The best rates for financial products. In black and white.

Need your money questions answering? Need to find ways that can unlock financial help avenues that you hadn’t thought of before? Then you’re in the right place. Finance Rate is a service that helps you to compare several finance products, giving you complete freedom of who to choose.

Everything that you need, for free, to make better financial decisions is provided on the site. From financial calculators to our answering of core questions in our guides (e.g. our guide to Business Bank Accounts), we have you covered. Never make a poor financial decision again. Everything really is in black and white.


Whether you’re facing imminent retirement or just starting to contribute to a pension, this is your one-stop guide to all-things pensions.


Find the best loan for your current situation. If you are a homeowner – or not – and need a large sum of money, there are options for you.


From first-time mortgages to improving your rates, remortgaging a property or taking out a second mortgage, Finance Rate can help.

Breakdown Cover

When breakdowns happen, they can throw everything off course. We’ll help you choose the best cover to keep you on track in case of an emergency.

Business Loans

Sometimes, raising money for your business can be a drawn out affair. Taking out a business loan can sometimes be a good short term alternative.

Current Accounts

We all use current accounts every day, but what separates them from one another, and most importantly, which is the right one for you?

Get Clear Financial Comparison with Finance Rate

Finance Rate exists to be one of the leading websites offering transparency and clarity on a wide range of financial products and services.

When it comes to taking control of your finances, be they personal, business, or on someone else’s behalf, there are hundreds of different barriers to entry, resulting in millions of people making decisions that might not benefit them in the long run.

The most common one is a lack of knowledge

Finances are complicated, for everyone. The difference is that some people have the knowledge to choose the right products and services for their unique circumstances, and some people don’t.

Finance rates for various products.

There are hundreds of different reasons you might not feel comfortable or informed about the right financial choices for you:

  • There are so many options available you can’t work out which is the right one for you.
  • You know what you need, but don’t know how to choose the best provider.
  • You’re a first-time buyer looking for a mortgage to get you on the property ladder.
  • You’ve not had enough disposable income in the past to consider investments or mortgages, for example.
  • Someone else has always handled your finances for you.
  • You never learned about practically handling money and making smart financial choices at school.
  • You’re starting to pay more attention to your pension pot and planning for the future.
  • You want to diversify your finances and maximise returns.
  • Your circumstances have changed, and the way you used to manage your money doesn’t work for you anymore.
  • You’ve had bad credit in the past and want to improve your credit score.
  • You’re looking to protect your family and loved ones financially if the worst were to happen.
  • You want to make a big change in your life (starting a business, getting married, moving abroad, the list is endless!), and want to understand the financial ramifications.
  • You’ve had bad credit in the past and want to find out about the finance options available to you right now.
  • You’re just interested in the financial sector, and want to know more about how the system works!

Not knowing what to do about your own finances can make you feel powerless and confused, and it often feels like too big a mountain to climb if you want real clarity on your financial options. If you recognise that feeling, we might be able to help. 

When you understand your financial situation, the options available to you and the products that are right for your circumstances, you open up a world of financial freedom and clarity. This knowledge allows you to make choices that benefit you, not large corporations or banks. 

And it’s not small sums either!

While taking care of the pennies and making small decisions every day can make a big difference in some situations, the right setup for your finances can change your relationship with money in an incredible way!

Free, Independent, and Unbiased Financial Information – How Does Finance Rate Work?

We’re a completely free-to-use service. 

We’re independent and not owned or funded by any of the big hitters in the industry.

That also means we’re unbiased, and will never push certain providers or products on you.

To sum up, Finance Rate offers clear, comprehensive and unbiased information on almost any financial product you can imagine, with new guides, calculators, studies and articles coming all the time.

Getting Help With Your Finances

As the cost of living increases and regular people’s finances are put under increasing pressure, almost half of UK adults report needing urgent help managing their household finances, according to data from the Financial Times.

The finance industry at large doesn’t do much to help this – websites and comparison engines are full of jargon, statistics, acronyms and percentages that don’t actually do anything to help regular people make sense of the options available to them. 

Finance Rate is your hub for everything you need to know about your finances and the financial products you need, laid out in black and white. From your first bank account and first mortgage to pensions, long-term investments, and business finance, we’re here to answer some of the nation’s most frequently asked questions and create comprehensive guides on the things that matter most to you.

We can help you choose the right products when it comes to:

  • Loans
  • Insurance
  • Motoring
  • Mortgages
  • Pensions and retirement plans
  • Personal finance, including bank accounts and credit cards
  • Business finance
  • Investments and savings
  • And many, many more…

Pick the Right Loan Options for You

There are many different loan options out there, and we’re here to help you find the right one for you. It’s important to receive further advice and guidance from financial advisors before applying for a loan. However, once you’ve gained a deep understanding of the various options, loan lengths and interest rates that may apply to you, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to make a decision. 

Please bear in mind that all loans have eligibility criteria that you must meet before being accepted for any financial assistance. 

The Main Types of Loans Available to You

When you’re looking for a loan, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the different options. Generally, there are two main types of loans.

Secured Loans: These are loans that are backed by an asset. For example, if you need a car loan, you could use the car as collateral, and if you don’t pay back the loan, then the lender can sell your car to cover their costs. Collateral lowers the risk for the lender meaning they can offer higher loan amounts regardless of credit score.

Examples of some secured loans include:

  • Bad credit loans: An individual with bad credit is unlikely to be approved for a personal loan due to their financial history. As an alternative option, it can be possible to obtain a secured loan with any assets they might own. This is an option for homeowners and those with valuable assets that can be used as security. Bad credit loans are a good way to improve your credit rating as you begin making repayments.
  • Vehicle loans: When you take out a vehicle loan, the collateral is your car. You can borrow up to 100% of its value and repay the loan over several years. If you default on your payments, the lender can repossess your car. To get a vehicle loan, you may still need to have a good credit score and proof of income.

Unsecured Loans: Also known as personal loans, this method of borrowing enables you to obtain small amounts of money. These are not backed by any assets for collateral and therefore may feel like less of a risk. However, it is unlikely you will be accepted for an unsecured loan without a high credit score. In most cases, interest rates are fixed and lenders will agree on a repayment plan with you over the course of so many months or years.

Examples of some unsecured loans include:

  • Personal loans: A personal loan is a loan that you take out to finance an individual purchase.  Personal loans are typically unsecured and carry higher interest rates than secured loans. Personal loans can be used for any number of reasons: buying a car; paying off high-interest credit card debt; consolidating your other debts into one payment; taking a holiday; buying a home; starting a business; or making home improvements. 
  • Debt consolidation: Debt consolidation loans are another kind of unsecured loan. If you have multiple debts from credit cards or student loans, for example, debt consolidation may be one way to get them under control. You can usually consolidate your debts into one payment at a lower interest rate than individual credit card companies would offer. It’s important to note that this kind of loan will not settle any existing debt – it simply puts everything together into one payment plan so that you can make regular payments instead of juggling multiple bills each month.
  • Credit cards: Despite credit cards being a means of ongoing borrowing, a credit card falls under unsecured loans due to the similarities in conditions and terms. Because credit cards are easy to access and use, they have high interest rates and can be difficult to pay off and stay on top of.

4 Factors to Consider Before Applying for a Loan

If you’re thinking of applying for a loan, there are several factors to consider. You’ll want to know how much you can borrow, how much interest the lender will charge, and whether or not you’re eligible for the loan in the first place.

Income: The amount of money you earn is one of the biggest factors that determines how much you can borrow. If you want to apply for a large loan, lenders will want to see proof of your income and assets. In addition, some lenders may require documentation from your employer verifying that you have been employed for more than a year. Ensure that you have a steady and reliable income before committing to a large sum of money.

Interest rates: Having a good understanding of how personal loan interest rates work can help you determine how much you will pay each month, and for how long the loan will last. Personal loans have an average interest rate of 9.41%. Borrower credit scores and financial histories can affect the lender’s rates on personal loans, which can range from 6% to 36%.

Reason for borrowing: Different loans suit different scenarios. If you need money to start a business venture, for example, a small business loan might be the right choice for you. If you need money to pay off an existing debt or cover bills while waiting on another source of income, a personal loan might be more appropriate. Talking to an advisor will help you to determine which (if any) loan is best for your circumstances.

Hidden fees: When you apply for a loan, make sure that you know what fees are associated with it. Some lenders will charge you an application fee or processing fee, which could be added to your overall debt. If there are any hidden fees attached to your loan, make sure that they’re clearly listed in the terms and conditions so that you know what they are before agreeing to the contract.

Protect Your Assets and Choose Insurance That is Right for You

Insurance is a great way to spread the risk of loss across a larger pool of people. It’s important to protect your assets so that you’re prepared for any situation. From home and auto insurance to life and health insurance, there are many different kinds of insurance options available to you. 

When you purchase insurance, you’re buying protection against the financial consequences of an accident or disaster. For example, if your house is broken into, your car is written off in an accident or you experience some other kind of major loss, an insurance policy will help make up the difference between what it would cost to replace a home or property and what your assets are worth.

The most important thing when choosing an insurance policy is finding something that fits within your budget while still providing adequate coverage on all fronts.

How Does Insurance Work?

Insurance companies work with their clients to figure out how much coverage they require for each possible situation, and then they assess their eligibility and ensure it fits their needs. 

Payments are made to the insurer regularly when you buy a policy. These payments are called premiums. You will be compensated by your insurer for any loss covered under your policy if you file a claim.

The money you pay won’t be refunded if you don’t make a claim; it will be pooled with the premiums of other policyholders who have taken out insurance with the same company. The money you receive from a claim comes from the pool of fees paid by other policyholders.

You should think about the following things before talking to a broker:

  • What you need insurance for and why you need cover
  • Everything you need to include in your plan
  • How much you can afford to pay on a monthly or annual basis
  • The term length of the insurance policy
  • How many people your cover needs to protect (family cover, for example)

How are Insurance Premiums Calculated?

An insurer uses risk data to determine the probability that the event you are insured against will occur. Your premium is calculated based on this information. Generally, the higher the likelihood of the event occurring, the higher the insurer’s risk and, consequently, the higher the premium.

When calculating a premium, an insurer will consider two elements.

  1. What is the likelihood of someone having to make a claim in general?
  2. Are you a greater or smaller risk than the average policyholder when you want to take out a policy?

If you have a history of claims and accidents, your premium will be higher than someone else who has never had any claims or accidents.

There are also personal characteristics that will be used to determine risk. For example, your age, credit score, health condition or anything else that may relate to the insurance type you’re taking out.

Investing in the Right Mortgage

If you’re a first-time buyer and you’re feeling swamped by the process of getting a mortgage, don’t worry, as we’re here to help you! 

A mortgage is taken out as a form of borrowing money in order to buy a house, as the price of the average house is usually a lot higher than the amount of money a normal person would be able to save up in a lifetime.

Different mortgage rates are available and will very much be dependent on the deposit you have and whether you have equity built up within a previous home you’ve owned. Usually, a deposit of at least 10% of the total value of the property is needed to secure a mortgage, but if you’re able to put more money down, then you may be able to borrow more or work out a better deal for your mortgage. The average mortgage lasts for around 25 years but they can be longer or shorter, depending on your situation.

Other things that will be taken into account include your credit score, your savings and other assets/equity, your employment status and your outgoings so that a valid picture of whether you’ll be able to pay your mortgage payments can be built up. 

It might sound tricky at first, but if you have the opportunity to own your own home, the process is worth going through, as monthly mortgage payments have a tendency to be less than the equivalent in rent payments. 

What Does Loan-To-Value (LTV) ratio Mean?

The loan-to-value ratio is a term used to describe how the borrowing on your mortgage is offset against the deposit you’ve paid. 

For example, if you want to buy a house worth £300,000 and you put down a 10% deposit of £30,000, you would need a lender that offers a 90% loan-to-value ratio, as you’re only able to put up 10% of the funding. However, if you decided to go for a cheaper house, you would be able to put up more of a deposit and could go for a lender with an LTV ratio.

Having a lower loan-to-value ratio could give you a lower interest rate too, so it might be more in your favour to try and get a mortgage with a low LTV ratio if you can. 

The Process of Getting a Mortgage

The process of getting a mortgage will differ based on your situation, whether you’re a first-time buyer, or you already own a property and want to move elsewhere, or purchase a second home. We’ve collated all the information you’ll need in order to help give you all the skills needed to successfully apply for a mortgage.

Are You a First-Time Buyer?

If you’re buying property for the first time, the process can be rather overwhelming, which is understandable considering how much paperwork there is to sort through. The most common type of mortgage for a first-time buyer is handily known as a first-time buyer mortgage – they usually have a smaller deposit amount than if you’re remortgaging, and the upfront fees are generally kept to a minimum. 95% mortgages are available for first-time buyers, in which you only pay a 5% deposit, but the interest rates tend to be much higher in these situations. If you can raise a 10% deposit, you might be better off.

Lifetime ISAs can be used to either save for retirement or save money for a house – 25% of the amount that you’ve put into the account is given to you on top by the government. As a first-time buyer, you’ll also have a higher stamp duty threshold of £425,000 – as long as the property you want to buy is bought for less than that, you won’t pay any stamp duty at all. 

Are You Moving House?

If you already have a mortgage and you’re not a first-time buyer, you might need to look at your mortgage options if you’re considering moving house. Sometimes you can move your existing mortgage to your new property in a process called ‘porting’, but this is something that you’ll need to check with the lender, and you’ll still need to reapply to transfer it across. 

This could cause issues if your credit score has decreased or your financial situation has changed negatively since you last applied. However, if you decide to apply for a new mortgage instead of porting, you’ll still need to go through the mortgage application process regardless. Arranging a brand new mortgage may incur additional fees, so this is also something you’ll need to consider when moving house.

Remortgaging a Property

Remortgaging is a term people sometimes confuse with taking out a second mortgage, but they’re very different things. Remortgaging is something that happens when you decide to switch to a new mortgage, either because your current fixed rate is ending, or because you’ve found a better deal.

You can often save money by switching to a new deal. Once your fixed rate ends, you will automatically be moved onto the variable rate for your mortgage provider, which is usually more expensive than the monthly payments paid under your fixed plan. If your fixed mortgage plan is coming to an end soon, it’s definitely worth checking to see if you can get a better deal elsewhere.

Buy-To-Let Property

If you’re buying a property with the express purpose of letting it out to rent, then you’ll need a different type of mortgage, known as a buy-to-let mortgage. Buy-to-let mortgages have higher deposits than normal mortgages and as a landlord, you’ll need to be able to prove that the rental income earned from your tenants will cover the mortgage.

Mortgage Types

There are several other types of mortgages that are less common than the ones mentioned above:

  • Offset mortgages – These are particularly useful if you have other savings, as you can then use these savings to reduce the interest you pay on your mortgage by setting your savings against the amount that you borrow.
  • Fixed-rate mortgages – Fixed-rate mortgages are more common when first taking out your mortgage, fixing the amount of interest you’ll pay each year to a specific amount until the time period elapses (normally up to 5 years). They’re a good idea if you’re concerned about interest rates rising in the future, protecting you somewhat from any interest spikes
  • Variable rate mortgages – The interest on a variable rate mortgage can fluctuate and is based on your lender’s standard variable rate (SVR). If your fixed rate mortgage elapses and you don’t remortgage, you will automatically be moved onto your lender’s SRV. It’s not always easy to predict the future of the economy, so interest rates could rise (meaning you pay more) or fall, which would benefit you as you’d pay less. 
  • Interest-only mortgages – Interest-only mortgages are, as the name suggests, mortgages in which you are only required to pay off the interest accrued until the mortgage is completed, instead of the actual amount borrowed. This might sound like a great deal, but you still have to pay the remaining balance off when the mortgage expires, so if you only pay the interest, you could end up with a very hefty bill! They’re different from the other mortgage types listed here, which are repayment mortgages, designed to help you repay your mortgage at the same time as paying interest.
  • Discount Mortgages – These are similar to variable rate mortgages, but they follow the SVR at a discounted rate, making them cheaper. They’re usually fixed for a specific period of time, so you might have to move onto the normal variable rate afterwards.
  • Tracker Mortgages – Tracker mortgages are another form of variable rate mortgages, following your lender’s SVR at a specific percentage of its base rate.

Am I Eligible for a Mortgage?

This can be a hard question to answer, as it will be based upon the size of property you’re wanting to buy – for example, if you find that you aren’t eligible for a mortgage on one property, you might be if you go for a cheaper house. However, there are certain rules that mortgage providers have to stick to which can’t be bent.

You’ll normally have to be over the age of 18 (over 21 in some cases) to get a mortgage and have a good credit score – if you have a poor credit score you might be able to get a mortgage still, but the interest will likely be higher and you’ll probably have to put up more money up-front. As well as the minimum age, there will usually be a maximum age, to ensure that the money you’ve borrowed can be paid back, in case you pass away. This will vary depending on the lender and it may be possible to get a mortgage past this age if you put a higher deposit up or co-sign the mortgage with someone else.

The other main thing that will be looked at by potential lenders is your overall credit file – they’ll want to know if you have stable employment, what your ingoings and outgoings are, information about your fiscal background and what level your credit score is at, as well as checking any debts you have.. They’ll usually want to see proof, often in the form of bank statements. To make the overall process easier, it is a good idea to get this information collated before applying.

How do I Apply For a Mortgage?

A mortgage is usually applied for with a bank or building society – you can do this directly, or go through a mortgage broker. Many people choose to employ a mortgage advisor to help them through the process – whilst this will add extra fees, it’s generally worth doing. When applying for your mortgage, you’ll need to provide suitable ID and proof of your address, often in the form of a utility bill, ID or bank statements. The process may be slightly different depending on who you apply with, so make sure you ask lots of questions so you understand everything completely.

Other Things to Consider

As well as the tips listed above, there are other things you might want to consider before applying for a mortgage, to ensure that you’re as prepared as possible for the process. First off, you’ll want to work out what sort of mortgage you can afford and look for houses within your price point. This will largely be based upon the deposit you can put down and your income. Remember to be honest with yourself about your income and outgoings, to make the process as streamlined as possible.

Mortgages can be tricky, particularly if you’re a first-time buyer. The information here on Finance Rate is created to ensure you have the capabilities to make the right decision about buying property and taking out a mortgage.

Looking After Your Money When It Comes To Motoring

When it comes to motoring, there’s a lot more to deal with than just the cost of the car itself. One of the things vehicle owners sometimes forget about is the additional costs involved with running a car, such as insurance, road tax, MOTs, services, fuel costs, breakdown cover and general repair and maintenance costs, which can easily eat into your budget if you’re not careful. 

If you bought your vehicle using a finance option, you might have additional interest rates to pay as well as your regular instalments, which also need to be taken into account. 

Because of this, it’s important to make a viable financial plan for owning your vehicle, preferably before you’ve made the leap to buying. However, if you already own a vehicle and want advice on how to balance the books for future reference, then Finance Rate’s motoring guides can still help!

Buying a Car Using Finance

Buying a car using a financing agreement is one of the most common ways of purchasing a vehicle nowadays, with several different options available to you. Knowing which option to go for can be daunting at times, so we’ve collected together the most common types of vehicle finance to give you all the information you need to make the right decision – you can get more detail about all of them in our motoring hub.

Hire Purchase (HP) Agreements

Hire Purchase agreements are the most common form of vehicle finance in the UK, allowing you to own the car at the end of the payment cycle. It’s essentially a secured loan, as the vehicle will be used as collateral if the payments aren’t adhered to. A deposit will usually be paid and you won’t own the vehicle until the payments have been completed. 

One thing to note is that there’s usually an additional payment that needs to be made after the final monthly payment, known as the ‘option-to-purchase fee’. 

The good thing about HP agreements is that the deposit and fees tend to be fairly cheap when compared to the other options available. However you need to be aware that your car could be repossessed if the payments are made, and you can’t sell or modify the vehicle until you own it fully.

Conditional Sale Finance

A conditional sale is another common form of vehicle finance, working similarly to HP agreements. However, the main difference between the two is that with conditional sale, you automatically become the owner of the car once the payments have been completed, meaning you don’t have to pay an additional fee at the end of the cycle.

Another good thing about conditional sale is that you don’t have mileage charges (HP agreements sometimes include these) and the deposit price tends to be fairly low. However, you are bound to keep the car once the contract has expired, and the car can’t be sold without permission until it has been paid off, so you need to make sure it’s a vehicle you’ll definitely want to keep. Like with HP agreements, you also might lose the car if the payments aren’t made.

Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)

Another similar form of vehicle finance is personal contract purchase (PCP), as you pay an initial deposit and continue to pay on a monthly basis after that, usually for 3-5 years. The main difference is that instead of paying a set price each month, lower payments are made, with a larger payment made at the end of the plan. These payments are based on the value depreciation of the vehicle over time, with the end payment (usually known as the balloon payment) being based on a minimum estimate of the car’s future value, which should be less than its value at the time of purchase.

The balloon payment gives a great deal of value to using PCP, as you could sell the vehicle for a profit once you’ve paid the balloon payment. You can also choose to give the car back if you don’t want to pay the balloon payment, and the monthly payments tend to be fairly low. On the other hand, with PCP you are charged based on mileage, and any excessive damage will also carry a cost. The other thing that might sway you from PCP finance is that the balloon payment is often rather large, so you need to consider whether you’ll be able to pay this or not before setting this option up.

These are the three main types of vehicle finance available in the UK at the moment, however, there are some other options you can consider too! These are:

  • Guarantor vehicle finance – A guarantor is somebody who agrees to pay the repayments if the applicant isn’t able to pay them, usually if they have a poor credit score or are a younger driver. The main benefit of using a guarantor is that it helps people to finance a car when they otherwise wouldn’t be able to, however, it can be a risky proposition for the guarantor if the applicant can’t make the repayments.
  • Taking out a personal loan – Personal loans are another option, usually requiring you to have a good credit score and money available for the repayments. The good thing about a personal loan is that you’ll be considered to be the legal owner of the vehicle from the very start, instead of waiting until the contract has ended. On the other hand, the payments could be higher than if you used a more traditional form of vehicle finance, and you will be responsible for any repairs to the vehicle.
  • Personal leasing – This is another form of finance to consider, effectively allowing you to swap cars every few years. It’s only available on new vehicles, with leasing plans usually running between two to five years. The main difference between personal leasing and traditional vehicle finance methods is that when you lease a car, you don’t actually own it, so you’re essentially renting the car for the duration. If you’re someone who likes to change cars often, personal leasing might be a feasible option. New vehicles come with warranties, so the likelihood is you won’t need to pay for any repairs either.
  • Buying a vehicle outright – Whilst vehicle finance has become increasingly popular in the UK, some people still prefer to buy their car outright. This will depend on how much money you have saved – it will be cheaper to buy a used car but new cars come with warranties, so you shouldn’t have to pay for repairs for a while.

Other Motoring Costs to be Aware Of

As well as the obvious cost of the vehicle itself, there are lots of other things to consider, which you will also need to budget for. We’ve listed several things below that you need to take into consideration when buying a car:

  • Road tax – This will depend on the emissions that your vehicle produces, as road tax is a purely emissions-based tax. It’s paid every year – one thing to note is that if you have an electric car or a vehicle that doesn’t produce any emissions at all, you won’t have to pay anything at all. 
  • Insurance – Legally you have to have insurance to have a car unless it has been declared SORN (off the road), however, vehicle insurance can be rather expensive, particularly if you’re a new driver. The best thing to do is to use comparison tools like Finance Rate to try and find the cheapest car insurance available – third-party car insurance is the legal minimum, however, this only covers damage to other cars and not your own vehicle. You can opt to auto-renew each year, but this tends to be more expensive – it’s usually best to shop around a bit.
  • Fuel – Unless you have an electric car, you’ll need to fill your vehicle up with fuel every so often, to keep it running smoothly. You’ll need either petrol or diesel, depending on the type of car – diesel tends to be more expensive than petrol. One of the main issues with this is that fuel prices can change rapidly, with fuel shortages also happening on occasion. The British government has announced a plan to ban the sale of new petrol/diesel cars in 2030, so this is also something to consider. 
  • Electric costs – Whilst you won’t need to pay for traditional fuel with an electric car, you will need to pay for electricity to charge the car. Sometimes this is provided for free in car parks, but most of the time you will have to pay – if you have a charging point at home, you’ll need to pay for it as part of your electricity bill. One of the issues with electric cars is that they can take a long time to charge and there aren’t that many charging points in the UK at the moment, but this is something that should change over time. You’ll likely also need to pay to have a charging point fitted at your home so you charge your car up there.
  • MOTs and services – Legally, your car has to have an MOT every year, so this is something you need to factor in when buying a car. The costs differ slightly depending on the type of vehicle, however, the MOT for a car currently can’t be more than £54.85, although it might be cheaper than this depending on where you go. With a new car, you don’t need to have an MOT for the first three years of ownership. It’s also a good plan to have your car serviced every year, however, this is optional.
  • Repairs and maintenance – Repairs can’t always be predicted, but by having your car serviced regularly, you might be able to get an idea of whether there are any issues, so you can get them fixed before the vehicle breaks down completely. It’s a good idea to set some money aside each year, just in case repairs are needed. Many people choose to take out breakdown cover with a company such as The AA or RAC – depending on the option you go for, you may get repairs thrown in as well. Other general maintenance that will need to be completed on a semi-regular basis includes things such as oil changes, buying windscreen washer fluid and coolant, and changing bulbs.

If you haven’t learned to drive yet, you’ll also need to work out the cost of driving lessons and take your theory and practical tests into account – the average person needs around 45 hours of lessons before passing their test, with the price per hour being between £25 and £30. On top of that, you’ll also need to pay for your provisional licence and your full licence once you pass.

As you can see, there’s much more to owning a car than just the cost of the car itself, so you’ll need to budget for everything on this list when you decide you want to purchase one. At Finance Rate, we can help give you all the information you need to get on the road and save money while you do it.

Pensions & Retirement Planning

Planning for the future can be hard – there’s no knowing what is on the road ahead, after all, and pension policy is often changing!

For so many people, pensions get forgotten about until retirement is looming! However, the best time to make the most of your pension savings is much earlier, which is why it’s vital you’re as informed and proactive as possible when it comes to a pension plan.

Not to mention, the world of pensions can be a minefield of different terminology, with hundreds of pension providers and pension plans all vying for attention, so it can be really difficult to find the right kind of pension for you.

Should you take out a private pension? How do employer pension contributions work? Where does your state pension come in? Should you have multiple pension pots? What happens to the money invested in your pension?

With everything pensions laid out in black and white, Finance Rate is here to help answer these questions and many more!

Private pension schemes vs your state pension

There are many different types of pension fund, but in the UK they come under two key umbrellas: your state pension and private pensions.

State pensions are relatively simple to get your head around – it is a government benefit and the amount you receive is based on how much National Insurance (NI) you’ve paid throughout your working life (NI is automatically deducted from your PAYE payslip, or is included in your regular tax returns if you are self-employed).

You are usually eligible for state pension payments as long as you have worked for around 10 years, which is the minimum level of NI contributions.

The age at which you are eligible for a state pension does change and is different for men and women, and those at different stages of their working life.

Private pension schemes are not related to your state pension. They can be used to supplement your state pension money or to retire earlier than your state pension age. When people talk about retirement savings, they’re usually talking about the pot of money in a private pension, rather than your state pension.

There are a wide range of options when it comes to private pension types, which makes them a bit more difficult to get your head around than your state pension, which you generally won’t need to give much thought to until you are nearing retirement age.

There are a few key types of private pension systems: 

Workplace pensions

Workplace pensions (also known as occupational pensions, works pensions, company pensions or work-based pensions) are those that are paid into by both you and your employer.

Workplace pension schemes are a legal requirement as long as you earn above a certain threshold, and you will likely be automatically enrolled into your employer’s workplace pension scheme when you start a new job.

All employers have a minimum amount they need to contribute to your occupational pension scheme, and you will automatically pay a contribution straight from your pay packet too. While you can unenroll from your personal pension contributions, this is generally inadvisable, and you should consult a financial advisor before doing so. You will also receive tax relief contributions to your workplace pension.

You can choose to pay more into your workplace pension, and this is deducted pre-tax from your payslip. Not only does this help improve your retirement planning, but it can also have positive tax implications in some cases.

Employers will usually choose the pension company they work with (the company that holds the pension pots for all employees). This may change from employer to employer, but you won’t ever ‘lose’ the money you’ve put into a pension pot. When you change jobs, the money in your old employer’s pension scheme will sit in the account until you use it, or you can consolidate your pension into one pot with your current pension provider. Some workplace schemes can help you with this, or you can speak to a financial advice service on the best way to consolidate your pensions.

Personal pensions

As well as your workplace pension, there are a few different options available to you if you’re looking for a personal pension. Personal pensions are a pot that you invest money in, entirely separately from your state or workplace pensions.

Standard personal pensions

When you invest in a personal pension, the money you put in will be invested by your pension provider in order to help grow the pot faster than simply sitting in savings would. There is capital at risk when you put into a personal pension, however, the length of the investment means that for the vast majority of people, a personal pension is a better way of growing your retirement fund, despite the higher risk profile.

There are also a few different types of personal pensions (including stakeholder pensions and SIPPs) which means that you can choose the level of risk vs. chances of higher reward when you invest in a personal pension. There are both low-risk and high-return options on the market, depending on the pension arrangements you choose.

Stakeholder pensions

Stakeholder pensions are money purchase pensions provided by banks, building societies or insurers. When you put your own funds into a pension scheme, the pension provider invests them for you. The value of your pension fund will be based on how much you have contributed through regular payments or lump sums, and how well the fund’s investments have performed. Generally, stakeholder pensions take a low-risk approach to investing.

Once you’ve reached the retirement stage, you can use the funds you’ve saved to purchase an annuity. This is a regular payment, payable for the rest of your life which you can buy through a private insurer.

SIPPS (Self-invested Personal Pensions)

If you’re comfortable making investment decisions yourself and want more freedom and choice over how your pension savings get invested, a SIPP might be a good option for you. With a SIPP, you get greater control and flexibility over which investments make up your retirement savings, as you have a wider choice of investment funds compared to a stakeholder pension.

What you can invest in will depend on your SIPP provider. However, some SIPPs allow you to invest in a wide range of assets, including:

  • UK and overseas company shares
  • Collective investments like unit trusts and open-ended investment companies (OEICs)
  • Investment trusts
  • Commercial property and land

In order to successfully manage a SIPP, you’ll need to be comfortable making, taking and managing your investments over the lifetime of the account. Alternatively, you can hire a financial adviser to manage the SIPP investments on your behalf. 

Of course, this is just a small overview of the different types of pensions available to you, and the level of pension wealth you accrue over the course of your working life can be affected by hundreds of different factors.

The number of pension choices available can be overwhelming, but at Finance Rate we are here to help. Whether you’re looking for the most tax-efficient way to save for your pension, want to understand your pension details, avoid pension scams, or maximise your investment returns, we want to help give you the information you need as clearly as possible.

You can learn more about private pensions on our Retirement and Pensions hub, as well as compare types of pension schemes and personal pension plans.

Personal Finance Made Simple with Finance Rate

It might sound obvious, but the way you manage your personal finance can have a big impact when it comes to making money work for you!

The basics, such as budgeting and saving, are excellent ways to start getting back on top of your own personal finances, but there are also plenty of things you can do to make the most of your money that don’t involve complicated investments or time-consuming side hustles. Sometimes, the most effective things you can do are related to the providers you spend your money with every day – your bank and your credit card!

The Importance of Having Good Personal Finance Management

Finance Rate gives financial help and guides our readers on the best options for them, and also helps them choose providers for a range of services. We’re not owned by any banks, insurers, investors or index funds, which means we can offer free, unbiased financial information to our users. Whether you’re looking for advice on improving your personal finance, taking out a loan, starting a business, planning for retirement, saving money on your car or much more, we’re here to help.

Once you understand the basics of your personal finances, you’ll find it much easier to take those next steps. Becoming more financially literate is one of the best things you can do to secure the present and the future for you and your loved ones.

At Finance Rate, we offer helpful guides on all kinds of different financial topics, including a couple that are key to your personal finance management: Choosing the right current account and understanding your credit card. 

Choosing the right current account

Choosing a current account that works for you is one of the most important things you can do to help boost your personal finances – after all, that’s where most of your money goes! Current accounts are available with a whole host of different deals, draws and features, depending on your needs.

Finance Rate can help you compare current accounts to make sure you are getting the best deal possible for the kind of service you need, and that you’re taking advantage of any deals or freebies that are available to you!

There are a few things you should consider when you’re looking at current accounts – whether that’s searching for a new one, or deciding whether your existing bank is doing a good job for you:

  • What features do they offer? This might include things like:
    • Online banking and a banking app
    • Debit card
    • App or text alerts and notifications when you make a payment
    • Biometrics security on their apps (like fingerprint or facial recognition)
    • Tools to help you monitor and manage your budget better
  • What are you using the account for, and does this line up with the features you get?
  • What are the interest rates?
  • What is the overdraft, and what are the terms surrounding it?
  • Is it easy to switch? Are there any incentives for you to do so?

All of these questions can help you choose the right account for you, and keep you on track when it comes to understanding your personal finances. To find out more or compare accounts directly, visit the Finance Rate current account hub for tools and guides.

Learn more about credit cards with Finance Rate

Credit cards are one of the most common and accessible ways for you to build credit, which is something that many people need to do in order to reach their long-term financial goals.

Building credit and increasing your credit score is a surefire way to indicate to all types of financial institutions that you’re financially stable and a “safe” person to work with. If you want to get on the property ladder, start a business, invest in assets, take out a loan or anything else that might need help from banks or financial institutions, this will make it far more likely that you’re approved for what you need.

When you use a credit card and pay it back on time, on a regular basis, you’re indicating to lenders that even when you spend, you spend wisely and have enough money coming in to pay back that spending. This is just one of the reasons credit cards are so popular.

As well as building credit, credit cards can also help you to:

  • Make larger purchases upfront and pay them off over instalments
  • Get protection on purchases between a certain amount if goods were to be lost or damaged
  • Earn cashback and get other benefits such as travel discounts
  • Spend money more cheaply and accessible overseas 
  • Give you fast access to cash when you don’t have it up front 
  • Give you an emergency fund if something unexpected were to happen

Types of credit card

There are many different types of credit cards available on the market today, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. If you are looking for a starter credit card, Finance Rate can help you compare the most popular cards on the market to get the best possible rates. Alternatively, you may be looking for a specific type of credit card – the Finance Rate hub contains guides on all of these types of credit cards to help you decide if they’re right for you.

0% purchase card

If you use a 0% purchase card, you can have an interest-free period on purchases. This is useful for making larger purchases, as you can spread the cost as long as it’s within the 0% period, without paying interest.

Rewards credit card

Different rewards programs can offer different benefits for using their particular credit cards. These can include points to spend with airlines, travel providers, supermarkets, and others, depending on your provider.

Cashback credit card

A cashback credit card allows you to earn cash back when you spend. There may be rules or minimum spend limits needed in order to get the cashback. Most cashback rates are somewhere between 5% and 20%, depending on the card provider and retailer.

Credit builder card

A good way for people with bad or limited financial histories to start building credit is by using a credit builder card. They’re designed to improve your financial situation by helping you build up your good payment history and qualify for more loans in the future. These cards typically charge higher interest rates and have lower limits than regular bank credit cards, but they may let you increase your credit line if you prove that you can pay back your debt on time.

Travel credit card

Travel credit cards are designed to be used outside of the UK – where most credit and debit cards have charges for spending abroad, these cards’ selling point is their low or no fee model for spending abroad.

All of this is really just the tip of the iceberg though! If you’re looking to improve your personal finances by changing your current account or by getting a credit card, Finance Rate’s trusted advice is here when you need it.

Grow Your Business with the Right Business Finance Options 

Starting a business is a high-risk, high-reward game. For entrepreneurs, whether it’s their first time owning a business or they’re a seasoned professional, there will always be pitfalls. Experience can help you avoid some of these, but you can’t ever smooth all the bumps in the road!

However, the rewards that starting a business can have are immeasurable! As well as the obvious markers of financial success, the sense of responsibility and accomplishment that comes from building your own livelihood and bringing others on this journey with you is incomparable! Not to mention the flexibility that working for yourself can have in helping you build the life you want.

Managing money in a small business or as a self-employed sole trader is a whole new kettle of fish compared to your personal finances. That’s where Finance Rate comes in. 

What you need to do when starting a business and becoming self-employed

Creating a Business Plan – Do you Need a Business Loan?

So, you’ve got your big idea, you know you can do it, you’re registered on companies house! But what comes next?

A business plan is something that business owners need to have in place before they start looking into their business finances. A business plan can help you secure business partnerships, grants and funding, business premises, or get a business loan.

Business plans lay out your objectives in starting a business, as well as how you/your business is going to achieve these goals. A business plan contains information on your business processes, competitors, marketing and positioning, as well as your business financials, of course.

Taking out business loans is always a risk, but it can be the thing that sparks your business growth and takes you where you need to go!

If you’re looking at getting a loan to fund or grow your business, you’ll need to ask a few questions beforehand, including:

  • How long have you been in business? 
  • What do your finances look like right now?
  • How is your business credit score? Are you confident your organisation will be able to pay off business debts?
  • What kind of loan are you looking for?
  • Do you know if you qualify for a loan? Are there certain types you qualify for, or certain types you don’t?
  • Do you have a business loan provider in mind? Have you compared different loan providers?

If you’re not sure of the answer to some of these, Finance Rate can help. We offer unbiased financial guides and tips to individuals and businesses in the UK, to help you improve your financial literacy and make the right financial decisions for you and your business. 

Paying Taxes as a Business

There are a range of taxes you’ll need to pay as a business that you wouldn’t as an employee, but there are also some that stay the same. Professional accountants can help you with business advice, and also help you keep on top of your tax strategies, business assets, business budget and overall business capital, but you can also do it yourself if budgets are tight. Be aware though, there is lots to learn if you’re planning on managing your own business taxes, and the consequences of not paying the right tax can be heavy.

Some taxes you’ll need to be aware of as a small business include:

  • Corporation tax
  • Income tax
  • VAT
  • Employers’ National Insurance contributions (if you have employees)
  • Capital gains tax
  • Business rates (unless you are eligible for business rates relief, which many small businesses may be)

Do you Need a Business Bank Account?

If you’re registered as a sole trader, you may not legally need a business bank account. However, a separate account for your company finances can help you separate your personal and business finances, which is incredibly important for start-up businesses.

Limited companies, on the other hand, are legally separate entities from individuals, so need to have a separate bank account.

Banking for businesses is largely not that different to personal banking. However, business current account services can be quite different when compared to personal accounts, so it’s important to be aware of all the different options available to you to get the best possible business banking experience.

Like individuals, businesses can have a range of accounts, including business current accounts and business savings accounts. You can also choose from a range of different current account providers and savings providers, each with their own pros and cons!

Business Credit Cards

Just like in your personal life, businesses can have credit cards, and many do. Credit cards for businesses can help manage and track expenses more accurately, improve cash flow and build lines of business credit, which can help you get loans for your company in the future.

Again, just like your personal finances, choosing a credit card provider with good credit interest rates, quality service, any additional services (like points, cashback schemes and travel perks), and improved costs on money transfers and inter-currency exchanges can be incredibly beneficial for your business.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of business credit card providers out there, each with advantages and disadvantages. When used properly, business credit cards can do a whole lot of good for your business accounts. However, you should always be aware of what your business expenses look like and ensure you never overspend on your company card to avoid damaging your personal or business credit score.

Personal and Business Insurance

Just like in your home life, things can easily go wrong in business. Even the best intentions and strongest business plans can be knocked back by things out of your control, which is why the importance of business insurance cannot be understated.

Some types of business cover are a legal requirement. If you employ staff, for example, employer’s liability insurance is a legal requirement for your business to have. There are some industries in which insurance is also a legal necessity, or it may be required by key industry bodies.

As well as traditional industry insurance (such as builders insurance, contractor insurance, retailer insurance, restaurant insurance, cleaning insurance and many many more), you might find you need other types of cover too, like public liability insurance or professional indemnity insurance.

Business Money Advice with Finance Rate

Whatever your business needs, if you have questions about your finance options and providers, we have the answers. To learn more, visit our business finance hub and check out the guides and tools available to help you on your business journey. 

Understand Investing and Make the Most of Your Money

For lots of us, investing seems like something you can only do with an investment manager and thousands of pounds on your side. The number of different UK investment guides, acronyms, terminologies, types of investments, types of funds, methods of investing and everything else can be incredibly intimidating for a first-time investor.

There’s often also a lot of fear around investing – stories of millionaires and regular people alike losing everything in the 2008 financial crisis still ring in our heads. 

However, investing can be one of the most beneficial tools in your financial arsenal. The power of investing is unrivalled when it comes to passively growing your money, so being able to understand it and invest wisely and in a way that suits you is an incredible skill to have. 

At Finance Rate we want to demystify the process of investing, and help make it accessible to our readers. You can find all the information you need to start investing – no matter how much you have spare – in our investments hub.

What is investing?

In its simplest form, investing is the process of using your own money to buy assets that you think will increase in value over time. That means that if you sell them in the future, you’ll make money back on the sale.

Assets can be almost anything that you think will increase in value:

  • Property and land
  • Company stocks (this is one of the most popular ways to invest)
  • Fine art
  • Cars
  • Luxury handbags
  • Collectables like books, stamps, Pokemon cards, the list goes on…

Of course, the risk with investments is that the things you think will increase in value don’t always do that (remember Beanie Babies in the 90s?), and they might actually decrease in value, leaving you out of pocket in the long run. There is no way to remove this risk entirely, but there are ways you can invest and things you can invest in that are more stable and less likely to lose value. This comes with a lower likelihood of large investment returns, however. 

With all investing, there is this same level of risk vs. return that you’ll need to be aware of. Fortunately, there are products and investment strategies out there for every type of investor and risk appetite, from the most risk-averse to those shooting for the stars!

What Can You Invest in? Popular Types of Investment Products


Stocks and shares are essentially small parts of a company. When you buy stocks you become a part owner of the organisation you’re investing in, and you can buy full stocks or partial stocks, depending on the investment policies of the market and the organisation. When companies are doing well, their share price increases, and so does your investment. Inversely, when organisations are struggling, their price will decrease, and you may end up getting a poor return or selling at a loss. 

Buying shares is one of the most common types of investment – you can choose specific companies you want to invest heavily in, but it is generally recommended you spread your portfolio between several different companies. If you aren’t sure which stocks and shares to buy and don’t want to deal with the regular updating and maintenance of your portfolio, you may want to consider investing in funds instead.


Investment funds act as “ready-made portfolios”, which help investors to diversify their investments quickly and easily. When you invest in stocks, you’re buying into a bundle of different types of investments, which may include assets like shares, property and land, government bonds, and even some forms of currency.

This bundle of assets might be managed by a financial advisor or wealth manager on your behalf, or it might be automated and simply follow the stock market index, for example. Managed funds generally have higher fees associated with them, as a person is putting in work to ensure a wide range of successful investments, and they can be more responsive to changes in the market. Automated funds don’t have this same level of flexibility, but they do have considerably lower fees.


Crypto is the new kid on the block when it comes to investing. The cryptocurrency market is still in its relatively early stages, which makes it a high-risk but high-reward type of investment. Learning more about cryptocurrency is absolutely vital before investing, which is something we can help you with!

When should you start investing?

There is no set date as to when you should start investing, but in general, the earlier the better! When you put money into a savings account, there is a risk you’ll actually lose buying power over the years, as the interest rate on these accounts doesn’t always match up with inflation (how much things increase in price).

Investments aren’t usually a quick win – they take time to grow consistently, and your return will rise and fall over time. You should be looking to leave your investments for a minimum of 5 years (though this can vary depending on the type of investments you make and any significant changes in the market), and you’ll likely get better returns the longer you leave them. This makes investments popular for pension savings and retirement options.

When you invest in the stock market in the long term, your investments are generally expected to outperform a savings account and current interest rates. However, the risk is that if you need to sell when the market is low, you’ll lose money or at least have a poor return. This is why many investment experts and financial advisers will recommend investing in a range of different products, assets and companies, so that one poor-performing asset doesn’t affect your entire investment portfolio too much, and you always have investments to fall back on.

At Finance Rate, we’ll help give you all the information you need to make the right choice when it comes to your individual investments and the investment matters that affect you.