Prices soar for mobile contracts: what you need to know

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Before the middle of the year, millions will see the cost of their monthly mobile contracts rise, in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI).

 

A bit of boring background first, just to briefly explain why this is happening (if you dont care, scroll down to what can be done about it). RPI is a measure of inflation published by the Office of National Statistics each month which measures the change in the cost of a representative sample of retail goods and services. Mobile phone providers are allowed to increase prices because they typically have a clause in their terms and conditions (you know, the small print bit that people rarely read) that warns of potential changes in line with the RPI.

So, are you affected?

  • EE is the first to increase prices, from 30 March, by 4.1% (in line with Decembers RPI).
  • Next up is O2, which will increase its prices by 4% (in line with Januarys RPI) in April.
  • Vodafone is also increasing its prices in April. This increase is currently unknown as it will be in line with Marchs RPI.
  • In May, Three will increase its prices by 4% (again, in line with Januarys RPI).

Others may follow suit so do keep your eyes open for communications from your provider.

If you are affected, what can be done?

This depends on whether you are out of contract or not.

Out of contract

If you have finished your minimum contract term, happy days. You can leave your provider without paying a penalty (providing you give notice) and if you shop around, or negotiate with your current provider (pretending you want to leave is always a good trick for getting the maximum discount), you are likely to be able to get a better deal.

Compare deals now
Click above to browse the latest deals and find the best mobile contract for your needs with Bean’s mobile contract switching partner, Ctrlio. 

Mid-contract

Not such good news here, Im afraid. If you are still mid-contract, because of the aforementioned sneaky clause in the small print you unfortunately cannot leave without paying a penalty. This is the case for EE, O2 and Three customers. If you are a Vodafone customer who took out a contract before 5 May 2016, you can leave penalty-free.


However, don
t give up! If you are mid-contact but unhappy about paying the increase, or unable to afford it, do get in touch with your provider and see if anything can be done. For instance, if you are approaching the end of your mobile contract, you might be able to switch to a cheaper deal. If there is no joy there, make a note of when your plan is due to end, so you can start shopping around before it finishes and escape your current contract at the earliest opportunity.


Just for completeness, we should mention that telecoms regulator Ofcom states that you can leave your mobile contract penalty-free if you have experienced
material detriment as a result of a price hike. However, it is highly unlikely that a rise linked to RPI would be seen as sufficient detriment, especially as customers were warned about these possible RPI rises in the small print. Hey, if youre a betting man, or woman, give it a go, but be prepared not to get very far with that particular argument.

General cost-saving tips

Not wanting to end on a downer, here are some tips for saving those precious pennies when it comes to mobile phone choices:

  • If you sign up to a contract and find that your usage is consistently less than expected, theres nothing to lose by calling your provider, explaining the situation and trying to renegotiate your contract.
  • To avoid going over your data allowance, use Wi-Fi when its available. It may sound obvious (and patronising sorry!) but its so easy to forget, especially when 3G and 4G are now so widely available. However, avoid using public Wi-Fi for anything that could make your personal information available to hackers.
  • If you’re getting a new handset, don’t just chuck your old one in a drawer – recycle it and you could earn hundreds of pounds.
  • Consider going SIM-only. Although buying the handset is a large initial expense, if you can afford it, it is typically much cheaper over two years to buy the handset and get a cheap SIM-only deal than it is to get a contract. Plus, with SIM-only you could gain greater flexibility as you can often sign up to rolling contracts of, say, 30 days instead of a fixed term. Note, however, that the latter is likely to be better value, although less flexible.


Sign up to Bean today to track all your contracts and take control of your finances. With tools to cancel unwanted contracts, switch to better deals and remind you of upcoming renewals you’ll never overspend on your bills or subscriptions again! 


Bean users save around £672 a year on their bills and subscriptions; switch your mobile contract today for major savings!

Everything you need to know about paying off your student loan

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Student loan interest rates have jumped to a staggering 6.1% this year, leading to students from England graduating with an average debt of £50,000. Should this make you worried? Let’s crunch the numbers and see.

Why so much, you ask?

The simple answer: Brexit. Since the referendum results in June 2016, sterling has fallen by a substantial 17%. The weakening pound has driven inflation to reach a 4 year high, with the Retail Price Index (RPI) now standing at 3.1%. This results in the increase you see in student loan interest. Brexit has caused a rippling effect throughout the economy and graduates will now start to feel the effect.

Should we be worried?

At first, this may seem like very bad news for graduates but there is more to it than meets the eye. There are four main policies that should shape the way we think about student loans:

  • You don’t have to begin paying off your loan until you earn over £21,000;
  • You only have to pay 9% of your earnings over £21,000;
  • After 30 years, your remaining loan balance is written off; and
  • Student debt does not affect your credit score.

What does that mean for us?

Let’s assume the average UK graduate will start on a salary of £25,000 with a salary growth of 2.5%. Following this progression, we expect that 30 years into the graduate’s professional career, they would be earning around £50,000.


So, given the second policy, that graduate would only have to pay around £360 in their first professional year. Their annual payment would increase to around £920 in year 10 and would continue to climb throughout their career to reach £2,700 in year 30. By contributing the mandatory 9% each year, even with the increase, a graduate would be looking at a total payment of £42,000 before their debt was written off completely.


The graph below compares the debt that the average UK graduate will accrue over 30 years, to the amount they will have to pay back. As you can see the debt increases faster than the payments, with the difference between these two lines representing the remaining balance the student still owes.


So, what should we do?

If you think these statistics are worrying, then you’re not alone. But how much can we really do about it? Well, the answer is the third student loan policy. So, do we just let debt accrue for the majority of our professional life? To the average person, the answer to that question is yes. The data shows that even if the average person earned a stable salary over those 30 years, they would still have accrued around £200,000 in debt.


Paying back more than the minimums won’t help you either. To put that into context; if you decided every year to pay 5 times as much as you have too, you will only pay your loan off in year 21. If you decided to pay 10 times as much, then you would still be paying your loan off until year 12. There is also the option of paying your whole loan off straight away, but who has £50,000 just lying around?


If you are the type of person who feels that their loan is holding them down, then feel free to pay more off. However, you must ask yourself if the added payments will result in your loan being paid off completely before year 30. If they don’t, then that money will have had no effect. In year 30 your debt will be written off, be that a £2,000 debt or a £200,000 debt. A crucial point to be made is lying in that final clause: student debt does not affect your credit score. So, while you may choose to pay it off early, you will not be penalised if you can only contribute the minimum mandatory payments each year.


If the psychological effect of debt is too much for you and if you happen to be in the fortunate situation where you can afford to pay the loan off instantly, should you? We can’t speak for every person’s situation but if you are able to and wish to rid yourself of debt early then paying it off as soon as possible is your best bet. That way you can be debt free without racking up additional debt with the yearly interest.


Whether your concern is becoming debt free as soon as possible or minimising long-term costs, the higher interest rates (as scary as they sound at first) will have a much smaller impact than many believe. Regardless of your situation and financial goals, Bean will continue to provide helpful information and resources for achieving them.


Please note that this article is based on the four student loan policies that are currently in place, with principle three and four being the main driving factors of these conclusions. Policies are subject to change and this must be noted before any student loan decisions are made.


Whether you’re looking to pay off more of your loan or are saving for something else 
Bean can help you achieve your goals. Join for free now and see every bill and subscription in one easy to manage place.  So you can save, without sacrificing the things that really matter to you. Find out more now.

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

CANCEL FOR ME

 

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.

CANCEL FOR ME

 

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.

CANCEL FOR ME

 

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.

CANCEL FOR ME

 

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.

CANCEL FOR ME

 

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.

CANCEL FOR ME

 

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.

CANCEL FOR ME

 

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

CANCEL FOR ME

 


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.

 

JOIN FOR FREE

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!

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.

What the headlines aren’t saying about energy switching rates

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So, it’s that time of year again. Winter is almost behind us (although this week’s weather doesn’t seem to have got the memo) and we can rely on our boilers a little less.

So the question is, what damage has this cold season brought us? Unfortunately for future generations, it has been another unseasonably mild winter, so perhaps no burst pipes and very few people skidding on icy roads. However, what is going on in our pockets?

A bit of good news crept in today: a record 7.7m people have switched their energy contracts in the past year. This is the highest rate for 6 years (when doorstep energy selling/conning was still legal). On the face of it, a headline like ‘record number of people switch’ seems good but what isn’t highlighted is that actually only a third of UK households switched. That means a staggering two thirds of the UK are paying an eye watering £200 each more than they should be on their energy bills alone, largely due to the inertia created in the market. To the 16m people in the UK with less than £100 in savings, £200 cash in hand would be a vital lifeline.

Due to the consistently low energy switching rate, it seems that our government has created a market environment in which the industry can profit from inertia, therefore failing households in need of help. Having talked to hundreds of these people, we came up with Bean in order to help you track your energy and other recurring contracts, so you can keep that extra £200+ in your pocket.

The scary thing is that with energy price rises around the corner, the issue is about to get a whole lot worse for UK households… Better sign up for Bean then!

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.

The 6 biggest things you must know to boost your credit score

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What is your credit score and how to improve it

Don’t mind paying tens of thousands of pounds more than you have to over your life? Then don’t read this.

Credit scores: not fun, not sexy, definitely not easy to understand, but, they are pretty damn important. You may be struggling to care about yours right now, and I don’t blame you, but if you ever want a chance to buy a house, unfortunately they’re one of those things you can’t ignore, no matter how much you may want to, much like laundry, your boss and Donald Trump.

So, we’ve broken down the key things that you need to know.

What is a credit score?

It is essentially a measure of how likely a lender thinks you are to repay money borrowed. It predicts this based on a number of things, the main one being your previous credit payment history. People often assume that they have one, all-encompassing, credit score, but that is not the case. You are scored differently by each lender. They will, however, all look at your same credit file (compiled by credit reference agencies), in addition to any previous dealings they have had with you (and, of course, your application for whatever financial product you are approaching them for).

Why do I, or should I, care about mine?

Your credit score affects your finances in many ways.

Firstly, let’s consider loans. Your credit score can determine not only whether someone will lend you money, but at what rate. If the lender thinks you are high risk, you may be offered that loan (happy days) but well be charged a higher rate of interest (kind of takes the shine off it a bit, doesn’t it?).

Mortgages are loans (and yes, I know that you know that) and so a poor credit score could mean no mortgage and, therefore, no house. That’s pretty serious stuff! With the current economical situation putting getting a foot on the property ladder out of reach for so many anyway, don’t make things harder for yourself by letting your credit score stand in the way of that dream pad.

Want that fancy new iPhone free on contract? Well, tough; if you have a poor credit score that is. It’s sticking with Pay As You Go for you, then.

If you’re applying for a new credit card, your credit score can be important in determining not only whether you are given one, but your APR and whether you are offered any promotions.

How to improve your credit score

Phew, that is the technical stuff out the way. So, are you convinced that you should care about your credit score yet? If so, here are a few tips on how to improve it:

1. Don’t be late with payments.

I know, I know, this is obvious. However, it would be ridiculous not to include it in this list, given that it’s so very important. You may also be surprised at the consequences of just one or two late or missed payments. Setting up direct debits is the easiest way to ensure this doesn’t happen. Plus, it requires no effort from you (always a bonus) and you can’t forget.

2. Register to vote.

If you’re not on the electoral roll, you are unlikely to be given credit. Whilst the credit reference agencies do use the full register which everyone is on, by law, the electoral roll is often also used when determining credit scores. Even if it isn’t, as lenders also use it to help check your details, not being on it could cause you delays when applying for credit.

3. Get a credit rebuild card.

If you have a poor credit history, getting credit is difficult. However, you need to start building a good recent credit history, which obviously involves getting credit, in order to improve your credit score and be offered more credit in future. Tricky. Credit rebuild cards are a good solution here, as long as you use them correctly (otherwise they are a complete nightmare, so take note). They are available for those with a poor credit history but have ridiculously high rates of APR. However, you won’t be charged interest if you never use the card to withdraw cash and pay it off in full each month. Over time, this should improve your credit score.

4. Don’t do too many applications all at once.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll leave all “life admin” tasks for as long as you possibly can and then try and do everything all in one go – lurching from being horribly inefficient to smugly on top of things (briefly). This is not a good idea with applications for credit as every time you apply for any kind of credit, it is noted on your file for a year. If there are too many then lenders may think you are desperate for credit, leading to rejections.

5. If you do get rejected, check your credit file before applying elsewhere.

Simply applying again leads to more searches for credit which are, again, noted on your credit file and can lead to more rejections, prompting a tedious, and damaging, cycle of applications and rejections. The lender should tell you which credit reference agency it used, so contact that one. You have the legal right to see a copy of your credit report for £2. If you find an unfair default on your file, dispute it. Failing to do so could result in continued rejections for credit. Then also check whether the other two credit agencies have the same default listed too.

6. Cancel store and credit cards you no longer use.

Lender sometimes view you having access to too much available credit as a problem, even if you are not using it. However, if you have any long-term bank accounts which you haven’t defaulted on, these can be good for your credit score (I did say in the intro that credit scores aren’t easy to understand…), so maybe keep a couple of those open, but not too many. It’s a tricky balancing act, as with most things in life!