Families that celebrate Christmas are being advised by Credit Action (a money education charity) to stay in control of their spending over the holiday season1. Working out a sensible budget and sticking to it is especially vital at this time of year, because as well as the cost of Christmas presents, there's also the extra cost of festive food and drinks and the added expense of attending or hosting parties.
A great way of keeping on track is to use a prepaid card, such as a Cashplus prepaid Gold MasterCard®. As soon as the December pay arrives (often earlier than the rest of the year, which can make the wait for January's pay seem like an eternity), the amount that can be spared for Christmas festivities could be placed on the card. That way it's separated from the amount needed to cover the usual bills.
Ring-fencing the money needed to cover the day-to-day essentials on a prepaid credit card in this way is a very wise move – savings experts estimated that overspending at Christmas last year led to many facing over £902 in bank charges in January.
But with careful planning, penalties may be avoided. For starters, once the Christmas budget is topped up onto a prepaid card, it can be used to securely grab bargains online. That's because some prepaid cards, including the Cashplus prepaid Gold MasterCard, offer free purchase protection. So if a customer has tried to buy a gift from a website that turns out to be dodgy, the card company can often help to get the money back. Plus, some prepaid cards can make money go further with free cashback programmes.
A prepaid card can also be very handy on a party season night out – because if the reveller keeps just what's needed for food, Christmas cheer and transport home, if his or her wallet's lost or stolen, the amount on the card is all that's at stake. And this money won't be lost for good as the cards almost always offer fraud protection. In fact, if the prepaid card gets lost, stolen or is fraudulently used, as long as the card has been used in line with the issuer's terms and conditions, the card and the money on it can usually be replaced.
A prepaid card such as those offered under the Cashplus brand, can continue to be a great help once Christmas has been and gone. For example, if despite having budgeted relatively well and having separated festive cash from the essentials, there's still not quite enough to cover all the Direct Debits in January, the new Debit Protect™ feature could provide a short term loan of up to £1,000.
If a Direct Debit just can't be paid, there are no penalty fees to have to find.
The Cashplus brand also offers another short term loan product, called iAdvance™. This can offer up to £400 to help with everything from urgent repairs to just plugging the gap until pay day.