How to Pick the Best Financial Services Provider

When you are looking at which loans, current accounts, saving, insurance policies and things like this to pick it is easy to just pick the cheapest without really thinking about who is providing it. Although it is important to consider the cost, it is wise to know who is priding it and find out a bit about them as well. They could have a big influence on how good the product is and so it is worth the effort to find out more. There are many factors that you could consider and some of the main ones are listed below.

  • Popularity – you may think that it is important to be with a company that is popular, It can make you feel more confident towards a company if you know that a lot of other people are using them. You might feel that if the company is not popular it is because people have tried them and not liked them. It could be, of course, that they are newly established or do not advertise much so people do not recognise their name. Companies like have great reviews when it comes to customer satisfaction.
  • Local branches – some people prefer to be able to visit a local branch. They like to be able to discuss any issues that they have face to face with someone rather than dealing over the telephone or online. You may personally not mind and if you work full-time you may find that even if there is a branch it may not be open during hours that you are able to visit.
  • Customer service – how good their customer service is can be really important. It is likely that you will, at some point need to talk to them to answer questions or sort out problems that you might have. It is therefore worth making sure that it will be easy to contact them and to get an answer to your query. It is good to find out how they can be contacted and get in touch with them in order to find out how fast they are at getting back to you and how polite and helpful they are.
  • Reviews – you may wish to look at reviews of the provider so that you can find out more about them. You should be able to find this sort of thing online, so that you can compare them with other providers. It is worth remembering that no provider is perfect and there will be bound to be some people that prefer a different one. As we are all different, we all have different requirements with regards to what make a good provider and so it is worth bearing this in mind. If someone does not like a provider because they only have a small range of credit cards but you are looking for a mortgage with them, then it does not really matter.
  • Friends/families thoughts – it can be worth asking people you trust what they feel about different providers. They will all have used different insurers, banks and building societies so they will be able to let you know what experiences they have had and whole they trust and who they do not.
  • A place you know – you might want to stick with a provider that you have used before. There is some comfort in sticking with a company that you know, particularly if you have had all good experiences with them. However, just because we know they will treat us well, does not mean that there are not better ones available or ones that are equally as good but cheaper.
  • Products – obviously you will need to think about what products they offer and whether they are what you want. You should also look at how competitive they are and see whether you expect to pay more for their products or not. You may be prepared to pay a bit more if you really trust them but this will partly depend on what you can afford as well as whether you think they offer good value for money.

These are just a few things to consider and you may have other concerns that you want addressed before you make up your mind. Think about what those things might be. It can be a big decision, especially if a lot of money is at stake and that is why it is important to make sure that you think carefully and are confident with your decision. It might take a bit of time to do all of that research but you will find that it is worth it if you end up with a provider that fits your criteria and that you can trust. You will be especially grateful if you have a problem  and need to contact them quickly and you have chosen a provider who is available, polite, flexible and knowledgeable.

How to Choose the Right Mortgage for you

There are many types of mortgages out there and it can be confusing knowing which one might be the best. It used to be the case that new home buyers would get a free consultation with a financial advisor to help them understand about mortgages and to make recommendations. However, now financial advice has to be paid for and so many will try to make these decisions on their own. Although there is nothing wrong with this, it is important to make sure that you have an understanding of mortgage types so that you can make an appropriate decision.

Repayment Mortgage
A repayment mortgage is probably the most popular type and some lenders will not have any others to choose form. It is pretty self-explanatory in that you make repayments as well as interest payments each month. What this means is that each month you will whittle down the amount that you owe and by the end of the term of the loan there will be nothing left to pay. Many people enjoy seeing the amount they owe go down and lenders prefer these as they can see that borrowers are repaying.

Interest-Only Mortgage
With an interest-only mortgage you only have to repay the interest each month to the lender. This means that at the end of the term you will have to come up with a lump sum of money to pay off the money that you borrowed. It is risky for the bank as although the customer is obliged to invest money each month so that they have enough to repay the mortgage at the end of the term, this does not always happen. In the 1980’s for example, many households used endowments, which were a type of investment, to repay their mortgages, but the stock market did not do well and the value of the endowments fell and many need to top them up in order to get their mortgages repaid. More recently the stock market has also under performed to cause problems with investments or some home owners have just not bothered to invest and therefore lose their homes once the mortgage term is up.

Fixed Rate
Either of these mortgage types can be fixed or variable rate. A fixed rate means that the interest rate that you pay does not change for a certain time period. This is usually a number of years. The advantage of this is that you will know exactly how much you are paying and will be protected from any rate rises. However, if the rates fall then you will be paying the higher rate.

With fixed rate deals you can often be tied in to stay with that lender or else pay a significant penalty. You may even be tied in after the fixed rate ends and so you may have to stick with the lender at a high variable rate for a while. It is therefore wise to think hard before committing to something like this and being completely sure that you know what you are signing up for.

Variable Rate
A variable rate will change whenever the lender wishes to change it. This means that it can go up or down. It will tend to be changed when the Bank of England change the base rate but there is no specific time that it had to be changed. This means that it will probably go up if the rate rises but may not fall if it goes down. There is less certainty about what you might pay but you may end up paying a lot less than on a fixed rate if rates fall.

A tracker mortgage will track the base rate. This means that if rates fall then you will immediately start being charged less interest but if rates rise you will immediately start paying more. If you think that rates will fall in the future then it can be a really good thing to sign up to as you will end up repaying less in interest compared with a variable rate or a fixed rate, in many cases. However, if rates rise you may end up paying more compared with those protected on a fixed rate. It can be a bit of a gamble as to which to go with.

Once you understand about the different types of mortgages you will be able to work out which might be the best one for you to use. There are a range of options and you need to understand each one and the implications of them. Consider whether you want to know what you are paying each month or are happy with it being varied and whether you want to repay the mortgage as part of your payments or raise the funds in another way. It is a big decision and could make a big difference to you in how much you end up paying out and so it is important to spend a lot of time thinking about it.