Top 7 Money Changes Brits Should Watch Out for This September 2023

Just a few more days and we’re saying goodbye to August. With the start of a new month, there are a slew of financial changes and updates to keep track of. Today, we’ll explain everything you need to know, from changes to your Amazon Prime subscription to the expiration of the current Ofgem price cap.

PayPal Rate Increase – September 1

PayPal will charge more interest to those who use its PayPal Credit service from September. PayPal Credit works a bit like a credit card, in that you have a certain limit available and you have to pay off a minimum payment each month.

Amazon adding extra charge for Prime members – September 18

Amazon is to start charging Prime members for same-day delivery for orders under £20. If your order is under this amount, you’ll be charged £1.99 for same-day delivery.

At the moment, all items eligible for Prime qualify for free delivery – if same-day delivery is available, you normally need to place your order before midday to get your package by 10pm. Amazon Prime costs £8.99 a month or £95 a year.

Inflation announcement – September 20

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will release the inflation rate for the 12 months to August on September 20. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation is a figure used to explain how much the prices of goods and services have increased over time.

When inflation is high, it means prices have risen more sharply and you’re getting less for your money than before. CPI inflation fell to 6.8% in the 12 months to July. At its worst point, inflation hit a 41-year high of 11.1% in October last year.

Interest rates decision – September 21

The Bank of England will announce whether interest rates will be raised again on September 21. The central bank increased the base rate on August 3 to 5.25%.

The base rate is what the Bank of England charges other banks and lenders – this in turn then influences the rates you are charged as a customer when you borrow money.

If interest rates are higher, you’ll pay more to borrow on products like variable rate mortgages – but the flip side is, savings rates should go up. At the moment, analysts are expecting the base rate to peak at 6% or 5.75%.

Take a meter reading – September 30

The Ofgem price cap will fall from £2,074 a year to £1,923 for a typical dual fuel household paying by direct debit on October 1. If you don’t have a smart meter, it is worth taking a meter reading before the new price cap begins.

This is so your supplier doesn’t estimate your usage and potentially assume you’ve used more energy at the higher rate. You should do this as close to the new price cap coming in as possible, so ideally on September 30 – but it doesn’t matter if you do it any time around this date.

It is also worth noting that there isn’t actually a total cap on how much you can pay for energy. What the Ofgem price cap does is put a limit on how much you can be charged for unit rates and standing charges.

Student loans shake-up – For students starting university in September

There are three huge changes coming to student loans for anyone starting university in England from this September. First of all, new students will start repaying their student loans when they earn above £25,000 under the Plan 5 loan. At the moment, you only start repaying when you earn above £27,295 on a Plan 2 loan.

Next, new students will see their loan wiped after 40 years, instead of 30 years, unless they pay it all off before this time. This means most students will spend an extra ten years paying off their loan. The final change will see the interest charged at just the rate of Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation, instead of inflation plus 3%.

Universal Credit changes – Throughout September

There are also several changes to Universal Credit coming in September that benefit claimants should be aware of. The so-called “managed migration” process of switching those on older benefits to Universal Credit will be expanded into all regions of Great Britain next month.

At the moment, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been targeting different regions on a monthly basis, with a focus on Tax Credit households. The DWP hopes to have most people moved across by the end of the 2024/25 financial year, expect for around 800,000 Employment and Support claimants who have a longer deadline of 2028/29.

Next, in late September, the DWP will launch a new automated “Conversational Platform” for Universal Credit claimants who contact regarding a new or existing benefit claim. Instead of pressing the keypad for specific menu options, claimants will speak to a virtual agent who will be able to answer simple queries.

Finally, claimants in the “Light Touch” work group will be obliged to hunt for more work or better-paying work beginning in September. Claimants will be required to attend regular work-focused interviews and participate in work readiness exercises.

If you work more than 15 hours per week at the National Living Wage but less than full-time hours, you are in the “Light Touch” category.

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