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Thread: consumer credit

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    consumer credit

    Apols if this is in the wrong place - mods please move if this sub-forum isn't the right home.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business...a-chief-crisis

    In amongst a number of jobs I've had, issues around consumer credit and debt have always resonated with me as being a big issue. No doubt some of that feeling is because I personally am quite debt averse. I hate even owing friends a couple of quid.
    I've worked in charities, and housing assocs, and for LA's seeing directly the impact debt has sometimes absolutely crippling the living daylights out of households.

    Initially my naive self felt there was a lot of self inflictedness about debt - people had received the money/goods, spent it, why weren't they paying it back? However, when looking further into how debt can arise (death of a spouse, divorce, disability/health issues, loss of job (eg redundancy)) and also seeing how scenarios could spiral out of control (people making minimum repayments until a card is maxed, not realising, getting additional cards, all of a sudden, whoa, there's 8 cards maxed, 5k on each!)

    Personally I've felt that the consumer credit act (of 1974, that's as old as fucking me, and thus would have been drafted around 1970-1973) is no longer fit for purpose, hasn't been for some time. I think there is a huge intention to blame those in debt, and no bones about it there are those who will borrow excessively with little/not intention of paying everything back, and equally there are many who borrow excessively who could and should accept there need to be times where they go without perceived neccessities (which are actually luxuries imo). Equally this causes vast crises in families and in homes, and with the advent of computer algorithms giving you a decision in 15 minutes on your phone, and excessive advertising (hello money shop! or the quick quid ads on tv that are selling loans as solutions to bigger issues imo) it frequently seems to me that the notion of responsible lending doesn't really exist.

    As a result of mortgage fraud and mis-selling, quite a lot was done to tighten up mortgage lending rules. This has been long overdue in consumer credit. In my view I very much doubt this current shambles of a government can/will do anything meaningful. However some bright spark could take advantage of their being distracted by brexit etc, and do some good.

    Consumer credit, which covers personal loans, credit cards and borrowing for cars, is rising at just under 10% a year, at a time when wages are falling at 0.4% a year taking inflation into account. Some 86% of cars are now bought on PCP (personal contract purchase) credit deals, which effectively leave borrowers leasing their vehicle. Meanwhile, nearly half of all borrowers on credit cards are on zero interest rate offers.

    Bailey said people working in the gig economy with erratic incomes were in particular need of access to credit, especially those with rent-to-own deals used for buying household items like fridges and washing machines.

    “There is a really big question around how do you provide credit. There is a case for people [needing loans] having access to credit, particularly in a world where earnings are more erratic.” Referring to the “so-called gig economy”, he added: “Credit is a means of smoothing [erratic incomes] but the question is how do you structure it in a sustainable fashion,” said Bailey.
    Some numbers are here:
    https://www.theguardian.com/business...ards-car-loans

    Debt & finance charities also highlight a lot that debtors generally pay unsecured creditors first, rather than their priority creditors (rent/mortgage, council tax, water & utilities etc) because they are the creditors who shout the loudest, threaten action the most, and are more persistent, even though their enforcement options are relatively less significant.

    I don't think the FCA will get significant government action on this, but I am pleased to finally see someone raise this issue as a significant matter that affects hundreds of thousands of people almost every day.

    Apologies for all the waffle. I don't know the answer, but am interested in other posters views on the personal debt and finance scenario in the UK.
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    I read that article yesterday. It's easy to see how people can get themselves into a mess, especially when credit card companies are so willing to keep increasing credit limits on cards.

    From a personal point of view, I know that I have too much credit card debt and it is something that worries me. Unfortunately, having 2 kids and me being the only one working full time means that, while we can pay the bills & buy food, anything extra (clothes for the kids, going out for the day, presents, holidays etc) ends up going on credit card. It's a never ending cycle as having to pay out around £100 a month on card payments ultimately means that we end up having to use the credit card to pay for something else.
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    It is frighteningly easy to get way more credit than you need with no real discernable checks on whether you can responibly pay it back. We're on top of things for now.

    We just have one credit card that we used to transfer a couple of others to on a 36 month interest free. Divide the total debt, plus transfer fee, by 36 and then setup a direct debit for that amount per month. We then cut up the card to save the temptation to use it!

    We use a spreadsheet (obvs) to keep track of everything we spend and budget accordingly each month. We have a set amount coming in and a set amount that goes out (bills, loan, mortgage etc) and whatever is left over get split into different categories (groceries, recreation, eating out, craft beer etc) and we try not to exceed each category and live within our means from the current account month by month.

    The downside is there's never anything really available for big purchases like stuff for the garden, home improvements, new laptop, unexpected wheel replacement for the bike etc.

    That's going to get a lot tougher now Em has been made redundant and unless she can find work we may well have to board the low APR credit merry go round :/

    Just yesterday, in fact, I received a new credit card from an account that I had cleared in February as my old one expired. Oh, and helpfully they'd given me £7,100 credit limit - up from the £3,000 that was on there when I opened the account.

    I really must close accounts when I'm done with them!
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    Not ashamed to admit a number of years ago I was talked into opening a credit card account with Vanquis by one of these high street sellers. Money/credit wise I was naive and they saw me coming a mile off, as an impulsive teenager it bought whatever I couldn't afford after my wages. Naive and reckless, great mix.

    I never maxed the card or missed/couldn't make payments but used it for frivolous shit and my awakening was when I started figuring out how much I'd spent on minimum payments and how little it'd reduced my overall balance so over the following few months I paid it down and stopped using it.

    Nowadays I've used it a bit more after graduating recently (before I found work) but will easily pay it back off in full within my first months pay. It's the tactics I find more distasteful:

    1) automatic credit limit increases. I just get the occasional text it's going up. My girlfriends up hers but also details how she can prevent the increase if she wishes.

    2) once a month I get another text saying "your balance is X you have Y to spend"

    3) emails about their "retail/insurance/etc partners" and how you can use your credit card to buy things from them. I just went into my emails and had a look, I had 8 emails from them about 'Black Friday' at Argos (you guessed it, retail partner) so I had two emails per day telling me to spend.

    Our retail partner Argos is putting the final touches to its Black Friday shopping bonanza on 25th November with a number of amazing deals! We’ll send you a reminder in the early hours of Black Friday morning as soon as the offers are ready and you could be one of the first to grab a bargain online.

    In the UK, 2015’s Black Friday was the most popular to date* and in 2016 the Black Friday deals are looking to be bigger and better!
    It's ok though, at the end of the email they tell you credit cards aren't sustainable options... I feel sorry for those who are more naive/reckless than I was who will get themselves into bother.

    I think we need to start educating youngsters on what they're getting into and alternative options such as Credit Unions etc, that though, would defeat the point.

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    Credit cards are dangerous if you aren't good at managing money. I had one once, maxed it, didn't clear the balance for months and got hammered with interest. I was 19 at the time and didn't think about the future ever, I just wanted to make sure I could pay for nights out with my then girlfriend.

    After I got rid of that, I have never had one since, despite the banks often writing to me to offer them constantly. Only ever had one loan too and never missed a payment.

    Nowadays, after paying rent and bills, I calculate what I need for shopping , takeaways and nights out etc, and whatever is left goes on holiday savings or concerts etc. I only really go out once a month now anyway so saving has gotten easier as I've gotten older.
    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post

    I honestly didn't think people were that stupid...

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    Never had a credit card, so never been in debt from one. But I did lolz at Machin inputting everything into Excel

    I hope you use conditional formatting on that spreadsheet...
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    I had terrible credit card issues. It took me fooking years to clear them. Never had one since. And I still get offers.

    Nice bonus that those credit cards had to pay me a shed load of PPI back in the end
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    Quote Originally Posted by Langers View Post
    Never had a credit card, so never been in debt from one. But I did lolz at Machin inputting everything into Excel

    I hope you use conditional formatting on that spreadsheet...
    Google Sheets, so I can share it with the missus

    And yes, conditional formatting on the regular outgoings. They change to grey once they've gone out of the current account.

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    I don't whether to applaud you or call you a cunt
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    Quote Originally Posted by machin05 View Post
    Google Sheets, so I can share it with the missus

    And yes, conditional formatting on the regular outgoings. They change to grey once they've gone out of the current account.

    "The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it's difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine" - Abraham Lincoln

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    Find using a credit card really handy when abroad but rarely use it at home, except maybe for a big purchase where the additional insurance is handy. Whenever it does get used, we always pay off the full bill at the end of each month before the interest kicks in. My parents grew up poor and drummed into us a real "don't spend what you haven't got mentality".

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    Can speak with some experience of that as it’s what I did for the last 15yrs working in a high st bank up to 1998. When I started doing lending (both consumer loans & mortgages) then it was individually assessed by me & if there were any concerns or I didn’t know them or have much track record through their current account would always interview them before making a decision.

    Changed in the 90’s as most lenders moved to computerised credit scoring and loans were dealt with by sales staff (who obviously had pay related targets to achieve) & machines, but by then I was running a lending control unit covering 20 branches in South London. The number of times we got loans granted to people that under no circumstances would I have agreed to was legion as was the number of good borrowers who got randomly declined– depends on whether the Regional Sales Director or Risk Director was in the ascendancy.

    Voiced my opinion often which didn’t make me any friends in upper management (though wasn’t alone in this) so wasn’t surprised to not get another job offer when they rationalised the control units even further. Fortunately, they offered me sufficient money to go away at that point.

    The point re education is salient – all children should have basic lessons in personal finance, budgets etc. Problem with this is finding any time to get that into the school day.

    When I was working in a Primary school tried to get a programme started – the Head was in favour of me delivering something to years 5 & 6, but with the constant curriculum changes we could find no way of getting it into the school week. Did run it at an after-school club, but that’s voluntary and never got much take up.

    Did do a bit of freelance counselling for one of the consumer debt charities immediately after leaving the bank as I was only working part time for a charity in another field, but had to stop that when I went back into full time employment.

    There will always be some people who take on too much & are partly to blame, but most problems come from other issues that cannot be avoided. Made sure that my sons had sensible advice as they were growing up.

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    Interesting that mini's school have health and social lessons for one period a week, and personal financial management is a subject they are beginning to cover.
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    Quote Originally Posted by machin05 View Post
    Google Sheets, so I can share it with the missus

    And yes, conditional formatting on the regular outgoings. They change to grey once they've gone out of the current account.

    I should have married Machin...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddingtonwolf View Post
    Interesting that mini's school have health and social lessons for one period a week, and personal financial management is a subject they are beginning to cover.
    That's good to hear - there are some decent programmes of work out there & hopefully have someone to deliver it who has some understanding of the subject as from my experience of them teacher's aren't any better at handling their personal finances than any other group

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    Quote Originally Posted by Langers View Post
    Never had a credit card, so never been in debt from one. But I did lolz at Machin inputting everything into Excel

    I hope you use conditional formatting on that spreadsheet...
    Quote Originally Posted by machin05 View Post
    Google Sheets, so I can share it with the missus

    And yes, conditional formatting on the regular outgoings. They change to grey once they've gone out of the current account.

    Add in some formulas and some Data Validation and you've got a full house in Google Sheets Bingo!

    Big fan of sheets myself after initially hating them. Much easier than Excel.
    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post

    I honestly didn't think people were that stupid...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddingtonwolf View Post
    I don't whether to applaud you or call you a cunt
    Both? I'm sure you can multitask.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dublin Drummer Wolf View Post
    Add in some formulas and some Data Validation
    Did that for work to make costings easier. Might have gotten slightly tumescent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SLA View Post
    Find using a credit card really handy when abroad but rarely use it at home, except maybe for a big purchase where the additional insurance is handy. Whenever it does get used, we always pay off the full bill at the end of each month before the interest kicks in. My parents grew up poor and drummed into us a real "don't spend what you haven't got mentality".
    My parents always worked on that same logic, both me and my sister seemed to have softened the mantra slightly but in differing ways.

    She and her husband don't have any debt to my knowledge, outside of their mortgage, but at the same time they have no savings either, they don't spend what they can't afford yet they're content to spend essentially everything they earn so it's conceivable that it wouldn't take a lot to force them into a situation where they'd have to borrow. Although fortunately for them I think family would probably step in and save them from having to pay for that like many others do.

    I've gone sort of the opposite way with it, I've always saved money a lot better than my sister, I'm content to go without stuff that I don't think I really need without putting myself out but at the same time I'll use credit where it's to my advantage. I've bought things on 0% finance or credit card offers in the past over paying in full up front so I could keep my savings where they are gaining interest, I've still got outstanding credit card balance from some of those purchases now though it's been moved around several times over the years to take advantage of different promotions and avoid interest mind.

    I think education is probably the best medicine for now, along with looking into regulation in some sectors, as some people just don't understand the consequences of their actions in many financial situations, think the current stuff around student fees/loans is a great example of that as everyone cries about students being crippled by 'debt' that in reality has very little impact on them. Better education could help a lot of people make better informed decisions, there will still be times when people need to borrow but you'd hope they could plan that in advance, borrow at a better rate before they need the cash rather than running out of money and then desperately taking whatever they can get at awful rates. It wouldn't help everyone, as with anything I think there's a level of entitlement that trips some people up, they think they should just be able to have everything they want as soon as they want it so if that means overreaching financially or borrowing to make it happen then so be it, they'll do that without caring about the consequences. I think that's where better regulation would help, trying to prevent people from getting into situations that they can't handle, they might have that need to get everything they want but if no-one will provide the credit for that to happen then they can't get caught out.
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    Yeah, can't say we save anything at all really, beyond reasonable pension contributions. Two kids and a mortgage (our only debt at the moment) leave us with not much left. When we do get a bit left over we tend to pay down our mortgage, which seems as good an investment as any.

    If I'm being honest, we're playing the very dangerous game of waiting for my wife's parents to shuffle off this mortal coil and leave us their massive fortunes (if only!). Happily they're both in good health - he said through gritted teeth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SLA View Post
    Yeah, can't say we save anything at all really, beyond reasonable pension contributions. Two kids and a mortgage (our only debt at the moment) leave us with not much left. When we do get a bit left over we tend to pay down our mortgage, which seems as good an investment as any.

    If I'm being honest, we're playing the very dangerous game of waiting for my wife's parents to shuffle off this mortal coil and leave us their massive fortunes (if only!). Happily they're both in good health - he said through gritted teeth.
    You don't have them, but should always pay off the higher interest debt (credit cards etc) if you have spare cash rather than the mortgage (assuming that you are up to date on that & it will be paid off fully by the intended date)

    As to the second comment I've told my boys that there will only be anything left if the build a granddad annexe & look after me in my dotage

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parkins left foot View Post
    You don't have them, but should always pay off the higher interest debt (credit cards etc) if you have spare cash rather than the mortgage (assuming that you are up to date on that & it will be paid off fully by the intended date)

    As to the second comment I've told my boys that there will only be anything left if the build a granddad annexe & look after me in my dotage
    Yeah, we're on a repayment mortgage and fully up to date, so in theory, that should be tickety boo, but who knows what's round the corner.

    If I have a choice between penury in old age and having my in-laws coming to live with us, I'll go for the railway arches everytime.

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    My sister's situation isn't that far removed from that now, only one child though and her mortgage must be pretty low as their house is pretty modest, but that wasn't always the case. Both her and her husband have worked full time for at least 10 years I'd think, they originally rented a small flat, bit naff but it got them their independence, no reason they couldn't have stayed their a few years and built up some cash but they soon got itchy feet and started renting a house instead. Again it probably wasn't breaking the bank and it was enough for them to get by whilst saving but instead they started booking holidays, buying nonsense gadgets and accumulating pets before eventually getting pregnant and realising it'd probably be a good idea to buy their own place for some extra security. From what I gather they had no savings at all at this point and we only able to buy the house because my somewhat fortunate/savvy/stupidly generous uncle who had retired on a large redundancy payout offered them some money towards their deposit, don't think he realised their deposit would solely be his donation.

    It's surprised me actually since me and my partner bought our house that it's not quite the crippling financial burden than I anticipated, although we have no dependents and little other outgoings, but I'd always been very cautious about moving out because of the financial side of things. I'd seen mates move out years before I did and struggle to really do anything else for a good while afterwards, the house became their life and I wanted to make sure I was a lot more comfortable financially before I took the plunge, I didn't want to have to give up other things in my life to afford to life elsewhere. Fortunately, and against my will, we also benefited from the generous uncle but we'd already gone through the whole mortgage process before we really told anyone so it was all based on our own savings meaning his kind donation is just sat in an ISA, but at least it gives us some security in case something major goes tits up, think we'll pay it off the mortgage next spring before that first year's overpayment allowance disappears. I haven't really felt stretched at any point yet, still less than 6 months in mind, but we're both happy to slowly chip away at turning the house into our own, though my partner has a little breakdown every now and again over the things that annoy her, so we aren't just haemorrhaging money trying to get it all our way.
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    Fortunately had my financial education when I joined the bank aged 18 - some of the Managers I worked for would have started pre war (think Captain Mainwaring).

    Staff were forbidden to go overdrawn & if you wanted a loan you were taken down into the safe, put on the rack & questioned before you were allowed to borrow. Plus I had to sign the bank's equivalent of the Official Secrets Act so if I had revealed anything about a customer's account would probably have been taken out into the car park & shot at dawn.

    Still some benefits as had a fixed rate mortgage all the time I was with them (even when standard rates went up to 12%, with a possibility that it would go further to 15%), plus this pre dated credit cards (staff were the first people to get Barclaycards when they were introduced so as to test the systems) - limits were very tight though & you didn't want to have the discussion with your Manager if you cocked things up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddingtonwolf View Post
    Interesting that mini's school have health and social lessons for one period a week, and personal financial management is a subject they are beginning to cover.
    When I worked in an FE college we tried introducing financial literacy. We found we had very limited buy in from a lot of staff, yet others were hugely interested and supportive.

    It is odd that at 18 a teenager can head off to University, living independently for the first time, 200 miles from home having never had to manage their own budget (amongst other skills).
    Where was the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth shattering kaboom!

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    Also very interesting that a fair few posts refer to unforeseeable circumstances (people don't usually plan to be in debt, but a change of circs is usually the cause, and/or makes indebtedness worse). I also find it interesting that most don't think peer pressure or keeping up with the jonses is related to levels of indebtedness (which in the majority of cases I don't think is the cause either).
    Where was the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth shattering kaboom!

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    I think teaching schoolchildren/young adults about financial literacy and prudence is a great thing. I was always taught to save and be careful, in spite of my father being a complete and utter monkey's anus in financial terms, yet even though I have carefully saved in the past, I too have come close to financial disaster on more than one occasion, so to cite unforeseeable circumstances does appear to be a little convenient in some respects.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lemonjelly View Post
    When I worked in an FE college we tried introducing financial literacy. We found we had very limited buy in from a lot of staff, yet others were hugely interested and supportive.

    It is odd that at 18 a teenager can head off to University, living independently for the first time, 200 miles from home having never had to manage their own budget (amongst other skills).
    This was an eye opener for me, I started uni at 29 and had my eyes open but the youngsters I met were being taken the piss out of in Freshers Week. We had SU reps knocking doors hard selling tickets for club nights and no sooner have they gone you've got the local club reps round. Rinse and repeat for 'Re-freshers' week and again just before Easter in line with student finance payments, it's like a feeding frenzy and if they aren't experienced in managing that budget they're easy prey.

    I noticed quite quickly when you move in at included in your welcome pack you have all of the items you can buy from the SU including platinum wristbands for Freshers Week for £140 but not the student budgeting planner available from the university advice service.

    I know, I sound like a hoot on a night out

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat del combate View Post
    I think teaching schoolchildren/young adults about financial literacy and prudence is a great thing. I was always taught to save and be careful, in spite of my father being a complete and utter monkey's anus in financial terms, yet even though I have carefully saved in the past, I too have come close to financial disaster on more than one occasion, so to cite unforeseeable circumstances does appear to be a little convenient in some respects.
    My parents & grandparents taught me well. Perhaps a little too well. I'm terrible at spending money on myself. I did develop a good saving habit. My brother didn't.
    Equally, we cannot legislate for the unforeseeable. My dad was in a coma when he was in his 50's. To be honest there is no way he should have survived, but he did. He never returned to work (& I don't blame him) and I'm pleased that my mum & dad (mum also has health issues) never have had to worry about finance, as my savings covered what was needed, and they'd paid off their mortgage. A big reason why I'm consistently short of cash now is because I still support them a bit, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I can't put a price on all this time I've had with my dad.
    Where was the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth shattering kaboom!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lincs_Wolf View Post
    This was an eye opener for me, I started uni at 29 and had my eyes open but the youngsters I met were being taken the piss out of in Freshers Week. We had SU reps knocking doors hard selling tickets for club nights and no sooner have they gone you've got the local club reps round. Rinse and repeat for 'Re-freshers' week and again just before Easter in line with student finance payments, it's like a feeding frenzy and if they aren't experienced in managing that budget they're easy prey.

    I noticed quite quickly when you move in at included in your welcome pack you have all of the items you can buy from the SU including platinum wristbands for Freshers Week for £140 but not the student budgeting planner available from the university advice service.

    I know, I sound like a hoot on a night out
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    Where was the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth shattering kaboom!

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