Top money stories - 2th - 8th July 2007

Top Tip:

It seems like all we hear when people talk about interest rates is what bad news it is for the borrower. The flipside of climbing interest rates though is good news for the saver! Are you someone who struggles to tuck away a bit of money each month? Someone who never quite has enough month at the end of the money to put any away for the future? Why not set up a direct debit from your bank account to a savings account and have the money transfer the day after your pay cheque goes in? That way you won’t even notice it’s gone, and you’ll be building up a nest egg.

Tuesday 3rd July

Spending the plastic fantastic!

UK consumers' love affair with plastic was confirmed today after it was revealed that spending on credit and debit cards has trebled over the past decade. Plastic transactions increased to a record £321bn, exceeding spending made with cash by £47bn. Spending on debit cards exceeded that on credit cards by £69bn.

Debit and credit cards are really useful tools, but it’s vital to keep control of spending on them. Use the MoneyBasics credit card calculator to make sure you know how long it will take you to pay back the money you borrow, and how much it will cost you.

Thursday 5th July

House prices still on the rise, but market cooling slightly

House prices rose slightly across the UK last month, according to the latest survey from the Halifax bank. It says prices rose by 0.4% in June, pushing up the annual rate of house price inflation from 10.6% to 10.7%. The average UK house now costs £197,461, with prices currently rising fastest in Northern Ireland. Although prices are still going up, despite higher borrowing costs, the Halifax says the recent pace of growth has been slowing down. Use the www.moneybasics.co.uk  mortgage calculator to do your sums if you have a mortgage or if you’re thinking of getting one.

Interest rates on the rise again

In an attempt to further cool house price inflation and consumer spending, the Bank of England has raised interest rates by a further quarter of a percent. Interest rates are now at 5.75%. This means rates have now gone up five times in the last year. It is also likely that rates will rise again before the end of this year as the Bank tries to get inflation - currently at 2.4% - back under its 2% target. For more details, {{click here}}.