Subscriptions: How to Save by Sharing.

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sharing subscriptions can save you money

Everyone stop what you’re doing right now.
We need to talk about subscriptions. More specifically, how to save by sharing one subscription between multiple people.

Whilst helping people save money with Bean, we started to see a trend of several people in one household paying for an Amazon Prime account. That means you’re literally paying double for something that is supposed to save you time and money! You can even register multiple cards and addresses making keeping track of which package belongs to each person a real cinch. And this isn’t some huge secret; Amazon even encourages families and roommates to set up a “household” where you can share all services. The only downside to this is if you rely heavily on Amazon Music or the video streaming, which only one person can enjoy at a time, but I think that’s just a good excuse to whip up some extra popcorn and get everyone together.

 

But this got us thinking… Surely there must be even more places where sharing an account can save someone some money? Here are our top picks for subscription sharing.

Spotify

For a long time Spotify fell firmly into the solo accounts category, but with an ever increasing demand for sharing they’ve now introduced Spotify Family where you can pay a monthly fee of £14.99 for up to five individual accounts. That’s going from almost a tenner each to less than three quid – bargainous!

 

Did you know you could save by sharing your spotify subscription?

 

They do stipulate that all members need to live at the same address so this is ideal for families or roommates but if you don’t mind all registering the same address there’s no reason this can’t work for friends who live apart.

Netflix

Gone are the days of being kicked off mid-episode because someone has jumped on your account. Netflix standard now supports two sessions running at the same time as well as the option to upgrade to up to four users streaming at the same time. So you can enjoy your Parks and Recreation binge while your roommate explores the newest environmental documentaries in the next room.

Kindle & Nook Loans

More of a reader than a watcher? We’ve got you covered! Both the Amazon Kindle and Nook e-readers have sharing systems enabled meaning that, without having to share passwords or account info, you can lend a title to a friend for a set period of time. It’s important to note that the nominated book will be unavailable for you while on digital loan, but it’s a good way to cut back on costs if you have a bit of a book obsession, like me.

Did you know you could share your kindle and nook ebooks?

Asos Premier 

If you do a lot of online shopping with Asos, their premier membership can be a lifesaver. For less than a tenner, you get a year of free next day shipping, free returns and a heads up on any sales coming up. If you’re not a bonafide shopaholic but still want to take advantage of the quick shipping, find a friend with an account. Much like Amazon Prime, you can add several cards and delivery addresses to your account, meaning as long as you trust your friend not to go on a shopping spree with your Visa then you can piggyback on their account.

 

Every little counts when you’re saving so if you’re already paying for any of these services check in with your friends, family, and housemates and make sure you aren’t paying double.


We’re always on the lookout for more saving tips and tricks so make sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram so you never miss out on an update. Looking to cut back even more? Sign up to Bean today and see how much you could be saving on your bills and subscriptions.

How to cancel your UK political party membership

As with most things, it is harder to cancel a political party membership than it is to set one up, but if you really want to do it, this is everything that you need to know.

 

Bean is here to stop you wasting your money on things that you don’t want or use. Now that the election is over, a number of our users have decided to cancel their political party memberships and donations. However, information and advice around how to cancel a political party membership has proven to be more elusive than most services and subscription plans.

How do political party donations work?

UK political parties are allowed to accept donations from individuals if they are considered to be a “permissible source”. To be a permissible source, you need to be registered on a UK electoral register (including bequests). There are no rules limiting the amount of money that individuals can give, as long as the donation is declared and the donor is permissible.

 

There are two ways in which individuals can provide financing to political parties. These are:

  • Membership fees; and
  • Donations.

Recurring donations are simply you handing over cash to a party; there is no binding contract. So, to cancel a regular donation, all you need to do is cancel your payment plan with your bank.

 

Memberships means that you are part of the party and bound by their terms and conditions. The benefits include being able to vote on party matters, like the party leadership. However, if you break these terms and conditions, you can be expelled by the party.

Cancelling your political party donations and memberships

After extensively reviewing the websites of all major political parties in the UK, NO party offers any guidance whatsoever in their membership section about how to legitimately cancel your membership.

Although there are numerous acts that can trigger your suspension from the party, when you delve into the detail, their rulebooks contain no specific guidance on how a member can voluntarily leave the party. 
We have poured over the websites and rulebooks of all major parties and contacted each party to create the definitive guide to getting out of a UK political party below.

How easy is it to cancel a political party donation?

The first recommended step to cancel a political party membership or regular donations is to cancel your direct debit or standing order to the party with your bank. As the majority of recurring membership payments are taken through direct debit, you are covered by the direct debit guarantee. This guarantee allows you to directly cancel any payment to your political party. This will stop the party being able to collect your money. In a similar way, if you are paying through a standing order, you should first cancel the payment directly with your bank.

 

Once you have cancelled your payment, we recommend that you contact your party directly in writing to let them know that you would like to leave and that you have cancelled your payment. This way they will stop sending you any direct communications and they will immediately remove you from their membership register.

 

When you write to your party you should provide them with your name, address and membership number.

Cancelling your political party membership

How to leave the Conservative Party

To cancel your Conservative membership, write to the party at the following address:

Conservative Campaign Headquarters, 4 Matthew Parker Street, London SW1H 9HQ.

Email: Membership@conservatives.com


How to leave the Labour Party

To cancel your Labour party membership, write to the party at the following address:

To submit an email form, click here.

The Labour Party, Labour Central, Kings Manor, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6PA.


How to leave UKIP

To cancel your UKIP membership, write to the party at the following address:

UKIP, Lexdrum House, King Charles Business Park, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 6UT

Email: mail@ukip.org

Alternatively, you can call: 0333 800 6800.


How to leave the Liberal Democrats

To cancel your LibDem membership, write to the party at the following address:

Liberal Democrats, 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE.

Email form.

How to leave the SNP

To cancel your SNP membership, write to the party at the following address:

Scottish National Party, Gordon Lamb House, 3 Jackson’s Entry, Edinburgh, EH8 8PJ, Scotland.

Email: info@snp.org

Or call membership services: 0131 525 8925.


How to leave the Green Party

To cancel your Green Party membership, write to the party at the following address:

The Biscuit Factory, Unit 201 A Block, 100 Clements Road, London, SE16 4DG.

Email: members@greenparty.org.uk

Or call membership services: 020 3691 9400.


How to leave Plaid Cymru Party

To cancel your Plaid Cymru Party membership, write to the party at the following address:

Plaid Cymru, Tŷ Gwynfor, Anson Court, Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff, CF10 4AL.

Email: post@plaidcymru.org

Or call membership services: 029 2047 2272.


How to leave the Democratic Unionist Party

To cancel your DUP membership, write to the party at the following address:

91 Dundela Avenue, Belfast, BT4 3BU

Email: info@mydup.com


Looking for other areas you can cut back spending? Join Bean today and see every bill and subscription in one easy to manage place. If you find something you no longer need Bean can cancel that for you. Better deal on your bills? We’ll switch you. Bean takes the guesswork out of managing your recurring costs and helps you save, without sacrificing the things that really matter to you. Find out more now.

Making the most of a last minute vacation

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Scrambling to put together a last minute plan for the late May bank holiday? Don’t worry, Bean has the information you need to plan an incredible vacation on a day’s notice. It’s true that advance planning can often cut down on a lot of the cost of travelling but if this May has crept up on you (like it has us!) then there is still plenty you can do without breaking the bank. Here are just a few of our favourite last minute travel tips.

Make your budget go further by staying closer

We’re incredibly lucky in the UK to have so many great destinations in our backyard. From the boardwalk and beaches of Brighton to the historic sites of Cambridge, there’s a getaway for every taste. The best part? You can save 20% on rail tickets with Thameslink and Great Northern Railways this bank holiday, making dozens of destinations cheaper than a tenner to visit.




Let savings lead your adventure

On one impulsive night out, my friends and I decided to book an impromptu weekend away but, being quite strapped for cash, needed to keep it cheap. We decided to check the cheapest flights available for that weekend on Skyscanner and planned our entire vacation around it. We had a blast! Not only does it let you take advantage of some amazing travel deals but it forces you off the beaten path to discover new places you might not have even considered. I mean, can you really turn down thirty quid, round trip, to Krakow?



Get creative with accommodation

Who says a vacation has to include a costly hotel? There are fantastic alternative options out there these days. I have seen some truly swanky airbnb’s listed all over the world and, if you’re traveling alone or as a duo, rent a room, rather than the whole property. Not only will you cut costs further but you get a built in guide who can tell you where the locals really hang out and what tourist traps to avoid. Looking for a large group? Check out listings for bunk houses on YHA. It’s a bit more “rustic” and usually involves self catering and cleaning up at the end, but it’s a great way to get away with all your friends without wiping out your savings account.


Embrace the great outdoors

Speaking of untraditional accommodation, some of my favourite childhood memories involve chucking up a tent in our garden and pretending we were explorers in the wilderness. Take it a step beyond backyard imaginations by packing up that tent and hitting one of the (literally) thousands of camping grounds across the UK. Pitchup is a great place to search for your next outdoor adventure. Don’t own a tent? No problem! They’ve got listings where you can rent one on arrival or, go crazy and upgrade to a tipi, wigwam, bell tent or even a luxury yurt. Yes, you get to sleep in a yurt. Move over infinity pools, I see a new Instagram trend this summer.

Splurge smarter

Still craving that exotic getaway? If you’ve got a little extra tucked away for rainy day spending then check out lastminute.com for some travel and accommodation packages. It’ll set you back a bit more than the other options listed but you’ll still save a pretty penny compared to booking direct. In an attempt to make their deals more attractive, hotels will often include some meals and cheap transport at the destination but make sure to read the fine print so you know exactly what you’re paying for.

With so many options available there’s no reason to let your budget (or lack of planning) stop you from having an incredible last minute vacation this bank holiday. What are you waiting for? Friday will be here before you know it; where will you be when it arrives?

We’d love to see where your last minute vacations take you. Send us a snap and any travel saving tricks you use to hello@usebean.com and we’ll feature you on our social accounts. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the latest Bean updates, saving advice, and more. Happy traveling!

Why 2017 is going to be a difficult financial year.

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The price of the things we buy in the UK is going up faster than how much we are paid for the first time since 2013. There are, however, some things you can do about it.

What is going on?
Are you feeling like your bank balance doesn’t stretch as far anymore, despite pay rises? It looks like we are all in for a tough year financially in 2017, according to the Bank of England. In the Bank’s latest inflation report, it has been forecasted that wages will increase by 2% on average across the UK. However, the average price of the things we buy is expected to increase by 2.8% over the same period. Even if you weren’t top of your maths class at school, you will recognise that this means that our wages will not go as far as they used to.
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My first FinTech; interning with Bean.

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If you had asked me about working in FinTech three weeks ago I wouldn’t have even known how to answer. I started my internship at Bean with very little knowledge about finance technology or startups but during my short time with them I learned so much about the industry and have been given this opportunity to share some of that with you. 

As a Media and Communications student at the University of Leeds I wouldn’t say finances are my main focus right now and, even with my handful of high school economics classes, can’t I claim to know much about the industry. On top of that I know next to nothing about technology and even less about working at a startup. Needless to say I felt very unprepared but was looking forward to picking up some new skills.

The startup culture is very different to the other work environments I have experienced. All around there is constant learning and gathering of opinions. If you need an outside opinion members of other companies are more than willing to advise and connect you with relevant contacts; whatever help they can offer, they will. In general, when compared to the corporate world, ‘startup land’ is more laid back. You come to work in jeans and sneakers, you share snacks and it’s always time for coffee. People work longer hours and lunch hours are a myth but the relaxed environment takes a little pressure off and makes it easier to take a step back and reevaluate when things are going wrong. 

The first thing that became clear at Bean is that everyone plays a role in everything that happens. With such a small team every voice is encouraged to speak up. From little things, like designing a logo, to developing the core brand values your opinion is heard and considered. This isn’t the first internship I’ve had but it was the first where, even as a temporary member of the team, I felt like my suggestions were being taken seriously. 

Having a small part in all the aspects of the company makes being a jack of all trades kind of a necessity. My tasks ranged from populating the blog and creating Instagram and Twitter content, to photoshopping merchant logos and creating databases. The diversity of responsibilities prevents you from ever getting bored and keeps you busy. Personally, using products like Photoshop, that I haven’t had a need to use recently, and new tools like Buffer and Trello, helped develop useful skills that can now go on my CV.


Bean exists in the world of FinTech, or Financial Technology. Honestly, before starting my internship I’d never heard anything about the industry, but being exposed to it these last few weeks has been eye opening. The idea of managing my own personal finances is pretty daunting, but companies like Bean are out there and have extremely useful products. Working at Bean I’ve read countless articles about FinTech and how it is expanding. This knowledge has totally changed my mind, instead of finding the industry intimidating and out of reach, it’s something that I am genuinely interested in for future work.

Overall the last three weeks have been a wonderful experience that I am truly thankful to have had. This internship has taught me so much about working in FinTech, the wider industry and myself that I never would have expected when I started. I’m very thankful for my time at Bean, and would come back in a heartbeat!

Data Protection: Open Banking, GDPR & What It All Means

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If you aren’t in the tech world, it is likely that you’ve never heard of Cloud Expo, but for our tech team it’s a bit like the Ideal Home Show. There are some really cool products and services on display and it’s a great opportunity to meet new companies and exchange knowledge. I spent last Wednesday at the expo – specifically the Fintech, Finance & Banking Technology area, presented by FINTECH Circle – and I wanted to take this chance to share some of what I learned there.

In addition to checking out some great exhibitors (and their expo stand baristas!), I also had the opportunity to be part of a really interesting FINTECH Circle panel along with Peter Lancos and Sonal Rattan (CEO & CTO of Exate Technologies), discussing open banking and data protection. Led by moderator Nicolas Steiner (Digital Ecosystem Director, FINTECH Circle Innovate), we were able to touch on and debate several interesting topics at the heart of financial technology. One major point concerned how incoming initiatives, such as open banking, create both obstacles and opportunities for businesses such as Bean.

As a company at the centre of this world, we are really excited about these advancements, not only because they open new frontiers for us to create amazing products, but because they ensure everyone acts responsibly towards information, such as customer data. However, as with any step forward, there will be considerations that need to be addressed. In particular, open banking creates significant questions around data security and ownership, a highly debated topic within the industry That being said, there are already steps being taken to regulate how companies use data, such as the upcoming GDPR legislation.

What is GDPR? The General Data Protection Regulation is basically an add-on to the Data Protection Act. It would bring accountability and governance to the use of personal data by corporations. If you would like to see the full list of requirements and proposed principles, check out the overview, here, but, in short, the GDPR aims to put the consumer back in control of their own personal data and who has access to it. The stringent new guidelines would see corporations fined up to 4% of global revenue for any data mistreatment and/or failing to show their active steps taken to protect their users’ information.

That focus is exactly why we at Bean support it; we agree that you should have complete confidence in how your information is being used. GDPR, along with the regulatory oversight created by Open Banking, will help ensure security will be uniformly enforced across businesses dealing with your financial data.

That being said, it’s not as easy as flipping a switch and we’ve got a way to go before we can all agree on what needs to be implemented. These initiatives are highly complex and, unfortunately, vulnerable to manipulation by large corporations (with even larger budgets) who lobby to protect their interests, rather than consumers. It may be a long road but we here at Bean will continue to put the user first and keep you in the loop regarding any developments we think will help you make informed financial decisions.

If you have a question about GDPR, data protection or anything else, get in touch and we’ll do our best to answer. Leave a comment below or tweet us at @usebean. For more helpful information make sure to check out the rest of our blog and sign up to the waitlist at usebean.com today.

Are subscriptions turning your bank account into a leaky bucket?

A recent Citizens Advice online survey found that 84% of people did not realise they had agreed to a subscription.

These “subscription traps” can turn a spur of the moment free trial sign up into an annual liability costing consumers hundreds of pounds per year.

In the same survey, it was found that more than 16 million people had signed up to Continuous Payment Authorities (CPAs) over a 12-month period. Most of these were set up online.

CPAs differ from the more widely recognised Direct Debits in a number of ways, however, the most contentious issue for customers is that CPAs allow companies to take payments from their accounts without them being notified and giving explicit authorisation before each payment. Companies are, therefore, able to lure consumers into signing up for monthly, quarterly or yearly contracts using long winded terms and conditions statements (we even know lawyers who don’t read these!) and take payment even if users do not use their service.

A new tactic increasingly used by companies is offering discounts for annual recurring plans. These lengthy plans mean that there is an increased likeliness that a service is forgotten about and not cancelled, before the payment is renewed and paid for in advance. Sneaky, hey?

At Bean, we believe that consumers should not be tricked into signing up for lengthy and costly contracts without realising, effectively creating leaks in their bank accounts. There are a number of initiatives which can be put in place to increase consumer protection from a legislative point of view. We are excited to see what Philip Hammond announces in the Budget later today. However, in the meantime we are busy working away to create the best technological solution to enable consumers to take control of their subscriptions and plug these leaks.

About us

Bean is the UK first consumer subscription management platform. By linking your bank account to Bean, we will find and track all your recurring payments including your utility bills, mobile phone contract and loans. We help highlight contracts that you no longer need such as unused gym subscriptions, online TV streaming contracts and free trials that have overrun, helping you cancel these contracts in one click. Bean will then notify you, at the right time with the right information, if you can get a better deal on any of these contracts.

Why no one can afford a new house

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House prices are up again and now almost 8 in 10 families in England cannot afford a new house in the area they like to call home, according to Shelter.

To all but a few people who have been living in a hole for the past 20 years, the news that house prices are completely out of balance with what we can pay is not news.

With the UK Government planning on addressing the housing crisis by building one million new homes in the next four years. If no one can afford them, this strategy is pretty pointless.

Shelter’s research shows that this issue is no longer just confined to London and the south-east, affecting the whole of the UK, with the average price of a new home in the UK being £206,950.

We do not want to suggest that there are any simple fixes to the issues facing the housing market in the UK. However, Shelter points out in the report how badly the current system is rigged in favour of housing developers and land dealers. These companies have been put in a position where they can maximize their profits by distorting the market and maintaining the status quo.

In the same week that this report was published, other research outlined how consumers are wasting millions of pounds every year due to ineffective management of their personal finances. Only 7.7m households switched their energy contract in the past year, costing them well over £200 per year. In addition, nearly 42% of households have not switched their broadband supplier in the past five years, at a potential cost of £1,200 over the period.

About us

Bean is the first of a new breed of personal finance management tools. By linking your bank account to Bean, we will find and track all your recurring payments including your utility bills, mobile phone contract and loans. We help highlight contracts that you no longer need such as unused gym subscriptions, online TV streaming contracts and free trials that have overrun, helping you cancel these contracts in one click. Bean will then notify you, at the right time with the right information, if you can get a better deal on any of these contracts.

4 in 10 people haven’t switched broadband in 5 years, why this is bad

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4 in 10 people haven't switched their broadband

Fresh off the heels of Monday’s announcement that only 7.7m households switched their energy supplier last year, ISPreview.co.uk has released a survey showing that an incredible 4 out of 10 households have not switched their broadband supplier in the past FIVE years. Furthermore, only 29.8% of people have switched once and a further 15.2% have switched twice.

Without context these figures don’t mean much. However, when you consider that 29.6% of households with superfast broadband say that they are dissatisfied with their speeds, it seems that we consumers are not applying enough pressure to the broadband industry.

So, what about the money? Reviewing current broadband contracts, we can see that Origin Broadband is offering a simple broadband contract for £17.99, with no connection fee, vs Sky who will charge £36.99, plus a connection fee of £9.95, for a slower connection but free minutes from your landline. Assuming you don’t use your landline, you could save close to £240 per year if you switched. Therefore, it doesn’t take a maths whizz, thankfully, to work out that the 41.9% of households who have not switched in five years could have saved around £1,200 if they had done so.

To some (lucky!) people, £1,200 may not seem like a significant figure, but given that the news today states that nearly 8 in 10 people cannot afford to buy a new home in their local neighbourhood, there is a clear need for people to optimise their finances in this way.

About us

Bean is the first of a new breed of personal finance management tools. By linking your bank account to Bean, we will find and track all your recurring payments including your utility bills, mobile phone contract and loans. We help highlight contracts that you no longer need such as unused gym subscriptions, online TV streaming contracts and free trials that have overrun, helping you cancel these contracts in one click. Bean will then notify you, at the right time with the right information, if you can get a better deal on any of these contracts.