Gambling on Credit Cards Set To Be Banned

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Gambling on Credit Cards Set To Be Banned

In a welcome move by the Gambling Commission, people are to be banned from gambling using credit cards as of 14th April 2019.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said: “Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban that we have announced today should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.

“We also know that there are examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling because of credit card availability.

“There is also evidence that the fees charged by credit cards can exacerbate the situation because the consumer can try to chase losses to a greater extent.”

Credit Card Gambling Ban

The ban will cover all on and offline gambling products excluding lotteries that are run for good causes. Lotteries, including the National Lottery, can still be purchased with a credit as long as they are purchased with other products.

All online gambling operators will now have to also participate in the GamWatch scheme and offer it to all customers from March 31.

If you are having trouble with gambling and debt, read our helpful guide here.

Love Island Stars Promote Bad Credit

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Love Island Stars Promote Bad Credit

Several people from TV show Love Island have been criticised for promoting buy now, pay later firm Klarna, a company which itself is under scrutiny for pushing customers into unnecessary debt.

Although the ‘celebrities’, including Belle Hassan, Lucie Donlan, and Amy Hart, marked the promotion with #ad, they have included discount codes to push the service to their millions of followers.

Martyn James from Resolver (online complaints tool) said: “It’s totally irresponsible for influencers to take cash to plug high-interest credit products on their profiles.

“There’s a huge difference between plugging an expensive pair of shoes and borrowing beyond your means to pay for them.

“With little to no warnings about the risks, shoppers could find themselves sleepwalking in to debt.”

Struggling to Repay?

If you are struggling to repay Klarna, or other buy now, pay later companies (including ASOS, Misguided, and Topshop), contact our trained advisers today for no-obligation help and advice on your options.


Fourteen Million Brits Started 2020 in Debt

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Fourteen Million Brits Started 2020 in Debt

Almost five million Britons started the new year with debts of more than £10,000 according to a report from comparison site

According to the report a further nine million people owe between £2,000 and £10,000, meaning that almost two-thirds of the UK’s adult population went into the new year in some considerable debt. These figures – which don’t include mortgages – take into account credit card debts, personal loans, car loans and overdrafts. Residents of London where the most indebted, where borrowers owe an average of almost £20,000 each. Better news for the Scots though, where 45% of people are debt free!

Everyday Debts

The causes of debts cover everything you would expect; 21% took out loans to repay older debts; 20% for holidays; 18% to pay for Christmas; and 18% admitted that they took out loans to pay for luxury items.
The most worrying aspect of the report is the finding that 40% of borrows say that they entered into debt to pay their normal, everyday living expenses, which doesn’t give them a lot of options to get themselves out of the debt.

Debt Help

If you are among the millions of people struggling with their finances in the UK, please don’t hesitate in contacting our friendly advisers for some free, no obligation help and advice.


Credit Cards Set To Be Suspended In February

By | Financial Help, News

Credit Cards Set To Be Suspended In February

Come February, thousands of people will be unable to use their credit cards due to new rulings.

As part of new rules designed to help people in debt, the FCA has made the banks agree to force those who are continually in debt to agree a repayment plan – and in doing so, suspending the use of their cards.

Whilst we agree that this is a good idea in principle, it could massively backfire on those who continually live on borrowed money through their credit cards:

Myles Fitt of Citizen’s Advice Scotland said: “Persistent credit card debt is being tackled by the FCA and some people who have not been paying off their credit cards may be in for reality shock in the new year if they have been ignoring persistent debt letters coming through their letterboxes.

“These changes will help some people to pay off their debts quicker but we’re ­concerned about people who are forced to live in persistent debt because of insecure incomes in the first place.

“These changes could be a real problem for people who are ­unable to come to an ­arrangement with their credit card lender and this may trigger an increased demand for help with debts.”

Clear All Of Your Debts

The FCA has estimated that about 5.6million credit card accounts are held by customers who are struggling financially across the UK. Credit card companies have been ordered to send at least three letters to customers warning them to raise their payments. Firms must then offer ­alternative ways of repaying more quickly, usually over a period of three to four years. These could include transferring a credit card balance to a personal loan with lower interest.

Rather than taking four years to clear your credit card, you could clear ALL of your debts in just five years. Talk to our friendly advisers who can advise you of all of your options.


Big Increase In Household Debt

By | Financial Help, News

Big Increase In Household Debt

According to a new report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), household debt (excluding mortgages) is on the rise across the UK.

The average household debt rose by 9% to £9,400 – credit cards and personal loans rose by 11% to £119bn! However, the results are slightly skewed by student loans:

“The figures are skewed slightly by the £32bn of student debts – which the vast majority of graduates will never pay back in full,” said Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown.

“However, even excluding that we’re carrying £87bn in loans, credit cards, hire purchase agreements, overdrafts and arrears.”

In a shocking result, it appears that the poorest 10% of households have debts three times greater than the assets that they own.

“Not all these debts are the same: there’s a world of difference between taking an affordable, low-cost loan for vital home improvements, and living on your overdraft month after month, because it’s proving so difficult to make your salary stretch to the end of the month,” said Ms Coles.

“But if you’re one of the 44% of people who see their borrowing as a burden, it’s worth taking steps to deal with your debts.”

Struggling To Repay Your Debts?

If you are one of the millions of people struggling to repay your debts, please don’t hesitate in contacting our friendly advisers. There is no fee for our advice, and you are under absolutely no obligation to use any of the services we may suggest to you.
If you are interested in getting help with your debts, please fill in the form below and one of our trained advisers will contact you shortly.


Katie Price Debt

Katie Price Failed IVA

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Katie Price Failed IVA

In a very public example of what happens if you don’t stick the agreed repayments of your individual voluntary arrangement (IVA), Katie Price, a.k.a. former glamour model Jordan, was declared bankrupt, and has been stripped of her assets which are to be sold to pay her debts.

The mother-of-five, previously known as Jordan, chose not to attend or send a lawyer. Adam Taylor, from JMW, said: ‘She hasn’t acknowledged the petition.’
Judge Jonathan Middleton, sitting at the specialist insolvency and companies court, said: ‘I do judge Ms Price to be bankrupt. The date is today and the time is 12:35.’
He added: ‘Ms Price isn’t present or represented so there is, as far as we can identify, no opposition.’

Katie Price was accepted for an IVA last year with debts of around £800,000, it was arranged for her to repay £12,000 a month for four years – writing off around £250,000 of debts!

However, she was declared bankrupt after not sticking to the plan. Katie has continued to live her extravagant lifestyle with a series of highly-publicised holidays, surgery, and mansion makeover. Obviously this isn’t the best idea for someone struggling with their finances…

An individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) is a legal agreement between you and your creditors in which you repay your debts at an agreed, affordable rate.

Debt and Christmas

By | Financial Help, News

Debt and Christmas

Debt and Christmas seemingly go hand-in-hand, and this is a very serious problem, that people seem to be perfectly fine accepting as normal.

Over the next month, thousands of people around the UK will put themselves in unnecessary debt in order to try and have ‘the perfect Christmas’ – an idea manufactured in order to get people to spend more money.

Although the main cost of Christmas is usually the presents for others, the other costs of food, drink, and days/nights out all add up, and it quickly becomes difficult to think about the ‘boring’ things such as loan repayments, credit card and utility bills once you get caught up in the excitement of Christmas; particularly when everyone else is telling you what they’re buying, and how much they’ll be eating and drinking.

Change Your Mind-Set

At Christmas we often think about what we want to buy, and then try to find a way to pay for it. This year try figuring out how much you have and then trying to see what you can buy. Just this slight change in point of view, can be the difference between going into the new year in debt or not.

Secret Santa

Although most agree that all children should get presents at Christmas (if possible), many people – including several here at Debt Assist HQ – have found that a ‘secret santa’ for the adults’ presents works wonders in saving money. Setting a realistic budget (although £50 seems a lot, it’s cheaper than lots of £10 presents) on a present for just one person, not only means that everybody who takes part is saving money, but also that the adults get one good, thoughtful present instead of lots of lesser presents. Wins all around.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit, or the lack thereof, is a problem we’ve talked about several times before. However at this time of year it seemingly becomes a much bigger problem. When signing on to Universal Credit for the first time, it takes five weeks to get your first payment, which means if you are applying NOW, you will struggle to have any money at all before Christmas. In the mean-time you are getting further into debt to simply live, let alone prepare for Christmas.

A DWP spokesperson said: “If people think they might be eligible for universal credit they should apply without delay and advance payments are available for those in urgent need.”

School Uniform Aid Drops 70%

By | Financial Help, News

School Uniform Aid Drops 70%

Parents are being pushed into further debt as councils stop financial aid for school uniforms.

According to a new report obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the majority of families can no longer access the ‘School Uniform Grant’ which was introduced in the 1980s, to help struggling families buy school uniforms for their children. Since 2010 there has been a drop 0f 70% throughout England.

Even though the Department for Education still advertises the availability of the grant, only 27 out of the 149 local councils actually provide the grant, and a third of those only do so in rare cases such as fire, flood or ‘extreme poverty’. Only three councils in the whole of England offer the grant to low-income children in all years and all situations.

Even with the grant available, the average amount offered was just £36 for primary school and £63 for secondary school, this is despite the average cost of uniform in 2018 being a staggering £300 per child! Only one council (based in London) offered the full £150 which the Board of Education advertise as being available.

Labour MP Lisa Forbes, who campaigns on school uniform cost says, “These cuts hit our youngest and most vulnerable,” she said. “Each day, there are children forced to go to school in clothes that are dirty, badly fitting and unsuitable, while some even report missing lessons as a result.

“These latest figures show that families are being squeezed between rising costs and the lack of support to help with them, and both lie directly at this government’s door. I have urged ministers to keep their promise to regulate uniform costs, but for four years they have dragged their feet. This research should be the final wake-up call they need to act.”

All this does is force those that are already struggling financially – those actually eligible for the grant – to borrow and get themselves into (further) debt in order to pay for their children’s school uniforms. It is estimated that 1.7 million children attend school in badly fitting, unclean or incorrect clothing. Last year, a Children’s Society survey found that one in 10 families reported getting into debt to buy school clothes for their children.

If you are struggling with debt contact our friendly advisers today, and see how we can help. There are no fees for our advice, and no obligation to use our services.

Credit Card ‘Cash Advance’ Fees

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Credit Card ‘Cash Advance’ Fees

The cash advance charge on most credit cards can be an unwelcome, and often unexpected, surprise that can throw your entire budget out of the window, and lead to struggling to repay your credit card debts.

If your lender classifies a transaction as a cash advance, it can trigger a higher rate of interest for that transaction – often over 25%! – even if you have a 0% interest deal, cash advance transactions are not covered by this deal. You are also charged this interest from the day you take out the cash, unlike other transactions which usually have a period of one or two months before you pay any interest.

So, What Counts as a ‘Cash Advance’?

  • Cash Withdrawals
    The most obvious, and well known, cash advance is when you take out cash from the ATM. If you need cash, always try to use your credit as the last option.
  • Gambling
    A lesser-known cash advance is when it comes to gambling. If you use your credit card in a casino it will count as a cash advance, this is understandable, and most people will steer clear of this, however if you gamble online and use your credit card to place your deposit, then this also counts as a cash advance. This is where people can fall down, as many people don’t associate ‘online’ with ‘cash’. Other things to consider is that if you play the lottery, this counts as gambling and incurs a cash advance fee, but also things such as fantasy football. So be careful.
  • Foreign Currency
    This one is a little more obvious, but buying a foreign currency also incurs a charge. This can be avoided with a travel card – ask your provider. This also includes the purchase of cryptocurrency.
  • Gift Card
    If you think about it, this one kind of makes sense, but many lenders consider gift cards as ‘cash advance’ so can fall foul of the charge. Not all lenders consider a gif card as a cash advance, so it’s hard to know which you will be charged for, if at all possible, pay for gift cards with cash or a debit card.

Credit Score

Not only will using a credit card cash advance cost you more money, through interest and charges, but it could also have a significant negative impact on your credit rating, which will affect your chances of taking out further credit. Many credit report companies see cash advances on credit as a sign of financial difficulty, which could have an effect on their decision to approve you for further credit.

Credit Card Debt

If you are struggling to repay your credit card debt, contact our friendly advisers today for no-obligation help and advice.

Love Island Debt

‘Instagram Lifestyle’ Landing Brits in Debt

By | Financial Help, News

‘Instagram Lifestyle’ Landing Brits in Debt

A recent report has suggested that many Brits are getting themselves into debt to live what is called an ‘Instagram lifestyle’. They are overspending in order to look good on social media.

The Love Island Effect

The rise in popularity of reality TV show, Love Island, is being blamed, with more than 10 percent of people under 40 saying that they ‘spend beyond their means’ to ‘look better on social media’. Fashion, holidays, weddings and designer pets… appear on the reasons why people have overspent on their bank accounts, credit cards and even taken out loans!

If you do want this lifestyle, it cannot be prolonged unless you can genuinely afford it, and you can only afford it once your current finances are in order. Getting into debt is NOT a glamorous way to live, and in this instance you cannot ‘fake it until you make it’.

Not always as good as it seems

The glamorous lifestyle is not always what it’s cracked up to be. Earlier this year, former Love Island contestant, Mike Thalassitis, was found hanging after a ‘cocaine and booze’ binge. It is believed that he had a large amount debt building up in order to maintain his new-found celebrity lifestyle. Whilst there are many reasons people may commit suicide, we know that debt is high up on this list, and although it may have been the direct cause of Thalassitis’ death, it couldn’t have helped.

If you are struggling with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support. Please give them a call.

CALM 0800 585 858
Heads Together
Mind 0300 123 3393
Papyrus 0800 068 41 41
Samaritans 116 123