Brean Horne

How coronavirus will impact your personal finances

The coronavirus pandemic has sent shockwaves through the global economy, affecting the finances of people around the world. 

From investments and pensions, to savings and travel, we round up how the virus could impact your money. 

What does coronavirus mean for investments?

Stock markets around the world have tumbled to their lowest levels since the 2008 global financial crisis owing to fears about the coronavirus. Uncertainty over the spread of the disease could continue to impact markets throughout the world.  

Coronavirus scams: greater risk of being a victim of pension fraud

Pension savers face a greater risk of being targeted by fraudsters, research from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pension Scams (APPG) has revealed.

The government has advised more people to stay at home amid the coronavirus crisis, which could increase their chances of being contacted via phone or online.

Investment markets plunging over recent weeks may also make people more susceptible to pension scams as they attempt to recover losses from their retirement savings.  

Thousands of Nationwide customers to be refunded

Nationwide is to repay customers £900,000 after breaching overdraft rules set out by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Customers with a personal current account must receive a text alert warning of fees before banks charge them in an unarranged overdraft, under Part 6 of the CMA’s Retail Banking Code.

The rules aim to give people time to take action and avoid paying unexpected overdraft fees.

Although Nationwide did send text alerts, they did not contain a warning that customers would be charged for using an unarranged overdraft.

Retirees missing out on £1,500 pensions top-up

Pensioner homeowners are missing out on thousands of pounds of extra income by failing to claim the full entitlement to state benefits, according to the latest Just Group annual state benefits survey.

Nearly half (46%) of retired homeowners are failing to claim any state benefits at all causing them to miss out on an average of £1,423 in 2019, up from £1,139 the previous year.

The three key state benefits that can be claimed by pensioners are guarantee pension credit, savings pension credit and a council tax reduction.

New FCA plan to boost savings rates

Millions of savers throughout the UK could benefit from new proposals by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to reform the easy access savings market.

Under the new rules, lenders will have to set a “single easy access rate”, or SEAR, across all their easy-access savings accounts and easy-access cash Isas.

Savings account providers will have the flexibility to offer introductory rates for up to 12 months.

The FCA has previously raised concerns that competition in the easy-access savings market is not working.

Overdraft rules could mean your ‘available balance’ is £0

New rules on overdrafts announced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will come into force from today, 18 December 2019. 

The changes are designed to make overdrafts, simpler, easier and fairer to manage. 

From today, banks and building societies will no longer be able to include a customer's overdraft in their ‘available balance’ or ‘available funds’. 

Lenders will also have to send alerts to customers when they dip into an arranged or unarranged overdraft to help avoid unintended overdraft use. Further changes will come into force next spring.