Women 'save greater share of wages'

wman holding coins

Female savers typically have around £500 more squirrelled away than men, research from Halifax into its own customers has found.

Despite having lower average earnings, women have a balance of around £8,211 compared with £7,699 held by men - making a savings gap of £512.
This means that while women have around 41% of their annual wages in savings, men have less than a quarter, at 23%.

Women have more savings as a share of their earnings than men in all regions across England and Wales, Halifax found.

The South West was named as the area where both men and women are likely to have high amounts put away as a proportion of their salaries. Women in the region have around 49% of their annual earnings in savings, at £8,700 on average, while men there typically have 28% of their yearly wage, or £8,344, stashed away.

Male Halifax customers in Wales also have around 28% of their annual earnings put away in savings, equating to £7,601. Welsh women typically have an above-average 44% of their yearly wage put aside, adding up to around £7,907.

At the other end of the scale, male and female savers in London have the lowest amounts put away in savings as a share of their annual wages, at 18% and 30% respectively. Men in London have a typical balance of £8,032, while women have £8,600.

Purely in cash terms, the largest average balances are held by savers of both sexes in the South East at £9,316, while the lowest are in the North at £7,408.

On a more local level, people living in South Buckinghamshire have the highest average savings balances at £13,762, which is more than three times the average in Hackney, where customers have the lowest typical balances at £4,246.

Richard Fearon, head of Halifax savings, said: "However much cash people can afford to put aside in savings, the most important thing is that it is working as hard as possible. Tax-efficient savings vehicles such as Isas can help people to make the most of their savings."

© 2013 Press Association

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Women 'save greater share of wages'

More than 46,000 of 106,000 the complaints received by the FOS in the second half of last year related to payment protection insurance (PPI). And the organisation is expecting to receive a record 165,000 PPI complaints in 2012/2013.

The huge numbers are due to the PPI mis-selling scandal that should now be a thing of the past, but there is no doubt that the insurance, which can add thousands to the cost of a loan, is highly unpopular!

(Pictured: Martin Lewis after the PPI payout ruling)

Complaints about mortgages jumped by 38% in the last six months of last year, the FOS figures show, compared to an increase of just 5% in investment-related complaints.

Common gripes about mortgages include the exit penalties imposed should you want to sell up or change you mortgage before a fixed or discounted deal comes to an end, and the high arrangement fees charged by many lenders.

While there is nothing in the data released by the FOS about the number of complaints relating to savings accounts, hard-pressed savers have been struggling with low interest rates for several years now.

You can get up to 3.10% with Santander's easy-access eSaver account, but many older accounts are paying 1.00% or less and even this market-leading offer includes a 12-month bonus of 2.60% - meaning that the rate will plummet to just 0.50% after the first year.

Banks are imposing the highest authorised overdraft interest rates since records began, with today's borrowers paying an average of 19.47%, according to the Bank of England.

A typical Briton with an overdraft of £1,000 is therefore forking out around £200 in interest charges alone. Coupled with meagre returns on savings, it's enough to make your blood boil!

While authorised overdrafts may seem expensive, going into the red without permission will cost you even more due to huge penalty fees.

Barclays, for example, charges £8 (up to a maximum of £40 a day) each time that there is not enough money in your account to cover a payment.

If you need to send money abroad, the likelihood is that your bank will impose transfer charges - and offer you a poor rate of exchange. Someone transferring a five-figure sum could easily lose out by £500 or more as a result.

The good news, however, is that you can often get a better deal by using a currency specialist such as Moneycorp.

Automated telephone banking systems, not to mention call centres in far-flung parts of the world, are one of our top gripes - especially as we often encounter them when we are already calling to report a problem.

In the words of one disgruntled customer: "What is it about telephone banking that turns me into Victor Meldrew? Well, maybe it's the fourteen security questions, maybe it's the range of products that they try to push or maybe it's because I'm forced to listen to jazz funk at full volume while my phone bill soars.

"Actually though, I think it's because the people I eventually speak to rarely seem able to solve the issue I'm calling about."

The days of a personal relationship with your bank manager are long gone - for the huge majority of us at least.

When ethical Triodos Bank investigated recently why around 9 million Britons would not recommend their banks to a friend or relative, it found that almost a third felt they were not treated as individuals. Another 40%, meanwhile, were simply disappointed with the customer service they received.

When you're in a rush, the last thing you want to do is wait in a long queue at your local branch.

Researchers at consumer champion Which? recently found that most people get seen within 12 minutes, but you could have a much longer wait if you go in at a busy time. Frustrating stuff!

The Triodos Bank research also indicated that the bonus culture that ensured the bank's high-flying employees received large salaries, even when it was making a loss at the taxpayer's expense, was hugely unpopular with consumers.

About a quarter of those who would not recommend their current banks said this was the main reason why. And with RBS executives sharing a £785 million bonus pool despite the bank, which is 82% publicly owned, making a loss of £2 billion last year, it's not hard to see why.


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