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James Padmore, Head of Money

James is an expert on… developing products to help UK households better understand how they can improve their financial outlook and make more of their money. He’s worked for over 10 years with and within credit bureaus and price comparison sites.

James is passionate about removing complexity in the market and helping our customers find the best product to suit their needs.

James has also commented on… the potential benefits of the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) scheme and credit building cards. James also comments on consumer spending and how this has changed since COVID-19.

James Padmore commenting on...

Current account switching figures Q1 2021 - April 2021

“Current account switching has fallen again in the first three months of 2021 suggesting people decided to stay put with their current bank during the third lockdown. However, as pubs and restaurants reopen, more people may now be tempted by the competitive incentives on offer from banks if they switch including free cash and vouchers.

“Lloyds was top of the league in the final quarter of 2020, thanks to the £100 bonus it offered between September and November. Starling has also taken a clear lead in the battle between the fintechs, attracting the second-most net switchers of any bank.”

Barclaycard Spending Figures - March 2021

“A sharp decline in non-essential spending was to be expected as the UK remained in lockdown in March. Our Household Financial Confidence Tracker shows that many households are taking a measured approach to spending money. Our research shows that more than half (56%) of households who managed to save during the pandemic are likely to keep this money in savings or a rainy-day fund, compared with 18% looking to spend in pubs, cafes and restaurants, and 31% who will put their spare cash towards holidays. Although we are hopefully through the worst of the pandemic, households are still conscious of the long-term impact and taking steps to protect their finances.”

UK Finance figures on credit card spending habits - Februrary 2021

“November is historically when we see an uptick in spending as a result of Black Friday and the festive period. However, a 15% drop in credit card borrowing confirms the impact that lockdown continues to have on household finances. Many are choosing not to spend beyond their means or make unnecessary purchases while budgets are tight, and some looking to pay down any outstanding debt where they can.

“For those who have purchases to make but are worried about interest, using a 0% APR credit card can help spread out the costs for a set period as long as people keep an eye on their outgoings.

“Anyone who is struggling with managing their debt can also speak to their provider or there are charities such as StepChange and Money Advice Service who can give free and confidential advice about managing money.”

Comment on the FCA Woolard Review - Februrary 2021

“When used responsibly, Buy Now Pay Later schemes can be an effective way to spread out the payments of large purchases. However, as with any credit product, there can be problems later down the line if spending is not kept under control, and in particular with the ‘I’ll deal with it later’ attitude towards these products.  If you do need to take on credit, make sure you research all the options available to you and find the product best suited to your needs – taking into account any interest or fees. It is important to check your eligibility using a soft credit search. “A move to ensure a consistent framework across unsecured credit products should give people a clear understanding across all their borrowing, and regulation should ensure they are treated fairly if they do get into difficulties.”

Q4 2020 Current Account Switching Figures - Janurary 2021

“Although November’s figures showed the highest number of switches since March, the monthly number of switches halved in December after some cash incentives were withdrawn. It is also the second quarter running that Starling has moved ahead of Monzo, and the first time that Nationwide has lost total net switchers in more than two years. The constant changes in the winners and losers shows that banks cannot just rely on their name - if there is a better deal to be found, customers will move on.”

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