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Unaware Credit Card Users could face Decades of Debt

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Credit Card by Sean MacEntee via flickr

97% of adults are clueless to the reality of how long £1000 of credit card debt, through minimum payments, would take to pay off.

Research carried out for SavvyWoman.co.uk, found only 3% gave the correct answer of 17 years. It takes someone 17 years to pay off a balance of £1,000 entirely, at the typical interest rate of 18% APR, if they only make the minimum payments, which are typically 2.5% of the balance. They would also pay an extra £1,200 in interest – more than the original debt.

The survey shows that people seriously underestimate how long it takes to pay off credit card debt, with 40% of adults believing it takes three or five years to clear the £1,000 of debt – a fraction of the 17 years it would actually take.

Official figures show that 1.6 million people are repeatedly making minimum payments on their credit card.

Over 2,000 adults were asked how long it takes to entirely pay off a £1,000 balance on a credit card charging a typical interest rate of 18% if they only make the minimum payments – in this example, 2.5% of the amount owed, so £25 a month initially. Respondents were given a range of answers from three to 25 years. The results are as follows:

• 17% of UK adults think it takes three years to pay off the debt (16% of men and 18% of women).
• 23% of UK adults think it takes five years to pay off the debt (18% of men and 27% of women).
• 15% of UK adults think it takes seven years to pay off the debt (16% of men and 13% of women)
• 21% of UK adults think it takes ten years to pay off the debt (22% of men and 19% of women).
• 5% of UK adults think it takes 13 years to pay off the debt (5% of men and 4% of women)
• 3% of UK adults correctly think it takes 17 years to pay off the debt (4% of men and 3% of women).
• 4% of UK adults think it takes 22 years to pay off the debt (5% of men and 3% of women)
• 13% of UK adults think it takes 25 years to pay off the debt (13% of men and 12% of women).

Sarah Pennells, founder of SavvyWoman.co.uk, says: “Over a million and a half people are only paying the minimum on their credit card balance, and they could be sleepwalking into over a decade of debt. You won’t be debt free for 17 years if you owe £1,000 but even a modest £500 balance would take almost 12 years to clear if you’re being charged 18% and are only paying the minimum.

“Credit card companies aren’t going to look out for you if you’re paying the minimum, because the longer you take to pay, the more profit they make from you. You don’t need to have a fortune to make a real difference to the repayment times. If you can double your payments on a £1,000 debt, so you pay an extra £25 a month, you’d be debt free in less than three years.”

Key age and regional stats breakdown are as follows:

• 1% of UK adults aged 18-34 correctly think it takes 17 years to pay off the debt.
• 26% of UK adults aged 18-34 think it takes five years (this was the most common answer in the age range).
• 5% of UK adults aged 35-54 correctly think it takes 17 years.
• 23% of UK adults aged 35-54 think it takes five years (this was the most common answer in the age range).
• 4% of UK adults aged 55+ correctly think it takes 17 years.
• 22% of UK adults aged 55+ think it takes 10 years (this was the most common answer in the age range).
• People in the East Midlands are most likely to give the correct answer (7%).
• Those in Wales are least likely to know, with just 1% believing it takes 17 years.

The FCA’s study of the credit card market earlier this year found that people who make the minimum payment are the most profitable for credit card companies and it also found that most firms do very little to help these customers.

Sarah concludes: “My challenge to credit card companies is to make it very easy for people to pay more than the minimum. Credit card companies could, for instance, put an example in the statements of how long it would take to clear the balance and they should also encourage people to pay extra by showing them how much they could cut their repayment times by.”

To find out more about the minimum payments on a credit card, see https://www.savvywoman.co.uk/8695/what-is-the-minimum-payment-on-a-credit-card-watch-out-for-minimum-payments

Features

Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy

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Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands

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Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.

Small waste adds up over time

A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:

  • Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
  • Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
  • Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
  • Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.

Going electronic has significant benefits

If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.

Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:

  • Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
  • Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
  • Using financial software to manage your books
  • Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
  • Arranging digital feedback and review forms
  • Making the most of Google Docs

Going green can help you to make money too

Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.

Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.

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