Welfare Reform Blog

Top five money management tips

October 2, 2013

The Payments Council has today published a guide - as part of its Pay Your Way campaign - for people affected or concerned by the introduction of Universal Credit.

The guide, which includes information about the changes to the benefits system also clearly details the various features of different banking products and accounts.

This is to help claimants manage the shift to a new single, monthly payment - which will replace the main income-based benefits and tax credits and will be paid into a person's bank account instead of going directly to a landlord or housing association.

Interestingly, the guide also contains some tips on how to manage money.

These include:

  • Drawing up a monthly budget for money coming in and out.
  • Prioritising your rent payment - urging residents to ask their landlord to move the day their rent is due closer to their benefit payment day.
  • Getting the best deal when paying bills e.g. direct debit, which ensures your payments are made on time, every time.
  • Making sure you have internet access as you will be expected to claim Universal Credit and manage your account online.
  • Decide whether you need a joint account as it can make budgeting easier.

Ahead of Universal Credit, we've been able to help many landlords expand the number of days and range of frequencies they can offer their residents for direct debit collection. This has, in turn, allowed residents to choose collection dates close to when they receive their wages or benefits and will become extremely important under Universal Credit which could be paid on any date of the month.

Thurle Phillips and Esther Clarson, Applications Manager and Housing Manager respectively at Paragon Community Housing Group said: "This service has the potential to reduce arrears because direct debits can be aligned to when a resident receives Universal Credit. Starting this process now has enabled us to prepare for the effects of Universal Credit (from October 2013), whilst having time to embed the new system into our internal process.

"Upon implementation, we’ve already processed a number of new instructions with the allpay direct debit system, as we have been offering the service to all residents who have initially called to make a regular debit card payment. This is ideal, as if residents are paying by card, they have the facility with their bank to set up a direct debit.

"Paragon currently receives around 50 per cent of income through housing benefit which is paid to us directly. We are trying to get as many people as possible to sign up to direct debit, and are promoting this method when we send rent cards and rent letters. Paragon is considering how we incentivise this take-up, whilst making sure it’s the appropriate method for residents – for example, ensuring residents have the right bank account and helping them to avoid the risk of bank charges. We believe that having everyday flexibility will lessen that risk because people can choose when to have rent collected."

Download the Pay Your Way guide here.

 



About allpay

allpay offers housing associations, ALMOs and councils the widest range of payment collection solutions, allowing their residents to pay rent and council tax through both of the major cash networks, PayPoint and Post Office®; with a debit or credit card over the phone or via the internet or through a smartphone using the allpay App.

We also collect direct debits on behalf of our clients every date of the month, offering residents a range of frequencies e.g. weekly, fortnightly, four-weekly, monthly, etc.

Blog author Nick Peplow is allpay’s business development director and heads up the company’s work to support housing associations and councils ahead of Universal Credit.