Tag Archives: Personal finance

Pounds to Pocket withdraws birthday celebration loan promotions

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There has been enough news in the payday loans industry of late to wrap the entire quantity of fish and chips consumed in the UK over the summer. That’s not a fact of course, merely a guess, and chip shops aren’t allowed to wrap their wares in newspaper any more because all those inky fishcakes, so it’s all completely by the by.

The latest news story emanating from the payday lenders industry to receive widespread news coverage is the withdrawal of an email sent by the payday lender Pounds to Pocket, currently one of the larger firms in an industry in which Wongaleads the way.

The email sent by Pounds to Pocket – owned by CashEuroNetUK – arrived in prospective and past customers’ inboxes containing the subject line: “We’d like to wish you the best on your special day! Now you can apply for the money you need to enjoy your birthday worry-free.”

Those payday lenders working hard to clean up the reputation of the industry and adhere to the tough new rules imposed by industry regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) must have been exasperated by the use of such a class advertising stunt by a lender that’s big enough to know better.

Widespread criticism of the ad

The Citizens Advice charity was quick to draw the attention to the email, complaining about the casual “worry-free” attitude it endorsed and encouraged. Not only did it underplay the serious nature of a short-term loan, it also encouraged prospective borrowers to use the money irresponsibly to fund birthday parties and treats.

CashEuroNetUK responded to the complaints by acknowledging that a short-term loan was a serious consideration. It also explained that it went to “great lengths” to ensure its emails were not sent to groups for whom the ad could be inappropriate or detrimental.

In this case, it actually beggars belief that a lender would be as stupid as to send out emails that were obviously going to fly so close to the wire and attract negative attention. Perhaps Pounds to Pocket was of the view that any press is good press, after all, given the crackdown it does seem unlikely that such an email could be sent without expectations of reprisals further down the line.

The Advertising Standards Authority’s response

Upon further investigation, the Advertising Standards Authority(ASA) found that a 20 percent discount was offered on the first scheduled payment to any borrower who applied for a loan on the day the email was received. If approved for a loan, the customer would then have to wait just ten minutes for the funds to appear in their account.

In its ruling on the email, the ASA said: “While possibly desirable, having money to spend on birthday celebrations was unlikely to be seen as essential, and by encouraging recipients to take advantage of the service through a special offer discount for immediate application, Pounds to Pocket had urged a decision, thereby limiting the amount of time those interested in a loan were able to give to proper consideration.

“We concluded that the email was irresponsible because it encouraged taking a short-term loan for frivolous spending and promoted the process of borrowing as trivial and without responsibility.”

 

In response, Pound to Pocket has removed the email from circulation.

 

What next for the payday lenders?

The recent cleanup of the payday loan industry following new regulations introduced on 1 July and the proposed cost caps has resulted in over a third of UK payday lenders exiting the industry. Those that are left must now be committed to delivering a customer driven service and banishing such murky practices firmly to the past.

Should Pounds to Pocket be fined for issuing such an irresponsible advertising campaign? Have you ever received questionable marketing communications from a payday lender? We’d love to hear from you on this issue, so please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

AUTHOR BIO

 

Caitlin Hope is a UK based freelance writer and finance blogger who busies herself by writing editorials for some of the UK’s most authoritative sites. When she’s not busy writing, Caitlin likes dancing, cooking and sashaying around her basement flat.

Create a Private Oasis with Landscaping Ideas That Also Increase Your Home’s Value

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.” This is the opening line of Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall,” which suggests that while privacy is often necessary, the means to create it are not always visually pleasing. Later in the poem, he suggests that his apple trees and his neighbor’s pines, natural landscaping, offer privacy enough to not need a wall. Whether you’re looking to sell your home or just increase your privacy, landscaping can significantly increase your home’s value and your enjoyment of the property.

To fence, or not to fence: Consider the benefits of using landscaping for privacy

There are several advantages to choosing landscaping for privacy instead of typical fencing. Privacy landscaping creates a retreat for your family, and can increase your home’s value (making it a great tip for selling your home).

  • Landscaping for privacy may be more affordable than conventional fencing options and is just as affective at reducing unwanted sound
  • Landscaping ideas like lilacs or rose bushes are more aesthetically pleasing in shape and color than wooden or chain-link fences
  • Zoning regulations are often less strict with respect to allowing natural landscaping versus fencing
  • Landscaping provides the same privacy as a fence but is not as permanent or restrictive

Create a backyard getaway with a variety of plants

Landscaping for privacy offers diverse options, including shapeable hedges and loose layered borders with smaller shrubs. Consider the layout of your home and garden to find the best design option for your yard.

  • Yews, Privet & Boxwood: If you’re looking for the typical straight hedgerow you should consider these shrub varieties. Keep in mind how much shade and water they need and trim them so the bottoms are wider than the top to provide adequate exposure to sunlight. Also consider how high you want your hedge to grow as certain shrubs have a maximum height.
  • Evergreen or deciduous: Of course it doesn’t have to be one or the other and most loose borders will benefit from having both, but be sure you know the difference. Even though burning bushes look beautiful when they turn colors, as deciduous shrubs, they lose their leaves in winter. Arborvitae on the other hand is a lovely cone shaped evergreen that will hold its color all year and might be the perfect addition to your landscaping. Other colorful additions to consider are deciduous lilacs and rose bushes, or evergreen butterfly bushes that will attract some fluttery friends in the summer.
  • Fruit-bearing trees & shrubbery: If you have the space for it, consider planting fruit trees on your property and benefit from the shade and the snack. Even if you don’t have room for a small orchard, consider berry bushes or grape vines for a fruitful property line.

 Finance your landscaping project with a home equity loan

While you may not think planting a hedge could increase your home’s value, increasing the privacy of your property with landscaping is a helpful tip for selling your home. This is because “living” fences are often easier to remove or adjust. No matter how long you plan to be in your home, consider borrowing off the equity in your mortgage with a home equity loan to finance your landscaping ideas. Not only will natural landscaping provide your family with a quiet space to relax, but a simple, low-maintenance hedgerow may also benefit future buyers.

 

Sponsored content was created and provided by Citizens Financial Group.

 

Easy Ways to Save Money by Refunding

Using a few tips can help you to save dozens of dollars a week.  This can fairly quickly add up to be substantial savings.  Keep track of your savings to see how they add up and inspire you to continue making an effort to save money.  By aggressively shopping the sales, you can often get premium brands cheaper than the store’s generic items.

Pay attention to grocery store flyers

This seems like an obvious thing, but it’s easy to be too busy to even look at a sale flyer.  It can be a mistake to avoid them, since poring over a grocery chain store’s sale ad can easily save you $50 on a shopping trip for one or two people.

Frequently, there are coupons that can be matched to items on sale.  This is a way to save additional money on top of substantial sales.  Often, these coupons are found in the Sunday paper of the week for which the sale will start.  For example, items that go on sale starting on Wednesday of a week will usually have coupons available in the previous Sunday’s newspapers.  It pays to save the coupon inserts and then look through them after you have received the sale ad.  This saves you having to go through and cut coupons you may not end up using.

Items that are frequently on sale and do not have matching coupons are fresh produce.  Coupons for produce do exist, but are rare.  You can get fruits in particular at significant savings by tracking their sales.

The Basics of Inexpensive Buying

Sign up for a reward card from stores you frequent

To get the best prices, you normally need to have a reward card for the stores you shop at.  Signing up for these cards is straightforward and does not usually involve sharing a lot of personal information.  If you give your e-mail address, you are likely to get coupons for that store.

Stock up when items are on sale

When you get a great deal on non-perishable items, see if you can buy more than one of each item and keep the rest for when you can use it later.  This is particularly true for items such as coffee, canned goods, and paper supplies.  It is worth it to make room to store them if you can get them at a fraction of their normal price.

Be willing to try other brands

Often competing brands are on sale at a great price.  If you are willing to switch brands, you can save a substantial amount of money.

Use a list to shop

Using a list can save you from expensive impulse buying.  Note the items on sale that week on your list, so you can quickly find them.  If you know the store well, consider making a list out by aisle.  That will let you shop the most quickly and be more likely to keep you from impulse purchases.

Don’t shop when hungry

Keep an eye on pharmacy chain grocery sales

The major pharmacy chains such as CVS and Rite-Aid carry groceries in addition to their health and beauty aid (HBA) items, and these items are frequently part of their sales.  Such stores can also be the best source of inexpensive HBA items such as shampoo and deodorant.  To get the best bargains, it is usually necessary to be signed up for their rewards programs. Sales at pharmacy chains generally start on Sunday with ads in the paper that day.  Often there are coupons in the current paper for these sales.

Jenny Willis is a professional blogger that enjoys providing consumers with personal finance advice. She writes for Purechecks.com, a leading check printing company of designer personal and business checks.