THE pound has dropped by up to 0.4 per cent against the euro and dollar after squabbling MPs rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a third time today.
Sterling now sits at 1.6 against the euro, down from 1.69 yesterday.
It’s also weakened against the dollar following the result of the vote in the Commons, falling to 1.29 down from 1.31.
Michael Brown, senior analyst at investing firm Caxton FX said: “Political headwinds facing the pound have now increased, with Parliament now needing to find a consensus on a new way forward, likely through a second round of indicative votes on Monday increasing the prospects of a long extension.”
The drop in sterling wasn’t as dramatic as following the Prime Minister’s previous Brexit defeats but traders say this is down to investors scaling back their trading of the pound because it has become so difficult to predict.
They also warn that sterling is set to remain under pressure over fears the United Kingdom will leave the EU on April 12 without a deal.
The currency, which has fallen 1.9 per cent this month, is on track for its worst monthly performance since October 2018.
“The focus now shifts to the alternatives that parliament will decide on next week and everything from revoking Article 50 to having a second referendum vote is on the table which will weigh on the pound,” said Nikolay Markov, a senior economist at investment firm Pictet Asset Management.
The Commons defeated the PM’s bid to leave the EU on May 22 by 58 votes.
The Government is now likely to request a long delay to Brexit, lasting up to a year which casts huge doubt on whether we will ever even leave.
Mrs May’s loss also ramps up the chances of a snap election dragging Brits back to the polls for the third time in four years.
She hinted at this, saying; “I fear we are reaching the limits of this process”.
The uncertainty is also making it hard for holidaymakers to know when is the best time to get their holiday cash – now or after Brexit?
Hannah Maudrell, from Money.co.uk previously told The Sun: “Trying to predict what will happen to the exchange rate is near impossible.
“Currency markets don’t like uncertainty therefore exchange rates could rise or fall depending on the outcomes of the next few days.”
Experts reckon a good way to make sure you get the top rates is buying half of your money now and buy the other half after Brexit.
That way, you won’t feel so bitter if the pound weakens because you would have made the most of top rates when they were available.
We’ve put together a guide to where to get the best rates on your holiday cash.
Gold is valuable and extremely rare, and therefore the yellow metal is usually protected at all costs. However, there have been multiple occurrences in history where evildoers have breached security measures and bullion has fallen into the wrong hands.
Today we count down the stories of everyday henchmen, terrorist groups, and nation states that have all stolen large swaths of gold loot. This includes notable worldwide events such as the Spaniards’ metal extraction from the New World, famous and recent ISIS raids on banks in the Middle East, and two significant transfers of wealth in WWII that occurred through the use of force.
It’s times like these when we are reminded how important it is to have proper security measures in place for our own personal wealth. For a good primer, JMBullion goes through the basics here on securing precious metals.
Below is also a video version of the infographic detailing the greatest gold heists!
PET owners have seen the price of insuring their beloved animals fall for the first time in eight years – but if you’re on certain benefits you may qualify for free help.
Average policy prices fell by £2 from £281 a year in 2017 to £279 a year in 2018.
Although this is still up by a whopping 50 per cent compared to 10 years ago.
Average pet insurance claims meanwhile have risen by 75 per cent over the past 10 years and climbed by £36 in 2018 from £757 to £793.
Trade body the Association of British Insurers (ABI) says the rise is likely to be caused by ever-increasing vet costs as the sophistication and cost of treatment increases.
But despite payouts rising a worrying number of people still aren’t insuring their pets – particularly cat owners.
Can I get help with vets bills?
PEOPLE on certain benefits may qualify for help with vets bills from veterinary charity the PDSA.
If you receive housing benefit, council tax support or Universal Credit (with a housing element) you may qualify for free treatment for one pet and discounted treatment for other pets.
You could qualify for low cost treatments if you receive child tax, working tax credit and Universal Credit (without a housing element).
Pensioners living in a home that is in council tax bands A-D may also qualify for low cost treatment.
You first need to register with the PDSA at which point you’ll need to show photo ID and proof of any benefits you receive.
Your pet will be registered for 12 months, and, if you’re still eligible after that, you may be able to re-register.
See the PDSA website for more information and to check if you’re eligible.
The ABI says only 1.3million cats are insured compared to 2.8million dogs – leaving the owners of 6.3million cats at risk of having to foot expensive vet bills out of their own pockets.
Joe Ahern, the ABI’s senior policy adviser for pet insurance, said: “There is no NHS for animals, so if you’ve not got a pet policy in place – you risk having to foot veterinary bills out of your own pocket.
“These can often be in the thousands of pounds and vet treatment is only getting more expensive, not less.”
Use a comparison site to find the best quote for your needs and then check the insurers comparison sites miss, such as Aviva and Direct Line.
Then before you buy, see if you can get the same policy via a cashback site to earn some extra cash on top.
Some pet owners on certain benefits may also qualify for free or discounted vet treatment – see the box above for more information.
We spoke to one cat owner who was covered for a £7,000 op, but her insurance policy did not pay for the pills… do you have the right cover?
But bear in mind that you could get a £100 fine if you don’t have a poo bag while walking your dog.
Pets at Home is selling Easter eggs for dogs, cats and rabbits – and prices start from £2.
In this motion graphic video, we break down the full story behind Donald Trump’s wealth.
Not only do we examine his major business successes and failures, but we even look back at real estate’s prominent role in the history of the Trump family. To conclude, the video breaks down Trump’s net worth and financial history, while highlighting some of the help he has gotten along the way in building his fortune.
The story started well over a century ago with Donald’s grandfather, Frederick Trump. Real estate runs deep in the blood of the Trump family, and Frederick was actually the first Trump to own a hotel. During the famous Klondike gold rush in Canada, Frederick owned an inn and restaurant that served gold miners. When he passed away, he left an estate worth just under $500,000 in today’s dollars to his heirs.
His eldest son, Fred Trump, carried on the Trump legacy by going into business with his mother, using the nest egg for seed money. Fred became a very successful builder in New York City’s outer boroughs. He built single family houses in Queens in the 1920s, helped pioneer the supermarket with the “Trump Market” during the Great Depression, and even built barracks for the Navy during World War 2.
But Fred’s real cash cow came in 1949, when he got a government loan to build Shore Haven Apartments in Brooklyn. The Federal Housing Administration paid him $10.3 million, but he was able to build the apartments for significantly less.
The government kept overpaying for houses in Brooklyn and Queens, and Fred kept building them. According to Donald, his father became “one of the biggest landlords in New York’s outer boroughs”. By the time of Fred’s death in 1999, it’s said that Fred Trump was worth between $250 and $300 million.
Born in Queens, Donald J. Trump would join his father’s company early on in his career. His father’s cash cow was now gone, but Donald had a different vision for the Trump name anyways. He envisioned the “Trump” brand as being synonymous with luxury worldwide.
To do this, in the mid-1970s, Donald went into real estate in Manhattan. Relying on the business connections and creditworthiness of his old man, he borrowed a “small sum” of 1 million dollars to get started.
Trump’s Biggest Successes
Trump’s top three business successes include the Grand Hyatt, 40 Wall Street, and the Apprentice.
1. Grand Hyatt
In 1976, Donald Trump and Hyatt partnered to buy the rundown Commodore Hotel near Grand Central Station. At the time, the whole neighborhood was in disarray with many nearby buildings on the verge of foreclosure. Trump negotiated contracts with banks and the city in an effort to fund the hotel and rejuvenate the area.
The end result was the Grand Hyatt, a 25-story hotel, which Trump sold his share of for $142 million in 1996.
2. 40 Wall Street
Another big win for Trump was with 40 Wall Street, once the tallest building in the world. He bought it for $1 million after years of vacancy. Today, it’s prime real estate in the financial district, worth more than $500 million – a huge return.
3. The Apprentice
The Apprentice was also a financial home run for Trump. As the show’s host and executive producer, he raked in $1 million per episode for a whopping 185 episodes.
Trump’s Biggest Failures
Like many businessmen, Donald Trump’s career has also had his share of failures.
1. Atlantic City
Donald’s biggest failure may be his ill-fated venture into casinos in Atlantic City.
The bleeding started in 1988 when he acquired the Taj Mahal Casino. Funded primarily by junk bonds, the massive casino would be $3 billion in debt within just a year of opening. Trump, who racked up $900 million in personal liabilities, had the business declare bankruptcy. To stay afloat, he ditched many personal assets such as half of his stake in the company, a 282-foot megayacht, and his airline.
Things were dire, and Trump’s dad chipped in by providing a $3.5 million loan in the form of casino chips to help make a loan payment.
Trump’s casino holding company would enter bankruptcy two additional times: in 2004, after accruing $1.8 billion in debt, and in 2009, after missing a bond payment during the Financial Crisis. Each time, Trump’s stake in the company fell.
2. Other Businesses
While three of Trump’s four bankruptcies involved Atlantic City casinos, he has also struggled in other ventures outside of real estate: Trump airlines, Trump Vodka, Trump: The Game, Trump Magazine, Trump Steaks, and Trump University were all destined for failure. Trump Mortgages was launched in 2006 right before the real estate crash, and it also imploded.
Trump’s Net Worth
According to Trump’s campaign, he is worth “in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS”. However, he has also been accused in the past of artificially inflating his net worth. Forbes and Bloomberg News both have drastically different estimates of his wealth at $4.5 billion and $2.9 billion respectively.
Using the middle of the road figure from Forbes, here is how Trump’s wealth breaks down:
48% is in New York City real estate
7% is in cash and liquid assets such as investments
8% is in golf courses
4% is in “toys” such as helicopters, penthouse, or his Boeing 757 plane
The remainder includes other real estate assets outside of New York City, as well as the value of the licensing agreements for hotels, real estate, or other Trump products.
Trump as an Investor
So how did Donald Trump do in managing his fortune?
See Trump’s performance as an investor compared to other benchmarks in the next video for The Money Project.
About the Money Project
The Money Project aims to use intuitive visualizations to explore ideas around the very concept of money itself. Founded in 2015 by Visual Capitalist and Texas Precious Metals, the Money Project will look at the evolving nature of money, and will try to answer the difficult questions that prevent us from truly understanding the role that money plays in finance, investments, and accumulating wealth.
Even better, the eligibility checker uses something called a “soft search”, which means that it won’t affect your credit score.
When you apply for a credit card, if you get rejected for any reason it often has a negative impact on your credit rating, making it harder to get accepted if you apply for credit in the future.
A soft search takes details such as your income, address and marital status, and uses it to show you the likelihood of being accepted for various products.
If the chances are high, you can apply feeling fairly confident you’ll be accepted, if they’re not so good you can look for a different product.
How do 0 per cent credit cards work
These are cards that don’t charge interest on certain kinds of transactions for a set promotional period. There are three main kinds:
Balance transfer cards – These cards allow you to transfer debts from another credit card and won’t charge you any interest on the balance for the set introductory period. They’re great if you want to concentrate on paying off a big debt or loan, without worrying about racking up interest. Some of them charge a fee for transferring your money – but it should be less than you’ll save in interest.
Money transfer cards – These cards allow you to put money in your current account, great if you’re in danger of slipping into an unplanned overdraft. You won’t be charged interest for a set period of time, meaning you can spread the cost of a big purchase without worrying.
Purchase cards – These allow you to shop stress-free as you won’t pay interest on purchases for a set period of time. Make sure you clear your debts before the period is over
The best kind for stopping interest payments on credit card debt is a balance transfer card.
The five golden rules of using a balance transfer card
THESE are the rules you must always follow when using a 0 per cent card, according to moneysavingexpert.com
Always clear your debt before the 0 per cent offer ends – otherwise you can end up getting stung with high interest payments. If you can’t pay it all off, try to shift the debt to another balance transfer card,
Repay at least the monthly minimum – If you don’t the company will sometimes take the 0 per cent deal away from you. Ideally you should be paying more than the minimum anyway.
Don’t use the card to spend or withdraw cash – you can end up paying a hefty interest bill. Use a different card for spending.
Always check eligibility – to make sure you protect your credit rating
Check the deal you actually get – when a product is advertised as ‘up to’ only the consumers with the best credit scores are likely to get the deal. If you have a poorer score you might get a shorter 0 per cent period. Make sure you know how long you have to pay your debt back.
How much money could I save?
How much you can save by switching to a 0 per cent card, depends on how much interest you’re paying and how quickly you’re paying off your debts.
Look at your monthly interest payments and add them up to see what you could save each year.
For many people, the difference could be thousands of pounds.
For example, someone with a £1,000 balance on a typical credit card could save £98 in interest payments over a year if they switched to a balance transfer card.
This would add up to £293 over three years.
Someone who owed a more substantial £5,000 would save a whopping £488 in interest over 12 months.
Over three years this would add up to an eye-watering £1,465.
A MoneySavingExpert.com user Hayley said: “I finally got off my backside and did a balance transfer. Thanks to @MartinSLewis and @MoneySavingExp for making it so easy. Here’s to saving £300/yr.”
The best balance transfer cards on the market
THESE are the five best 0 per cent balance transfer cards available at the moment, according to MoneyFacts.co.uk
MBNA Limited Long 0% Balance Transfer Mastercard – find out more Introductory Rate: 0 per cent Introductory offer period: 29 months from date of card issue Balance transfer fee: 2.75 per cent Purchases APR: 19.90 per cent
Halifax 29 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card Mastercard – find out more Introductory Rate: 0 per cent Introductory offer period: 29 months from date of card issue Balance transfer fee: 3:00 per cent Purchases APR: 19.90 per cent
Sainsbury’s Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card Mastercard – find out more Introductory Rate: 0 per cent Introductory offer period: 29 months from date of transfer Balance transfer fee: 3:00 per cent (£3 minimum) Purchases APR: 19.90 per cent
HSBC Balance Transfer Credit Card Visa – find out more Introductory Rate: 0 per cent Introductory offer period: 29 months from date of transfer Balance transfer fee: 1.40 per cent (£5 minimum) Purchases APR: 21.90 per cent
Barclaycard Platinum 28 Month Balance Transfer Visa – find out more Introductory Rate: 0 per cent Introductory offer period: 29 months from date of card issue Balance transfer fee: 1.75 per cent Purchases APR: 19.90 per cent
How to choose the right 0 per cent card
There are three main things to consider when it comes to choosing a card.
The first is how long the 0 per cent offer will last.
Balance transfer cards are only interest-free for a limited introductory time period.
The longer this is, the longer you’ll have to pay back the debt without paying interest.
The second thing to consider is the interest you’d have to pay once the offer is over.
This can vary substantially from card to card.
Ideally, you want to make sure you clear all your debt before the offer expires, but it’s worth checking what you’d have to pay if you don’t manage to.
The third consideration is the transfer fee. Most 0 per cent cards will charge you a small percentage to transfer your money across.
It should be less than you save in interest payments, but if two cards are otherwise equal you’ll want the lower fee.
Don’t forget that not every customer is eligible for every card. So you want to pick the best card among those that you’re likely to be accepted for.
Martin Lewis’ warning to ANYONE with a credit card – shift debt now before top cards are pulled.
‘Worrying’ rise in number of people with payday and high cost credit debts.
Go to any large, high-density city like New York or San Francisco, and you’ll notice a difference in costs immediately.
The price you pay for groceries, dinner at the restaurant, filling up your tank, or even your daily coffee goes up substantially. With high-paying jobs, booming economies, limited space, and soaring levels of density, cities can be expensive.
While this effect on costs is most evident in cities, it’s actually present throughout the country.
What you can buy for your paycheck varies wildly depending on where you are, greatly impacting purchasing power and the cost of living. Sometimes even a short one-hour drive can make a difference in some cases.
Today’s two maps come from TaxFoundation.org, and they look at regional differences in purchasing power, based on information from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Bang for Buck, by State
The following map shows the buying power of $100 by state.
If the number is below, such as $90, it means money buys less than the federal average. If a state’s number is higher, such as $110, that means each dollar goes further, giving residents more purchasing power.
Generally speaking, dollars go furthest in states in the Southeast and Midwest parts of the country. Go to places like Arkansas or South Dakota, and you’ll see higher purchasing power.
Here are the five states that have the most buying power:
State or District
Relative Value of $100
And here are the five with the least buying power:
State or District
Relative Value of $100
District of Columbia
Bang for Buck, by County
The state map does not tell the whole story, however.
The reality is that density makes a big difference for buying power, and large metropolitan areas tend to be more expensive. The following chart breaks it down based on county, creating a much more interesting contrast.
The above rendition makes it clear that the Bay Area, New York City, and Washington D.C. are the places where the relative value of a dollar is lowest.
Meanwhile, it also shows that metropolitan areas in some parts of the country are not too bad for the cost of living. Cities like Atlanta ($104.10), Nashville ($106.50), Phoenix ($102.90), Milwaukee ($104.50), Kansas City ($106.70), Jacksonville ($104.40), and New Orleans ($104.60) buck the trend, being cheaper than the American average.
Here’s another look – this time with an interactive map that allows you to hover over individual metro areas:
MORE than half a million Three Mobile users have had their direct debits taken up to four weeks early leaving some with no cash and facing charges from their banks.
Three Mobile says a “processing error” saw it mistakenly take payments that had been due on April 15, 16, 26 and 29 yesterday.
The issue affects a whopping 550,000 of the provider’s millions of pay monthly and Sim-only mobile and mobile broadband users.
Pay-as-you-go users are unaffected.
‘I’ve had two orders cancelled and Netflix suspended’
But customers are furious about the error and some say they’ve been left with no cash to pay for other essentials.
How to cut your mobile bill
FIRSTLY, decide if you’re happy with your current deal and whether you want a new deal or handset – or both.
If you’re outside the minimum term of your contract then you can leave penalty free – and you might be able to find a cheaper deal elsewhere.
Pay-as-you-go deals are better for people who don’t regularly use their phone, while monthly contracts usually work out cheaper for those who do.
The best way to find a new deal is by checking comparison websites, such as MoneySupermarket and uSwitch.com, which compare tariffs and handset prices.
It’s also worth trying Billmonitor, it matches buyers to the best pay-monthly deal based on their previous three months of bills.
It only works if you’re a customer of EE, O2, Three, Vodafone or Tesco Mobile and you’ll need to log in with your online account details.
MobilePhoneChecker has a bill monitoring feature that recommends a tariff based on your monthly usage.
If you’re happy with your provider then it might be worth using your research to haggle a better deal.
One user tweeted: “Didn’t think @ThreeUK taking my phone bill out two weeks early was that much of an issue until I checked my emails and I’ve had two orders cancelled because they couldn’t take payment and my Netflix suspended because it should also have came out today.”
Another affected customer wrote: “Customer service from @ThreeUK is a joke. Called them on Sunday because suddenly my bill was a third more expensive than it’s supposed to be and now they’ve taken the whole amount out TWO weeks too early.”
While someone else said: “Who the F*CK thinks it’s okay due to an “ERROR” to take a direct debit almost two weeks early?”
Another said: “I’ve been affected and told via live chat I’m getting a refund. You can forget me making a manual payment though as that’s the WHOLE REASON for having a direct debit in place.”
I’m affected – do I need to do anything?
Three says it has contacted all affected customers by text to let them know about the error.
If you urgently need your money back you can request a refund from Three but this will take up to four days to process.
Alternatively, you should be able to get an immediate refund from your bank or card provider under the banking industry’s Direct Debit Guarantee.
If you do get a refund, you’ll need to pay your April bill manually before April 15.
You can do this through My3, using the Three app, or by calling it on 333.
Your direct debit will then automatically return back to normal from May.
I’ve been hit with bank charges, what can I do?
Some people may have been stung with overdraft fees or bounced payment fees from their bank if they didn’t have enough cash in their account to cover their early mobile bill.
Meanwhile others may have been charged late payment fees from other service providers if they don’t have enough cash in their accounts to pay for bills.
Steve Nowottny, news and features editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, which first spotted the problem, says he’s seen a number of people saying they’ve been hit with overdraft fees.
He said: “We’re already seeing a large number of complaints from very unhappy customers, with some saying they’ve been tipped into their overdraft.
“There’s a real risk many of these customers will then be hit with bank charges and left out of pocket as a result.”
Three says it will refund all customers in these scenarios but you do need to actively get in touch and you will need to provide proof of the charges – whether that’s screenshots or bank statements.
You can contact Three by calling 333 on your mobile.
A spokesperson for Three said: “Following a processing error, a number of customers have had their direct debit payment collected earlier than planned.
“We apologise wholeheartedly for the inconvenience caused and if any customer feels that they have been negatively impacted by this, please get in touch with our contact centre on 333.”
The mishap is another blow to Three Mobile users who will be hit with bill hikes of 2.5 per cent from May.
But we’ve put together three easy steps to avoid EE, O2, Three Mobile and Vodafone price rises.
We’ve also rounded-up how you can avoid Sky’s price hikes that take force this month.
Finance professionals have very different perspectives
The development of new technology in the financial sector is happening at a breakneck speed.
Between the emergence of the blockchain, AI, robo-advisors, regtech, payment and loan services, and many other examples of technological progress, there are many ideas to keep track of at once.
It would appear that these changes are happening so fast, in fact, that people don’t even have a uniform idea of what fintech really is.
According to the results of LinkedIn’s survey of financial services professionals, how fintech is perceived greatly depends on a person’s role within the financial industry.
Wealth managers, for example, are very much aware of the robo-advisor arms race happening now, and how it may impact their future business especially with millennials. As a result, it’s likely no surprise that 68% of wealth managers rank robo-advisors as an important development within the fintech sector. Meanwhile, other developments like the blockchain (21%), regtech (24%) and digital lending (16%) are perceived as less important by this group.
For investment bankers and fintech professionals, the tables are turned.
Interestingly, these two groups seem to see more eye-to-eye regarding the technologies at play in the finance sector. Both fintech professionals (63%) and investment bankers (55%) saw AI-based investing as an important development, and both saw the blockchain (44% and 35%) as a key development as well.
Retail bankers had a very different perspective on the blockchain. They ranked both insurtech and chatbots (which we didn’t even show in our chart) as more important than the new distributed ledger technology, putting it in last place out of the options given.
This could be an oversight, considering that cryptocurrencies alone are already worth more than $80 billion, and that doesn’t even include the many other potential applications of the blockchain.
Retail bankers had other contrarian opinions as well – they were the only subgroup where the majority chose digital lending (54%) as the most important development in the industry as a whole.
Living in Alternate Realities?
While the jury is still out on what aspect of fintech will have the biggest impact on financial services overall, there is an even deeper question at hand: will fintech make a real impact on traditional financial services at all?
It’s a question that’s very divisive, with very different answers depending on your side of the spectrum:
42% of fintech professionals see fintech as being a direct threat to traditional finance
13% of traditional finance professionals see fintech as being a direct threat to traditional finance
Although it may seem strange, there are quite a few parallels between the California Gold Rush and race for hash rate to mine bitcoins.
However, as the infographic suggests, it is too early to tell if bitcoins will be as good as gold in terms of storing value. The price has been unstable and fluctuates rapidly. The chart below details the past three months of the price (May 2014-July 2014). Prices fluctuated between approximately $427 to $665.
While the first “gold rush” for bitcoins may be over, the future of the blockchain and cryptocurrency appears bright. These innovations have the potential to disrupt and transform several industries. That’s where the next “gold rush” is already occurring – it will be exciting to see what wealth is created.