Updated: Jul 9



In the UK, Student Loans are loans to assist the payment of education at university or another educational institution. This loan is split into two parts, maintenance and tuition loan and is given by Student Finance England (SFE).


APPLICATION PROCESS

The tuition fee can vary and depends on the cost of your degree/course. The current cost of a university degree is £9,250 per year and is subject to change. The tuition loan is paid directly to your university in three instalments depending on your course.


The maintenance loan is a means-tested loan. This means that the amount of loan that you're eligible to receive depends on your parents' income levels. The higher their income levels, the less you'll be eligible to receive. Your parents will have to send proof of their income from the previous tax year for you to get your loan approved. If you do not live with your parents, you are able to apply for maintenance loan based on your income level under estrangement. This estrangement application tells SFE that you are not in contact with your parents and have to prospects of regaining contact with them in the near future. Click here to read more about Estrangement eligibility.


Tuition and maintenance loans are repayable unless otherwise stated. If you are lucky enough to receive a grant or scholarship whilst at university then that money is yours, you don't have to pay it back.


REPAYMENT PROCESS

Similar to the personal tax allowance, there is an income threshold that you have to reach before you start making any repayments on your student loan. The threshold is £26,575 a year, £2,214 a month or £511 a week from April 2020. If you earn under this amount, you will make no payments towards your student loan.


Any income you earn over this amount, you will pay 9% towards your student loan repayment.


Example:


£26,575 = £0 monthly repayment

£28,000 = £10 monthly repayment

£31,000 = £33 monthly repayment

£34,000 = £55 monthly repayment


Don't worry about trying to make these repayments, they will be deducted from your pay-check the same way national insurance and income tax is.


Interest is charged from your first student loan installment payment and is in line with the rate of inflation at the time. You make repayments for 30 years at which point your loan get cancelled and your payments stopped. If you still have part of your loan owing at that point, it'll get written off.


If you choose to work abroad for more than 3 months, you have to make the Student Loans Company aware of your departure. You will still be entitled to pay 9% on the income you earn abroad over threshold. Be sure to check what the income threshold is in the country that you are working in because that amount can differ.

Updated: May 2



The older we get, the more conversations we hear regarding credit cards. They may be from your work colleagues talking about the credit card they've just applied for, or from your parents who tell you to steer clear. We're going to give you the complete lowdown on credit cards so you can be in the know and make a decision to best suit you.


Credit Card - a plastic card issued by a bank which allows you to make purchases on credit


You can apply for a credit card either online directly on a providers website or in branch. When you make an application, the limit and interest rate that you are offered is decided by your credit score and how much credit you already have out in your name (eg. existing loans, credit cards, overdrafts etc). The limit on a credit card determines how much you are able to spend on credit.


Once you have received your credit card, there is a possibility for you to request a higher limit or your provider may contact you to offer a higher limit. Whether or not you'll be accepted for an increase in your credit allowance depends on your credit score are use of your current credit levels (eg. have you missed payments etc).


Credit cards have an interest rate which is the amount you have to pay to the issuer in return for using the credit facility. Interest rates on credit cards tend to range from 0% to 39.9% but can sometimes be higher if you have a poor credit score. Interest is accrued and is added to the remaining balance on your credit card.


There is an interest-free period on credit cards whereby if you make a purchase and repayment the balance in full within that period, you will gain no interest on your balance. The typical interest-free period for the majority of credit cards is 30 days however, this period can be between 20-55 days with some providers. Be sure to contact your issuer to clarify when your interest-free time period is.


Any balance that remains on your credit card after this period will incur interest. This interest will be calculated and added on to your next credit card statement. Some providers offer 0% interest credit cards which mean that if you make any purchases, you will incur no interest during the entire 0% interest period.


For example, if your 0% interest credit card period is 9 months and you purchase a phone for £800, you will incur no interest on the balance during that time.


As beneficial as they are, 0% interest credit cards are not available to everyone and is dependent on your credit eligibility. Use the calculator below to see what you're eligible for:


Every month, you'll receive your credit card statement detailing all of the purchases made over the previous month either electronically or through the post. It will also state how much the minimum payment is, when the payment is due and how much interest will be added to your existing balance. It is always in your best interest to pay more than the minimum payment stated as it will reduce the time it takes to repay the balance in full meaning you'll repay less over the long term in interest.


BENEFITS

Cost Spreading - One of the biggest advantages of using a credit card is being able to spread the cost of an expensive item over a period of time. Credit cards are great especially in emergency situations where, for example, your boiler has stopped working and needs urgent replacing. If you don't have the cash upfront to make that purchase, you can pay for it on a credit card and make repayments over a number of months.


Purchase Protection - Under section 75 of the consumer credit act, any purchases between £100 - £30,000 made on a credit card is covered. This means that if you were to purchase an item using your credit card and the item were to go faulty, the credit card company are jointly liable with the retailer to fix the problem. If I were to purchase a laptop and it stops working after a month, I'd first contact the retailer I bought it from. If, for some reason, they refuse to fix the situation or issue a refund, I can contact my credit card company and they'll follow up the problem and figure out a solution. It doesn't matter how expensive the item is, as long as you pay at least £100 of the total value using your credit card, your full purchase will be covered. If I bought a car for £5,000, put £100 of it on my credit card and paid the remainder in cash, the full value of my car would be covered.


Rewards - some credit cards offer additional perks such as points when travelling (eg Avios points) or cashback on your purchases. These can be great if you're a frequently traveller or want to save money on your purchases.


DOWNSIDES

Possibility of Debt - As for all credit facilities, 'with great power comes great responsibility' and sometimes it can be easy to get carried away with the illusion of extra cash. If you're going to use a credit card, make sure you do so responsibly. Some credit cards have high interest rates and may put you in a bad financial position if not managed properly.


Fees - If you end up making a late payment or even missing payments, you could end up paying higher fees than expected. Late payment fees will be added to your statement as well as the interest rate. Make sure you clarify all of the fees associated with your credit card.


Affects Credit Score - Whilst credit cards can be effective credit builders when repaid on time, if you miss payments then you could actually see your credit score decrease. Be mindful when getting a credit card and set up a direct debit to pay your credit card to ensure you never miss a payment.


Ultimately, credit cards hold a lot of benefits when used correctly so ensure you do your necessary research before applying.


Updated: May 4



Scams and fraudulent activities have been around since the Ancient Greeks with the first ever recorded attempt of fraud occurring in 300BC. Over the years, we have become wiser to the fake emails and phoney calls that we think we'll never get caught out. However, in times of financial difficulties for many people, the allure of acquiring an additional stream on income can be enticing and the scammers know it. They have gotten better at dressing up the scams and packaging it as a lucrative deal that you MUST act on with hast. But what exactly is a pyramid scheme?


PYRAMID SCHEME - 'a form of investment in which each participant must recruit additional members with the promise of payment for each member they recruit'.


This type of business model is illegal in the UK. Pyramid schemes began in 2005 with waves of schemes making significant headway in Ireland in early 2006. A scheme called 'Give and Take' dominated in the UK between 2008-2009 involving at least 10,000 victims based in England and South Wales. They were able to generate a sum of £21 million from these victims over this time period. The leaders were prosecuted however in 2015 and ordered to pay £500,000 in compensation and fees.


WAYS TO SPOT A SCHEME

• There is a large monetary investment upon sign up (joining fee)

• Members are required to sell goods or services to other members as opposed to directly to customers

• Members are required to sell goods that hold little monetary value but instead promote the brand or service eg information platforms.


The biggest tell-tale sign is that the bulk of your income is derived only from the recruitment of new members. If you are encouraged to bring your friends, family and colleagues in order to generate a profit, the chances are it is actually a pyramid scheme.


Always remember to tell yourself, 'if it seems too good to be true, it probably is'.


Also ask yourself this, if it was so easy to make money from sitting at home then why would people still work? Wouldn't everybody be doing it?


If you are still unsure as to whether or not to proceed, ask a third party - a parent, relative or anyone that you trust. Sometimes, a second opinion can be the difference between having money and losing it.


A lot of these pyramid schemes will dress themselves up as 'wealth generation' or help you to generate a 'passive income stream'. Before making any decisions either online or in person, make sure you follow these recommendations:


DO NOT give any large sums or payment details on the spot

DO your research before agreeing to anything

DO NOT commit to anything you're unsure of


Protect yourself and do your research before committing your time and money to anything, you'll thank yourself for it!

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