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Pension contributions: Warning as some may ‘never be able to afford to retire’ – check now

Pension income is a crucial, yet fragile element of retirement. In the modern economy, a person’s ability to retire is largely dependent on how much they were able to save in their working life but this brings with it certain challenges.

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Today, Scottish Widows released research which found that workers in certain sectors could face a lifetime of “playing catch-up” with their retirement savings.

This has, of course, been exacerbated by coronavirus but many within certain fields were struggling to adequately save for retirement before the disease emerged.

Sottish Widows came to their findings using two rounds of research, the first being analysis of YouGov data from over 5,000 respondents.

The second focused on the impact of coronavirus and again utilised information from over 2,000 YouGov users.

The retirement report from Scottish Widows found that:

  • More than a quarter (27 percent) of those who work in travel and the arts have not yet started saving into a pension
  • Two-thirds (67 percent) of retail workers are worried that if they ever did retire, they would quickly run out of money
  • Three in five (62 percent) construction workers feel they are not preparing adequately for retirement
  • Only 18 percent of restaurant workers are optimistic about retirement

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These findings came before the worst of the pandemic kicked in, meaning that the situation could be even worse.

Those in particularly suffering industries are likely to struggle the most, an example being the retail and aviation sectors who have reportedly cut 11,000 jobs in two days.

Accommodation and restaurant businesses have also suffered heavy losses, with almost 50 percent of employees in these industries having been furloughed in recent months.

The pessimism on retirement within these sectors could also be attributed to working practices according to Scottish Widows.

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Their analysis detailed that employers within these fields will often only contribute the legal minimum into their pensions.

As an example, it was found that more than 85 percent of workers in accommodation and restaurant businesses receive an employer pension contribution of less than four percent.

Pete Glancy, Head of Policy at Scottish Widows, commented on the dire state of affairs “A record high three out of five people are now saving adequately for retirement.

“Yet, long-term prospects are still to a large degree defined by the industry in which people work.

“That’s because, while auto enrolment has transformed the retirement prospects of millions, minimum contributions are still far below what is needed to provide a good standard of living.

“We recognise that the next 12-18-months is going to be about businesses getting back on their feet, but many individuals have taken a substantial hit to their finances and the fear is that the gap can’t be closed, meaning they face a lifetime of work as they struggle to afford to retire.”

Pete concluded by explaining what could be done to fix this problem: “We must face up to the fact that the pension system unfairly penalises those who are in low paid work.

“Scrapping the minimum earnings threshold would allow millions of multi-jobbers to benefit from auto-enrolment like everyone else, and is long overdue.”

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Mrs Hinch shares her £1 radiator cleaning hack to remove dust and rust

Mrs Hinch has shared thousands of cleaning hacks over recent years which has inspired millions to clean their homes. Radiators are often an overlooked place when it comes to cleaning and they should be cleaned regularly for many different reasons. Mrs Hinch has shared how she gets her radiators clean and dirt free.

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Radiators can harbour a lot of dirt and grime but many people forget to even wipe them.

Mrs Hinch often shares quick cleaning hacks to make cleaning more enjoyable and easier.

Using a diluted Zoflora mix in her favourite scent, the cleaning sensation sprayed a cloth with the mix and wipes the radiators in her home.

When used correctly, Zoflora can get rid of nasty bacteria and germs in the home.

This banished any dust that was visible as well as disinfecting them, removing any germs and bacteria.

Zoflora also leaves a lasting fragrant smell in the home for many hours.

When diluted 1:40, that is one capful of Zoflora with 400ml of water, it can kill germs, bacteria and even some viruses.

Zoflora is a concentrated disinfectant that claims to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria on surfaces.

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The product starts from £1 a bottle, and is then diluted in water to create the cleaning product.

It has also been proven to be effective against other common household bacteria including E.coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and viruses such as Influenza-Type A.

Sarah Fozzard, Head of Home Hygiene at Zoflora said: “With research suggesting that viruses can remain infectious on surfaces for a matter of days, using Zoflora to clean and disinfect hard surfaces at home, in places of education and in the workplace is one way to protect yourself and your family.”

Zoflora can also be used around most pets as well as being used to clean outdoor furniture. This can help remove pet smells and odours that would usually last in the home for hours.

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An all round purpose disinfect, Zoflora can leave your home smelling fresh and fragrant for many hours as well as banishing any nasty harbouring germs.

The radiator should be cool when cleaning it otherwise it may be too hot to touch.

The back of the radiator is quite difficult to clean and so a hand held hoover attachment may be great in trying to suck up the dust that can build up behind the radiator.

A microfibre cloth may be suitable for cleaning the radiator because they can absorb more liquid, making them much more effective for cleaning.

Mrs Hinch has previously revealed that Zoflora is her favourite disinfectant and she uses it on many surfaces around her home.

To remove stubborn stains, one Mrs Hinch fan shared how she used The Pink Stuff paste to get rid of her rust stains on the radiator.

It is available to purchase in stores like B&M and Home Bargains.

The product costs usually around £1 but some fans have shared how they have managed to find it for cheaper when on special offer.

The product is very versatile and can be used on stainless steel taps, work surfaces and to clean hobs.

Star Brands, the company behind The Pink Stuff say the cleaner is a: “Hardworking, cream cleaner designed to help you remove stains from around the home whilst being gentle on surfaces.”

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Stamp duty: ‘Government needs to take immediate action’ to fix rules – costs explained

Mortgage bills could be made even more expensive than they already are if stamp duty is involved. In England and Northern Ireland, people will be liable to pay stamp duty when they purchase a residential property or piece of land costing more than £125,000 (or £40,000 for second homes).

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This tax will apply to both freehold and leasehold properties, regardless of if they’re being bought outright or with a mortgage.

The actual rate charged will depend on the property itself and the circumstances in which it’s bought but the bill can easily top several thousand pounds.

Property has become a big focus for people in recent months as coronavirus impacted people’s ability to not only move, but also just conduct viewings.

Many people are understandably worried about the impact this will have on people’s lives as well as the wider economy.

Chris Denning, a partner at MHA Macintyre Hudson, provided his thoughts on the “immediate action” the government should take to support the economy further.

Noting that as a taxing tool, stamp duty may be surprisingly ineffective: “Stamp duty has long been an arbitrary barrier in the housing market.

“pricing people out of purchases while generating less than two percent of the government’s overall tax take.

“In the current extraordinary circumstances lowering stamp duty, even temporarily, would be an important stimulus for the housing market and wider economy.

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“Tax losses from a reduction in the rate could even be recouped by an increase in the number of sales.”

Cutting stamp duty could even benefit a new normal way of life that may emerge as the lockdown ends, as Chris continued: “A stamp duty cut would help people with existing plans to move home, and people considering a move, for example out of the city, because they’ll now be working remotely more often.

“As working arrangements and personal financial circumstances change, the UK will require a degree of right-sizing between homes.”

Stamp duty bills may be levied in a wave of movement soon as some people may be keen to get back to their mortgage concerns once the economy opens up.

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In this haste, it may be likely that some people could forget about the short term obligations that stamp duty presents.

Any SDLT due must be paid within 14 days after the effective date of the transaction.

If the payment is late, interest will be added to the bill, creating a bigger problem down the line.

While properties valued less than £125,000 will not have SDLT levied, there are other circumstances where it may not be due.

According to the Money Advice Service, stamp duty will either be not be due or could be reduced under the following circumstances:

  • Slightly over rate band – If the price is only just within a higher band, the buyer can ask the seller or estate agent if they would accept a slightly lower price.
  • Transfer of property in separation or divorce – If a person is divorcing or separating from their spouse or partner, there’s no Stamp Duty to pay if they transfer a proportion of the home’s value to them
  • Transfer of deeds – If a person transfers the deeds of a home to someone else – either as a gift or in a will – they won’t have to pay Stamp Duty on the market value of the property

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Post Office credit card deals revealed – zero percent balance transfers are available

Post Office credit cards may not be the first thing that comes to mind when people plan out their finances. Not looking into what the Post Office has to offer could result in some missed opportunities however, as they offer various financial products that could rival those offered by banks, which includes ISAs and Mortgages.

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A Post Office credit card could be particularly beneficial for people looking to transfer their balances, as applicants may be eligible for zero percent balance transfers for up to 18 months.

Their credit card could also provide a level of financial security as it is globally accepted in over 70 million MasterCard locations.

Holders of this card will also receive 24/7 customer support online, through an app and over the phone.

Due to people’s differing needs, the Post Office has two versions available.

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Classic Credit Card

Their classic credit card offers the following features:

• 19.9 to 34.9 percent (variable) range of APR which Is dependent on individual circumstances

• A £200 – £8,000 credit limit

• An applicant may be eligible for zero percent on purchases for up to 12 months

• An Applicant may be eligible for zero percent on balance transfers for up to 18 months, although there is a 2.9 percent transfer fee

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For those who (usually) travel a lot or only use credit cards on holidays, there is also a travel card available.

Travel Credit Card

The travel credit card offers similar feature with a few noticeable differences/perks in other areas:

• 19.9 to 24.9 percent (variable) range of APR which is dependent on individual circumstances

• A £500-£6,000 credit limit

• Globally accepted in over 70 million MasterCard locations, online and offline

• No foreign exchange fees when money is spent abroad

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For those interested in setting up an account, the Post Office provides an eligibility checker that can be used before applying.

This checker can let people see if they’re likely to be accepted for the card before taking action, which should protect a credit score.

The checker falls into three categories which requires the applicant to enter personal information including “about you”, “where you live” and “work and finances”.

It should be noted that the Post Office is actually listed as the credit broker on the account, while Capital One is the exclusive lender and issuer of all new Post Office credit cards.

Once a person has a Post Office credit card, they’ll be able use an online portal for performing many operational tasks.

This can include checking a balance, credit limit and finding recent transactions.

The Post Office can be called for additional help but interestingly, there are different numbers for different account numbers.

If a card number starts with 5545 or 5425, the holders should call 0345 607 6500.

If it starts with 5185, 0344 481 0902 should be called.

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Mrs Hinch fan shares ‘game changer’ £1 oven cleaning hack to remove grease

Mrs Hinch is a well known social media sensation who rose to fame after posting cleaning hacks onto her Instagram. She inspires people to find their own unusual cheap cleaning hacks that work wonders on household items. One Mrs Hinch fan has said that her cleaning hack removes tough grease from the oven and has labelled it a ‘game changer’.

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Posting onto Facebook group Cleaning Tips & Tricks, one cleaning fanatic shared her incredible oven cleaning tip with this unusual item.

She wrote: “My new best oven cleaning tools. Please don’t judge i have been pre occupied with personal stuff but finally catching up.

“No more expensive oven cleaners elbow grease sprayed on with a glass scraper and all the grease comes straight off.”

The woman then revealed a series of before and after photos as well as a video showing the magic hack working wonders on her stained oven.

The before photos pictured a grease stained oven including the doors.

The after pictures showed a completely sparkling clean oven with no grease to be seen.

During the video, the woman shows how she sprayed one of Mrs Hinch’s favourite products called Elbow Grease into the entirety of her oven, including the doors.

The cleaning fan then showed her glass scraper working on the tough grease which managed to pick the grease up effortlessly.

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Fans of the hack were quick to rush to the comments to find out more about this unusual hack and how they could do this at home themselves.

One comment read: “Game changer x.”

“That video is very satisfying. Good job,” another fan said.

Other fans questioned where the amazing tool was from and how expensive it was.

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One fan commented: “Where did you buy that tool?”

The woman replied saying: “u can get in wilkos, poundshop, amazon just make sure they are glass scraper.”

The creator of the hack replied to a few comments ensuring people knew to buy a glass scraper instead of any other one. This is because other scrapers could be more harsh and potentially scratch the oven.

The Elbow Grease All Purpose Degreaser is loved by the cleaning guru as well as many of her followers.

The spray costs around £1 and can be used on many surfaces around the home unlike other cleaning products that are designed to be used on a particular area.

After leaving it on the oven for a few minutes to work, the woman then effortlessly scraped off the grime and grease with her new favourite cleaning tool.

Glass scrapers can be picked up for as little as £1 too, making this cleaning hack very affordable for those wanting to try it for themselves.

One woman revealed how she got her Mum’s tiles sparkling clean with just a small amount of the Elbow Grease spray.

Posting on a Mrs Hinch cleaning Facebook group she wrote: “My mum’s house has been a building site lately and has this awful lino that is so hard to clean – the dirt builds up in the tiny grooves.

“I’ve even tried bleach and so many cleaners but nothing worked.”

However she revealed that she scrubbed the floor with the £1 miracle spray and revealed tiles that look good as new with no more dirt in the grooves.

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Carpet cleaning: Mrs Hinch fans share unusual hack to remove stains and freshen carpets

Looking online can be a great way for homeowners to get new cleaning tips. Mrs Hinch fans revealed the common household item that can remove stains and freshen up a carpet.

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Regularly cleaning a property is vital to keeping it looking fresh and tidy.

No matter how clean a home is, stained carpets will still make it appear grubby.

Mrs Hinch gained fans by sharing her simple cleaning hacks on social media.

She will post regular updates online detailing her favourite products and cleaning hacks.

Homeowners have now set up pages dedicated to her tips where they will also post their own cleaning queries and advice.

How to clean a carpet

A stain on a cream carpet is every homeowner’s nightmare and what one woman was recently faced with.

She explained a red marker pen had left a stain on her light coloured carpet.

Posting on a Mrs Hinch Cleaning Facebook page, she shared pictures of the mark.

The Facebook user wrote: “Any ideas how to get red semi permanent red hair dye out of my cream carpet? My dog decided to chew it!”

While there are plenty of carpet cleaning products on the market, splashing out on expensive brands may not be necessary.

Some homeowners recommended using a simple item that many people will have in their home.

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Commenting on the post, a Facebook user wrote: “Try hairspray.”

“Hairdressers use hairspray on their work clothes to take out the dye,” another added.

Others shared their experiences with hairspray and explained it had also worked for them.

Cleaning carpets is an important task whether there are visible stains or not, according to experts at sofa and carpet specialist SCS.

They said: “Bedroom carpets can be ten times dirtier than a toilet seat.

“So it’s really important to clean them regularly.

“At least once a week, give your carpets a good vacuum, and use natural cleaning sprays for a quick refresh.”

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Average house prices slip down in June but prices rise in some regions over last quarter

Latest figures from the Nationwide released today indicate that average house prices in the UK dropped by 0.1 percent in June when compared to the same time last year, the first time that annual growth has been in negative territory since 2012. On a seasonally adjusted basis, house prices in June were 3.2 percent lower than in April, and also returned a month on month decrease of 1.4 percent. Having said that, UK house prices remain on average 19 percent higher than their 2007 peak.

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Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist commented: “It is unsurprising that annual house price growth has stalled, given the magnitude of the shock to the economy as a result of the pandemic.

“Economic output fell by an unprecedented 25 percent over the course of March and April, almost four times more than during the entire financial crisis.

“Housing market activity also slowed sharply as a result of lockdown measures implemented to control the spread of the virus.

“While latest data from HMRC showed a slight pick-up in residential property transactions from April’s low, in May they were still 50 percent lower than the same month in 2019.” 

Robert continued: “With lockdown measures due to be eased in the weeks ahead, housing market activity is likely to edge higher in the near term, albeit remaining below pre-pandemic levels.

“Nevertheless, the medium-term outlook for the housing market remains highly uncertain. Much will depend on the performance of the wider economy, which will in turn be determined by how the pandemic and restrictions on activity evolve, including any behavioural shifts.”

What is evident from this morning’s data, however, is that while the average figure for the UK has moved in a negative direction, that’s not necessarily the case when you look at the how regions have performed individually over the past three months.

The Nationwide report shows that the majority of English regions saw growth, albeit at modest levels and ranging up to five percent in the second quarter of 2020, when compared to the same period in 2019.

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The North West was the strongest performer, with annual price growth of 4.8 percent over the past three months, followed by the South West as the next best performing region, which saw 2.3 percent average increases in property values over the last quarter.

Other areas didn’t fare quite so well, with East Anglia only seeing average increases of 0.7 percent and the North East seeing no average growth at all throughout April, May and June.

Looking at the figures for London Robert Gardener noted: “Annual house price growth in London edged higher, with prices up 2.1 percent in Q2. Average prices in the capital are now just 3 percent below the all-time highs recorded in Q1 2017 and 55 percent above their 2007 levels.”

Guy Gittins, managing director of London estate agency Chestertons agreed, and said: “This is broadly in line with what we expected given the considerable impact that lockdown has had on the housing market. It is encouraging that the fall in June is less than in May and a sign that the market is recovering.

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“Prices were always going to be hardest hit in the first few months of lockdown and we now appear to be in the first phase of recovery and expect prices to begin to level out over the coming months.”

Fellow London agent, Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves concured, and added:“The first look at house price values during the most restricted period of lockdown was inevitably going to portray a market on its knees. 

“However, the reality is buyers and sellers weren’t so much down and out, just forced to check out momentarily. With such a severe lack of market activity, there was only ever going to be sharp declines across the board, and this is something we know turned 360 degrees overnight once the market did reopen.”  

Former RICS residential chairman Jeremy Leaf also observed:  “Prices are being kept in check by affordability issues and more supply gradually becoming available. But demand is picking up as some buyers emerge from enforced confinement in unsuitable property and or relationships to take advantage of continuing low interest rates, while sellers are more realistic.”

There are still significant challenges to overcome before the market is back on its feet again, particularly around the availability of mortgages. Figures from the Bank of England this week show that there were only 9,300 approvals for house purchase in May, down 90 percent when compared with February and 86 per cent lower when compared to May 2019.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients suggested: “It will be a shock for homeowners to hear that average prices fell for the first time in June since December 2012 but it is indicative of how devastating an impact the pandemic has had on the housing market and wider economy more generally.”

Mark continued: “Housing market activity was forced to grind to a halt during lockdown and June has seen the doors re-open and things start to get back to normal. Surveyors have been dealing with the backlog of valuations and lenders are dealing with requests for mortgage payment deferrals, staff getting back to the office and demand, in particular for high loan-to-values.

“As lockdown measures ease further, we expect the market to pick up further. Various government schemes to support the economy and incomes should help ease the pain of the next few months.”

Robert Gardner concluded: “The raft of policies adopted to support the economy, including to protect businesses and jobs, to support peoples’ incomes and keep borrowing costs down, should set the stage for a rebound once the shock passes, and help limit long-term damage to the economy. These same measures should also help ensure the impact on the housing market will ultimately be less than would normally be associated with an economic shock of this magnitude.”

Follow Louisa on Twitter: @louisafletcher

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State pension UK: How Rishi Sunak could maintain triple lock without hitting pensioners

State pension payments will increase every year by the highest of wage growth, inflation or 2.5 percent under triple lock rules. However, given the economic impact that coronavirus is having, the affordability of the scheme has been questioned in recent weeks and there have been reports that the government may be considering making changes.

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Recent analysis from Quilter showed just how this could work in practice.

According to their research, wages are expected to fall by 3.3 percent this year but then bounce back next year, creating a one-off spike in wage growth, boosting it by five percent.

They detailed that under the triple lock rules, the old-style state pension could increase by £532.20 a year by 2022/23 and the new style state pension by £694.67 a year.

All of this would occur at a time when many will be out of work and inflation will remain low.

Quilter went on to provide analysis on how a temporary fix could be found.

They explained that Rishi Sunak could maintain the triple lock but use a five-year rolling average for wage growth rather than using the year-on-year figure.

If this methodology were to be used, the old-style state pension will only increase by £374.88 a year in 2022/23 and the new state pension by £489.23.

According to their analysis, this would be equivalent to the government saving approximately £2.2billion by 2022/23.

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This methodology, Quilter claimed, would provide a short-term solution to the abnormal wage volatility issue next year while maintaining a link to long-term wage growth.

It could provide the government with an opportunity to consider whether a long-term solution is required to protect state pensions if the triple lock scheme needs to be removed.

Jon Greer, the Head of Retirement Policy at Quilter, commented on the triple lock situation.

As he detailed: “The triple lock has worked well in reversing the relative decline in the state pension so that it has made up much of the ground it had lost relative to earnings during the 1980s and 1990s.

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“However, once the furlough scheme ends later this year and wages recover to their normal levels, the current triple lock will provide a considerable boost to the level of state pension at a time when many are out of work and the government struggles to control the deficit.

“This is untenable both in terms of its fiscal sustainability and intergenerational fairness.

“Despite a pledge to maintain the triple lock in his government’s election manifesto, this quirk in the system could mean the triple lock is high on the Chancellor’s list of fiscal changes when he sets out the government’s post-Covid recovery plans in the coming weeks.

“The government could temporarily amend the triple lock by uprating the state pension based on the higher of 2.5 percent, inflation or five year rolling average wage growth. This will smooth any abnormal wage effects whilst protecting real incomes and saving the government a considerable amount each year.

“Maintaining the triple lock in its current form is simply not an option.

“The government should use this opportunity to carefully consider the merits of moving to a long-term solution, such as a smoothed earnings link, so that pensioners share in the proceeds of economic growth, whilst protecting their income against inflation and ensuring intergenerational fairness”.

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Balance transfer credit cards: TSB’s 0% interest for up to 30 months deal ends TONIGHT

The Platinum Balance Transfer Card from TSB offers zero percent interest for up to the first 30 months on balances which are transferred within the first 90 days. However, TSB has said this exclusive offer will end on June 30, 2020 – meaning there’s only hours left until the deal ends.

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The Platinum Balance Transfer Card also offers zero percent on purchases for three months.

TSB states the card has a 2.95 percent balance transfer fee during the first 90 days.

At the time of writing, the variable purchase rate is 19.95 percent per annum.

Meanwhile, it has a representative 19.9 percent APR (variable) based on borrowing £1,200 over 12 months.

The deadline for accessing the interest free for up to 30 months offer is something which Martin Lewis has highlighted in recent weeks.

During The Martin Lewis Show on Thursday night, he told ITV viewers: “So, we talked about balance transfers earlier. That is of course where you get a new card that pays off debts on the old cards for you.

“So, you owe the new card the money at a cheaper interest rate. More of your money clears the debt rather than servicing the interest.”

Last week, the financial journalist and campaigner continued: “Well, I’m afraid the longest zero percent deal on the market is being withdrawn next Tuesday.

“So if you want it, you’d need to go quickly. It’s TSB’s up to 30 month zero percent, with a three percent fee.

“That’s basically £30 per £1,000 that you shift. Now, the long card is good if you need a long time to repay or you’re not sure how long, play safe, go long.”

However, the Money Saving Expert founder added that there are alternative options when it comes to zero percent interest cards.

“You can repay quicker – there are other choices including the Santander 18-month zero percent which is no fee, so it’s the cheapest.

“But, it’s the only open to all, no fee card on the market longer than five months, so that may go. So you need to basically get on with this.

“If you’re paying interest on credit cards, try this. Use an eligibility calculator to see which cards you’re likely to be able to get as well.”

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Earlier this month, the Moneyfacts UK Credit Card Trends Treasury Report revealed that the number of zero percent credit cards on the market has fallen to a record low.

Rachel Springall, Finance Expert at Moneyfacts, said: “As uncertainty builds surrounding consumer debt, this shake-up of the credit card market could not come at a worse time.

“Consumers will have less choice when picking a zero percent card for making purchases and the cost to borrow on a credit card outside of a zero percent offer has risen to a record high.

“Borrowers may well use credit cards as a way to spread the cost of their purchases, but for those struggling with debt or have had their personal circumstances change in light of the coronavirus pandemic, these debts could hang overhead for much longer then they expect.

“Credit card providers act quickly when the risk to take on debts escalates and right now there is a refocus of credit card propositions to mitigate debt write-offs.

“This echoes the movements seen after the financial crash – indeed, between June 2008 and June 2009, the number of zero percent purchase cards fell from 112 to 85.

“Those looking for a zero percent balance transfer card may also need to act quickly to take advantage of the most lucrative offers as choice diminishes to a record low. The cost-saving benefits of a zero percent card should not be overlooked while there are still options out there to choose from.”

She added: “In the months to come we may see the credit card market contract further, so if borrowers are in a position to do so, now may well be the time to act to get the best deal they can.

“To put them in the most favourable position before they apply for credit, consumers could review their credit score, such as with Experian.

“If consumers have any disposable income, it is a wise idea to overpay their card and consider setting aside some savings as an emergency fund for the future.”

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Child benefit: You’ll need to pay tax on the payments in this one sole exception

Child benefit can be claimed by anyone responsible for raising a child so long as they live in the UK. Only one person can claim for a child though and for an eldest or only child, a claimant will receive a weekly rate of £21.05.

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Claims for additional children will get a rate of £13.95 per child.

Child benefit can be claimed from as soon as the child’s birth is registered and it can be received up until the child turns 16.

This in itself could be extended to when the child turns 20 if they stay in approved training or education.

There are few costs associated with claiming child benefit and the government actively encourages families to claim it as it could protect a person’s state pension when they retire.

However, there is one instance where a person (or family) may want to carefully consider claiming it at all.

Claimants who earn over £50,000 per year will likely face a “high income child benefit tax charge”.

This £50,000 figure will affect claimants if they themselves earn higher than that or their partner does.

If the claimant’s income level is between £50,000 and £60,000 a year, they’ll need to repay some of the child benefit as income tax.

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This will need to be done through a self-assessment tax return so HMRC can calculate the amount of extra income tax they’ll need to levy.

Claimants will usually be required to pay back one percent of their family’s child benefit for every £100 they earn over £50,000 each year.

So, as an example, a family could be claiming child benefit for a single child while getting £51,000 per year in income.

The income is £1,000 over the limit (10 x £100) so the extra tax is 10 percent of the £20.70 paid out.

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In this case, the extra tax paid back will be £107.64 a year (£2.07 x 52).

If earnings were to be more than £60,000 a year, the claimant would need to pay back the entirety of their child benefit as income tax.

For those this tax charge affects may be put off from claiming at all but it should be noted that child benefit and its perks can be claimed while forgoing the actual payments.

People can complete the child benefit claim form while choosing not to receive the actual payments, ensuring that they’ll still receive National Insurance credits.

A claimant can stop receiving child benefit at any point and there are a number of ways to do this.

To stop child benefit, a person can either:

  • Fill in an online form or
  • Contact the child benefit office by phone or post

This cannot be done if the claimant is using child benefit to pay back an overpayment.

Also, once the child benefit stops the claimant must pay back any tax due for each tax year up to the date it ends.

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