Financial Services

Bank Accounts

If you’ve not had a bank account before you may feel nervous about opening and managing one, and recent stories hitting the news about extortionate bank charges faced by some people may have also concerned you. We’ve prepared this guide to show you why having a bank account is worth the hassle and talk you through the process of opening one and avoiding and dealing with problems step by step.

Credit Unions

How much do you know about your local credit union? Credit unions offer a brilliant service to local communities, helping you build up your savings and allowing you to borrow small amounts of money at a much lower rate than you would get from providers such as doorstep lenders. They are not allowed to make any profit from their services – any money they make must go back to their members.

Types of Identification

When going to open a bank account for the first time one of the things many people find difficult is supplying the required I.D. This section gives information on what you can do if you’re worried about proving who you are and the different documents which banks should be able to accept.

Buying on Credit

Buying on credit is another form of borrowing, whether you are using a store card, credit card or hire purchase, and just like when you take out a loan you will be charged interest, again meaning this can be an expensive way to buy things. However buying on credit can also be really useful, as long as you know you have the money to pay what you owe and can avoid getting into debt. As always you need to be sure you are getting a good deal and will be able to manage the repayments.

Loans

There are many forms of loans, from student loans to mortgages to doorstep lenders. You will be charged interest so it’s a more expensive way to pay for things, however it can be useful when making big purchases. Whichever type of loan you’re thinking of going for, it’s important you have all the information so you know you’re getting the best deal available and are sure you will be able to afford to pay the money back.

Savings and Investments

Savings and investments may seem like a boring topic, but the reality is we all need to plan for the future. Most of us have a dream that we need more cash to fund – whether it’s partying in Ibiza all summer, owning your own home someday or treating yourself to a flash new car, we’ll show you how to start saving the money to pay for it.

Pensions

It is sometimes easy to dismiss pensions as something you don’t need to worry about until you get older. However it makes a lot of sense to start planning for the future as early as possible, and the more you manage to save now, the less you will have to worry about it later! This section gives you some advice to get you started; or for those who already have a pension saved, we’ve advice on retirement and any extra benefits you may be entitled to. If you are retired or due to retire soon you can also look at our Help for Pensioners page for even more useful information.

Insurance

Insurance is one of those things that everyone dreads having to deal with, but it’s also something that it’s really important to sort out now to save major headaches if you are unlucky enough to need to claim on it later on. We cover everything from car to home contents insurance to help you unravel what cover you need and where you can get it.

Mortgages

Buying a house is the most expensive purchase most of us will make in our lifetime, so it’s important to think really carefully about which mortgage deal you go for – but it can all seem like a bit of a minefield. If you’re looking to switch mortgage or are concerned about how you will keep up repayments if you lose your job, this section will show you where to get the information and help you need.

Islamic Banking and Insurance

Followers of Islam may it difficult to find suitable financial services as many do not comply with Shariah principles. Islamic finance has evolved greatly over the last few years though, and there are now many companies out there who have realised the importance of supplying Shariah compliant products. This section runs through the issues with conventional financial products and directs you to organisations offering help, advice and possible solutions.