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MoneySupermarket.com Experts Reveal Their Personal Finance Predictions for 2013



  MoneySupermarket.com Experts Reveal Their Personal Finance Predictions for
                                     2013

  PR Newswire

  CHESTER, England, December 17, 2012

CHESTER, England, December 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

This year continued where 2011 left off, with consumers feeling the pressure
of the rising cost of living and further austerity measures for the nation's
finances. With 2013 just around the corner, experts from Britain's number one
comparison site, MoneySupermarket.com offer their predictions for the year
ahead:

  * Consumer finances will continue to be hit by rising costs, changes in
    benefits and further austerity measures;
  * Savers should look to find the best savings rates possible, as rates
    continue to fall;
  * 2013 will be the year for improved switching of bank accounts;
  * New technology will play a bigger part for Credit Cards in the year ahead;
  * Funding for Lending Scheme will continue to benefit borrowers, but
    interest-only mortgage "time bomb" set to be a big story in 2013;
  * Consumers will benefit from attractive loan rates as a result of Funding
    for Lending scheme;
  * Payday loans set to continue to be popular in 2013, but regulation should
    tighten up the market;
  * Effects of regulation changes will impact car insurance pricing in 2013;
  * Energy efficiency will be key focus for Government and households.

Consumer Finances

Clare Francis, site editor at MoneySupermarket.com, said: "There is no doubt
that 2013 will see further pressures on household bills and income with rising
costs, changes to benefits and other austerity measures taking effect. For
many people, it may be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It
is therefore vitally important that people take full control of their
household expenditure and look to reduce outgoings and free up some cash - it
is possible and straightforward to claw back important pounds for the family
purse.

"With austerity measures lasting until 2018 at the earliest, it is clear that
the pressures on our wallets won't ease for some time so taking action and
being proactive is the only real option. Checking all of your outgoings and
identifying where savings can be made should be a priority in 2013. For
example, look to see whether you are on the cheapest energy tariff available,
or make sure you aren't throwing good money after bad by making regular
payments for services you no longer require. Using a comparison website to
switch products is straight forward and could save you over £1,000 over the
course of the year on your household bills."

Savings

Kevin Mountford, banking expert at   MoneySupermarket.com     said: "As
predicted, during 2012 we saw an increase in the amount of money put into
savings as the continued economic uncertainty pushed consumers to save more,
and reduce their debts. The likelihood is that this trend will continue into
2013. However, even though inflation has fallen, savings rates have started to
drop at a faster rate. There is no sign that the Bank Base Rate will increase
in 2013 and as such it will make it difficult to secure the kind of rates that
we have experienced over the last couple of years. That said, there will
continue to be competition in the market and as most savers are earning
interest below the Bank of England Base Rate of 0.5 per cent, there are better
deals to be found for those who look to switch.

Bank accounts

"To date, banks have made huge strides in improving the switching process for
current accounts but as yet this has failed to deliver the switching levels we
see across other banking products. It is still the case that you are more
likely to divorce than change your bank. Next year sees new switching rules
come into force, forcing banks to switch accounts within seven days and also
automatically re-direct any direct debits and standing orders for a period of
13 months after the move to another bank.

"These changes could also trigger the launch of further challenger products
from the likes of Tesco Bank and Virgin Bank and these brands can join the
likes of The Co-Operative Bank and Nationwide Building Society in trying to
break the big bank strangle hold in this market. There will no doubt be more
focus on fee based packaged accounts and next year there is likely to be more
pressure on the free banking model.

Credit Cards

"Early 2013 is likely to see more of the same in the card market. If consumer
confidence returns and retail spending picks up, then there could be more
purchase and cash-back cards hitting the market. Card issuers may look to
capture 'front of wallet' status by pushing a good old fashioned flexible
friend which incorporates a range of benefits such as the recently launched
Asda credit card that offers zero per cent balance transfer along with
cash-back and other benefits. As we have seen in 2012, providers have improved
the offering on rewards cards, focusing on consumer loyalty, and we can expect
further improvements in the deals available next year.

"No doubt we will see charge cards play a bigger part and new technology can
further shape the way credit card users behave with the likes of e-wallet and
mobile playing its part."   

Mortgages

Clare Francis, site editor at MoneySupermarket.com said: "There was a slight
improvement in the mortgage market in 2012 with the Funding for Lending Scheme
(FLS) appearing to be helping the availability of mortgages for those with
smaller deposits and rates have become more competitive. With the FLS
continuing through 2013, I'd expect to see the impact of that filter through
further to the residential mortgage market and that will hopefully mean more
lenders offering competitive 90 per cent LTV products.

"However, while mortgage rates look set to remain low in 2013, and could nudge
even lower because of the availability of cheap funding via the FLS, I think
the trend for higher fees will continue. It's therefore really important that
people don't get blinded by the headline rate when comparing mortgage deals
and that they factor in the impact of the fee as well.

"Finally, I think interest-only mortgages will be a big story in 2013. The
Financial Services Authority has said it thinks interest-only mortgages have a
role in the market, albeit as a niche product, but with a number of lenders
having already clamped down on the availability of interest-only loans, and
some having stopped offering them altogether, there are real issues for many
existing borrowers who have them. For some it's the question of how they'll
ever repay the mortgage debt, while for those who are managing their mortgage
well, there's the issue of what they'll do when their current deal ends as
they may struggle to remortgage if they want to stay on interest-only. The FSA
is currently looking into these issues so it will be interesting to see its
conclusions and recommendations when its report is published."

Loans and Debt

Tim Moss, head of loans and debt at MoneySupermarket.com said: "With the
Government's Funding for Lending scheme gathering full steam, the lenders have
capitalised on this to produce the lowest loan rates on record. However, with
borrowers still showing a cautious attitude, the numbers of loans available
are still way off pre-Credit Crunch levels. As a result, we will still see
these remarkably low headline rates remain during 2013 - which is great news
for consumers. One note of caution is that while rates look attractive, banks
are unlikely to change who they want to lend to - if you haven't got a perfect
credit score the options to borrow remain limited.

"Consumer payday loan appetite sees no sign of abating. With bank's
underwriting policies looking unlikely to change, we predict that customers
will still flock to find loans in other places - for the moment Payday will
remain at the top of that pile. However, with the new financial regulator, the
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), beginning work in 2013 there will be moves
to tighten up the payday market. As such, those brands that adhere to the
stricter guidelines will no doubt reap the rewards. However, consumers still
need to exercise caution if using a payday loan as they are an expensive
product and should only be used in an emergency, and if you have a clear way
of repaying that loan at the end of the month.

"With increasing regulatory pressure being placed on the paid-for debt
solution market, many companies' business models will struggle. It is likely
that upfront fees will be outlawed next year and as such, debt management
companies who pressurised consumers into paying fees before entering into a
plan, will see tough times. As a result, the free sector may struggle to cope
with an influx of enquiries as the number of alternatives within the paid-for
sector reduces. However, for those in financial difficulty, there will still
be many options available to them, whether paid-for or free debt advice."

Car insurance

Pete Harrison, insurance expert at  MoneySupermarket.com     said: "The motor
insurance market could become profitable in 2013 - we have seen operating
losses narrow over the past two years as premium inflation and the sale of
ancillary products has benefited insurers. A move to profitability will lead
to greater competition and we could see further price deflation as a result.
The impact of the ECJ ruling on gender will start to filter through into the
New Year and it will become much clearer how motorists will be affected by the
new prices. These changes in the market will make it more important than ever
to shop around and not accept your renewal price from your existing insurer,
as pricing is likely to fluctuate, particularly in the New Year."

Home insurance

Hannah Jones, head of home insurance at MoneySupermarket.com said: "Flooding
will continue to be a major issue for home insurers next year, especially with
the Statement of Principles coming to an end on 30 June. With over 200,000
properties at risk of having no insurance as a result, this needs to be a
priority for the Government and the industry. The Funding for Lending Scheme
has helped open mortgage lending a little, which in turn will increase demand
for home insurance for new homeowners.

"The home insurance market is currently profitable so is attractive to
existing and new insurers - as a result we can expect greater competition and
potentially see further price deflation in the market as a result - a great
thing for consumers."

Life Insurance

Emma Walker, head of life insurance at MoneySupermarket.com "The impact of
gender neutral on life insurance is still unknown at this stage, and we expect
it will take some time to understand the true impact on pricing and the impact
on consumer take-up of protection products. Behind the scenes there will be
lots of challenges and discussion about how simplified products can work in
practice. The role of the comparison websites will become stronger, especially
as the effect of Retail Distribution Review (RDR) is felt on the financial
advice market."

Energy

Clare Francis, site editor at MoneySupermarket.com said: "Energy price rises
have become an annual event over recent years and I expect 2013 to be no
different. However, there are simple things people can do to protect
themselves from higher bills. Firstly, switch to a fixed tariff - not only
could this mean a reduction in the price you pay for gas and electricity now,
you will also be insulated should we see another round of price hikes in 2013.
Secondly, take measures to improve the energy efficiency of your home.

"There is likely to be increased interest in energy efficiency from government
and the industry in light of the 2012 Energy Bill as politicians and providers
seek to encourage us to use less gas and electricity in order to offset the
additional amounts we will have to pay over the coming years to cover
investment in renewable energy sources. Households should take advantage of
offers such as free loft and cavity wall insulation - it can knock a few
hundred pounds off your annual energy bill. And look to take other steps to
reduce your consumption such as turning the heating down slightly, doing your
washing at a lower temperature and having showers rather than baths. All of
these things make a difference and can collectively result in significant
savings."

MoneySupermarket.com compares (at 29 ^th   November 2012)

  * 130 car insurance brands and 99 home insurance brands
  * 9 broadband providers and 20 energy providers   
  * 30 unsecured loan and 5 secured loan providers
  * 62 mortgage lenders and 27 credit card providers
  * 63 savings providers and 38 current account providers.
  * Over 920,000 mobile phone deals

Our customers

We help our customers to save money on all of their household bills by
providing a free, easy to use online service so they can compare a wide range
of products in one place and find the product most suited to their needs. Our
size means we are able to offer our customers exclusive, market-leading deals,
including some they can't even get direct from providers.

Our providers

By having considerable volumes of informed customers actively looking for
products and ready to purchase, we offer our providers an efficient and cost
effective customer acquisition solution across all of our channels. This
enables our providers to target their marketing spend in an effective and
completely measurable way.

Our revenue comes predominantly from fees paid to us by product providers when
a customer clicks through to their website and actually applies for or
purchases a product. It is a success based marketing fee.

Our customer commitment

  * We make it easy to find the brands you expect to see
  * We strive to ensure a product cannot be found cheaper by going direct
  * We let you remain in control of your personal data
  * We are independent and impartial
  * We make it easy to switch and save
  * We strive to always show the most competitive product available

For further information, please contact: Paul Lawler/ Nicki Parry
MoneySupermarket.com +44(0)787-237-9545 / +44(0)1244-370-318
Paul.lawler@moneysupermarket.com / nicki.parry@moneysupermarket.com
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