotos.net)

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Make money from the photos on your smartphonehttp://moneytothemasses.com/quick-savings/tips/make-money-from-the-photos-on-your-smartphone-theres-an-app-for-that?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=make-money-from-the-photos-on-your-smartphone-theres-an-app-for-that http://moneytothemasses.com/quick-savings/tips/make-money-from-the-photos-on-your-smartphone-theres-an-app-for-that#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 14:14:13 +0000 http://moneytothemasses.com/?p=16368 Make money from the photos on your smartphone - there's an app for thatMake money from the photos on your smartphone – there’s an app for that

Since the launch of the smartphone the taking of photographs has grown dramatically, from the much maligned selfie to top quality pictures of holidays, family and other life events.

Many smartphone users have now found a new absorbing hobby creating wonderful images that only a few years ago year required the purchase of expensive equipment to produce.

This new breed of photographer is now being recognised as a source for good quality striking images much sought after by companies to promote their brand and products.

A website called Snapwire was launched in late 2013 to offer this new breed of talented photographers a shop window for their creations.

How does Snapwire work?

People or companies create a request for photos, say beach views or waterfalls and registered photographers can submit their best photos to be considered.

Potential buyers can view these submitted photos and nominate their favourites prior to purchasing them. If any of your photos are purchased you will get paid directly via Paypal with the amount you receive set by the buyer.

How do I submit photos to Snapwire?

Once signed up you can submit photos to Snapwire which they will approve for quality. Once you are approved you can start building your portfolio to start getting noticed and nominated. You can also submit photos to a ‘Challenge’ where potential buyers are asking for photographs in a theme. When you submit to a Challenge you can see how much you will be paid if your photo is purchased. Potential buyers can also view your portfolio and purchase directly from there.

How much can I get paid from Snapwire

Most photographs are bought for a few dollars but some can attract payment in the thousands of dollars. Once you build up your reputation you can start aiming for these higher payments.

Do I need to buy an expensive camera to improve my photographs?

Around 60% of Snapwire photos are shot on a smartphone so no expensive equipment is required. However the photographs do need to be of a good standard.

What are the standard requirements for submitted photographs?

Make sure photos are clean without borders and have a commercial appeal with a good use of light, avoid submitting ‘happy snaps’. You will also have to obtain the permission from all identifiable people in your photographs.

Is there a smartphone app for Snapwire?

There is currently only an iPhone app available for the smartphone. This app will allow you to upload photos direct from your mobile phone.

 

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Best Savings Accountshttp://moneytothemasses.com/saving-for-your-future/account-rates/best-savings-accounts?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=best-savings-accounts http://moneytothemasses.com/saving-for-your-future/account-rates/best-savings-accounts#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 13:45:21 +0000 http://www.rocket-labs.co.uk/moneytothemasses/?p=14294 best savings accountsThe table below is a roundup of the current best savings account rates available at the moment. If you are looking for the best cash ISA rates these can be found here.

Finding the best savings account

Before you scroll down to the best savings account table here’s a checklist to find the right account for you:

1. Interest rate – many accounts offer a high initial rate but this reduces after a period of time, typically 6 months or 1 year, often referred to as a ‘teaser rate’. The initial higher interest  rate may look a good deal but you need to make sure that the base interest rate (after the offer period ends) remains competitive. Also watch out for tiered interest rates where the bank vary the amount of interest they pay based on how much is in your account. Some sneaky institutions will even reduce your interest rate if you go above a certain amount.

2. Fixed rate or variable  - some savings accounts offer a fixed interest rate for a period of time others offer rates that are variable and could be changed at any time. Fixed rate accounts normally require you to tie up your money for a period of time, the longer the time period the higher the rate. If you need to get access to your money in this ‘tie-in’ period then a penalty will be applied normally a reduction or loss of  the interest already earned.

3. Minimum and maximum investment limits – all savings accounts will have a minimum and maximum investment amount. Most accounts can be opened for a little as £1 but accounts offering the best rates often have a minimum amount of £5,000 or even £10,000.

4. Access to your savings - not all savings accounts provide instant access to your money and you may need to give 60 days or even 120 days notice prior to making a withdrawal. Although some accounts appear to be instant access you may be limited to a certain number of withdrawals in a year, so read all the terms & conditions carefully. In some instances, if you fall foul of the terms and conditions you could actually get back less money than you originally put in.

5. Managing your account - once your savings account is open you will need to keep an eye on your cash and maybe withdraw money or add to your savings from time to time. Most savings accounts offer a variety of ways to manage your money – online, branch, telephone – but some offer an ‘in branch’ only  service which can be very inconvenient. Check that you are happy with how you can manage the account.

6. Protection - one of the main reasons for putting your cash in a savings account, rather than investing in the stock market, is security. Check whether the deposits with the bank or building society in question are covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). If they are then 100% of the first £85,000 you have in a savings account (£170,000 on a jointly held account) is protected. I highlight the FSCS cover in the table below.

7. Compatibility with your other accounts – You need to be aware that the aforementioned FSCS limit is per banking licence and many banking brands share the same licence. Check here before opening an account to see which brands shares licences and make sure that all your savings, if over £85,000 in total, are protected.

Best Savings Accounts

 

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Best Fixed Rate Cash ISAshttp://moneytothemasses.com/saving-for-your-future/account-rates/best-fixed-rate-cash-isas?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=best-fixed-rate-cash-isas http://moneytothemasses.com/saving-for-your-future/account-rates/best-fixed-rate-cash-isas#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.rocket-labs.co.uk/moneytothemasses/?p=14276 Best Fixed Rate Cash ISAs

Best Fixed Rate Cash ISAs

The table below helps you find the best fixed rate cash ISA available at the moment. You can see a roundup of the best variable rate cash ISAs here. For the 2013/14 tax year you can invest up to £5,760 into a cash ISA

6 things to check when looking for the Best Fixed Rate Cash ISA

Besides the headline interest rate there are a number of other factors you should check when determining the best fixed rate cash ISA for you.

1. The fixed period - a fixed rate cash ISA account normally requires you to tie up your money for a period of time, the longer the time period the higher the rate. If you need to get access to your money in this ‘tie-in’ period then a penalty will be applied normally a reduction or loss of  the interest already earned. Check the ‘notes’ section in the table below for details.

2. Minimum and maximum investment limits – all savings accounts will have a minimum and maximum investment amount (which is £5,760 for the 2013/14 tax year).

3. Managing your account - once your savings account is open you will need to keep an eye on your cash and maybe withdraw money or add to your savings from time to time. Most savings accounts offer a variety of ways to manage your money – online, branch, telephone – but some offer an ‘in branch’ only  service which can be very inconvenient. Check that you are happy with how you can manage the account.

4. Whether transfers in are allowed - if you are looking for a home for your existing cash ISAs then make sure the new ISA will accept transfers.

5. Protection - one of the main reasons for putting your cash in a savings account, rather than investing in the stock market, is security. Check whether the deposits with the bank or building society in question are covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). If they are then 100% of the first £85,000 you have in a savings account (£170,000 on a jointly held account) is protected. I highlight this in the table below.

6. Compatibility with your other accounts – You need to be aware that the aforementioned FSCS limit is per banking licence and many banking brands share the same licence. Check here before opening an account to see which brands shares licences and make sure that all your savings, if over £85,000 in total, are protected.

Best Fixed Rate Cash ISAs

 

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