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HSBC launches welcome bonus meaning bank account switchers could earn £325

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hsbc launches welcome bonus meaning bank account switchers could earn 325

Customers willing to spend a few hours buried in banking paperwork could potentially earn themselves £325 in one-off switching bonuses, after HSBC became the third bank in three weeks to launch a three-figure welcome offer.

Those who switch to either its Advance or Premier accounts through the official switch service can earn £125 if they open an account and move over a previous one with at least two direct debits or standing orders within 30 days.

HSBC’s return to the switching arena signals that the competition for current account customers has really heated up among Britain’s biggest banks as they relaunch welcome bonuses in the aftermath of the coronavirus lockdown, even if they are smaller than they were before.

The return of the current account competition: HSBC, Lloyds and RBS have all relaunched bank account switch bonuses in the last three weeks

The return of the current account competition: HSBC, Lloyds and RBS have all relaunched bank account switch bonuses in the last three weeks

The bank has gained at least 15,000 net current account customers through the official switch service in every three month period since the start of 2018 on the back of several generous switch bonuses.

It gained nearly 34,000 net accounts in the first three months of 2020 on the back of a £175 welcome offer, which it shelved towards the end of March as it focused on its existing customers.

Newcomers cannot have held a First Direct, HSBC or M&S Bank account since January 2017, and those signing up to its Advance account must pay in £1,750 a month or £10,500 in six months.

Those looking to switch to its Premier account meanwhile must either have an annual income of £75,000 and hold a HSBC mortgage, life insurance or investment product, or hold £50,000 in savings or investments within six months of opening an account.

HSBC gained a net 33,994 current account customers in the first three months of this year on the back of a market-leading £175 switch offer. It has relaunched the welcome bonus but shaved off £50

HSBC gained a net 33,994 current account customers in the first three months of this year on the back of a market-leading £175 switch offer. It has relaunched the welcome bonus but shaved off £50

Its offshoot First Direct’s current account, and the accompanying £100 switch bonus it was offering newcomers, remains closed six months on from the bank’s decision to shut its doors to new customers.

However, it told This is Money that it will reopen to new customers again from next month, but it remains to be seen if First Direct will offer the bonus.  

But consumers on the hunt for three-figure cash bribes still have plenty of options, with Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank both offering £100. 

It is the first time since mid-March that three banks have each offered at least £100 for switchers.

Royal Bank of Scotland launched its own £100 switch bonus at the start of September, following the lead initially of Halifax, which was the first bank to bring back a cash carrot

Royal Bank of Scotland launched its own £100 switch bonus at the start of September, following the lead initially of Halifax, which was the first bank to bring back a cash carrot

RBS only requires customers switching to its free Select or £2-a-month Reward account to open an account by 19 November, switch, pay in £1,500 and log in to mobile or online banking by the end of December. 

The money will be paid by 29 January.

Meanwhile Lloyds’ switch bonus, which ends on 9 November, is open to those who switch to its Club Lloyds or Club Lloyds Platinum accounts. 

Club Lloyds comes with a £3 monthly fee if customers do not pay in £1,500 a month, while Club Lloyds Platinum costs £21 a month and comes with perks like travel insurance and breakdown cover, in addition to the same rules.

How current account switching collapsed this year 
Month  Total switches 
January 2020 71,361
February 2020  96,122 
March 2020  113,037 
April 2020  41,549 
May 2020  28,678 
June 2020 27,965 
Source: Current Account Switch Service 

How to (potentially) take advantage of all three 

The lack of requirements to maintain direct debits or keep accounts open for a certain period of time mean that, provided newcomers have not held a HSBC account since January 2017, received a switching bonus from RBS, customers could potentially make £325 from all three banks as long as they move fast enough.

Here’s how: 

Customers can switch their existing bank account to Club Lloyds by 9 November and pay in enough money to avoid the £3 fee, then open and switch to HSBC after they receive the money, which Lloyds says will be paid within 10 days.

Provided they set up direct debits or standing orders of as little as £1 and pay in £1,750, they can open and switch to HSBC Advance and receive £125 within 30 days.

Who did best in 2019? 

The coronavirus pandemic put the current account competition into the deep freeze for six months of this year, but banks still gained thousands of customers last year through the official switch service.

Here are the three which did the best: 

– Nationwide Building Society – ‭105,157‬

– HSBC – ‭63,635‬ 

– Monzo – ‭63,164

And finally, as long as the deal is still open, customers can open and switch to RBS Select, pay in £1,500 and log into mobile or online banking, with the money paid into their account by next February. 

While savings rates are slowly beginning to improve, it would still take around £28,000 held in the top easy-access account around, offered by Skipton Building Society and paying 1.2 per cent, to match the £325 offered by at the moment by the three banks.

However, changing current accounts over such a short period could potentially have an impact on a customers’ credit file, so there is a reason to be cautious before diving in.

James Jones, head of consumer affairs at Experian, warned: ‘While the appearance of a new hard footprint and a new account on your credit report may lead to a temporary score reduction, moving forward your credit score should be fine as long as you don’t chop and change too much or shift everything at once, as lenders prefer to see stability in your credit accounts.

‘For example, try not to move home, change credit cards or apply for several different new current accounts at the same time.

‘If you are planning on applying for a mortgage soon, it would make sense to be more cautious. Showing a steady length of time with the same bank will typically work in your favour for a mortgage application.’

This could potentially cost customers money in the form of worse credit card or loan deals or a lower likelihood of being accepted for a mortgage. 

Watch out for overdraft rates 

While customers who look to switch will often have their eyes on what they can gain from paying in money, it also pays to keep an eye on the cost of taking it out too.

With that in mind, switchers looking enviously at HSBC, Lloyds and and Royal Bank of Scotland’s new welcome bonuses should beware the overdraft costs at both if they burn through that sum and then the rest of their money.

While RBS dropped its temporarily overdraft rate to comply with Financial Conduct Authority rules designed to protect customers from new, higher overdraft charges, both banks are now back to charging close to 40 per cent for borrowing.

RBS charges 39.49 per cent, and HSBC and Lloyds 39.9 per cent by default, although some customers of the latter will pay as much as 49.9 per cent.

To borrow £500 for 10 days with RBS would cost £4.62, while with HSBC and Lloyds it would cost £4.60, according to figures calculated by Moneycomms’ Andrew Hagger.

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Shoppers saw £98m worth of gift vouchers expire during lockdown

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shoppers saw 98m worth of gift vouchers expire during lockdown

An estimated £97.7million was lost on shopping vouchers that went unused during lockdown, new research has revealed.

A quarter of people had a shopping voucher, worth £45.70 on average, that expired during the period when many shops and businesses were forced to close their doors, according to new data from Which?. 

Around half of those with an expiring voucher said it was automatically extended by the retailer, while 15 per cent said they had to request an extension.

However, 36 per cent – an estimated 3.1million – did not receive an extension on their shopping vouchers worth £30 on average, automatically losing all the money they had left.

Gift card carnage: An estimated £97.7m was lost on shopping vouchers that went unused during lockdown

Gift card carnage: An estimated £97.7m was lost on shopping vouchers that went unused during lockdown

Gift card carnage: An estimated £97.7m was lost on shopping vouchers that went unused during lockdown

This equates to an estimated £97.7million across the whole of Britain.

Those from an older demographic were more likely to lose money, with 46 per cent of those aged over 55 claiming they did not receive an extension for their shopping vouchers.

Meanwhile, 42 per cent of those aged 35 to 54 did not receive an extension either, however this figure dropped to just 20 per cent of those aged 18 to 35.

The gift card industry is worth £6billion every year, according to the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association.

Many retailers introduced new Covid-19 terms and conditions during lockdown and offered to extend vouchers.

While some proactively contacted customers, others were not so helpful.

One person told Which? they had emailed a retailer regarding vouchers that were due to expire during lockdown, and received a swift response extending it.

However, another said they were left ‘disappointed’ when they contacted the company who told them ‘hard luck, basically’.

The industry is worth £6bn every year, according to the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association

The industry is worth £6bn every year, according to the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association

The industry is worth £6bn every year, according to the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association

Concerns over ‘experience’ days 

A popular gift for Christmas and birthdays, experience days for hotels, spas, and activities are another area of concern. 

This is because they often have expiry dates, and given the difficulties to book these in the last few months, coupled with a potential scramble to use them, mean some could be looking for refunds.

One voucher holder told This is Money that a hotel is refusing to extend a £280 spa voucher she purchased as a Christmas present for her brother and sister-in-law last year.

Louise said: ‘My sister-in-law is a teacher and can only use the spa during school holidays. They tried to get in in February but were unable to get an available appointment. 

‘They intended to try again for Easter, but the Covid-19 lockdown happened and everywhere closed down.

However, when Louise’s brother phoned up again to rearrange in August and asked if the voucher could be extended until next Easter to give time to make an appointment, as well as make sure all facilities were available once fully open and to avoid visiting during a potential second wave, they were told that there would be no extension and no replacement for one of the treatments.

They were also told they had to pay a further £8 each on top of the £280 already spent for PPE if they wanted to come to the hotel before December otherwise they would lose the voucher and money.

Customers with vouchers that expired are advised to contact the company to try and get an extension.

All retailers are expected to be reasonable and extend vouchers that customers were not able to use during lockdown.

Customers with expired vouchers are advised to contact the firm to try & get an extension

Customers with expired vouchers are advised to contact the firm to try & get an extension

Customers with expired vouchers are advised to contact the firm to try & get an extension

Anyone considering buying shopping vouchers now should be wary, as coronavirus has had a severe financial impact on many retailers – with some big names disappearing from the high street altogether.

The possibility of further coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the near future could also make it difficult to spend vouchers.

Adam French, Which? consumer rights expert, said: ‘Our research suggests consumers may have lost tens of millions of pounds on expired vouchers during lockdown.

‘Many retailers have extended shopping vouchers that expired during lockdown, so if you have a voucher you were unable to use it is worth contacting the company.

‘Anyone considering buying a voucher should be aware of the risks, as some well-known retailers have collapsed in recent months and further coronavirus restrictions could make it difficult to spend vouchers and gift cards.’

The survey of 2,000 UK adults was conducted by Opinium on behalf of Which? between 25 and 28 August 2020.

Figures based on an estimated 3.1million UK adults with vouchers worth £31.70 each that were not extended or used during lockdown. 

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How do I make sure my CV lands me an interview? 12 tips

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how do i make sure my cv lands me an interview 12 tips

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the Government’s plan to protect jobs through its Winter Economy Plan, but some believe this won’t be enough to save them all.

There was a slight uptick in the number of people becoming unemployed between May to July, according to Office for National Statistics.   

But with the furlough scheme coming to an end it is likely to rise further. There are jobs available but the problem for job seekers is that there are now more people than usual applying for them. 

A spokesperson from recruiter Indeed says: ‘Competition for the average job on Indeed has more than doubled since last year.’

There are lots more people applying for jobs so it's hard to stick out from the crowd. But it's not impossible even though recruiters spend just six seconds looking at CVs

There are lots more people applying for jobs so it’s hard to stick out from the crowd. But it’s not impossible even though recruiters spend just six seconds looking at CVs

Recruiters don’t take long to decide whether to advance a candidate through to the interview stage.

Deepa Somasundari, director of client success at global job site Indeed, says: ‘Employers spend as little as six seconds looking at a CV and like all humans, can often make quick decisions and snap judgements.

‘To stand out from the rest of the pile, jobseekers can apply some creative techniques to their CV but should always remember that relevance is what catches an employers’ gaze, not emojis.’

Here, the latest Interview Cheat Sheet focuses on 12 tips that could help you stand out from a crowd, help stamp out mistakes and get you into an interview to help land the job you are after.

1. Font trick for certain companies can work 

Ross Patel, co-founder of Sweatshop Media, says he was offered a job with Apple after he personalised his CV. 

He says: ‘A quick Google search led me to a file download for Apple’s font. I loaded it into photoshop and in true Apple style, wrote the words… “Ross Patel.”

‘I continued with “Apple Changed My Life” in a subtle and characteristically Apple space grey. 

‘I finished it off the cover page with an Apple logo in the centre. After three rounds of successful interviews I was offered the job at Apple.’

This little trick can work at a host of companies, and could be a way to stand out from the pile of CVs that employers are likely to receive. 

Co-founder of Sweatshop Media, Ross Patel, says he was offered a job by Apple after he took time to personalise his CV and demonstrate why he loved the brand

Co-founder of Sweatshop Media, Ross Patel, says he was offered a job by Apple after he took time to personalise his CV and demonstrate why he loved the brand

2. Get your elevator pitch right 

Melissa Sergeant, managing director at Bishopsgate says: ‘People that pique my interest and receive five minutes more of my attention are the ones that get the elevator pitch right – whether it’s in their CV or the first couple of minutes talking to me. 

‘Talk about what’s different about you. Tell your potential employer about your unique selling point. 

‘I usually look for the whole package. I don’t just focus on skills and what people have done in the past.’ 

3. Add a little colour 

Amanda Augustine, careers expert at TopCV, explains: ‘In the past, it was usually frowned upon to add colour to your CV. 

‘However, it’s now becoming less taboo to accent your CV with a colour or two that help make your application stand out — without distracting the reader or overshadowing the content of your CV.

‘If you want to use colour, select a deep hue to use for the titles of each section of your CV; avoid font colours that will blend in with the white background of your document, such as yellow or pastels.’  

Melissa Sergeant, managing director of Bishopsgate Financial says its important to work on your elevator pitch

Melissa Sergeant, managing director of Bishopsgate Financial says its important to work on your elevator pitch

4. Include a left rail 

Augustine says: ‘Whilst a traditional one-column CV is still perfectly acceptable and polished-looking, at TopCV we’ve found that CVs with a left-hand rail or column offer a fresh look that catches employers’ attention.’

This is where some information is displayed in a separate column in the left-hand side, such as personal details and education. 

‘This alternative CV helps your application to stand out. 

‘Just remember, while CV designs with a left-hand rail successfully pass through the electronic net, CVs with a right-hand rail or column will not.’  

5. Don’t hide behind technology 

Sergeant says: ‘Too many people are still hiding behind laptops and devices. The ones that follow up with a phone call and just want five minutes of my time – those are the ones that get my attention more. 

‘Of course it’s all about balance. If they carry on and on they lose me. But it is a nice to make that human connection as that’s so often missing.’

6. Network online 

Use professional online networks such as The Dots, Indeed and LinkedIn. Patel says: ‘Stay engaged and keep an eye out for any opportunity that comes up. 

‘Don’t be afraid to apply for something you’re not sure if you want. If they like you, they will make space for you and it might not be where you expected it to be.’

Kirsty Davis, head of talent acquisitions at Fennies Nursery says it's important to prove your credentials in your cover note

Kirsty Davis, head of talent acquisitions at Fennies Nursery says it’s important to prove your credentials in your cover note

7. Prove your credentials 

Do this in your CV or preferably upfront in your credit note says Kirsty Davis, head of talent acquisitions at Fennies Nursery, which currently has eight roles available (see below). 

She explains: ‘Cover notes are an opportunity to highlight their best attributes, skills and expand on their relevant experience. 

‘This is what we hope to find compared to the notes and lists of generic qualities which often litter CVs. 

We look for that “I can prove it” statement. 

‘For example, “during my training period as an apprentice, I shadowed senior staff, allowing me to see the leadership and management skills and the operations behind a busy team. I am now a qualified Room Leader and successfully managing a team of eight staff.” 

‘Showcase yourself around your three strongest points. This may be an achievement; it may be your targets met or why you are that team player.’

8. Bold the text 

Somasundari says: ‘One way of highlighting specific skills, experiences and achievements is by bolding the text. 

This will help draw the attention of employers to your abilities. Jobseekers should never underestimate the importance of a clear layout and a length that does not exceed two pages.

9. Keep your CV short 

Somasundari says: ‘The best CVs will use as few words as possible. For that reason, formatting experiences as a list of short statements is better than writing out long detailed paragraphs. This will also help cut down on the overall length.

‘Depending on your line of work, you may direct the reader to view a video, case study or other write-up you’ve posted to your personal website to show the employer just how dedicated you are to adding value to their team.

10. Try and solve the company’s problems 

Augustine says pitching a solution to the organisation’s needs could land you the job. 

She explains: ‘While this wouldn’t necessarily go on your CV, you can utilise this technique when you’re applying for positions that are of great interest. 

‘If you’re incredibly passionate about working for a particular company and you are well-versed in their business, consider pitching an idea as part of your cover letter. 

‘Rather than merely reiterating your qualifications, start off by explaining how you can help the company fill a void or solve a problem they’re facing. 

‘Depending on your line of work, you may direct the reader to view a video, case study or other write-up you’ve posted to your personal website to show the employer just how dedicated you are to adding value to their team.’

11. Be creative in your application?

Trying to be creative may not work in every situation so it’s important to think about how well a creative gesture will be received before you spend your time, energy and even money on it.

Augustine advises: ‘Ask yourself if Is this an organisation that prides itself on creativity and going against the norm? Then, an unusual tactic may be well-received. 

‘However, if you’re targeting an organisation that prides itself on its traditions, your creative approach may make you stand out for all the wrong reasons.’

12. Read the details carefully

Crucially, it is important to read the requirements of a certain role – and not simply copy and paste a one-size-fits-all for all employers that you’re trying to get a job at.

Make sure you have a tailored cover letter, and all your CV details are up to scratch. You want to make it as easy as possible for an employer to look at your application and go: they get these basics right, they’re on my ‘yes or maybe’ pile. 

By Angelique Ruzicka 

Get hired! We showcase nine companies recruiting right now 

Amazon: The multinational company is currently advertising around 1,400 roles on LinkedIn with various roles on offer ranging from communications to to compliance. It also has over 1,000 remote roles on offer.  

Fennies Nurseries: Growing nursery Fennies has 24 jobs available 11 sites in London, Surrey and Kent. Cera has several care assistant jobs on offer. Apply at fennies.com/careers/job-search  

John Lewis:The high end department store is currently offering a number of places including roles such as a customer services officer and warehouse operative  

McDonaldsThe fast food company is currently advertising 10 jobs ranging from evening staff to customer experience leaders. 

Mitie: The British outsourcing and energy services company currently has 12 roles on offer ranging from office administrators to facilities assistants. 

Morrisons: Morrisons has several roles on offer including home delivery, logistics and store picker roles.  

NHS: If you want to work for the National Health Service they have a variety of jobs on offer including support workers, healthcare assistants and team administrators. Apply through Indeed.  

Specsavers: British multinational optical retail chain is currently advertising 13 jobs through Indeed such as receptionists, optical assistants and customer service advisors.  

Tesco: Tesco is currently advertising 1,876 roles which range from customer assistants, to delivery and kitchen roles.  

Sources: Indeed, Fennies,  LinkedIn, Amazon, Tesco, Morrisons

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First-time buyers frozen out of housing market

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first time buyers frozen out of housing market

Existing homeowners have overtaken first-time buyers as the biggest source of demand in the housing market. 

Online estate agent Zoopla said the change had resulted from the coronavirus pandemic as younger families had been increasingly shut out by lenders. 

Changing landscape: Zoopla's latest house-price index found demand from homeowners looking to move had risen 48 per cent over the first three months of this year

Changing landscape: Zoopla’s latest house-price index found demand from homeowners looking to move had risen 48 per cent over the first three months of this year

Zoopla’s latest house-price index found demand from homeowners looking to move had risen 48 per cent over the first three months of this year. 

Demand from first-time buyers was up 11 per cent – the first time since 2017 that first-time buyers had not been the biggest driver.

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