Ask Andy #29: Your money questions answered

My regular round-up of your personal finance questions.

I love hearing from you, whether it’s on the blog, social media, YouTube or email. Often you’re asking me questions about your finances, and I’m always glad to help if I have the time.

But I realised that my answers could also be useful to other followers. So I’ll be putting my responses to the best questions into regular articles here on the blog.

Keep reading for some of the questions I’ve been asked, plus the video live from this week with even more!

Watch the latest Q&A

Watch my answers to questions in the weekly Q&A on YouTube:

Why should I check my credit score?

I don’t understand why anyone would want their score every month. I have never checked my credit score and have maintained my main current account (albeit changing to different versions or branches) with a single bank since 1978. I would be curious to know what my report/score looks like but have absolutely no need to look at it again.

Ann, via comments

Hi Ann, so it makes sense to check your score every few months or so as any sudden change could be a sign that your details have been used by scammers, potentially stealing your ID and opening accounts up in your name. If there’s no change ever then that’s a good thing and nothing to worry about. But a drop is a sign to investigate further.

Plus you might find easy ways to improve your score which can, in turn, help you get better deals on things like mortgages, loans and credit cards.

When should I spend on my credit card?

I recently took out a post office credit card which is a limit of £500 which I don’t really need but want to get my credit rating up and so far out of three months at doing not bad as the first month went up then the second went down and the last two have gone up again slightly.

I’m looking for advice if you can please.

  • My card statement comes out and has produced on the 9th of the month.
  • My billing is always requested to be paid by the 5th of each month.
  • Experian credit score updates with an email on the 15th or 16th of the month.

My question to you is when are the best dates to use this card between ( what window dates ) and obviously pay it off before the 5th of each month so that when they notify Experian of my total lending for that month my credit rating improves.

Just wondered what you suggest. I am paying this off monthly in full sending my payments no later than the 2nd of each month so that it reaches them in time for the settlement date of the 5th each month.

Brian, via email

So there’s no hard and fast rule here as every credit card company will be reporting to the credit reference agencies at different times. And the Experian update date won’t necessarily represent the live data from the credit card at that point (it could have come through anytime since the last update).

Plus there’s credit utilisation to consider (keeping the amount spent below 50% and ideally at around 30% of the total credit available to you).  For a £500 credit limit then that’s £165 ish.

You might be able to see on your credit reports (it could be different for each one) what data they have from the card provider, such as the average monthly balance, balance on the date it was reported or the statement balance. Or you might just have a figure that you can’t place!

I suppose in an ideal world you’d clear the balance in full on the date requested and then spend again on the same day, so regardless of when the card reports to the reference agency you’re always at the same utilisation level. That’s not going to be practical in most cases, though it might be achievable on your low credit limit.

Overall though I wouldn’t worry too much about it. It’s most important that you pay off the complete balance every month.

Can I switch one Virgin account and keep the rest?

If I had multiple Virgin Money current accounts, could I switch only one of them to another bank, and keep the rest of my Virgin Money current accounts?

George, via Instagram

Yes, absolutely. They are individual current accounts so you can treat them as such, including with switching away.

Where should my daughter save or invest?

Dear Andy

Could you point me in the right direction on how to help my 19 year old to invest in some of her university fees please. Is an isa they way to go? Something that is going to give her some returns back. Also she wants to start putting money away for her pension , where and how does she do this.

Mel, via Instagram

Hi Mel, so it really depends on so many factors! If she will need access to it then some kind of cash account is better. Here’s my list of the highest paying accounts.

If she is thinking much longer term (at least five years) then she could look at investing. Look for the lowest fees here. Often tracker funds are better than putting everything into one or two companies.

A Lifetime ISA though is a good option for either. It’s up to £4,000 a year that can be saved (as cash or investment) and there’s a 25% top up from the government each year. However it can only be used for one of two reasons – buying your first home or retirement! Here’s a video about them

Does switching move my Direct Debits?

Hi Andy if you switch using switch guarantee do your direct debits stay on the same payment date I have mine set up for the day I get paid

Rich, via YouTube

Yes they will swap straight over with no change!

Can I record with NOW?

Do you get a recording box with NOW?

Chris, via YouTube

Afraid not. It’s all on-demand or live viewing. So it will be a problem if the programme you want to watch is removed (which can happen after a month, or longer). Here’s more about how NOW TV works.

How to ask me questions

The best ways to get in touch is in the Andy Clever Cash Facebook community

Just post your question any time, or ask me live in my weekly Q&A each Wednesday (which is on Instagram and YouTube).

You can also comment on individual blogposts and videos or ask me questions via these channels:

I can’t promise I’ll be able to answer all questions but I’ll do my best.

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