If you’ve ever found yourself cursing at the hold music on a customer service helpline, as your hard-earned cash silently ticks away thanks to the number’s high call charges, this will be welcome news to you.
The Government has revealed a draft proposal to ban premium rates on most such helpline numbers, meaning companies such as PC World, Argos, Royal Mail, Phones4U and energy suppliers will have to change their rates to ‘geographical’ (or normal land line number) rates.
According to The Telegraph, consumers spend nearly £2 billion a year on calls to premium rate numbers – yes, you read that right; TWO BILLION pounds!
Airlines, train line operators and banks will be exempt from the premium rates ban, though, so bear that in mind.
Are you sometimes a bit ditzy when it comes to bill payment dates, and making sure you have enough money in your bank account?
If so, the news that seven high street banks have decided to wave penalties for missed payments, provided the customer tops their account up later that same day, might cheer you up.
The banks, which include Barclays, HSBC, RBS and Santander, have agreed to a “retry payment”, later in the day that the payment was due, instead of automatically applying a ‘missed payment’ penalty fee.
Up until now, banks have made £200m a year from penalty fees on so-called “unpaid items”, like bill payments that failed due to insufficient funds in a bank account, and customers might also have been charged extra by the supplier, whose bills were not paid on time.
Whatever your financial situation, making – and sticking to – a budget can be a powerful tool to help you reach and maintain your financial targets.
If you are in debt and need to cut costs, or if you are trying to save up for something important, like your first flat or the holiday of a lifetime, a budget can significantly increase your chances of getting there.
It may seem obvious, but putting your outgoings and income in black and white (or red, as the case may be) on a spreadsheet can be extremely helpful in realising where you might be able to make savings, or how you could shift expenses around to cut down your spend.