VICTORIA BISCHOFF: Young people are getting stuck with debt habits that could ruin their financial futures
There is something deeply sinister about cashing in on the pressures faced by young women today.
I remember well the ‘need’ to have a new outfit for every social occasion — and that was long before the days of Instagram.
So it fills me with dread to think of what would have happened had Klarna and co been around when I was growing up.
Instant credit: Young people are being lured into buying more than they can afford. Even those already in serious financial difficulties are able to rack up yet more debt
Store-card offers at every turn were enough of a hazard when it came to keeping a handle on your spending.
But at least you faced a fairly strict credit check to get a store card — some new buy-now pay-later schemes seem happy to dish out credit to almost anyone.
As we report today, even those already in serious financial difficulties are able to rack up yet more debt.
It just shouldn’t be possible for someone who has recently had a debt relief order to be allowed to buy clothes on credit.
Retailers must also take some responsibility. The High Street may be struggling but that is no excuse to lure young people into buying more than they can afford. Of course, it is down to shoppers to exercise control.
But it is hard enough to teach young people about the importance of budgeting.
What chance do parents have against calculated marketing campaigns and Love Island stars advertising glitzy new clothes?
The Financial Conduct Authority needs to investigate urgently and ensure enough is being done to prevent young people from ruining their financial futures.
Meanwhile, shoppers must be made to understand that even one mistake using these types of payment service could damage their credit rating, which could stop them getting a mortgage or even a phone contract later on.
Get it covered
Our City reporter’s terrible tale of trying to get home after breaking her back in a skiing accident highlights how vital it is to have reliable travel insurance when going abroad.
In Lucy’s case, she had done the right thing in ensuring she had the correct level of cover, which included winter sports.
And by purchasing an annual travel policy, it also meant she would be protected should she need to cancel a holiday at any point if she or a family member fell ill. But all too often we hear from readers left thousands of pounds out of pocket because they failed to buy travel insurance at the same time as booking their trip.
It is not enough to buy a cheap policy the day before you fly. You need cancellation cover from the moment you pay for your holiday.
You cannot rely on travel firms to refund deposits out of the kindness of their hearts – no matter how much notice you give.
Without insurance you will most likely lose out if you need to cancel unexpectedly. You should also check customer service reviews and compare cover levels.
Travel insurance is a necessity, not a luxury. Your wellbeing and bank balance depend on it.
I was disappointed to see the fake HMRC scammers out in force last week.
It was the same old chestnut: my mobile rang with what seemed to be a London number.
But it was an automated call claiming there is a tax fraud case in my name and if I didn’t press ‘1’ a warrant would be issued for my arrest.
Out of journalistic curiosity, I pressed ‘1’ and a woman answered, saying I’d reached the ‘investigations department of HMRC’.
She knew my name, then repeatedly tried to weasel my address out of me. She claimed she needed this as a ‘security check’.
After I refused, she shouted: ‘When you hang up you will get arrested.’ Then she hung up.
I know it was a scam, but for those who don’t it could be incredibly intimidating. These fraudsters are believable enough to have tricked victims into handing over tens of thousands of pounds.
So if you get a call, don’t follow my lead: just hang up.
More delivery folly. Money Mail reader Dave Hobson says he got home to find an Amazon parcel lying by his front door.
However, an email claimed the driver had handed the package to his receptionist! That’s quite a fib!