Category Archives: personal finance

Explaining Loan Jargon and Acronyms

In the world of finance we love to create new words, terms, abbreviations and acronyms and sometimes we’re not so great at explaining what these mean. To help you we’ve created a list of the most commonly used terms when you take out a loan and an easy explanation of what each term means:

APR

APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate. This is the rate at which someone who borrows money is charged. It is calculated over a twelve month period and is shown as a percentage. The APR percentage represents the actual yearly cost of the funds over the term of a loan.

Bad Credit

Bad Credit describes an individual’s credit score. If someone has bad credit their credit score will be low. This may be because they have had difficulty paying money back in the past. Some institutions, such as high street banks and online lenders, will not lend to people with Bad Credit. There are specialist lenders like TFS loans who are happy to lend to individuals with Bad Credit, providing that they have someone who can act as their Guarantor.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy describes a situation in which a business or person becomes bankrupt. If a person or business becomes bankrupt they are unable to pay what they owe (any outstanding debts). They go through a legal process which, once completed, successfully relieves the debtor of the debt obligations incurred prior to filing for bankruptcy.

CCJ

A CCJ stands for County Court Judgement. This is an order from the Country Court instructing an individual to repay a debt. A lender can apply to the County Court if a Borrower hasn’t repaid a debt, they effectively take legal action against the Borrower to recover the money. Some institutions, such as high street banks and online lenders, will not lend to people with CCJs as they are considered too risky. Specialist lenders liks TFS loans we are happy to lend to individuals with CCJs, providing that they have someone who can act as their Guarantor.

Credit History

A credit history is a record of a Borrower’s responsible repayment of debts over a period of time. When applying for a loan, lenders will often look at an individual’s credit record which details out their credit history from a variety of sources, including banks, credit card companies, collection agencies and governments. This helps the lender to judge the risk of lending money to an individual.

Credit Score

A credit score is a three digit number that is based on information in a credit report (which is a report of someone’s debt and payment of debt). The number ranges from 300 to 850 and gives an indication of how likely a person is to repay their debts. A higher number indicates they are more credit worthy and likely to pay back their debts. Lenders will use an individual’s credit score to make a decision on whether to lend to an individual and how much they are prepared to lend.

Debt Consolidation

Debt Consolidation is a method used for managing debt. It involves taking out a single new loan to pay back several of your other debts and liabilities, so an individual has one larger loan to pay back, usually with more favourable pay-off terms e.g. a lower interest rate, lower monthly payment or both.

Defaults

To default means a person fails to fulfil an obligation. In the case of a loan it means a failure to repay a loan that you are legally obliged to repay.

Fixed Flat Rate

A fixed flat rate is a single fixed fee for a service or loan, which does not vary with usage or time of use. It is sometimes referred to as a flat rate or linear rate.

Direct Debit

A Direct Debit is an arrangement for making payments, usually to an organisation, in which your bank moves money from your account into the organisation’s account at a regular time. When you take out a Loan most companies will ask you to set up a Direct Debit with your Bank. You are effectively giving permission for the lender to collect the loan amount each month from your Bank account on an agreed date.

Fraud Prevention Agencies

Fraud Prevention Agencies (FPAs) collect, maintain and share information on known and suspected fraudulent activity. Some Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) also act as FPAs.

Guarantor

A Guarantor is a person that promises to pay back a loan if the person that borrowed the money cannot pay it back. Guarantors are required for Guarantor Loans. If you were to apply for a TFS Guarantor Loan your Guarantor must be a UK Home owner with a good credit history, who can afford to pay back the loan if you cannot.

Guarantor Loan

A guarantor loan is an unsecured loan that requires the borrower to have a Guarantor who co-signs their credit agreement. By doing this the Guarantor agrees to repay the Borrower’s debt should the Borrower default on the agreement repayments. Guarantor loans enable people who have either no credit history or poor credit history and have been refused credit from main stream lenders like High Street banks and credit card companies, to obtain a loan. Because they have the backing of a Guarantor they are often able to access more money than would otherwise be available to them.

Homeowner

A homeowner is someone who owns their own home – this can be a house, flat, apartment, bungalow etc. A homeowner does not need to own their home outright – they will often have a mortgage on it.

Rate of Interest

Rate of Interest is the interest (usually expressed as a percentage) that a financial company or bank will charge you to borrow money, or the interest it pays you when you have money in an account. In the case of a loan the Rate of Interest is the proportion of a loan that is charged as interest to the borrower. This is usually shown as an APR %.

Secured Loan

A secured loan, is often referred to as a homeowner loan because the debt is linked to the borrower’s property. The amount you can borrow, repayment terms and interest rate offered on a secured loan is linked to your personal circumstances and the amount of ‘free equity’ you have in your property (this is the difference between the amount you owe on your mortgage and the value of your property). You can generally borrow more with a secured loan, but should you default on your payments you risk losing your property.

Unsecured Loan

An unsecured loan is not protected by any collateral, so should you default on payments the lender can’t automatically take your property, but this can happen after court proceedings. Unsecured loans can be offered to people who don’t own property and that makes them available to a much wider range of people. They are flexible to repay – you can choose the amount and over what time period you repay your loan. All TFS Guarantor Loans are unsecured loans.

Author: Robert Smoker joined TFS Loans as CEO in September 2014 having been with Brown Shipley & Co Ltd a prestigious UK Private Bank for over 36 years. Robert joined Brown Shipley in 1977 as a Management Trainee in their lending and trade finance division. He was appointed Head of Lending in 1990 and restructured their lending activity prior to a number of business acquisitions in 2001 as the Bank focused on providing wealth management and private banking services.

He was appointed as an executive director in 2002 with board responsibility for Compliance and Risk Management and latterly Audit in 2004. He was responsible for ensuring the Bank maintained an exemplary regulatory reputation following the transition to FSA in November 2001 and the introduction of the PRA in 2010 following the Banking crisis.

Robert remained at Board level until 2014 and following the acquisition of Brown Shipley by Qatari investors in 2012 was given responsibility for the investment management, banking, financial planning and pensions teams in the London office to help implement the group’s growth strategy.

 

Why More Australian Businesses Are Outsourcing Debt Collection And Other Services

To operate a successful business it is crucial to maintain a positive cash flow and trying to recover debts from a client is sometimes not easy. Once a client is past due date with his payment, debt collection can be processed in-house or outsourced to a third party. Hiring a collection agency is not uncommon for companies as sometimes the debtor tries everything to avoid paying the receivables and securing payment can be stressful, time-consuming and inefficient if the business financial department lacks experience and the right tools to secure debt within the shortest time period possible.

More and more Australian businesses are now outsourcing debt collection to take the burden of debt collection off their shoulders and protect their company against growing debt and bankruptcy. Read on to find out the number of reasons why its best to involve a third party when it comes to debt collection and how the business will benefit from outsourcing this task.

Saves time

A professional debt collector will save the business time by taking a proactive approach and call the debtor immediately on the same day of hiring to secure payment. The expert is trained to create a collection plan and be as stubborn as it needs to retrieve the debt owed, hence there will be emails and letters following the calls. An agency has the time to pursue debt with a flexible approach and work with the creditor in the best manner possible.

Expertise

As debt collectors have the necessary skills and expertise to perform legal debt collection activities they are specialists in their field and will be more likely to get money back in an efficient manner. If a phone call and a letter are not enough to recover the outstanding payment they will have tools to deal with debtors as well as resources available to issue legal proceedings against him.

Cost-effective

There is the assumption that hiring a debt collector is a costly matter. But the truth is, that the business will start losing even more money once the in-house collection team is ineffective or extra staff needs to be employed that has experience but costs an extra salary. A professional debt collection agency will try to retrieve debt in the shortest time possible to save the company time and money.

No staff training

Trying to retrieve debt using internal resources can be very stressful for employees, which might affect their productivity and overall performance in the business. Reminding debtors of their due date is not an enjoyable task and some staff might need training to become comfortable in making such correspondence as well as to learn legal recovery techniques. Hiring a debt collection agency will not only cut back the need for internal staff but let a neutral and rational expert handle the collection process.

Keep focussed

Engaging a debt collector will optimise the business productivity as no employer needs to take time away from the company and all staff can focus on internal tasks and concentrate on their main position. Without wasting valuable human resources on the difficult task of debt collection, hiring a debt collector will increase the business sales and keep the company successful.

Flexible approach

A collection agency will quickly understand the business and gather all information it needs to recover the debt in the shortest time possible. The experts are in the know of different approaches, which will influence the success in securing payment. Sometimes their resolution is actually to engage the debtor and not confront them to reap positive results and maintain the business relationship for the better.

More impact

Receiving a call from a debt collector will make the debtor uncomfortable as it makes him realize the creditor is serious about payment terms and conditions and they are more likely to pay. With an agency involved, debt is usually recovered without the need for legal proceedings as a letter from a debt collector often puts enough pressure on the debtor to uphold their agreement.

Maintain client relationship

By outsourcing debt collection the business is able to improve its customer service and communication as collection agencies have negotiation skills that are vital for the business, being careful as to maintain a healthy relationship between the client and the debtor. The debt collector will take over all communication between the business and customer and treat the debtor with professionalism but will always act in the business best interest to ensure a positive response from the customer.

 

Financial Mistakes You’ll Regret in 10 Years

Many people put off financial responsibility as a task to be done tomorrow or when they are older, but in order to get the most out of your time and money, it is important to be responsible and make your money work for you as soon as possible.  

It may sound difficult or daunting, especially if you have just been living paycheck to paycheck without a plan, but after a few weeks, financial responsibility becomes a habit. Sometimes, it can even be fun and like a game to see how much you can make your paycheck work for you and your household.

Not Budgeting

Budgeting is an important part of any household. You always want to be sure that you have more money coming in than going out. The easiest and most effective way to ensure this is by writing a budget for your specific household and needs.

Budgeting makes it easier to see and control where your earnings are going. It also makes it easier to cut unnecessary expenses along with helping you keep track of any possible excessive spending. Budgeting also makes it easier to make sure you have an emergency and save for other reasons. In 2017, 78 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, which means that a lot of people are really vulnerable.

Not Paying off Debt Monthly

Paying off your credit cards and other debt is important. If you let the credit card debt pile up or don’t pay on time, it will have a huge impact on your credit score.

On top of a suffering credit score, you’ll face a suffering wallet as a result of your growing monthly credit card bill. On the other hand, if you constantly pay off your credit cards on a monthly basis, it can be a huge help to your credit score. You also want to make sure you pay the monthly bills for any other debt you might owe.

There are tools available that help you calculate monthly debt and forecast how soon you are able to pay it off.

Not Investigating Investments/Not Understanding Investing

Another huge mistake that often causes long-term regret is not properly investigating the investments you are making. Many people have no idea where their money is even going or what it is supporting.

Your money will work for you much better if you understand the market and how to make your money work its hardest for you. If you struggle to understand investing, it is okay to get professional help.

Ignoring the Importance of an Emergency Fund

Many people live paycheck to paycheck, but just because this is normal, doesn’t mean it is the best way to live your life. If you don’t have an emergency fund and are living from paycheck to paycheck, the smallest surprise expense could financially ruin you.

This surprise expense could be a car expense or a medical expense. You could also be unexpectedly laid off or fired. To start saving an emergency fund, you should save a minimum of $1000. However, once you are financially secure, you should calculate your expenses and save enough money to cover three to six months of your living expenses.

Buying a New Car You Can’t Afford

Everyone fantasizes about driving that nice, new, shiny car off the lot, but most of the time, the new car’s massive devaluation is excluded from the fantasy. Buying a car you can’t afford can be a huge pain.

It is perfectly fine to buy a used car from a reliable dealer, just make sure if you don’t know much about cars, you bring someone along who does. Also, never rely on an employer’s driver allowance or anything similar, because if anything happens to your job, you are left without that income but still with your car’s bill.

Not Being Properly Insured

Sometimes, health insurance seems so expensive that it doesn’t feel worth it, but not being insured is far more expensive. No one plans on having an emergency or any health surprises, but it happens all the time.

Even if you are healthy and have never had an emergency or health problems, you never know when health problems might emerge. You could get in a car accident, get hurt playing a sport, or be injured at work. You can be as careful as you want, and still end up with a huge medical bill.

You really need to be insured in case of health emergencies or any type of accident. Hospital bills are incredibly expensive, which is a huge reason why medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in America.

Don’t risk your whole financial future for immediate savings. It can only go badly.

Not Making Retirement a Priority

It is the best for your future and you will earn the most the earlier you start saving for retirement. You want to make that interest rate work its hardest for you, and you can gain more through compounding interest the sooner you invest the money.

Starting your retirement saving early is very important since someone who invested $3,000 yearly for 10 years starting at the age of 25 will have over $338,000 in retirement, compared to someone who waited until the age of 35 and saved $3,000 yearly for 30 years, who would save a total of about $303,000.

This is why you don’t want to wait to start saving for retirement. Not only that, but time passes much more quickly than you realize. You don’t want to let too much time pass or you will never be able to retire.

Not Discussing Money with Your Spouse

Partnership makes everything better. You always want to make sure that you have an honest relationship with your significant other, so why would you choose to not be open about money? It’s actually one of many the things you should talk about it.

For the most part, two heads are better than one, and you will probably do a better job making the best financial decisions for your home if all information is known and out in the open. Talk to each other and be partners when it comes to finances.

Not Noticing or Investigating Better Solutions to Recurring Expenses

Many people have recurring expenses for things that are either unnecessary or that they don’t use. Also, there are usually better and less expensive options. For instance, why would you pay for cable if you usually stream your entertainment online?

If you only have cable to watch sports, either find a local place that plays your team’s games or find a streaming service that offers the game. Many people also have the ability to minimize their phone bills, or, if you want to minimize daily expenses, you could just take time to buy a good coffee maker instead of overspending on your daily java intake.

Make These Tips Habits

The habits listed above can be detrimental to your financial life, but with some willpower they can be broken. Once you stop making these 10 mistakes, your stress will be minimized, and you will wish you were financially responsible sooner.

It is relatively simple and provides a lot of day-to-day relief from stress related to bills, groceries, and other everyday expenses, and once you get used to your new, responsible habits, financial responsibility will become second nature.

How To File A Claim For A PPI Check

canstockphoto17103176PPI or Payment Protection Insurance is a great idea and can help policy owners out of financial debt in the event of permanently or temporarily being out of work, accident, sickness or death.

When you have PPI you have peace of mind when the unexpected comes around. However, there are times when PPI is sold to customers without them knowing it. This quite often can cause financial issues. Always make sure when you apply for a loan, mortgage, credit card or other financial products that you read all the entire contract before yo sign it. In the event that you pay for PPI and don’t want it, there are a few ways you can get that money back.

The first thing you should do is file a claim through a PPI claims expert for a PPI check. They will advise you on how to go through the process. Claims experts can set you up with cheaper ways of making a claim. Many people who had PPI and didn’t want it were able to recover their money with taking any type of legal action. When you handle this type of matter with the legal system you’re going to save a lot of money especially when you don’t seek the expertise of a PPI claims expert which can usually incur a hiring fee.

Another thing to consider when getting a PPI policy is exactly how much protection do you have over an extended period of time. If you have a traumatic experience such as a death in your family, loss of a job, accident, sickness or disability that has caused your to lapse in payments you can put the protection of your PPI into effect. The problems many people have is that they have been paying for PPI and don’t know they have it to help them through difficult times.

Most claims experts can help you get that money back or they can help put the protection into effect just when you need help the most.

To make sure you’re not confused about PPI or how to get a PPI check be sure to ask your insurance provider. Be sure you understand exactly what PPI covers and how much it costs. Be sure you have all the documents you need that support you have PPI. For more information visit www.ppicheckcompany.co.uk

London Living Costs Compared to Major World Cities

canstockphoto15303917We all know that to live, or indeed be a tourist, in London is far from a cheap exercise. We’ve all winced when a restaurant bill arrives or a bar tab is rung up. However, how does this compare to other world cities? Is London the most expensive city or do world centres take that title?  

This was a question that ‎digital lender 247Moneybox posed themselves and after conducting their own research including using crowdsourced data from Numbeo, it seems that London is not quite the hardest on your pocket.

Having turned the results into an infographic which you can see below, it does confirm the generally held notion that London is an expensive place to call home, however it’s certainly not the most expensive with New York taking that title in the products and services sampled by the firm.

Indeed, given the strain on our pockets these days, it is probably only a crumb of comfort to know that there are more expensive cities out there. That being said there are also a lot more where the cost of living is less. No wonder Vancouver comes out on top in surveys of great cities to live in where the cost of a 1 bed apartment in a central location is £762 less than the London equivalent! That’s a lot of extra Canadian beers and trips to the cinema!

infographic-cost-of-living

The Small and Unknown Mistakes That Are Adversely Affecting Your Credit

canstockphoto14045744Millions of people have bad credit scores. Every year, hundreds of thousands are turned down when they apply for loans, credit cards or even mobile phone contracts because something on their record is acting as a red flag for the banks and other mainstream lenders. Those black marks could include things as serious as county court judgements (CCJs) or something relatively minor like a couple of late repayments on a credit card.

Having a good credit score undoubtedly makes life easier, giving you access to a large number of mortgages, personal loans and credit cards. Having a blemish-free record will also allow you to get the best interest rates when applying for loans and also mean that the banks and other lenders are willing to loan you larger amounts.

Those who have show financial responsibility throughout their lives are more likely to have excellent credit scores than those who have not. In order to ensure that you have a good score, you should pay all of your bills on time every time, not go overdrawn at the bank without first getting approved for an overdraft, not falling behind on your mortgage payments and ensuring that all of your utility bill payments are kept up to date.

But there are a number of smaller and relatively little known mistakes that many people make and are unaware that these can actually count against you when being assessed for credit:

Moving

You may have moved recently and not had a chance to get your name on the electoral roll. But not doing so won’t just mean that you won’t be able to vote: it will also make it much more difficult for you to access credit. One of the first things that lenders do is look to see if a new applicant is on the electoral roll. If somebody isn’t, then this might suggest that this person has had money problems in the past and is trying to hide from their debts by keeping their address hidden. People who tend to move a lot – like contractors and members of the armed forces etc. – are also shunned by some lenders.

Always make sure that you are registered to vote at your new address.

Never using credit

If you couldn’t afford to put aside the money for a few months to pay for an item, then you can’t afford it. This is an old saying but remains a truism: nobody should simply use credit as a way to live beyond their means. For many people – older generations in particular – this means that they never use credit cards, loans or other forms of borrowing. They prefer to save for items and never go overdrawn at the bank.

Other people will only use a single credit card and just for regular purchases that they would otherwise use a debit card for. These people always repay their entire balance each month so that they avoid all interest charges.

Both of these sets of people sound like they would be the perfect borrowers and would be actively courted by the lenders. But, perhaps perversely, behaving this prudently can actually harm a person’s chances of obtaining credit. Lenders, as well as assessing somebody’s credit score, also like to know that they will make some profit from taking somebody on as a borrower. If you never use credit or repay all your borrowing every month, then no lender will ever make a profit from you. You will, in effect, be seen as too cautious to be offered credit.

Applying for credit too often

There are hundreds of credit cards and thousands of loan products available and most of them can be applied for online with decisions in seconds. The rise of the web has made applying for borrowing incredibly easy and quick. That makes the temptation to apply for a new card every time you see an offer almost overwhelming. While it may seem sound financial management to constantly shop around for loans and cards to get the best deal, this can actually damage your credit score.

Each time that you apply for credit, a credit search will be run on you and this will be registered against your credit record with the three main credit reference agencies. Lenders don’t like to see a lot of credit searches on a person’s record, particularly when those are in a short space of time. It suggests somebody who is having trouble managing when, in many cases, this is the opposite of reality.

Having too much credit available

We’ve already looked at how not using credit only having a single card can reduce your chances of getting approved for a loan or card. But having a bunch of credit cards and never using them can also have an adverse effect on your credit score.

Lenders don’t like people who take out cards but then don’t use them. These people will not make much in the way of interest for lenders and do are viewed as too responsible. They will, in effect, end up costing the lenders money rather than making them more. So if you have some credit cards which you never use, it is a good idea to close some of them and just keep one or two in case something unexpected crops up. Closed accounts will be shown as settled on your credit record, and increase the likelihood that you will get accepted for more credit in the future.

Being linked to a debtor

You may run your finances perfectly but if your partner, son or daughter or anybody who lives in the same house or is linked to you financially in some way behaves irresponsibly with money, then this might mean you are declined when applying for credit. Find out who you are linked to financially by applying for your credit record and then writing to the agencies to correct any mistakes.

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with technology-led finance broker Solution Loans, who were consulted over the information in this post.

Why Many PPI Claimants Want Estimates Of Their Claims’ Value Before Claiming

canstockphoto1478706There is a growing trend amongst UK payment protection insurance claims victims of wanting to know the value of their claim in advance as opposed to waiting until the claim has completed and receiving their check in the mail.

What is a PPI Claim?

The term “ppi claim” refers to when a potential ppi miss-selling victim endeavours to get a refund for the miss sold policy they paid insurance premiums on.

This can be done in 2 ways:

1. Use a ppi claims management company to help you, some of them offer free ppi calculator estimations to help the website visitors estimate the value of their claims. Once you engage the services of a claims management company the claim begins and if successful you will receive your refund & someone else does the work and the chasing up for you (you just have to provide information) (you will pay a fee on completion).

2. Claim yourself without the use of a claims company, slower, however it is free, with no fees payable to a company for their services.

Why Do People Now Want To Calculate Their Refund Before Claiming?

One reason is that there are costs associated with using companies, so some people want to calculate the value of their claim upfront along with any costs that may accompany that refund.

Another reason is the growing availability of these ppi calculation tools that can give people guidance on how much their claim could be worth (before it was a compliance minefield, now it is permissible and is perfectly fine as long as no false statements are included).

An additional reason is just pure curiosity, people like to get excited about windfalls and the prospect of a big refund, this is human.

An advantage of knowing what a claims’ value could be is that it gives the claimant an idea of how much investigation could be required too, and whether it is worth them pursuing it alone in relation to how much money they could be refunded by the banks.

Aside From A Refund, Are There Other Fees Or Compensations Due?

Interest is paid on each insurance premium payment to the rate of statutory interest (which is 8% in the UK), this is given to the victim of miss-selling once their claim is completed (if successful), certain charges can also be repaid, it is worth discussing this with the company that you decide to put the claim through with.

It is advised that with the impending ppi claims deadline, any claims not started yet are put through as soon as humanly possible, even if this means using a claims’ firm to expedite the commencement of it.

Once spring 2018 comes it will likely be too late due to the recent enforcements by the financial regulators as the banks’ campaigning has granted them a deadline, however there is still more than enough time for people to input their claims until that comes into play.

There are a wealth of websites and lots of information to guide anyone making a claim, simple searches online can give all the information someone might need in order to get started.

P2P lending: 4 great benefits for personal loans

canstockphoto11348652The market for unsecured credit is barely recognizable from what it once was. The days of queuing up outside the bank to fill out piles of paperwork are very much a thing of the past, with online lenders having infiltrated the industry and effectively transformed the landscape. Yet while these have brought some much needed competition and convenience to the sector, not all of these online platforms offer the most scrupulous of interest rates, meaning you need to keep your wits about you if a helping hand is what you need.

One of the standout varieties of platforms to offer personal loans are peer-to-peer lenders, which conduct their business by matching the funds from ordinary people who opt to lend their savings – rather than putting it into the bank – directly with those in need of credit. Such a streamlined process eliminates all intermediaries, and P2P platforms do not use any lender capital for personal gain.

Instead, the platform acts purely as a mediator, and ensures the proper controls are in place so that this direct relationship between lender and borrower functions smoothly. For this, it commands a small admin fee, but there remain significant benefits for the customer. As a borrower, here are four which standout:

Value

Aside from the efficiency of the business model, these companies operate entirely online, meaning overheads are kept to a minimum. As a result, creditworthy candidates can expect to get loans with APRs starting from 5-6%. In addition, any fees are clearly visible on their websites, and, in general, very reasonable.

Simple

It really is as straightforward as completing an online form to get a personalised loan quote; one that takes just a couple of minutes to complete. If you’re then happy with the provisional quote, completing the application is just as quick. You may have to submit some bank statements while credit checks are performed, but other than that, there is no effort required.

Quick

Assessing your application usually takes just a solitary working day, and, if approved, you can expect the funds to arrive in your account overnight. That’s it!

Flexible

Other than good value, this may be the best reason of the lot to choose a peer-to-peer lender. You get to choose to borrow an amount anywhere between £1,000 and £25,000, and also the period over which you would like to pay it back (1-5 years). It means you can structure a repayment plan that suits you, and what’s more, some platforms like Lending Works even give you the opportunity to make early settlements down the line at no extra cost.

Certainly, for those in need of credit, these are not bad times to be taking out a personal loan. Bank of England rates remain entrenched at record lows, and as the loans sector becomes increasingly diverse, it is the consumer who continues to benefit. So with such a favourable set of options at your disposal, it makes sense to explore credit providers of all shapes and sizes in order to find the best deal you can. But if it works out that after doing your research you are drawn to peer-to-peer lenders, don’t feel sceptical. Feel vindicated.

Binary Options for Dummies

canstockphoto19654068This article isn’t going to teach you how to become an expert trader, but it will inform you about the basics of binary options trading and how to get started as a binary options trader. We will look at the important aspects that you need to know as well as a few very basic trading strategies, the navigation of a trading platform and we will also give an example of a straightforward trade. Let’s get started.

What is a Binary Option?

The prefix ‘bi’ means two as in bicentenary and the word ‘binary’ is a computer term for a numeric system that only uses two numbers, 0 and 1. By adding the word ‘options’, we come up with ‘binary options’ which in effect means two choices, of which only one will prevail. Binary options trading involves forecasting the direction in which the price of selected market tradable assets will move, either higher or lower, in a specified period of time. The binary options contract between you and your broker is a very simple contract in which the potential profit as well as the potential risk are fixed at the time the contract is entered into or in binary options language, when the trade is struck or opened. Here again there are two possibilities, if your forecast is correct, you receive the predetermined payout and if it is incorrect, you forfeit your investment amount only.

The three elements that comprise a trade in binary options are the expiry time, the strike price and the return offered by the broker. A very basic example of the structure of a binary options trade would be if the oil price is at $55.04, the strike price, per barrel and you forecast that the price will be higher in exactly 5 minutes, the expiry time. Your binary options broker, such as Banc De Binary, has offered a return of 80% on a correct forecast and you invest £10. Five minutes later, at the expiry time of the trade, if the price of oil does increase to $55.05 per barrel, you will have made a winning trade. You then receive a payout of your original investment (£10) plus 80%, a total of £18. Had the oil price have dropped below $55.04, you would have lost your investment. Simple!

Binary Options Variations

While binary options trading always comes down to only two choices, there are a number of variations that have been introduced to provide traders with alternatives. Before looking at the different variations, you need to know the meaning of certain terms and at this point the important one is underlying asset. Every binary options trade involves the price movement of a market tradable asset, known as the underlying asset. This could be a stock, an index, a currency pair or a commodity and many brokers, such as Band De Binary, offer a wide choice of global assets to trade.

Binary Options – Trade Options

The most common and widely used trade option is the Call or Put binary option where a Call option is the name given to a forecast that the price of the underlying asset will go up, while a Put option indicates a forecast that the price will decline by the expiry time.

The Touch or No Touch variation has become increasingly popular among traders and requires more knowledge of the underlying asset than a standard Call or Put binary options trade. With this variation, you have to forecast if the asset price you are trading will touch a price target either higher or lower than the strike price during the life of the trade. The price only has to touch the forecast price before the expiry time in order for the trade to end ‘in the money’. Should the price exceed or drop below the strike price before the exit time having touched the forecast price, this has no effect as the trade is closed as soon as the target price is touched. The opposite is the situation with a No Touch trade where your forecast would be that the price won’t reach a certain price level. In this case, the instant the price touches the selected level, your trade closes as a losing trade or ‘out of the money’.

There are other more complicated and sophisticated trade variations that you will understand once you start gaining experience as a binary options trader. Most brokers offer a wide range of trading options so take the time to review these options before you sign up.

How to Trade

All binary options trades are done using the binary options broker trading platform. There are different brands of trading platforms, but navigating them and placing your trades is very similar on all platforms. We will go through a straightforward Call or Put trade on the trading platform such as that used by binary options broker Banc De Binary, an example of which is directly below.

Above the price chart graphic, as you can see, the underlying asset is gold and for a return of 72% on your investment, you have to forecast whether the gold price, which is at $1165.56 is going to go up, or down by 10:10, the expiry time. You enter the amount you wish to invest and then click on your selection, up (Call) or down (Put). You will also notice that the rate of return is clearly marked on the trade and for this trade it is 72%.

In the above, you can see that there is a graphic representation of the price movement of the asset. This can be adjusted to reflect different time frames and it can help the trader to determine the direction the price might take in the future. By using the historical trading patterns of underlying assets traders are able to extend the pattern into the future and thus predict the direction the price might move in going forward. The use of graphs and algorithms in calculating your forecasts is known as technical analysis which you will learn much more about as you progress as a binary options trader.

Gaining Experience

You now have the basic essentials to start trading binary options. The next move is to open an account with a reputable broker, such as Banc De Binary, who is regulated by a governmental regulating authority such as CySEC, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, which is recognized across all the European Union member countries. Once your account has been opened, you will have access to the education portal which offers a wealth of trading tools, information such as an eBook, training videos, trading signals and much more. This will enable you to start advancing into the more intricate niceties of binary options trading such as the different trading strategies and methods of analysis used to improve your forecasting skills.

Money-saving tips for dog owners

canstockphoto12853549Owning a dog is something that can bring fantastic benefits to you, your family and friends. Not only do you receive unconditional love and affection from a pet who is rightly known as “man’s best friend”, but you also have no excuse for missing out on getting some extra exercise.

Although a healthy dog will be relatively low maintenance, there are some essential costs and outlays that can’t be avoided. However, there are ways that a savvy dog owner can save money by using a few tried and tested tips.

Initial outlay

The first bill that a dog owner will have to pay will depend on how you choose your new pet. Buying an in-demand breed from an award-winning bloodline can mean laying out hundreds of pounds, whereas choosing a dog from a rescue centre will be far cheaper, with the costs often only including medical and administration fees.

Buying bedding, food and drink bowls and other essentials such as a collar and lead can be as expensive or as cost-effective as you like. An old laundry basket lined with worn-out jumpers or blankets can make a perfectly safe and secure bed for a puppy, and even old plates or china can be used for feeding times.

Breeds

Choosing the right breed can mean taking many different things into account. Smaller dogs generally not only need less exercise but can also be far cheaper to feed in terms of the actual amounts of food that you need to buy.

When it comes to feeding your dog, you must do your homework, as giving your dog a balanced diet is as important as it is for a human. If you get the right mix of ingredients and nutrients, not only will you have a happy dog but it will also be a healthy one, saving you money in the long run.

Medical bills

A healthy dog won’t need to go to the vet often, but in the first place, vaccinations are important. Also, no matter how well behaved your dog is or how good you are at controlling it, there are few dogs who don’t get involved in high jinks of one kind or another that results in a trip to the vet at some point. All this means that you should consider taking out a veterinary insurance policy for your dog as vets bills can be expensive.

Most people have a stock of everyday medical items in a drawer or cupboard around the home and you can make sure you look after your dog in a similar way. Bob Martin is a great place to look in order to build up those essentials that can keep your dog in tip top condition and avoid everyday problems.

Common sense

Being a dog owner is like anything else in life; if you don’t make plans and approach things in a careful fashion, you can end up spending more than you bargained for. However, with a little planning, you can take advantage of all the various tips and tricks that will save you money without having any negative impact on your dog.