There ARE some big changes in February that could impact your bank balance.
From interest rate hikes to energy bill hikes, there are some big dates on your calendar next month.
Bills are expected to rise further this year and several key announcements will be made in February.
That includes information on how much your energy bills will increase this year and some hikes in mobile phone contracts.
There will also be changes to Universal Credit for terminally ill claimants.
Meanwhile, an important deadline is approaching for consumers who have been sold payday loans or home loans.
They have just a few weeks to claim compensation that could be worth hundreds of pounds.
We explain what economic changes are coming in February and how they can affect your pocket.
Bank of England Interest Rate Decision – February 3
The Bank of England is preparing to raise interest rates at a meeting this week after voting for a hike in December.
The bank raised rates to 0.25% late last year, for the first time since August 2018.
His monetary policy committee will meet on Thursday to vote on whether to raise rates a second time.
Rate increases are bad for anyone with debt, especially if you’re not tied to a fixed rate.
Credit cards, overdrafts and mortgage rates could be affected.
However, an increase would be good for savers who can get better rates on savings accounts and Isas.
Energy Price Cap – February 7
The energy price cap limits how much providers can charge for predetermined rates, and is set to increase this year.
It is reviewed every six months, with the next update scheduled for February 7.
Millions of households have left cheap flat rates when their previous providers went bankrupt, meaning they are protected by the price cap.
But the limit is expected to rise from £1,277 to £1,900 for the average household.
That means millions of Britons will pay an extra £600 a year on energy bills when the new cap is introduced in April.
Universal Credit Rule Change – February 15
Universal Credit claimants must agree to take certain steps in order to receive their benefit payments; this is called the claimant’s commitment.
Starting February 15, terminally ill claimants won’t have to prove they’re taking certain steps to receive their payments.
People who currently receive benefits under the special rules for terminal illnesses are exempt from having to look for work.
But they are not automatically exempt from other commitments of the claimants.
This will change next month, meaning those nearing the end of their lives won’t have to meet specific milestones to receive their payments.
It was also announced last year that terminally ill patients will get expedited access to benefits.
Priority will be given to applications from applicants in the last year of their lives.
Previously, those rules were only in place for people with six months or less to live.
O2 raises prices- February 17
The Retail Price Index will be released on February 17, which might be of interest to you if you’re an O2 customer.
The network uses the index to set its prices by adding an additional 3.9% to the RPI rate announced in February.
Other firms have already revealed how much phone and broadband bills will rise from April.
BT, EE and Vodafone are raising prices by up to 9.3% in April, which works out to an extra £74 each year.
These companies calculate their prices by adding 3.9% to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January.
The CPI is a measure of inflation and hit 5.4% earlier this month.
Improper Loan Sale Deadline: February 28
Consumers who were improperly sold loans by Satsuma or Provident have until the end of the month to file a claim for compensation.
More than four million payday and home loan customers could be eligible for a refund, even if they’ve already paid it back.
Some Provident and Greenwood doorstep loans, Satsuma payday loans and Glo guarantor loans were sold off to cash-strapped borrowers who couldn’t repay them.
If you took out a loan with one of those companies between April 6, 2007 and December 17, 2020, you could receive a payment.
There are only a few weeks left to claim a share of a £50m compensation fund, as the application window closes at the end of February.
It’s unlikely you’ll get back the full amount you’re owed, but your refund could still be worth hundreds of pounds.
Bad grades could also be erased from your credit history.
Get your application in by 5 pm on February 28.
Visit scheme.providentpersonalcredit.com or call 08000 568 93 to make a claim.
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