Category Archives: Credit Cards

Credit Cards

Experian Reveals Mortgage Fraud Set To Surge In 2013

Experian predicts there will be a dramatic increase in attempted mortgage fraud in the UK next year, bringing the number of people fraudulently trying to obtain home loans to the highest level since records began in 2009.

A total of 43 out of every 10,000 mortgage applications are expected to be identified as fraudulent in 2013 – marking a rise of 13 per cent on 2012 figures and 26 per cent on 2011. The majority of attacks are likely to continue to come from first party fraudsters – essentially individuals misrepresenting their own financial circumstances and employment statuses or attempting to hide adverse credit histories.

Meanwhile, Experian’s latest Fraud Index*, which highlights the evolving nature of the fraud threat facing the UK’s financial services sector, also revealed that attempted mortgage fraud in the third quarter of this year was up six per cent on the same period in 2011, with 38 in every 10,000 applications deemed fraudulent – compared to 36 in every 10,000 12 months ago. It is also the first time within the past year that mortgage fraud has overtaken current account fraud as the area targeted most frequently by fraudsters.

Overall, 17 in every 10,000 applications received by financial institutions in Q3 of this year were detected to be fraudulent – seven per cent more than the same time last year, with savings accounts seeing a rise of 58 per cent. However, attempted fraud in the automotive finance sector fell for the sixth consecutive quarter, with 15 in every 10,000 fraudulent applications discovered between July and September 2012 – down 29 per cent when compared with 2011.

Nick Mothershaw, Director of Identity & Fraud Services at Experian in the UK and Ireland, said: “Almost 90 per cent of mortgage fraud tends to originate from genuine individuals misrepresenting their financial situations attempting to buy property that would ordinarily be out of reach. With tougher rules on UK mortgage lending set to come into force in 2014, where lenders will have to put a borrower’s ability to repay under greater scrutiny, it important that they have the correct tools in place to do this, especially as attempted fraud in this industry is set to increase significantly over the next 12 months.

“Increased fraud levels in specific industries mean that it has never been more important to ensure that applications for new credit facilities are analysed for signs of fraudulent activity. Simple steps organisations can take to mitigate risk include robust checking of new applications for credit using tools that reveal first party fraud and organised fraud rings, continually reassessing fraud risk across existing accounts and introducing true identity authentication using facts only a genuine applicant will know on all products, not just the higher risk ones.”

Via EPR Network
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Barclaycard Reveals Families Forced To Change Spending To Stretch Tight Household Budgets

A new study* commissioned by Barclaycard has revealed the role of the domestic goddess is changing, making way for a new breed of domestic economists, as households are forced to take more control of their finances and stretch tight budgets further.

The research, commissioned by Barclaycard with Mumsnet members, highlights that, despite the economy showing signs of growth, families are being forced to get savvier with their spending as more than half (52%) have changed the way they spend to maximise what they earn through rewards. Similarly, two thirds (65%) admit to keeping a regular check on reward and loyalty points, demonstrating that it is becoming essential for boosting their family’s finances.

Interestingly, it seems there has been a shift in roles in the household. Whilst most families continue to follow the tradition of having one main income earner, the financial responsibility of the supporting partner is becoming more important as a result of the recession. Although they don’t bring a wage into the household, almost one in five see their role as managing the household finances and making budgets work harder.

Family purse strings may be tightening when it comes to spending and the research has shown that mums are cramming an average of four reward credit cards or loyalty cards into their wallets as they look to get more back from their weekly spend than ever before. When it comes to indulging in rewards, having time together as a family is a priority with the most popular choices being to treat the family to a day (75%) or meal out (67%).

Kirsty Gallacher, TV presenter and busy mum, commented: “Reward cards are a great way to get savvier with your spending, as they enable you to get more from the purchases you make. Barclaycard’s new Freedom Rewards credit card means that you don’t need to fill your purse with lots of different cards – you have one card that you can use everywhere.

“Having two young boys, I know just how important it is to spend quality time together as a family, so it’s no surprise that people prioritise treating loved ones when redeeming rewards.”

Nick Clements, Managing Director at Barclaycard UK said: “Despite the economy growing over recent months, families are still feeling the pinch and are always looking for ways to earn more from their everyday spending. Our customers want the flexibility to look for the best value without being tied to shopping at just one brand.

“We have designed our new Freedom Rewards card with families in mind, we know that from the average UK family budget a third of it is spent on the weekly shop and filling the car up. As a result, the Freedom Rewards card offers double points on any UK supermarket or petrol spend.

“Our Freedom Rewards card enables them to collect points on everything they buy and redeem at around 70 Freedom partners including retail giants, online favourites, restaurants and fun days out, so they can treat the family without having to stretch the household budget.”

For more information on Barclaycard Freedom Rewards card, visit:http://www.barclaycard.co.uk/freedomrewards

Via EPR Network
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Barclaycard research reveals just how much the British are embracing the trend of self-gifting

New research* has revealed the British public are taking it upon themselves to get the things they really want by self-gifting.

Research commissioned by Barclaycard shows that over half of us (58%) believe it’s the thought that counts when receiving a gift but one in six (16%) would rather have chosen the gift themselves. Almost half of Brits (43%) have indulged in self-gifting around Christmas or birthdays at one time or another while one in ten (10%) say they always do.

The most popular reason for the new trend is simply people wanting to ‘treat themselves’ (44%) as it seems family and friends aren’t as good at present buying as many would like with almost a quarter (23%) admitting they indulge in self-gifting because ‘it’s the most sensible way to get what they want’. Even more surprising is that this rise in self-gifting comes at a time when almost a quarter of families (23%) are planning to reduce the amount they spend on gifts this year due to tighter economic conditions.

The top 5 most popular self-gifted gifts in order are: clothing and footwear; TVs and music equipment (including iPods, iPads, laptops); alcohol and tobacco; recreation and culture, and restaurants and hotels

When asked how they are able to afford their treats a large proportion said they are embracing cashback, points and mileage schemes (36%). Women are much more likely to use loyalty programmes to treat themselves (30%) compared to men (17%), which makes sense since the research showed that almost a quarter of women see indulging in self-gifting as a guilty pleasure, compared to just 13% of men.

Nick Clements, Managing Director at Barclaycard UK explained: “We took time to speak to our customers to understand how they want to be rewarded when they spend. Choice and value came out as the key to meet people’s needs.

“We know that purse strings are being tightened and we also know that people like to treat themselves and their families. The new Barclaycard Cashback card helps you do just that. The only thing we can’t help out with is what your loved ones want to receive this festive season.

“Our Cashback card is built on choice and simplicity, giving customers 2% on their five biggest monthly purchases and 0.5% on everything else. Our Cashback card puts you in control of what you get the 2% boost on each month; unlike other cards that only give you a bonus for certain types of spend. All customers need to do is make fifteen purchases a month, of any amount to qualify for the 2% cashback rate.”

For more information on the Cashback card; visit: www.barclaycard.co.uk/cashback

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Confused.com reveals that men named Brian have the best credit profile in the UK

Confused.com has revealed men named Brian have on average the best credit profile in the UK, while for ladies it is Helen.

In contrast, the first name with the poorest average credit profile is Lisa, while the male equivalent is Daniel.

Confused.com, the comparison site, analysed data from thousands of its customers who have used its free Credit Card Matcher Tool this year to reveal the names with the best and worst credit profiles in the UK. Confused.com is urging consumers to think about their credit history before they apply for a credit card, as a rejected application can negatively affect your credit score.

When it comes to surnames, people with the last name of Edwards have on average the best credit profile in the UK. Meanwhile, the surname with the lowest average credit profile is Thompson.

As well as a credit name lottery of sorts, the research reveals the existence of a postcode lottery when it comes to good and bad credit. The UK postcode with the highest average credit profile among its residents is SL4 in Slough. Meanwhile, SA1 in Swansea – the postcode with the poorest average credit profile – has a score 10% below the national average.

The research shows that age also makes a difference when it comes to credit scores as on average people’s credit history improves as they get older. Average scores for people aged 65 and over are 8% higher than the national average, according to the research. Meanwhile, the age bracket with the worst average credit profile is 18 to 24 – 4% lower than the national average.

Nerys Lewis, head of credit cards at Confused.com, said: “While our research shows the names with the best and worst credit profiles in the UK, people’s names are obviously not a rating factor when looking at credit. So if you’re called Brian you won’t automatically be gifted with a great profile, or penalised because your name is Lisa.

“We would encourage people to think about their credit history as a good or bad score can have a number of implications, such as your likelihood of acceptance for credit cards and also loans and mortgages.

“There are certain things you can do to improve your situation if your credit history is non-existent, or not quite up to scratch. For example, a credit building card may be one option. By using a credit building card sensibly, you demonstrate to lenders, such as banks, that you can borrow and pay back money responsibly. This in turn helps to build up your credit history.”

Confused.com’s Credit Card Matcher Tool allows people to check their likelihood of acceptance for a credit card before they apply.

Lewis added: “By using our free Credit Card Matcher Tool, people can potentially avoid a negative credit card application. If you apply and are not accepted then a lot of people aren’t aware that this can harm your credit score.”

Via EPR Network
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Confused.com reveals the benefits and dangers of Baby on Board signs

Confused.com has teamed up with Brake, the road safety charity, to highlight the benefits and dangers of ”Baby on Board’ signs and remind parents about safety for younger passengers.

37% of parents (almost 2 in 5) have displayed a ‘Baby on Board’ sign either currently or in the past. Now it’s time to find out if they are a help or a hazard. Confused.com’s new research among 2,000 drivers (50% of whom have children under 16) found that 80% of the parents who use baby on board signs think they improve safety, while 46% of drivers said that ‘Baby on Board’ signs obscure vision when driving.

Confused.com’s research discovered that clutter is a concern among many drivers, and having too many novelty items displayed could be a safety issue. 51% of all those questioned said they think other drivers display too much clutter in their car windows, such as stickers and novelty items. 15% of drivers who do exhibit these signs admit they do so simply because they are a cute/novelty item while 4% only display one because they received it as a gift.

Brake’s experts have confirmed that window clutter can be an issue on the road, but acknowledge that baby on board signs can also have a safety benefit.

Julie Townsend, Deputy Chief Executive at Brake, said: “Baby on board signs can be incredibly helpful for emergency services at the scene of a crash in knowing whether there’s a child involved, but this help can become a hindrance if drivers display signs when their child isn’t in the vehicle. Worse still is the danger that can be posed by drivers obscuring their view by cluttering up windows with lots of signs. Drivers’ priority should always be getting there safely, without putting themselves, young passengers or other road users a risk. That includes ensuring your view isn’t obscured and you remain fully focused on the road.”

The research also found that drivers who have never displayed a ‘Baby on Board’ sticker or do not drive children around are more likely to think the signs are tacky (34%) or dangerous as they obscure vision (18%).

Meanwhile, 46% of people who drive kids around say they have driven with a ‘Baby on Board’ sign and 22% of these say they always display the sign.

Confused.com’s survey also reveals that 14% of parents with under-16s think ‘Baby on Board’ signs are uncool/not trendy and 33% of drivers think the signs are ‘tacky’. Interestingly, it’s women who are most likely to disapprove of the signs, with 35% of women questioned saying the signs are ‘tacky’ while only 31% of male drivers felt the same.

The research also found that a quarter of parents aged 18-24 (who have young children) always display a ‘Baby on Board’ sign when they drive. This age group is also most likely to display novelty stickers in their car window, compared to drivers of other ages. 18-24 year-old drivers are least likely to say that other drivers display too much clutter in their car windows.

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Barclaycard Makes Everyday Spending More Rewarding With Two New Reward Cards

Barclaycard has announced the launch of its Barclaycard Cashback and Barclaycard Freedom Rewards cards, both designed to make it easier for customers to get value and rewards on their everyday spend, without changing the way they shop.

The Cashback card is built on simplicity, giving customers four times more cashback on their five biggest monthly purchases, with no tiers or thresholds. Customers earn 2% on their five biggest monthly purchases and 0.5% on everything else. All customers need to do is make fifteen purchases a month, of any amount to qualify for the 2% cashback rate.

When customers take the card out they receive a welcome bonus, giving them the opportunity to earn 6% cashback on their five biggest purchases each month for the first three months. Every year, in the month after the anniversary of taking out the card, customers also get an enhanced 4% rate on their top five spend , irrespective of how much they’ve spent on the card the year before.

If the average family puts all their spend on the Cashback card; in the first three months alone, they could earn a maximum of £120 cashback, easily covering the annual card fee of £24.

Launching at the same time is the Barclaycard Freedom Rewards card. It lets customers collect points on everything they buy on the card. They can redeem points at around 70 reward partners including retail giants, online favourites, restaurants and fun family days out.

The Freedom Rewards card has a broader range of high street reward partners than any other reward card in the market. Partners include Marks and Spencer, Topshop, Currys PC World, iTunes, Amazon, Starbucks, Strada and Leisure Voucher partners Legoland to LA Fitness.

The Freedom Rewards card gives double points on spend at any UK supermarket and petrol station and triple points at selected Freedom partners.

Nick Clements, Managing Director for UK Consumer Cards, Barclaycard, said: “We took time to speak to our customers to understand how they want to be rewarded when they spend. Choice and value came out as the key to meet people’s needs.

“For the average UK family budget, one in three pounds is spent on the weekly shop and filling the car up. As a result, the Freedom Rewards card offers double points on any supermarket or petrol spend. Our customers want the flexibility to look for the best value without being tied to shopping at just one brand, and the Freedom Rewards card offers that flexibility.

“On our Cashback card, we designed it to boost the earning rate of cashback on the top five monthly purchases, because our customers’ top five purchases accounted for around 50% of their overall monthly spend. We want to give customers the flexibility to be rewarded at the higher rate, regardless of what they’d bought.”

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Confused.com Reveals That A Third Of UK Workers Admit Pulling A Sickie

Confused.com has revealed more than a third of workers (35 per cent) admit having lied to their boss about the reason they have missed work. Popular excuses workers use to pull the wool over their employer’s eyes include flu, stomach aches, diarrhoea and bad backs. However, the astonishing number of people who still go into work when they are actually unwell implies a dangerous culture of ‘presenteeism’.

The poll of 2,000 UK workers also reveals the top five professions where people are more likely to make up an excuse to their boss about missing work. These are call centres (54 per cent), utilities (47 per cent), the voluntary sector (45 per cent), health (43 per cent) and fashion and design (42 per cent).

Meanwhile it also highlights the regions where workers fib the most too. These are East Anglia (40 per cent), the East Midlands (38 per cent), the North East (37 per cent) Yorkshire and the Humber (37 per cent), and the South East (37 per cent).

Despite many employees making up excuses to have a day off, many more still soldier on and go in to work despite feeling unwell. More than half (55 per cent) of people polled said they had gone into work when they felt too ill to do so because they were worried about what their boss or colleagues would think.

Confused.com is warning UK workers to consider what protection they have in place in case long-term illness does strike. Matt Lloyd, Head of Life Insurance at Confused.com, said: “Our research suggests that the culture of turning up to work ill is more of a threat than ‘pulling a sickie’. It is very worrying that workers are not prioritising their own health and feel that they cannot take a day off sick when they are genuinely unwell.”

Matt Lloyd continued: “With many people experiencing a lack of job security over the last few years, it’s a really important time to think about protection products, such as income protection and critical illness cover, especially if you have dependents such as children or you have regular payments to make such as a mortgage.”

The research also shows that women are more likely to worry than men about taking time off sick – 64 per cent say they have been into work when they felt ill because they were afraid their boss wouldn’t believe them. Nearly half (47 per cent) of men said the same thing.

More than one in 10 workers in the UK has missed work due to a hangover, according to the study. People from the North East are most likely to miss work after a heavy night out – 15 per cent of workers polled from the region said they had missed work because they were hungover.

Other common reasons why people had missed work include simply staying in bed to catch up on sleep (10 per cent).

Via EPR Network
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Confused.com Launches A New Mobile Phone App To Make Parking Easier

Confused.com has highlighted that 69% of motorists avoid areas due to the cost of parking, however it has come up with a solution: the ‘Confused.com Parking’ app.

Confused.com Parking is the new easy-to-use parking app that gives drivers directions to car parks, finds out how much they charge, and choose the closest and cheapest location via their current location using the GPS on their mobile phone or by typing in an area or postcode.

Car insurance expert Confused.com tackles the tricky problem of parking prices with the latest addition to their growing app portfolio. The new, free and useful, car parking app has been developed for Confused.com by Rant Media with data obtained in an exclusive partnership between Confused.com and Parking Data & Research International. The data is updated several times a month.

The Confused.com Parking app provides transparency on car park prices to consumers and is a solution to help save them money when shopping. The app means they no longer have to just accept the first car park they stumble upon but allows users to make the best choice for their pockets.

The app is free to download from Apple’s App Store and takes advantage of the iPhone’s innovative mobile phone technology. The operating systems for the app are iOS 5 and later and are compatible with iPhone 4 or later versions. The Confused.com Parking app is also being developed for both Android and Windows phones and will be available later this year.

The parking app is the latest innovation from Confused.com this year with more to come in the coming months.

App users can get directions to car parks, find out the cost of parking and choose both the closest and cheapest.

Users can identify the cheapest car park before setting out on their journey by using destination or postcode; whether disabled parking spaces are available; CCTV, baby changing facilities and even park and ride, and if they accept electronic payment as we wouldn’t want drivers to be caught short.

Drivers worried about their time limit expiring can use the app to set up a parking timer to remind themselves the cost that has been clocked up and when their parking space expires, plus costs attracted by choosing to stay longer. Phone alerts will be sent to the user to make them aware of their car parking time.

The app is free and is so simple to use, even a child could use it. Drivers needn’t make parking any more difficult than it needs to be; they can just download the app and no one’s pocket money will be wasted on excessive parking prices.

Gonzalo Bernstein, Head of Business Development at Confused.com, who worked closely on the development of the app, said: “We anticipate this app will help reduce arguments between couples and friends in cars, reducing the time spent driving around aimlessly looking for space and also reducing costs.

“The app is free so we anticipate iPhone users will snap up the chance to save time and money with it, and we anticipate announcing both Android and Windows versions before the end of this year.

“It goes without saying that we recommend the app is either used when stationary or by a passenger and never by a driver in motion.”

For more about the app, please visit: www.confused.com/parking-app

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Confused.com Reveals That Brits Fork Out Nearly £8bn A Year On Over-Priced Parking Places

New research released from car insurance expert Confused.com, has revealed that the cost of parking has grown from being a necessary inconvenience, into a leading factor in the deterioration of UK high streets.

Parking prices rose 12.5% over last year alone, forcing Brits to spend close to a whopping £8bn a year on parking their cars, but this parking spending spree might be about to grind to a halt. Confused.com has found that over-priced parking is now proving to be too great a turn-off for the majority of UK shoppers with over two thirds (69%) of Brits reporting they intentionally avoid shopping areas with high parking prices.

If the retail sector, and indeed Britain, is to return to economic prosperity, the consumers’ road to the high street needs to be as simple as possible. An overwhelming two thirds (65%) of Brits confess that more affordable parking would see them return to the high street.

However, the hope of parking without paying extortionate rates looks to be a faraway fantasy across the country as more than three quarters (78%) of Brits currently spend up to £150 on parking each month. While this might seem steep, it’s a far cry from the prices people in the Knightsbridge area of London face. Drivers in the city centre have to live with the country’s most expensive car park which charges £36 for 3 hours parking – an average of £12 an hour.

While the overall cost of motoring is rising, motorists need to look around for the ways they can save on daily necessities. Confused.com has launched Confused.com Parking mobile app.

The Confused.com Parking app could save drivers hundreds of pounds a year by allowing them to check out the prices of nearby car parks. For example, shoppers using Birmingham’s Royal Angus street car park twice a week, could save themselves £888.00 a year by making the five minute (1.3 mile) drive down the road to the Livery Street multi-storey car park. This cost of laziness is symptomatic of the entire country with motorists in Birmingham, Bristol and Edinburgh all guilty of paying over the odds in the name of convenience.

With so much being spent going on parking charges, it’s unsurprising that more than 3 in 5 (64%) Brits list the price of parking as a key consideration when deciding where to go shopping. With over half (57%) of all parking spaces in the UK being ‘pay-to-park’, a staggering 82% of people start the spending before they even make it to the shops.

Moreover, British shoppers are frustrated that the car parks they’re forking out for simply aren’t up to scratch. More than one in five (21%) Brits feel that the current services don’t offer enough space, and with a paltry third (33%) of UK car parks offering over 100 spaces, it’s not surprising that 60% of motorists spend between 6 and 20 minutes every trip searching for a space.

Gareth Kloet, Head of Car Insurance at Confused.com, said: “In today’s difficult financial climate, people have had to find ways to save every penny possible. Over-priced parking charges are a problem that every motorist in the country has to deal with, but hopefully our Confused.com Parking app will help people throughout the UK save money when it comes to parking their cars. The fact that the app is so easy to use should also help them save time by finding parking spaces more easily.”

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Confused.com Reveals That Couples Resent Spending Money On Each Other

Confused.com, the leading price comparison website, has revealed that love could be one of the biggest losers of the recession as bailing out one’s partner or spouse is the most resented expenditure among the nation’s adults.

From picking up the tab for a partner at a restaurant to covering their cost of a taxi, it seems couples up and down the country hate putting their hand into their pocket to help out their other half.

The UK economy is currently stuck in recession after contracting for nine months in a row. Confirming that love in Britain could be well and truly on the rocks as a result of the flagging economy, people’s own wedding costs, such as hiring a venue and even paying for the bride’s dress, came in second place in the study. Buying presents for other people’s weddings followed closely behind, coming third in the list of life’s most hated expenses.

Meanwhile, as people’s spending power struggles to pick up, it seems many adults are tightening their belts, with the fourth most resented expense in the poll being contraception.

For many Brits, having to fork out on common expenses such as utility bills (7th), car insurance (9th) and dentistry (10th) is less of a resent than helping out their loved one. Showing just how bad things may have got, some of the expenses that didn’t make the top 10 but still fared better than a partner or spouse include; contributing to a work colleague’s birthday collection (14th), paying a compulsory charge for shopping bags in some UK supermarkets (15th), buying petrol (16th) and being charged road bridge tolls (19th).

The survey showed the South West could be the least romantic region in Britain, with 20% of people polled from this part of the country giving their partner top marks on the “Moan-o-meter”. Meanwhile, it seems love isn’t quite dead in Wales as people from the region proved they were the most happy to splash out on their spouse – just 10% were worked up enough about this to give it the top score.

Looking at the results, Confused.com added all the average scores from each of the regions together to work out who hates spending their cash the most. The results break the stereotype of a person from Yorkshire being tight with money, with the poll showing people from the region are most happy to put their hand in their pocket when it comes to some of life’s common expenses. On the other hand, people in the South West could be the tightest in Britain when it comes to spending their hard-earned cash.

Nerys Lewis, money expert at Confused.com, said: “Forget ‘for richer, for poorer’. It seems when times are tight many Brits are simply saying “I don’t” when it comes to bailing out their better half.

“However, while it seems like romance could be in recession, many adults could be realising that love doesn’t have to cost a thing – instead choosing to romance their partner for free with a good old fashioned stroll in the park, for example, or cooking a meal rather than eating out.

“What’s more, we feel many people are simply getting smarter about how they spend their cash making traditional money gripes such as car insurance and utility bills less of a bother as people shop around to get the best deals.”

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Confused.com Reveals That Credit Cards Firms Target the Unemployed

Confused.com is warning consumers of the dangers of debt as a study by the leading price comparison website shows a credit card may be more attainable for many people than last year, especially those that are unemployed or on lower incomes. However, average fees and charges have risen making borrowing more expensive.

The study, which compared the whole of the UK credit card market in July 2011 with July 2012, shows there are currently 23 credit cards that would potentially accept someone that was unemployed compared to 17 last year.

The latest employment figures from the Office for National Statistics show the number of unemployed people was 2.56 million in the three months to June 2012, up 51,000 from a year earlier. Meanwhile, the number of people unemployed for over one year was 882,000, up 1,000 from the previous quarter, with the Confused.com study suggesting credit card providers could be aiming to meet increased demand from those out of work.

Many credit card providers have also reduced the amount someone would need to earn before successfully applying for a credit card. The annual income required for a successful application has decreased year-on-year from an average of £9,718 last year to £9,035 in 2012.

Should the trend continue for another year, or at least stay the same, this would take it below the amount people need to earn before paying income tax, which the government announced will rise to £9,205 in April 2013. Currently people can earn up to £8,105 per year before paying the basic rate of tax.

Credit card providers are also letting more people in on their top cards – the minimum income required for a platinum credit card has decreased by 36% from an average of £18,425 in 2011 to just £11,838 this year.

Meanwhile, the number of credit cards available and aimed at people with substandard credit scores or limited credit histories have increased by more than half from five last year to 11 in 2012.

However, despite credit cards potentially becoming more attainable over the past year, the Confused.com study shows average interest charges and fees have risen, making borrowing more expensive.

The average balance transfer fee has increased from 2.27% in 2011 to 2.81% this year. A person transferring a balance of £2,137, which is the average balance moved onto new cards, would have previously paid £48.51 on average. With the increase, they will now pay an average fee of £60.05.

Looking at the whole of the UK market, interest rates have increased since last year – representative APR has gone up from an average of 18.5% in 2011 to 20.5% today.

Confused.com started to compare credit cards in 2008 and customers can compare credit cards from across the whole of the UK market.

Nerys Lewis, head of credit cards at Confused.com, said: “As credit card providers make more cards available to more people, we are warning consumers of the dangers of debt as it appears to be increasingly easy to obtain yet more expensive to get rid of.

“However, credit cards can offer consumers a number of benefits, such as earning rewards on their spending, offering purchase protection, and improving their credit scores, so we’re simply urging people to use them in a responsible manner, as well as shop around to get the best deals.”

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Confused.com Launches New Online Live Chat Service

Confused.com is encouraging people not to be put off buying life insurance as just over a third of Brits (35%) admit they find it a complicated issue, with the age group 35-44 finding it the most complicated.

To help tackle this issue Confused.com has launched a new online Live Chat service. This new web service allows Confused.com to communicate, chat and engage with visitors to their website and answer any questions they might have regarding life insurance quotes or insurance terms. Some other advantages of live chat include facility to call back and real time assistance with application process.

Life insurance can be seen as a complicated and difficult purchase and worryingly 18% of Brits say they don’t understand why we need life insurance. 35% of the under 24’s agree with this statement, but even more surprisingly 1 out of 10 of the over 55’s also agree.

In fact in the UK 38% of people feel life insurance isn’t necessary, and if it is necessary it is aimed at the age group 41-50, meaning that as a nation we are under-insured and clearly misunderstand what life insurance really is.

However an average life premium costs 74p a day and has many added benefits which include future financial protection, protection from major debts and securing your family’s standard living.

With many people not seeing the necessity of life insurance, these additional benefits may sweeten the offer, allowing policyholders and their families to be covered in the future should the worse happen.

Matt Lloyd, Head of Life Insurance at Confused.com said: “Many people do not understand the need for life insurance and what benefits it actually provides. The main benefit of life insurance is peace of mind – knowing your family will be looked after financially in the future.

“With the introduction of our new Live Chat solution, Confused.com customers can ask our representatives any questions or issues they may have and they will get a real time response. People can make sure they get the right policy that fits their requirements and get help in doing so. Our research has shown that 55% of the UK hasn’t tried to get life insurance via the internet and those that have done so -12%- have found it difficult.

“So Confused.com’s new service will improve the customer’s experience as well as the customer service efficiency though real-life interaction. It will help customers understand clearly what life insurance is and what benefits it can offer the policy holder and their loved ones.”

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Confused.com Reveals That Brits Can’t Live Without Their Yearly Holiday Abroad

Confused.com has announced it is giving away a free family holiday to Florida, for 14 nights with £1000 spending money to support those who simply can’t live with their yearly holiday abroad.

According to research carried out by the leading price comparison site, 45% of Brits say the ideal non-UK destination is within Europe, while almost one in three (30%) say their ideal holidays are outside of Europe.

Confused.com has partnered with Teletext holidays, to offer its customers the chance of winning a dream family holiday (2 adults and 2 children) to Florida, USA for 14 nights with £1000 spending money, just by buying their family travel insurance though Confused.com.

The competition runs until 31 August and if a customer buys their family travel insurance between this time period they will automatically be entered into a free prize draw. The winner will be selected at random after 31 August and will be notified 28 days after. Not only will they get to spend 14 nights in Florida but they will also be given £1000 to spend on whatever they want.

When searching for the ideal get-away, the majority of UK holidaymakers are looking for a seaside break, with 45% of people choosing ‘beach’ compared to just nine per cent wanting an active or sporty holiday. Less than five per cent seek snow for their break, while sightseeing is a priority for almost one in three holiday makers (32%), rising to 45% for people aged 55+.

57% of 18-25s would prefer to spend their holiday at the beach. 25-35 year-olds are most likely to choose an active or sporty holiday, compared to other age groups (14% compared to 9% on average) but the majority of this age group (52%) still prefers the beach, making Florida an ideal destination for these holiday goers.

Worryingly, only just over half (55%) of people always buy travel insurance when they go away, despite 90% of people having holidayed abroad. A surprising 15% always take a risk by not purchasing any insurance even though Illness abroad tops the list of holiday nightmares with 44% of holidaymakers having experienced illness either themselves or among their party while abroad. Family travel insurance can cost as little as £9.75 for a family of four, though it can cost more depending on where you’re travelling to, so Confused.com experts would always urge holidaymakers going abroad to take out cover.

Mhairi Duffin, Head of Travel Insurance at Confused.com said: “While it may not be the most exciting part of arranging your family holiday, travel insurance should always be one of your main priorities if you want to be able to relax and enjoy your time away. Hopefully your holiday will go according to plan, but if anything was to go wrong having the right travel insurance in place can help make sure you’re protected in the event of baggage being lost, your holiday being cancelled or someone in your party falling ill.

“So to say thank you to our customers for buying their family travel insurance through Confused.com we are giving away to one lucky person a fantastic family holiday to Florida with £1000 spending money. Travel insurance is something that will provide peace of mind on any holiday and we hope that the winner will have a fantastic time away.”

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Confused.com reveals the most popular dog and cat names

Confused.com figures show that most cat and dog owners favour more human-style names over traditional pet names.

According to a new research which is based on cat and dog insurance quotes, people are no longer calling their prized pets Rover and Tiddles. Instead, human style names are becoming the norm with people preferring to name their prized pooches Alfie, and Bella, and their cute kittens Charlie and Millie.

Big risers in popularity have been Charlie, Max and Oscar for male dogs and Poppy, Molly and Bailey for female dogs.

Some of the most popular names for cats include Oscar, Alfie and Gizmo for males and Bella, Fluffy and Poppy for females.

Kate Rose, head of pet insurance at Confused.com, said: “This could suggest a tendency towards anthropomorphism. The increasing popularity of human-style names suggests that barriers are being broken down between pets and their owners. Pet owners no longer see themselves as having dominion over their furry pals, but instead see them as true friends and companions, people even, hence the shift towards more human names.

“Although it’s worth noting that humans have never really had dominion over cats.”

To coincide with these findings, Confused.com has launched a pet name generator. If anyone is in any doubt as to what to call their new bundle of joy, they can have the perfect name generated based on whether their pet is a cat or a dog, its age, look and personality. The tool can be found at
www.confused.com/pet-insurance/pet-name-generator.

In addition, proud owners can download and print out their own ‘birth petificate’ to make it official.

Kate added: “It’s the perfect tool for anyone looking for inspiration as to what to name their new kitten or puppy. And it’s a good bit of fun.”

To find out more, the Confused.com pet insurance page contains plenty of information, including links to lots of useful articles and guides about pet insurance.

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Confused.com Invites Public To Become Burglars For The Day

Confused.com is offering members of the public the opportunity to burgle a house filled with the most-stolen items, including iPads, Kindles and laptops.

To promote the need for home insurance, Confused.com is giving members of the public the chance to become a legal burglar for a day and nabbing themselves items to keep in the process.

The first five people to correctly enter the right answer to the clues hidden in the video on this page http://bit.ly/Oft9TA will be sent a further video link with more information about taking part in the experience.

This link will provide more details about where to begin their experience, where they’ll be met by a member of a burglary crew. From there, the successful burglars will be told more while in transit, and allowed to keep items they successfully find while inside the empty house.

The ‘burglaries’ will take place in a secret location and will also be filmed and assessed by a security expert, in order to show members of the public how best to protect their home and possessions.

Those not amongst the first five to correctly answer can enter a further draw to win a home security robot with built in webcam, to help them keep an eye on their home no matter where they are.

Sharon Flaherty, head of content at Confused.com said: “We looked at the most-burgled items and perhaps unsurprisingly, electrical goods such as tablets, video game consoles and laptops topped the list. So many people go without contents insurance, or have insufficient cover, and we wanted to highlight the issue, while giving people the chance to have a unique experience.

“Much of the experience is being kept secret, but we will be releasing footage after the burglaries themselves. Many burglars are opportunistic individuals, and not professionally put-together crews as Hollywood would have you to believe. As such, our footage will be as close to burglary as you can legally get, demonstrating just how an intruder might find his or her way around your house.”

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Confused.com Launches New Travel Insurance Service

Confused.com is launching a new price comparison service that allows travellers with pre-existing medical conditions to get a quick and easy travel insurance policy.

Most travel insurance policies tend to exclude pre-existing conditions; these are medical conditions that have been diagnosed at the time of purchasing a policy. It is important to note that this includes conditions diagnosed a number of years ago that you may continue to have check-ups on. If people travel with a known medical condition without informing their provider, and need to make a claim as a result of falling ill abroad, then any emergency treatment or hospital costs relating to that pre-existing condition would be excluded, leaving the policyholder to pick up the pieces.

Confused.com can find an insurance quote to cover pre-existing medical conditions and also offer cover for non-pre-existing conditions, so when people have an accident they can have the peace of mind that their insurance policy will safeguard them.

Confused.com has teamed up with travel insurance specialists to allow people to compare travel insurance policies that cover pre-existing medical conditions, meaning consumers no longer have to search hundreds of insurers only to find out they may not insure them.

Comparing travel insurance with Confused.com means people can search the market to find their best quotes available for travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions.

Confused.com’s new service allows customers to select their particular condition, answer a selection of questions on their personal situation and will only show accurate prices by providers who will cover them; saving the customer time.

Those with pre-existing conditions are seen by insurance companies as customers who would pose a greater risk of claiming, resulting in them paying higher premiums and having fewer insurers to choose from. Therefore many people might find it tempting not to declare more minor conditions such as asthma etc., simply to save the hassle or because they are worried about the higher premium but if they then need to claim, the insurer can access their medical records and so will find out that they have a pre-existing medical condition and the policy may become void. This could then result in the policyholder having to pay out for expensive medical bills. This is particularly relevant in countries with higher costs for medical treatment such as the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Spain, Cyprus, Turkey or Malta.

Having travel insurance is very important for people with pre-existing medical conditions and making sure they have the right policy that suits their individual needs is key.

Kate Rose, Head of Travel Insurance said: “At Confused.com we understand that not everyone has a perfect medical record and that shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying travel as much as anyone else. We advise that you shop around and compare with Confused.com to get a great deal on your travel insurance.”

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Confused.com Reveals Telematics Technology Helps To Create Safer Roads And Save Drivers Money

Confused.com has introduced a range of car insurance providers which could offer discounts to its customers for good driving, via telematics technology.

Confused.com, the car insurance comparison website now has five telematics insurance providers on its website, which include insurethebox, Autosaint, Coverbox, AA Drivesafe and Bell. By having a telematics device fitted to their car, drivers could save money on their car insurance.

Technology is changing – and so is the law. The European Court of Justice has ruled that from 21 December 2012, car insurance premiums must be gender neutral and as such, car insurers are finding new ways of assessing risk such as through telematics
devices.

Telematics enables personalised insurance based on the policyholder’s driving. This is measured by the black box, or otherwise known as telematics device, which gathers data from the telematics device fitted to the car. Telematics is a method of monitoring a vehicle gathering data such as mileage driven and harsh acceleration and braking.

The insurance provider fits this device free of charge to its customer’s car and the better the driving, the greater the chance of premium reductions on renewal. Customers who use the device could also see their driving manner online through a secure personalised portal. They can even try and improve their driving skills by using the data to see if they are driving too fast or breaking too harshly, making the roads safer for everyone.

As an additional safety benefit, the telematics device will inform the insurance company in the event of an accident, and the emergency services may be contacted where appropriate. On top of this, the device acts as a tracker, meaning the car can be located in the event of being stolen.

When it comes to car insurance, if a driver is unlucky enough to fall into one of the high risk groups such as young drivers or inexperienced drivers telematics can help. 17-20 year olds pay an average of £2,491 for a comprehensive policy, more than three times the national average of £797. But instead of paying for insurance based on the average driver, telematics insurance is based on how individuals drive.

Gareth Kloet, Head of Car Insurance at Confused.com, said: “Telematics insurance is targeted at drivers who believe they can reduce their premiums by driving safely. This can be of specific benefit to young drivers, who traditionally have been considered a higher risk than other drivers. Telematics allows insurers to offer premiums that reflect an individual driver’s actual risk on the road not just assessing them by age or gender.”

“Telematics is great for young drivers or anyone who wants to take control of their insurance costs and Confused.com’s car insurance comparison service makes it easy for customers to compare different policies and now offers even greater choice for insurance than before.”

Confused.com’s telematics services will be supported by a new 30 second TV advert running from 25 July. The new advert can be viewed at www.confused.com/press/our-adverts.

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Confused.com Expands Their Credit Card Panel With Fluid

Confused.com has added a new credit card from online personal finance brand Fluid to its credit card panel meaning customers can now apply to a choice of 50 credit cards.

The low-fee balance transfer credit card, powered by MBNA, offers new customers 15 months at 0 per cent interest on balance transfers. Balance transfers must be made within the first 60 days of opening the account and a 1.5 per cent handling fee applies.

The credit card also allows new customers to move credit into their current account. Fluid charges a 4 per cent fee for this money transfer and offers 15 months at 0 per cent interest but after that, charges will apply.

New customers can also benefit from 0 per cent interest on purchases for five months from the date the account is opened.

Will Becker, chief executive of Media Ingenuity, Fluid’s corporate parent, said:
“We have listened to what customers want within the UK market. In conjunction with MBNA, we’ve created a card with an exclusive offer that can yield a substantial saving to consumers. This is a great card for people who are looking to get control of their finances and repay existing balances within the 15-month offer period.”

Confused.com started to display credit cards in 2008 and it enables customers to compare credit cards from across the whole of the UK market.

With the average authorised overdraft rate currently at 12.659% APR, Nerys Lewis, head of credit cards at Confused.com, believes the Fluid credit card’s money transfer option could help people who need to pay off their overdraft.

Lewis says: “This credit card could be a good option for anyone who is paying interest charges on their current overdraft facility, as long as they can pay back their debt within the 15-month period.

“Many university graduates of the last few years could be starting to pay interest on their graduate overdraft accounts, for example, so the Fluid credit card may be a useful option for those who can afford to pay off this debt before the interest-free period is over.

“Meanwhile, the comparatively low balance transfer fee of 1.5 per cent makes the Fluid credit card a strong offering to anyone who is looking to transfer their existing credit card balance, providing they keep on top of payments.

“If you use a balance transfer credit card carefully, it can be a sensible way to manage your finances.”

Customers can apply for the Fluid credit card at www.confused.com/credit-cards

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Confused.com Reveals That Women Could Save Money For Their Partners

Confused.com has revealed that women who drive regularly could make their male partners big savings and could almost halve the cost of their car insurance by simply being added as a named driver.

However, there are only 154 days where such savings could be made so Confused.com are calling all men to put their partners to good use before it’s too late.

A new UK poll into women’s spending habits found that 35% of women spend on average more than £200 a month on household bills, 34% of women spend on average over £200 a month on essential food bills and 79% of women spend on average up to £100 a month on socialising compared with 72% of men.

On top of this, 93% of women spend on average up to £150 a month on clothes and 87% of women spend on average up to £100 a month on grooming and beauty products (£23 per week).

In fact, the research determines that thousands of pounds will be spent over a woman’s life, all in an effort to satisfy the insatiable urge to shop.

However while some men may despair when they see their partner’s expenditure, they can feel better about one thing: while women are spending they are also shopping around for great deals. In fact, women are much more likely to search incessantly for the best deal, while men are happy to pay more just to be done with the task of shopping. Fifty-four per cent of women admit they shop around and get better deals than their partner; with 38% of men agreeing with this.

As well as women being more savvy shoppers, the research also found that more women (57%) than men (47%) admit to saving, stashing away up to £100 a month.

In fact not only are women savvy savers but they could almost halve the car insurance bill for a man by simply being added to their insurance policy, if they are a regular driver. According to the latest Confused.com car insurance price index the average annual cost of comprehensive cover for a male driver is £954 if he is the only driver insured on the car. However, by adding a spouse it could cause the policy to decrease as the average for a driver and spouse is just £452, creating a potential saving of £502.

When a driver adds a female driver to their comprehensive policy, average costs come down. For example, a 21-25 year old male pays an average of £1,763 for their car insurance, but by adding a spouse who drives on a regular basis, average car insurance prices reduce by 29%, making insurance £1,257 for fully comprehensive cover and creating a potential saving of £506.

Surprisingly, 63% of men surveyed didn’t know that by adding their female partner they could reduce their cost of their policy.

While there is a chance women could currently save their partner money on their car insurance, this is expected to come to an end when the Gender Directive ruling comes into force. From 21 December 2012, insurance providers will no longer be exempt from a wider EU principle covering gender equality meaning insurers will no longer be allowed to take gender into account when they calculate car insurance premiums.

Until then, insurers can continue to use gender as a rating factor, charging men and women different premiums.

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Confused.com Releases New Facebook App Designed To Celebrate Friendships

Coinciding with the release of a report titled ‘Friendship, Finance and the Future: The rise of Singledom in the UK’, Confused.com has created an app that allows users to celebrate the important friends in their life.

A report by Future Poll for Confused.com has shown that four in five say that friendships last longer than romantic relationships. With friends playing such an important role in our lives the app gives users the opportunity to celebrate the anniversary of their meetings, or ‘Frenniversary’ and show how important their friends are.

The app, called ‘Friend Booth’, has three different functions; a tattoo booth, a cover photo montage creator and a Frenniversary reminder service.

The tattoo booth allows Facebook users to create an image with a virtual tattoo dedicated to their closest friend. The user selects their friend and either takes a photo or chooses an existing one, they then select the style of tattoo they want their friend’s name to appear in. They can resize the tattoo and adjust the angle to make it look as convincing as possible before posting it to their wall.

The photo montage creator allows users to create a montage that’s sized, ready for them to have as their cover photo. The Facebook application asks users to enter the name of their best friend. Photos in which both the user and their best friend are tagged will be displayed, allowing the user to select their favourite pictures which will be automatically added into a bespoke image that the user can set as their profile cover image.

The report claims that in the future relationships status on passports and census forms could include mate-trimony as an option, with next of kin automatically being a friend. With friends playing such a significant role in our lives celebrating Frenniversaries will become more common. The Facebook application helps us remember this date by providing a Frenniversary reminder service. When they sign up their email address and friend’s name they’ll be sent an email reminder to make sure they don’t forget to celebrate the day.

Sharon Flaherty, head of content at Confused.com said: “This application is all about having fun with your friends and showing you appreciate them, but the report raises issues around how insurance companies need to protect long-term friendships as they do marriage. More and more people are relying on their friends, buying houses with them and becoming financially co-dependent. If something were to happen they would be left completely unprotected.

“This report by Future Poll shows that in the future more single people will protect their most important relationships with life insurance, in the short term the app allows users to show the people that matter they care.”

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