PERSONAL FINANCE NEWS

CREDIT CARD USERS NEED DIRECT DEBIT
Research from Confused.com shows that Brits are wasting £150m a year on unnessary credit card charges. The majority of UK credit card users, 57.5 per cent, are missing minimum payments because they have not set up a direct debit, leaving them liable for a “late payment” charge from their provider. Considering these cost on average £12 per time, these charges can soon stack up.

FIXING YOUR SAVINGS RATE PAYS
First Direct research shows that over the past decade fixed rate deals have offered better returns than variable rate products during the same period. On average, not fixing has cost UK savers £629m in interest, or £78.50 per savings account each year between 2005-2010. This is no doubt primarily due to the financial crisis causing the base rate to plummet to its current 0.5 per cent level, and shows that fixing your savings rate seems to pay in uncertain times.

PARENTS NEED TO SAVE MORE
With university fees rising to as much as £9,000 per year, parents who don’t want their children to take out loans need to save as much as £27,000 to cover the cost of an undergraduate degree. This means saving £82 each month from birth to cover the cost, according to analysis by Family Investments, a children’s savings provider. This figure rises significantly to £129 each month if parents delay saving until their child is aged five.

INFLATION HITS OLDER PEOPLE HARDER
Over 55s are on average £30 per month, £907.20 per year, worse off due to rising prices since September 2010. The latest data from the Age Concern Enterprises Silver Retail Prices Index (RPI) – an index that measures the effect of inflation on the over 55s – has increased by five percent above the headline inflation measure. This is largely due to the increase in the cost of energy – a sector that affects older people disproportionately.