Credit Card vs Debit Card: The Key Differences, Explained

While a credit card and a debit card look almost identical on the surface, there is a big difference between a credit and debit card. If you’re looking for which card to use when we’ve rounded up a handy credit card vs debit card guide.

From the differences between the two to how to use each card, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about credit and debit. Let’s jump in and see which card is right for you and when to use them.

What is a Credit Card?

A credit card is a form of payment issued by a bank or financial institution to lend you money. Unlike a loan, a credit card doesn’t come with loan terms or fixed payment plans. Instead, you’re approved for a certain amount, also known as a line of credit or credit limit.

You can use your credit card as a form of payment online, in-person, through apps, or even on your cell phone in a digital wallet. You’re given a unique credit card number, a card expiration date, as well as a security code for verification purposes. This card is then linked to your credit account.

Whenever you pay for something using your credit card, your account is charged. Every month you don’t pay off your credit card balance, you’re typically charged an interest fee. You can charge an amount up to your available credit limit. A credit card payment is typically due each month.

When your monthly payment is due, there will often be a minimum payment that’s required. Any money over your minimum payment you don’t pay off gets rolled over to the next month, plus interest. To save money, it’s recommended you pay off your credit card balance each month.

What is a Debit Card?

A debit card looks almost identical to a credit card. You’ll have a unique debit card number, an expiration date, and a security code. This card number is then tied to your checking account. Unlike a credit card, you can only spend the cash you have available in your checking account.

A debit card doesn’t come with a line of credit or a credit limit. Whatever balance you have in your checking account is what you can withdrawal from your account using your debit cards. Some savings accounts will also come with a debit card.

You can also use your debit card to take cash out of your bank account. This is done at a Cash Machine, an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or at a retailer that allows cash-back during a transaction. The money you spend using a debit card comes right out of your bank account almost immediately.

When to Use a Debit or Credit Card?

When it comes to when to use a debit card and when to use a credit card, there’s no right or wrong answer for anyone. Some people prefer to use their credit cards and then pay off the balance in order to accumulate rewards points. Many credit card companies and banks offer points for purchases to be used as cash, for travel, or for additional purchases.

Other people don’t want to run the risk of accumulating a high credit card balance. This is where using a debit card can help keep you out of debt. With a debit card, you’re only spending what you have in the bank.

At an ATM, you’ll often want to use a debit card in order to pull the cash directly from your bank account. You can sometimes withdraw cash from a credit card at an ATM, but this money is added to your credit card balance.

Credit Tips

When using a credit card, it can be difficult to keep your credit balances in check. Because this money doesn’t come out of your checking account directly, it can be easy to slip into a cycle of overspending. This can cause a high amount of debt that you have trouble paying off. This can also significantly lower your credit score

To keep your credit card debt manageable, make paying off your credit card each month a priority. Use your debit card for as much as possible and use your credit card for larger purchases or for places that require a credit card.

Most banks have an automated payment feature where you can choose to pay off your credit card balances or minimum payments each month. Doing this will help make sure you can keep up with the amount of debt you’re accumulating. Credit shouldn’t be used if you can’t afford to pay it back.

Debit Card Tips

When using your debit card, you want to be mindful of the balance in your bank account. If your balance is low and you’re using your debit card without checking, you may overdraw on your account. This means you’ve spent more than you actually have.

To help you stay on track, most banks have an alert system that tells you when your account is below a certain number. This will help alert you that your balance is low. If you’re constantly getting down to a low balance in your account or using your credit card as a way to pay for things you don’t have enough money for, this could lead to a dangerous cycle of debt. You may also be unable to pay important expenses such as your rent, mortgage, or car payment.

For security reasons, it’s recommended you use a credit card, however, so that if a fraud has occurred, your credit card company can cancel the charges and issue you a new card. With a debit card, your bank account information could fall into the hands of someone fraudulent giving them access to your assets.

Credit Card vs Debit Card

When choosing between a credit card vs debit card, it’s important to consider what you’re buying. Paying a utility bill or taking out cash from an ATM is usually done with a debit card. A hotel stay, however, is often done using a credit card.

If you’re looking for more great financial content, check out the banking section here. We have financial resources on everything from credit cards to home loans, wealth management, and more.

Everything You Need to Know About Opening a Cash ISA

The ISA was introduced to the UK in 1999 as a way to get Britain’s population saving. Originally, it was branded a colossal failure by the media and many politicians. But did you know that over twenty years on, the ISA is now one of the best ways to make interest on your money? If not, then you should know what an ISA does and give it careful consideration. Read on as we discuss the benefits of a Cash ISA.

What Is an ISA?

An individual savings account (ISA) is a type of saving account in which you do not pay tax on the interest you make. It works on the principle that all people in the UK on the basic rate of tax can now earn £1000 of savings interest per year without taxation. This amount decreases the higher your tax band goes. 

What Are the Requirements?

To open an ISA, you must be a UK resident over the age of 16. You can have as many ISA accounts as you like, though you can only open one each year. 

Younger children can benefit from junior ISA accounts. If accounts are a gift from parents, these may still be liable for tax so make sure to check the requirements. 

How Do They Work?

The limit on cash ISA contributions for the 2021/22 tax year is £20,000. While you may not be able to open an account more than once a year, you can transfer them during the tax year. There are two main types known as a cash ISA and a stocks and shares ISA. 

Your annual limit does not roll over to the next tax year if you make a withdrawal. For example, if you reached the limit you could not take out £2000 and then replace it. The only time this can be done is with a flexible ISA. 

Types of ISA

Flexible ISA accounts operate in a slightly different way. They allow you to withdraw and replace money without reducing the current year’s allowance. This has to be done within the same tax year. 

Fixed-rate ISA accounts will provide the highest rates of interest. In return, you will have to specify a time period in which your money will be locked away. If you do need to access it, then you will have to pay a penalty. 

Some ISA accounts may offer a fixed rate for a given time period. For example, you may get a certain interest rate for three or five years. There are also a few more very specific types of ISA you should know about. 

Stocks and Shares ISA

Your ISA can also be used to invest in stock, shares and bonds. Many people take out ISA accounts for the safety and guaranteed return, but this is one way your money can go up as well as down. As such, stocks and shares ISAs are better for long-term investment. 

These accounts will charge a number of fees for services. Platform changing, trading fees, cashing out fees, and management charges can all add up. use them if you want to keep adding to the ISA over a long period of time. 

Lifetime ISA 

Lifetime ISA accounts are a bit of an anomaly, as they only allow you a £4000 limit each tax year. They can also be broken down into cash or stock and share versions. 

The yearly £4000 limit can be put in with one lump sum or in instalments. After each month that you have saved, the state will add 25% to the total. As that is quite a substantial amount, there are a few caveats involved. 

Firstly, you have to be between the age of 18 to 39 to open one. Secondly, you can only withdraw money if you are buying your first home or retiring. Thus, they can only be used to save for retirement or for buying a property. 

Junior ISA

A Junior ISA lets you have tax free savings on behalf of a child. This can be for saving, investment or a mix and match approach. They operate in very much the same way as any other ISA account. 

Up to $9000 a year can get deposited into a Junior ISA. The caveat is the child takes control of the account at 16 but can not get the money until they are 18. The money is then legally theirs, to do what they want with.

Tips on Opening an ISA

When opting for an ISA, the best rates are fixed rates. The longer you are willing to lock away your cash, the better the rewards will be. Fixed rates with fixed periods will give the best value, which will increase the longer you keep your money tucked away. 

Many ISA accounts also remain open. For example, if you find a provider you have banked with in the past, they may let you pay into an old ISA account. You won’t have to go through the same setup process, but you will need to reactivate the account. 

Another tip is to always use your allowance when possible. Even if you are not happy with the rates on offer, the money still has tax free status. You can move it in the coming years and add to it which will pay long term, especially when interest rates go up. 

Finding a Provider

Now you know the benefits of a cash ISA, you should start to look for one. Shop around, as rates can differ wherever you go. You may find the most competitive rates are not your normal provider. 

For all of your wealth management, CFI is here to help. With advice on everything from economics to wealth finance, we can help you get the most from your money in the coming year. Click here to read all our blog articles on private banking. 

AIM 2022 Launches Prizes for Startup Pitching Competition

  • The Annual Investment Meeting 2022 has announced prizes for Startups attending the pitching competition.
  • The Annual Investment Meeting will serve as the premiere platform for Startups planning to scale up & expand to Dubai.

The world’s renowned and leading investment platform, The Annual Investment Meeting, will be providing prizes for startups at the startup pitch competition. The initiative will support and bring numerous opportunities, facilitate growth and future developments among global startups. The next chapter of the Annual Investment Meeting will be held on 29 – 31 March 2022, under the theme “Investments in Sustainable Innovation for a Thriving Future”, and will provide a powerful platform for startups to maximize their potential, expand their network, and grow globally.

AIM 2022 Startup competition

The Annual Investment Meeting’s Startup Pillar will host Live Pitching sessions, with the participation of the startups who will be physically exhibiting at the Dubai Exhibitions Centre at EXPO 2020 Dubai, or digitally via state-of-the-art virtual events platform, Events10X.

Startups will get the opportunity of networking with key industry figures, engaging with clients & investors, showcasing their innovations & B2B Matchmaking. The startups pitching competition will be based on the 3 tier Round of Funding format featuring various startups globally in the Pre-Seed, Seed & Series A funding categories. Startups will get the chance to win up to 110k AED in cash prizes and secure funding from global accelerators and Venture Capital firms.

The Annual Investment Meeting 2022 will also provide a virtual access to startups to gain maximum exposure and get connected with local and international investors from more than 170 participating countries, offering them abundant opportunities to find new sources of funding and financing solutions for their business. 

The Annual Investment Meeting 2022 strives to support all economic sectors by opening numerous doors of opportunities to the world, as a dynamic roadmap to recovery from COVID-19, as it highlights six multi-faceted pillars including Startups. With AIM’s pillars, AIM 2022 actively supports businesses, multinational organizations, regions, and countries during the rapid shift of the economy by extending its scope and not only by focusing on FDI. AIM 2022 is highly agile, and will serve as a dynamic gateway to jumpstart economies and boost economic productivity.

Across the globe, startups play a crucial role in developing new industries and creating innovative ideas. AIM helps startups by mentoring early-stage venture investment or seed funding. The Annual Investment Meeting 2022 will also provide virtual access to startups, providing them with the opportunity to gain maximum exposure and get connected with local and international investors from more than 170 participating countries, giving them abundant opportunities to find new sources of funding and financing solutions for their business.

Globally, startups contribute significantly to economic development and job creation. By 2030, the number of startups around the world is expected to increase and will create more than 600 million jobs. A wide range of activities await participating Startups at AIM 2022, such as World-Class Conferences and Workshops. Startups can explore innovative strategies and practices led by more than 300 high-level speakers which include, world leaders, ministers and heads of distinguished local and international organizations. The Exhibition will be participated by the best local and international exhibitors with the goal of achieving economic growth for their respective country and region.

According to start-up data platform MAGNiTT, MENA-based start-ups attracted $1.03 billion in investments in 2020, an increase of 13 percent from 2019. The UAE received 56 percent of all investments regionally. The region’s startups typically received funding from friends and family to get off the ground. An increase in the number and awareness of angel investors is making it easier for entrepreneurs to approach them for funding. In August, Mena startups raised over $ 160 million across 44 deals, bringing the year’s total to $1.78 billion. A total of $83.6 million was raised by 14 startups in the UAE, helping the UAE maintain its top ranking in the region. 

AIM 2022 will provide businesses, governments and civil society with an independent and future-oriented platform to amplify their efforts influencing and facilitating multistakeholder interaction and impact. The Startup pillar will connect keen investors looking for new avenues and investment projects in a sustainable and innovative environment, as well as governments looking for startup projects to increase their economic growth.

About the Annual Investment Meeting

The Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) is an initiative of the UAE Ministry of Economy, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai. AIM is the world’s leading investment platform with over 16,000 participants, over 400 exhibitors and co-exhibitors, 60+ high-level dignitaries, 150+ investment specialists and experts in 2019.

How to Save More Money Each Month: 13 Actionable Tips for Building Your Wealth

Looking to improve your financial situation? Whether you are struggling to make ends meet, you have a savings goal or you simply want a little extra in your pocket each month, there are a few money-saving tips that can transform your finances and life.

Many people wonder how to save more money and it can certainly be difficult when you have many outgoings. There are both big and small changes that you can make as part of a money-saving strategy that will deliver results. So, if you are looking for ways to save money each month then read on for the best budgeting tips.

1. Track Spending

First, you should track your spending. Keep track of every single expense that your household has for an entire month and list these in a spreadsheet. You should also subtract this from your total household income to see how much money you are saving each month. This will help you to see where your money is going and help you to feel in control of your spending.

2. Scrutinize Every Outgoing

Following on from this, you should then go through each of these expenses to see if they can be eliminated or if there are savings that can be made. Even making a minor adjustment to a small regular expense can make a big difference over the course of the year, such as bringing your own coffee in a flask instead of buying coffee each day.

3. Set Savings Goals

Many people spend frivolously because they see any leftover money as a bonus. Instead of throwing money away at things that you do not need, you should set yourself a savings goal. This will encourage you to tuck away any excess money and reduce your spending. You can keep this money in a high-interest savings account to grow your wealth over time.

4. Buy Cheaper Food

Food is a major – yet essential – cost to cover each month. There are always ways that you can make savings when it comes to food while still enjoying a delicious and healthy diet. A few of the best money-saving tips include:

  • Shopping at a cheaper supermarket
  • Buying non-brand products
  • Avoiding fast food/instant meals
  • Buying in bulk

5. Use Meal Prep

Following on from this, one of the best ways to save money each month on food is to use meal prep. Preparing dinners and lunches for the week in one cooking session allows you to cook meals from scratch, which makes it easier to maintain a cheap and healthy diet. Additionally, meal prep will save time and prevent you from buying expensive lunches and dinners throughout the week.

6. Buy Second-Hand

Before making a purchase, you should always ask yourself if you can get it second-hand first. These days, it is easy to buy clothes, technology, furniture and entertainment second-hand online. Additionally, consider selling items that you no longer need online for some extra cash in your pocket (and less clutter in the home).

7. Lower Your Energy Bill

Energy is another major cost, especially for family/large households. Fortunately, this is another area where there are lots of ways to save money each month. Additionally, this can also help you to reduce your environmental impact. A few money-saving tips include:

  • Solar panel installation
  • Using a smart thermostat
  • Turn down thermostat
  • LED lightbulbs
  • Use energy-efficient equipment
  • Turn off equipment when not in use
  • Home insulation

8. Shop Around

One of the best budgeting tips when shopping online is to shop around. Before buying a product, spend some time searching online to see if you could get the same product cheaper somewhere else (factoring in shipping costs). Alternatively, you might be able to find a cheaper alternative that is just as good (if not better).

9. Read Personal Finance Blogs

Part of a money-saving strategy should include reading personal finance blogs. Not only is this a great way to learn about ways to save money each month, grow your wealth and earn more, but it will also make personal finance part of your life. When you are thinking about personal finance, you are much more likely to make smarter spending decisions.

10. Find Cheap/Free Social Entertainment

It is unrealistic to eliminate unnecessary spending, but there are tips for saving more money on entertainment and socializing:

  • Dinner parties instead of going out to eat
  • Finding free community events
  • Spending time in the park/nature
  • Having drinks at home before going out

11. Try a Spending Freeze

If you find that you are cutting it fine each month and don’t have much cash in an emergency fund, a spending freeze could be smart as a way to relieve pressure. This involves eliminating any unnecessary spending for a period, such as a week, which should free up cash. You don’t want to do these too often as they can infringe on your life, but a few times a year they could make a big difference.

12. Reduce Driving

Instead of grabbing the keys when leaving the house, you should always ask yourself if you could walk or cycle instead. This can reduce your motoring costs and you might even find that you could manage without a car – this would make a huge difference to your finances. Additionally, walking/cycling is a great way to improve your health.

13. Automate Savings

Automating your savings is another smart money-saving strategy. When your income is automatically diverted to where it needs to go each month, it will prevent you from spending money that you should be saving. In addition to this, automating your savings will stop you from missing any payments and could help to improve your credit score.

How to Save More Money Made Easy With These Tips

If you want to know how to save more money each month, these are a few of the best budgeting tips to try. Combining these could be transformative for your finances, which could improve your life in many ways in the long term.

Check out our blog today to learn more about personal finance and the steps that you can take to develop a strong money-saving strategy.

KPMG Survey: Saudi Arabian CEOs look to prioritize ESG strategy, expect growth through M&A and digital investments

The majority of CEOs in Saudi Arabia are integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices into their business strategies for sustainable growth, as their risk profile shifts towards disruptive technology and environmental concerns, reveals KPMG in their annual CEO Outlook.

CEO Outlook Saudi Arabia

The CEU Outlook Saudi Arabia 2021: Purpose-led and prepared for growth is based on a global survey among 1,325 CEOs including 50 in Saudi Arabia, taking additional insight from interviews with business leaders in the Kingdom. All respondents based in the Kingdom represent companies with revenues greater than US$500 million and 60% of the companies have revenues greater than US$1 billion.

Given increasing stakeholder pressure, CEOs are putting people first to drive societal return and 92% of surveyed CEOs in the Kingdom comment their response to the pandemic has caused their focus to shift to the social component of their ESG programs. On the other hand, a mere 30% of CEOs in the Kingdom feel they will struggle to meet diversity and inclusion expectations, compared to 56% globally.

Making progress on climate change will require action from both businesses and government, with KPMG’s report finding 42% of Saudi-based CEOs intending to invest more than 10% of their revenues in becoming more sustainable. Six in ten CEOs in the Kingdom found their ESG programs improve financial performance.

“We notice that CEOs are putting ESG at the center of their organization’s long-term growth strategies. It’s been encouraging to see this trend and to see business leaders successfully tie their organization’s economic success to their ESG agendas. CEOs have proven they can be drivers of positive change,” commented Dr. Abdullah Al Fozan, Chairman of KPMG in Saudi Arabia.

According to the publication, CEOs in Saudi Arabia are optimistic, confident and expect aggressive growth through acquisitions, as well as other inorganic methods. Nearly 86% of CEOs in the Kingdom are looking at mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals as a means of growth in the next three years. As similar figure of 88% finds they need to be quicker to shift investments to digital opportunities.

In Saudi Arabia, 84% of the CEOs have confidence in the Kingdom’s growth, while 90% expect their company to exceed pre-pandemic levels. “The pandemic is not over, but CEOs are increasingly confident about economic growth in Saudi Arabia and globally,” added Dr. Al Fozan.

“With potential abound, CEOs are hoping to get on the front foot to position their businesses to capture it. Inorganic growth strategies are a popular choice to seize these opportunities. Business leaders are looking to expand organically and continue to assess the future of work to ensure they can attract top talent.”

CEOs emphasize leading with purpose, focusing on digitally transforming their organizations and upskilling an agile workforce.

CEOs in Saudi Arabia are strengthening their organization’s digital advantage by building a more flexible future of work and operating as part of digital ecosystems. Although wholesale changes to the office setup are uncommon, CEOs are more flexible, with 32% expecting most employees to work remotely at least two days a week and 28% considering hiring talent to work remotely.

KPMG advises three action areas that CEOs can focus on as they look to grow beyond the impact of the pandemic: growth and resilience, ESG and financial value and future of work.

Many organizations coped exceptionally well with the pandemic, showing resilience as they dealt with notable change, uncertainty and disruption.

“Resilience will be key to economic recovery. Along with specific interventions — from managing talent risk to building cyber defenses — CEOs will need to surround themselves with resilient people. They will also need to identify the ESG investments that are necessary to drive long-term value.”

“CEOs need to have a people-first mindset — investing in new technologies and human capability. They need to be purpose-led — winning the trust of stakeholders and helping build a more prosperous and sustainable world,” Dr. Al Fozan concluded.

The Different Types of Credit Cards, Explained

Are you thinking of getting a credit card?

From mortgages to car loans to renting a house, you’ll need a good credit score to get the best deals. If you’re looking to improve or build your credit score, then a credit card plays a vital part.

But you shouldn’t pick any old card or the first deal you see. Finding the best credit card starts with knowing your options. You must find a card that works for you.

That’s where we come in! Keep reading our guide where we’ll break down the different types of credit cards to choose from.

How to Choose a Credit Card

Different credit card offers cater to different types of users. It focuses on their interests and their financial needs. By doing this, banks hit the sweet spot of profitability and their risk management.

How to choose a credit card starts with knowing what user you are and there are 3 main types. Are you a student, business owner, or ordinary customer?

Business and student credit cards work on different rules. This is because there are different consumer protections. The financial needs of these users are also more unique.

The next considerations are your financial profile. This includes:

  • Credit history
  • Credit score
  • Current debts
  • Current income

With that features like the fees, rates and rewards will fall into place. You’ll see what credit companies are willing to give you, and on what terms. With how many variables there are to each credit card offer, it’s easy to see why there are so many card types.

The Reward Credit Card

Rewards cards work by giving you something back when you use them, like travel mileage. A cashback credit card gives you cash back when you buy something. Check here for more on travel vs cash back credit card options.

There are also points credit cards that give you points to spend elsewhere. In some cases, the credit company issues its own rewards program. Think of American Express Members Rewards.

Other issuers partner with hotels, airlines, and other retailers. Either way, the more you use the card, the more rewards you build up. In general, though, you’ll want to have a credit score of around 700+ to get the best rates and premium rewards. It’s also best for people who will use it often, and on large purchases.

The Retail Credit Card

Some retailers have their own store credit cards. For example, big names like River Island or New Look. The best cards offer access to promotions, discounts, and rewards for using them.

But, the interest rates on late payments can be high. These late or missed payments get back to the credit bureaus too, affecting your credit score. You want to check the terms and conditions before signing up for any of these.

Cards for Debt Transfer and Large Purchases

In some cases, making savings on interest payments is its own reward. If you often hold a balance on your card or have an existing card debt, you’ll want a low-interest rate. Or, you want to look for a 0% APR introduction offer.

While these cards can save you money, you should make sure you’re not in a debt cycle. Make sure you’re working to pay down your debt and clear off any balances you accrue on your cards.

The Balance Transfer Card

Balance transfer cards let you finance existing card debt for very little or no interest. This is often for a period between 6-18 months. They don’t have any rewards by can be a helping hand for reducing existing credit card debt.

You’ll likely need good credit to qualify though, as issuers still want to make sure of your risk level. If you have a high balance, it should be an early step to take before you get into any trouble.

The 0% Introductory APR Card

The 0% APR card gives you a long period to use your card and avoid interest payments. If you need to make large purchases, these can give more favourable options than taking out a loan. So long as you can pay it off within the interest-free period.

You’ll need a good to excellent credit score to qualify though. And make sure you read the fine print. Know how long you have interest free, and what that interest will be should that period expire.

Credit Cards for Students, Bad Credit or Establishing Credit

For those starting, or having to start over you won’t have a great credit score. You want to find a card designed for new credit users (like students) or those with bad credit looking to improve.

The Student Card

These cards are to help students with limited income and credit histories start out. Benefits and rewards will be modest, but there will be some perks over using cash or debit cards.

They can also help with learning money management skills and help in an emergency. You must learn to manage debt and your money, as well as build up a good score by graduation.

The Secured Credit Card

Secured cards can get people with bad credit or no credit history on track. But you’ll need to pay a security deposit that the issuer keeps if you default.

For example, you could get a card with a limit of £1,000, you might need to put £1,000 upfront in cash. This is to cover the balance if you fail to make your repayments.

You get the deposit back at the close of the account though if it’s in good standing. Or, if you upgrade to an unsecured card as your score improves, you’ll get it back then.

As long as you use them well and keep up with payments, they can be a great way to boost your score. They’ll also build up a credit history for you if yours it’s sparse.

The Business Credit Card

A dedicated business credit card helps keep personal and work finances separate. Most will have tracking and reporting features, as well as rewards for business use. These can include things like advertising and office supplies.

They’re great if you use them to manage large monthly transactions, as you can wrack up the rewards. For many businesses, it also helps make managing cash flow easier.

They work like consumer credit cards and often need personal guarantees. Your credit score and history as a business owner will determine which cards and rates you get. For larger companies and non-profits you could qualify for a corporate card. These don’t need personal guarantees.

Different Types of Credit Cards Explained

So, there you have it! Now you know the different types of credit cards, you’ll be sure to find the right one for you.

Think about your credit and financial needs. Are you looking to build up your score or start it off? Are you a small business looking to manage monthly expenses? Or are you a consumer, looking for the best rewards? This is what determines the type of card you look for.

If you’re looking for more banking and finance tips, check out our blog today. We’ve got tips and tricks from industry experts to help with all your finance needs.

8 Things You Need to Consider When Switching Banks

If you’re tired of your current bank’s level of service, you might be considering switching banks. It’s a big step, and according to statistics, one that many British people have never taken. In fact, about 39% of British consumers have never changed banks in their life.

Clearly, there’s a lot involved in switching banks and it’s a decision that no one takes lightly. Taking a balanced look at what you need to consider before switching banks can help you decide whether it’s time to take the leap.

Read on for 8 things you need to consider when switching banks. 

1. Check the Minimum Income Requirements

Most, but not all, UK banks set a minimum amount that must be paid into the account each month. If you’re switching current accounts, for most people this will not be a problem. They often set a minimum monthly income of £500 or £1000, which most people’s salaries will cover.

Be aware that the bank will expect you to continue to pay in this amount in the years to come. Can you anticipate a change in circumstances soon that could affect that? If so, consider choosing a bank with no monthly income requirement.

2. Compare Joining Bonuses and Offers

There are more retail banks eager for your business than ever before. 

In the past, the high street was dominated by a few big-name retail banks, and most people stayed with them for life. Now lots of banks offer incentives such as free cash for opening accounts and even cashback on certain bills.

However, it’s also more common now than in the past for banks to charge a monthly fee. This doesn’t just apply to premium accounts that offer additional insurances or services. Even ordinary current accounts may charge a small monthly fee for banking with them.

A joining bonus may be very tempting. But it’s should be just one consideration. Calculate how the cashback, fees, and special offers would work for you before making your choice.

3. Understand Banking Charges and Interest

As well as monthly fees, banks also charge fees such as overdraft interest and usage charges and foreign transactions.

Look honestly at the way that you use your current account. If you move:

  • Are you likely to face higher overdraft fees and interest payments?
  • Do you regularly make foreign transactions?
  • How much would they cost with the new account?

Take a close look at the small print before switching banks. This can help you to avoid any unpleasant surprises down the line. 

4. Current Account Switch Service (CASS)

Many banks in the UK have signed up to the Current Account Switch Service (CASS). This free service makes switching current accounts much easier and even allows you to switch if you are using your overdraft.

This means that all your regular payments, such as direct debits and standing orders, will be switched over without a hitch. Your old bank will then take care of closing your old account.

Moving to a bank that has signed up for this service should make your move a lot easier. It should also eliminate the possibility of missed payments. This allows you to take advantage of better deals as they become available.

Moving to a new bank only takes 7 days using the CASS.

5. Check Out Their App

Nowadays, we all expect easy access to our bank account on the go. If you’re less than satisfied with your current bank’s app, this may be a reason you’re considering making the switch.

Just make sure that you don’t go from the frying pan into the fire. Not all online banking apps are very user friendly. Read online reviews to see what customers have to say about the app’s ease of use.

6. Consider Their Customer Service

Excellent customer service leads to happy customers that don’t even think about switching banks.

Recent surveys have shown high levels of customer satisfaction with three banks that have no brick and mortar branches at all. These are First Direct, which is a phone and online-only division of HSBC.

The other two rated highly by customers are Starling Bank and Monzo, both of which are online only. The survey was based on how happy they keep the customers – a key point to consider when making a switch!

7. Consider High Street Presence

Many retail banks have closed branches and reduced their high street presence in recent years. If you’re opening a new bank account and need to pay in cash regularly, this could be a challenge.

Investigate the options open to you for paying in cash and cheques. You may be able to pay in cheques using the bank’s app, but there may be a relatively low threshold for this.

Other banks allow you to pay in using the Post Office, but again the amount you can deposit may be limited.

8. Focus on Overdraft Charges

Many of us need to dip into our overdraft now and then. If that describes you, then it makes sense to choose a bank that allows you to do this as cheaply as possible. 

Some provide an interest-free overdraft for a fixed period, which is ideal if you have a plan to pay it off before it ends. Others allow you an interest-free amount that stays in place as long as you have the account.

Make Switching Banks a Rewarding Experience

Opening a new bank account and closing a bank account may be things we don’t do very often. But follow these tips and a bit of homework, and switching banks will be easier than you think. Make a canny choice, and you should find that you’re better of by switching!

At Capital Finance International, we provide you with the latest information on banking worldwide. Our expert journalists analyse markets and interview key figures from the world of finance. Our news coverage alerts you to innovations affecting banking internationally.

Gain a deeper insight into the world of Finance by exploring our blogs and news articles today!

8 Sure-Fire Stock Investment Strategies

The lure of investing in the stock market is interesting and even a little glamorous for most people. The idea that you can put your money someplace and have it grow is intriguing. So, you might be surprised to learn that only 12% of the UK population has invested in the stock market. Are you interested in joining others in investing in stocks? Does the idea of growing your money through the stock market sound alluring to you? While for many people, it sounds like a good idea, most don’t have any idea how to get started. If you’re looking for investment strategies to buy into stock and shares, read on for more information.

1. Informed Decision Making

If you want to make money in the stock market, you need to have some knowledge. Then you need to use the knowledge to make informed decisions. 

Many people approach investing using simple name recognition. Oh, I recognize the name of that company, it might be a good idea to buy their stock. Yet, they don’t really know anything about the business model of the company or their track record of making money. 

Before investing in the stock of a company, you need detailed information about the history of the company and its projections for making money. 

2. Following the Herd

Don’t make stock investment decisions just because someone you know did. Don’t follow the pack when it comes to making stock investments. 

If everyone chose to make stock investments based on what others were doing, they all should hope the first person who led the pack knew what they were doing. 

It might be easy to make stock purchases because your family member or neighbour made the same purchase. But the truth is, you need your investment choices to be more informed. Refer back to number one on this list and do your homework.

3. Avoid the ‘Time the Market’ Approach

You, nor any other expert, can predict the ebb and flow of the market. Some who try to make a quick stock market buck will want to time the market and get in during a tight window. 

This approach over the long term just doesn’t work. You want to be in the market for the long term, it’s ultimately how you’ll make money. You can’t really guess the highs or the lows. 

Instead, invest in and be prepared to invest in a way that’s for the long term. Ultimately, most experts agree it’s how you really make money in the market. 

4. Understand the Business

Most people will say they are investing in the stock market. This may be true but ultimately as an investor, you want to invest in a business versus a stock. 

You should understand the business you invest in. Don’t invest because you know the name, know the business they are in instead. 

When you understand the business, you’re likely to understand the factors that might impact the success, or lack of it, of a business. A business’ success can impact its stock prices, after all. 

5. Invest With Discipline

The simple fact is that the stock market can be more volatile than other types of investments. What makes it volatile can also be unexpected making it hard to plan for. 

If you invest in the stock market, you should approach your investment with great discipline. This means you make fact-based, educated investments and you don’t get skittish during the inevitable highs and lows of the market. 

You should invest and be patient for your money to grow over the long term

6. Avoid Emotional Investing

Most people would agree it can be challenging to not get emotional about their money, good or bad. You should not make emotional investment decisions.

You don’t want to make a decision to buy or sell based on an emotional decision. It’s a quick way to lose money. 

Many people have fallen into the panic trap while investing and made bad decisions that have cost them money. 

Go back to the idea that your investments should be based on informed and knowledgeable decisions, not emotional ones. Keep your expectations realistic and understand the market can be volatile and you need to be careful to avoid emotional decision making.

7. Think Diversification 

While it is important to be knowledgeable and informed in your decision making and you want to invest in companies you know. Another key to successful investing is diversification. 

Diversification means you create an investment portfolio that is varied enough to reduce your risk in the market. If one area of stocks struggles, you have enough diversity in your investments to handle the ups and downs that naturally occur with stock investing. 

One important consideration when investing is your personal threshold for risk. All investing involves risk.  Often the greater the risk, the greater the opportunity for making money, or losing it. You shouldn’t invest with a level of risk that will make an emotional investor. 

8. A Financial House In Order

Investing for the future through the stock market, or other means is a great idea. Yet, it doesn’t make sense to begin investing money if you don’t have your own financial house in order. 

Let’s say you have significant debt from credit cards. It doesn’t make sense to use your assets to invest only to make a smaller percentage than you are paying in interest.  Instead, before you start investing, pay down debt and make sure you have the assets in place to make the investments, especially over the long term.

Investment Strategies for the Stock Market

Use smart and calculated investment strategies to grow your money in the stock market. Don’t make emotional decisions and be prepared to invest over the long term. 

For more financial information and help with your wealth management, we can help. Visit our blog for more opportunities to learn and plan your financial future. 

5 Easy Ways to Save On Your Car Insurance

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

If you own a vehicle, paying for car insurance is an unavoidable expense, but that doesn’t mean that you have to spend more money than necessary. If your premiums have gone up or you are looking for insurance for a new car, there are ways to get a lower price and cut back on your budget.

With the proper research and communication with your broker, you can save a bundle on your car insurance. Not all insurance companies are created equally, so if you are tired of overpaying with your current company, it may be time to start shopping around.

Reputable companies like My Choice Financial can help you find the coverage you need for an affordable price. Let’s take a closer look at a few easy ways to save on your auto insurance.

Shop Around

You may have been dealing with the same insurance company for many years but that doesn’t mean that you are getting the best price. If you are unhappy with your current premiums or are shopping for a new policy, it’s best to do your research. Take some time to do an internet search to compare prices and policies. Keep in mind that the lowest price isn’t always the best option; you need to consider what you are getting for the price. Get at least three quotes before you make your choice.

Bundle

One of the easiest ways to reduce your insurance costs is to bundle your policies. If you are dealing with multiple companies for your personal policies, you could be wasting money. Finding one company to which you can entrust your home, life, and auto insurance can save you money.

Discounts

Insurance companies often have multiple discounts that they don’t necessarily advertise. In most cases, if you want to find discounts on your insurance, you will have to ask your broker directly. Most insurance companies have typical discounts, including:

  • Seniors discount
  • Military or veteran discount
  • Safe driving discount
  • Loyalty discount
  • Multiple vehicle discount
  • Annual payment discount
  • Low mileage discount

Increase Your Deductible

When you have to claim your insurance, you will be required to pay a deductible amount. Most people prefer to keep their deductible costs at the lowest rate, which is generally $500. If you want to save money on your premiums, you can bump up your deductible amount. This means that you will need to have money set aside to pay for your claim, but your premiums will be reduced throughout the year.

Pay Annually

Insurance companies reward their clients that choose to pay their premiums all at once on an annual basis. You can save more than 10% on your overall insurance costs if you pay annually on your policy.

Car insurance is an unavoidable expense if you own a car. Every state has made it a law that you must have a minimum policy on your vehicle. If you want to save some money on your insurance costs, try some of these tips to help you save.

7 Essential Steps to Take If You’re a Victim of Banking Fraud

The FTC, also known as the Federal Trade Commission, had more than 2.1 million reports of fraud from consumers in 2020. Banking fraud is one of the most common types of fraud and results in millions of dollars lost each year. 

If you are a victim of banking fraud, there are steps that you can take to regain your safety and to prevent future fraud from happening. 

Do you want to learn more about what you should do if you are a victim of fraud? Keep reading these 7 steps to take after banking fraud to learn more.

1. Immediately Contact Your Bank

When you have identified fraudulent activity on your bank statements or credit reports, it is vital that you immediately contact your bank. While fraud cases and cybercrime continually increase, only 15% of these crimes are reported. 

Reporting fraud to your bank will allow them to take immediate action to protect your account from future transactions. This means that you can be sure that you will not lose any more money. 

They can help you cancel your credit cards and give you replacement cards to protect your finances. Your bank will also be able to refund the money that was stolen out of your account. 

However, if you wait too long to contact your banking institution, you may not be able to refund the money that was stolen.  

2. File Reports & Complaints

Next, it is important that you file reports and complaints. 

First, you should report this crime to your local police department. Even if they are not able to help you identify the source of fraud, filing a report is often a necessary step to take if you want to get your money back. 

Next, you need to file a report with the Federal Trade Commission. They will get more details about your specific case which may be able to prevent other people from being victims of the same scam. 

3. Collect Important Information

If you are the victim of bank fraud, you may need to open a case or file a claim with your insurance agency if you want to get your money back. To make sure you are protected, it is important to collect important information about your case as soon as it happens. 

This includes your account number, when you noticed the fraudulent activity on your account, when you reported this activity, and if you filed a report with the FTC or police. 

Having this information will make other organizations take your case seriously and may help you get a favourable result.  

4. Place a Fraud Alert

Something else that can give you peace of mind after you have been the victim of banking fraud is to place a fraud alert on your accounts. This will not have any impact on your credit score, but it can prevent people from getting credit under your name. 

It essentially acts as a red flag for lenders and other creditors and will require extra verification to be sure that it is you that is applying for new credit. 

5. Change Your Banking Passwords

Next, you need to change all of your banking passwords. If you have been the victim of a financial scam, you will not know how the criminal got access to your banking information. 

For example, they may have stolen the numbers off of your card. Or maybe they hacked into your bank account after you used a public computer to log onto your account. 

By getting a new credit card and by changing your passwords for things like your bank account, you can keep people from accessing your account in the future. It is also important to never share your passwords with anyone who should not have permanent access to your bank account. 

6. Request a Credit Freeze

Anyone can place a credit freeze on their account, which acts as an extra layer of security. It will prevent people from opening any new credit accounts in your name without authorization. 

If you place this alert and someone tries to use your information to open a new account, you will be notified and you may have a better chance of stopping the criminal who has your information. 

7. Take Steps to Prevent Future Fraud

Finally, it is vital that you take steps now to prevent credit card fraud from happening in the future. People who are victims of fraud are often targeted more than once, so it is important that you take steps to protect yourself from this. 

First, it is important to learn how to practice online banking safety. This includes regularly scanning your bank statements for fraud, avoiding public wifi or computers when using private information, and more. 

You also need to understand common types of scams. Recognizing scam techniques can prevent you from being a victim of a banking scam in the future.

 Finally, you can use things like anti-virus protection to stay safe from viruses or malware and to keep your private data safe. These types of fraud awareness will keep you safe in the future!

Learn More About Banking Fraud & Protecting Your Finance Today

Banking fraud is a common tactic that results in millions of dollars lost each year.

However, many instances of banking fraud go unreported. If you have been a victim of fraud or identity theft, it is vital that you take these steps to take control of your banking and to prevent fraud from happening again. 

By staying up to date on trends in finance and banking, you can be prepared for these situations and can even prevent them from happening. 

Do you want to learn more about banking and finance? CFI.co can help! Check out our website for more tips about banking and how you can protect yourself from fraud.