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What Are The Financial Questions Brits Find Most Baffling?

The financial questions Brits find most baffling are what loan-to-value means, the difference between PCP and PCH finance and what a balloon payment is.


swns questions

A survey of 2,000 UK adults revealed almost a third (31 per cent) are confused when it comes to money and finances, with the meaning of AER and capital gains tax also leaving many scratching their heads.

The difference between a money transfer and a balance transfer, what it means to be in negative equity and what APR stands for also feature in the list of confusing terms.

It also emerged 60 per cent wish they had learnt more about money in school, with 87 per cent admitting most of their knowledge has come from trying to manage their own finances.

The research was commissioned by Virgin Money as part of its Money on your Mind service, which connects a team of financial experts with customers to answer their questions and provide support.

A spokesperson for Virgin Money said: “Our personal finances are one of the most important things we deal with in our lives and it is easy to be overwhelmed by all the money-related jargon we regularly encounter.

“It is clear from our research that people wish they were better informed about financial terminology from a younger age.

“Whether we’re looking to join the property ladder, consolidate our finances or buy a new car, it’s important that we have a better understanding of how these processes work so we’re in the best position possible.”

Despite the housing market being a hot topic following the Chancellor’s recent announcements, 38 per cent admitted they didn’t know what loan-to-value means, while 17 per cent were unaware what Stamp Duty is.

And one quarter said they didn’t understand capital gains tax while 15 per cent didn’t know the difference between a direct debit and a standing order.

Other financial terms which leave Brits confused include ‘equity release’, the ‘Bank of England base rate’ and ‘PAYE’.

The study also revealed that despite 91 per cent of new cars in the UK being bought on finance, 54 per cent of those polled didn’t know the difference between PCP (personal
contract purchase) and PCH (personal contract hire).

And half of respondents also weren't sure what a ‘balloon payment’ – the optional final payment at the end of a finance agreement - was.

But the study revealed the biggest catalyst for learning about money and finances is buying a home (41 per cent), followed by taking out a credit card (26 per cent) and starting a pension (25 per cent).

And 18 per cent of respondents said finding themselves in debt was the reason they started to learn more about money.

As a result of the lack of knowledge, 44 per cent of those polled via OnePoll wished it was simpler to ask their bank questions about finances and money.

The findings come after internal data from Virgin Money revealed one quarter of the enquiries it has received from customers through its Money on your Mind service over the past two months have been classified as Covid-19 related.

These included queries such as 'how long will my mortgage holiday last', 'can I extend my mortgage holiday', 'how do I get a refund on flights I have had cancelled' and issues around getting refunds from holiday companies which haven't been responding to

More than one in 10 queries to Money on your Mind were related to ‘digital access’ for issues such as forgetting their password, registering for online banking and arranging an online money transfer.

A third (35 per cent) needed to ask about their personal finances.

Virgin Money's spokesperson added: “We know how complicated the world of money and finance is and how stressful it can be, so we launched Money on Your Mind to help make life easier for customers.

"This means those people who have questions about payment holidays, credit scores or anything else have somewhere they can go for easy answers."

Learn more about Virgin Money's Money on your Mind service here:


1. What is the difference between PCP and PCH?
2. What is a balloon payment?
3. What does Loan to Value mean?
4. What does AER stand for?
5. What stocks and shares should I invest in?
6. What is capital gains tax?
7. What is the difference between a money transfer and a balance transfer?
8. What is negative equity?
9. What is equity release?
10. What does the Bank of England base rate mean?
11. What does Stamp Duty mean?
12. What does APR stand for?
13. What is the best type of savings account to have?
14. What affects my credit rating?
15. Does my student loan affect my credit rating?
16. What is the difference between a direct debit and a standing order?
17. Am I eligible for a mortgage holiday?
18. What is PAYE?
19. Should I get an ISA?
20. What is a credit score?

3 Million UK Workers HATE Their Current Job

Three million British workers HATE their current job, and feel trapped with no way out - and those stuck inside all day are most likely to be unhappy.



A study of 2,000 employed adults found one in 10 actively dislike their work, blaming boredom, their colleagues and lack of praise.

But while just three per cent of those who spend the majority of their time working outside are unhappy in their job, this rises to more than 12 per cent of people who earn their crust inside.

And more than half of all respondents feel they are ‘stuck’ in their role for the foreseeable future, regardless of how unhappy they are.

It also emerged the average adult spends just under seven hours of their working day inside.

As a result, 26 per cent would like to have a job where they could spend more time outdoors, while 30 per cent would like to be more active.

The research was commissioned by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in line with the launch of their new online careers resource, and found a fifth of people said a lack of knowledge about roles in the industry puts them off jobs in horticulture.

A spokesperson for RHS said: “It’s well known that spending time outside close to nature and working with plants is great for mental health.

“Tending to a garden and working in horticulture can be really enriching both physically and mentally.

“The vast majority of roles, both inside and outside, in horticulture are helping us do positive things for the environment, from finding out how plants can mitigate pollution and flooding issues to looking at supporting wildlife.”

The research also found a quarter would also be more likely to consider a career in horticulture if they felt they were going to be helping the environment.

And a further 25 per cent think doing so would give a huge boost to their mental wellbeing.

It was revealed 44 per cent of those currently unhappy in their work life describe it as boring, and 17 per cent of office workers hate staring at a screen all day.

For more than a quarter, however, it’s their colleagues which are the single worst thing about where they work.

As a result of their unhappiness, three in 10 of all respondents have seriously considered changing careers to find something which gets them outside more often.

For a third of those polled via OnePoll, they’d like to do so in order to get to work with plants or animals.

Some of the top outdoor-based jobs people would love to try their hand at include being a garden designer, florist, or a general landscaping expert, according to the research.

RHS’ spokesperson added: “There are so many rewarding roles in this wonderful industry and we hope people enjoy our new online careers resource to find out more.

“The correct skills and knowledge are vital to the horticultural sector, however there is currently a horticultural skills gap in the UK.

“In a separate piece of research we recently found out the requirement for skills in the horticultural industry are expected to increase by 23 per cent in the next two years.”

Find out more about the RHS’ new online careers resource here -

Has Working From Home Ruined the Work/Life Balance?

Workers fear their work-life balance has worsened - as working from home means they find it difficult to switch off and they miss chatting to their colleagues.


SWNS DIGITAL - Solo Worker

A study of 2,000 employees who've spent recent months working from home, found half wished they had more a better balance.

And 42 per cent said it has deteriorated as a result of not being able to head to the office.

The study also found, for one in six, being based just a few feet from their bedroom is not as convenient as they'd expected.

As a result, one fifth long for the time they had during their commute as it gave them a period to switch off and unwind before walking through the door in the evening.

Almost three in 10 (29 per cent) have found it more difficult to switch off from their work when they're based at home.

While 47 per cent said they miss the social interaction of meeting other people through their job.

A third have also admitted they struggle to motivate themselves when away from the office and a quarter said they end up working longer hours at home.

A spokesman for Novotel, which commissioned the research, said: "Before the pandemic, for many, the idea of working from home was a dream come true.

"No commute, no traipsing into the office and no having to get up and make yourself look presentable every morning for meetings.

"But many are discovering the opposite is true and that the commute or time spent travelling for business helped them to unwind before they walked through the front door and were faced with family life.

"Others are missing the face-to-face meetings or the opportunity to travel to speak to clients and customers without a video screen between them.”

Further struggles faced by staff working from home include missing face-to-face meetings, struggling to balance family life, and feeling less productive due to distractions.

As a result, those who usually travelled for business admitted they’re looking forward to a night away, eating out again - and exploring another city or location.

In fact, more than a quarter said they aren't concerned about Coronavirus and are excited about being able to travel for work once again.

This is a significant shift in attitudes from just prior to the lockdown when 59 per cent said they found travelling stressful.

Back then, nearly three quarters longed for more leisure time during their work trips away.

They estimated they’d only get around two hours of downtime to explore their surroundings while travelling for business.

And going for dinner, having a drink and relaxing by watching a TV show or movie were the main ways employees would unwind on a work trip.

While, the research carried out through OnePoll found 61 per cent 'sometimes' felt lonely when travelling with work.

However, the study by Novotel - part of the Accor group which has 265 hotels across the UK - also found working adults will now be more inclined to make the most of their time away by getting out and about.

A spokesman for Novotel, added: “While many still have concerns staying away from a health perspective, it’s great to see there’s a strong appetite to get travelling again with work.

“And to give travellers that little bit of extra assurance, we’ve introduced a new ALLSAFE certification across all our hotels.

“This means new cleanliness and prevention standards will be in force to provide extra peace of mind.

"Rooms may also include hand sanitiser, wipes and masks as well as social distancing, and high frequency cleaning of public areas so you can feel completely at ease during your stay.”

Covid 'myth' threatens cash use, warns MP

AN MP has warned that a cut in the ability to use cash rather than cards could be an unintended consequence of the Covid-19 emergency.


Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale representative David Mundell has been a long-time campaigner for easier access to notes because of a steady decline in free-to-use cash dispensers.


During last week's adjournment debate in the House of Commons, Mr Mundell welcomed recent Government intimations that they intend to legislate on access to cash but he sought guidance as to when that might happen.


He expressed deep concern that the coronavirus pandemic had reduced the number of transaction opportunities where cash could be used.


The former Scottish Secretary asked: "Even if we resolve the ability to access cash, will people be able to use it, given the number of outlets that are now saying that they will not take cash"?


He urged the Government to dispel 'a myth' circulating that cash was dirty and could spread coronavirus. 


Offering clarification, Mr Mundell said: "As the Bank for International Settlements reported in April, the likelihood of transmitting Covid-19 via banknotes is low when compared with … credit card terminals or PIN pads.


"We must be clear that cash is safe and, as with any contact, safer after people wash their hands and take other measures."


He warned: "We do not want to see a back-door move to a so-called cashless society. Recent reports indicate that eight million of our fellow citizens could not cope in a cashless or cash sparse society, so let us not end up there without thinking it through."


During his Commons address, Mr Mundell raised concerns at Lochmaben where constituents were alarmed by planning permission being sought to remove a 'vital' cash dispenser.


South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed the launch of Scotland’s Towns Partnership ‘Scotland Loves Local’ campaign urging people to think local first as more shops, pubs and restaurants re-open.



However, the local MSP has warned that more support from the UK and Scottish Government is needed to ensure local retailers weather the economic downturn facing the area.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said: “As more and more shops, pubs and restaurants open their doors, I welcome any campaign to urge people to think local and buy from the small firms who went above and beyond for their customers during the pandemic. Those who were able to stay open stepped up to the mark, changing the way they worked and providing people with the essentials that they desperately needed. However, many had to close for months, so it would be too easy to forget just what is on offer in our town centres across the region. That is why we should re-discover our town centres and give them the support they need more than ever”

”While a shop local campaign will help, we know that as the recession bites, this will be a difficult period for many local families when it comes to spending. It is vital that the UK and Scottish Governments, along with our new Enterprise Agency, do more to help local businesses get through the economic downturn we face and ensure our local shops survive what will be a tough time.”