First there was Brexit, now we have coronavirus…boy it’s been a bumpy road if you’re a global millennial, used to travelling and working wherever you want or need to.
Millions of us have had to cancel plans to go abroad (or go home, for some of us) this summer as a result of the restrictions imposed by the UK government. But just because YOU’RE stuck, it doesn’t mean your finances can’t keep moving. I’ve teamed up with the folks at PagoFX to discuss ways you can securely move money around with no fees until 16th August during this pandemic. Find out more, and discover some other useful money hacks, below.
Don’t freak out over furlough
If you’ve been unable to work because of lockdown, hopefully your employer will already have furloughed you. But lots of young people still aren’t sure what their furlough rights are. And that’s worrying – not least because the scheme is being wound down in the UK from August.
Employers will have to start paying your national insurance and pension contributions, followed by 10% of your pay then 20% before coughing up your full wages by November.
While you’re on furlough, remember that you are still entitled to all your normal working rights, including sick pay, holiday time and parental leave. If the worst comes to worst, you could be made redundant but be aware that your employer must:
- Consult you before redundancy
- Give you the correct amount of notice
- Pay for untaken holidays
- Consider any alternatives to redundancy, like another job in the business
- Use a fair process so that you’re not discriminated against.
You’re also entitled to redundancy payments based on your full pay, not your furloughed wages so don’t let them get away with that.
If you’re Under 22, that’s half a week’s pay for each full year of continuous service and if you’re aged 22-40, that’s a week’s pay for each year of continuous service.
Also remember that if you’re furloughed, there’s nothing to stop you from doing other paid work or volunteering except if your employment contract states otherwise. Some people have found a way round those rules by doing other work out-of-hours, such as doing online jobs in the evening like coding or early in the morning, like delivering milk!
Find the right funding
If you’re self-employed, make sure you are getting the funding you need. The Self-employed Income Support Scheme is now open so if you haven’t applied, google self-employed income support scheme and you’ll find out what to do – it’s very simple.
It’s available to anyone who made a self-assessment tax return in 2018 – 2019 and earned less than £50,000 that year. The grant is worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, up to a maximum of £7500, and that covers three months. Applications are open for the first grant until 13 July, while the second and final grant will be made available in August, though it will be worth slightly less.
Otherwise, there are a range of benefits you might be entitled to, though this does depend on whether you have settled or pre-settled status in the UK. Check out Citizens Advice to get more guidance.
If you’re an international student, don’t struggle alone. Let your university, college or Students’ Union know and ask if they can help you in any way. Remember that you are technically defined as vulnerable so you should be to access guaranteed accommodation, hardship funds and support in finding food, cleaning and medical supplies. You can also check out your embassy or high commission to find useful resources and networks.
All education and accommodation providers have been told by the government that they must be flexible regarding tuition fees, rent and other expenses. Remember that hardship funds are not always well-advertised – so ask what’s available.
Use the 3 Ps in chasing a refund
We’ve all had to cancel major plans as a result of this pandemic. But it’s particularly frustrating if you have been planning a trip away from the UK, not least because you’re probably not sure if you have a right to a full refund. But make no mistake, you should get your money back.
Whether you’re dealing with a tour operator, an air B’n’B host or an airline, your contract has been frustrated by an event outside your control. So the Competition Markets Authority has made it clear: anyone who isn’t able to travel because of official government advice should get a refund. No ifs, no buts.
Some companies are issuing vouchers for future travel. It’s up to you whether you accept them. But if you’re not confident the company will remain in business after this ends, you must be patient, polite but persistent in chasing a refund.
If you don’t get anywhere, there are two options left. You can try to make a claim through your travel insurance, as long as you booked the holiday before all this kicked off. Alternatively, you can claim a refund through chargeback or Section 75 rules on your credit card, even if you only used it to pay for part of your trip.
And this is a bonus hack for the future: have a credit card available for those big purchases, even if you only put £1 of the total cost on it. That way, you are entitled to all the rights that come with credit card purchases.
Be smart with your international payments
Finally, cut your costs on sending money abroad during this crisis. Until 16th August, PagoFX is offering no-fee transfers on transactions up to a limit of £3,000 to those who need to transfer money to relatives abroad, make maintenance payments on property or send business payments.
It’s safe, competitive and convenient. It allows you to make cross-border payments in 18 currencies including EUR (€), USD ($), PLN (Polish złoty), RON (Romanian leu), ILS (Israeli new shekel), QAR (Qatari riyal), among others, in just 3 clicks. It’s totally transparent and secure. It’s been set up by the guys at Santander Bank but you don’t need a Santander Bank Account – you just need to be a UK resident and have a debit card from any UK bank or financial institution. So you can start sending money abroad from your smartphone, with customer support available on the app, online and email, and pay absolutely no fees during this crisis (terms apply).
De Nada! (You’re welcome 😎)