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Six currency exchanges in May – including universal credit and higher interest rates

April brought a huge series of bill hikes, including a huge hike in energy bills, as the cost of living crisis deepened. But what does May have in store for families? We explain all changes

Here are all of the financial changes due in May
Here are all of the financial changes due in May

The month of May will bring some big financial changes and deadlines for families to be aware of.

From Universal Credit Your Tesco Clubcard Points, we explain everything that’s changing over the next four weeks and how it will affect you.

It comes after April brought a huge slew of bill hikes as the cost of living crisis deepened.

Energy regulator Ofgem raised its price cap – which caps how much you can be charged for each unit of electricity and gas used – by an unprecedented £693 for someone on typical consumption.

This came into force on April 1st and has taken a toll on budget bills.

Council tax has risen an average of 3.5% for a Band D home over the past month, while water bills have also risen an average of 1.7%.

You may also have noticed a spike in your broadband, cellphone, and mortgage payments.

Our team of cost of living experts are here to help YOU through a very difficult year.

They bring you the latest money news and also offer expert advice.

Whether it’s skyrocketing utility bills, the cost of weekly groceries, or increased taxes, our team is always by your side.

Every Thursday at 13:00 they participate in a Facebook Live event to answer your questions and offer their advice. Visit facebook.com/dailymirror/live to watch. You can read more about our team of experts here.

If you have a question – or want to share your story – please email webnews@mirror.co.uk.

Interest rates are likely to rise

Interest rates are expected to rise to 1% this Thursday (May 5) from 0.75%, which would be the highest level in 13 years.

The Bank of England is battling rising inflation, which hit a new 30-year high of 7% in March and is expected to hit 8% later this year.

The base rate is what the BoE charges other banks and lenders – this then affects what you are charged when you borrow money and how much interest you get back on your savings.

Are you afraid of rising bills? Let us know: mirror.money.saving@mirror.co.uk

For those with a mortgage, if you have a fixed rate deal, your interest rates will not change when interest rates go up.

If you have a tracker mortgage and interest rates go up, your interest rates will increase as they move in line with the base rate.

Those who have a Standard Adjustable Rate Mortgage (SVR) may see interest rate increases as it is up to your lender to decide whether to pass on the increase.

Rate hikes are generally good news for savers, as they mean you can see a higher return on your money if you have an adjustable rate account.

However, there is no guarantee that banks and lenders will adapt to a possible increase – and some may take time to announce changes.

Shock at Universal Credit

Up to 2.6 million people with old benefits are expected to be switched to Universal Credit starting May 9.

The process of “managed migration” to Universal Credit has been paused due to Covid. The government wants everyone to move by the end of 2024.

People will receive a “migration notice” in the coming months, giving them three months to claim Universal Credit or stop receiving benefits.

Only about 500 people will switch to Universal Credit initially, but the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will pick up the pace after a few months.

Beneficiaries who receive the following benefits are affected:

  • Labor Tax Credit
  • child allowance
  • Income-related unemployment benefit
  • social care
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • housing benefit

If you’re taking advantage of the above benefits and want to switch to Universal Credit immediately, you can request a switch now – but do your research first.

Officials say 55% will be better off on Universal Credit, but some will be worse off in the long run — and you can’t go back to the old benefits once you have Universal Credit.

You can use an online performance calculator from charities like Turn2Us and EntitledTo to see how the change is affecting you.

Municipal tax rebates

Council tax refunds worth £150 started hitting the bank accounts of thousands of eligible households last month – but not everyone has received the payment yet.

Some households will have to wait months for the £150 to hit their accounts, with councils officially having until September 30 to spend the money.

The Mirror has checked with dozens of local authorities and has highlighted 25 places where the rebates have not yet started processing. Some councils expect payments to start in May.

Those who pay their council tax by direct debit will receive the payments first as the councils already have their data in the system.

The council tax rebate applies to houses in council tax brackets A, B, C or D in England and Wales – around 80% of properties – but not to those in council tax brackets E, F, G and H (or I as well, in Wales).

Residents of Scotland are also eligible for a £150 reduction if they are in bands A to D – but they also qualify if they currently also receive a council tax reduction.

Sky price increases

Sky fixed line customers have seen the cost of a call using Sky Talk on a fixed line phone increase by 10% since the beginning of May.

That means you now pay 22p a minute instead of 20p to talk to family and friends.

This applies to Pay-As-You-Talk customers making outbound calls to mobile and landline numbers.

International calls can be billed at different tariffs depending on the tariff.

If you are not happy with the price increases, you might want to look for a cheaper deal by comparing prices online via Uswitch.com.

Those who don’t have a contract can leave fee-free, but those tied to a deal may have to pay an exit fee to leave.

You can also haggle with Sky if you’re not going but want to lower your monthly bill.

Sky will also introduce EU roaming charges from May 3rd.

This costs £2 per day for holidaymakers using mobile data, calling and texting outside the UK.

Voxi introduces EU roaming charges

Voxi – a sub-brand of Vodafone – is introducing mobile roaming charges for new and existing customers holidaying in Europe from May 27th.

Customers must purchase a European roaming pass to call, text and use data across 49 European countries and destinations.

The roaming passes cost:

  • £2 for a day pass
  • £4 for a two day pass
  • £8 for an eight day pass
  • £15 for a 15 day pass

The roaming passes also come with unlimited SMS and minutes, although that’s not typically what your UK sim offers.

Deadline for the Tesco Clubcard

Tesco shoppers have just weeks to use up £17million in unspent Clubcard vouchers before they expire in May.

The supermarket said the coupons were issued in May 2020 and must be used by May 31, 2022.

Tesco Clubcard vouchers are issued every three months in February, May, August and November and are valid for two years.

The grocer is alerting customers that they can now use these coupons to save money at Tesco.

To receive Tesco vouchers through the Clubcard loyalty scheme, customers must earn points by spending money in stores.

Shoppers earn one point for every £1 spent in store and online, or one point for every £2 spent on fuel.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/six-money-changes-coming-including-26848436 Six currency exchanges in May - including universal credit and higher interest rates

Fry Electronics Team

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