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The overpriced financial products you can live without

money down drain

The financial services sector ploughs millions of pounds into advertising every year. But the products don’t always live up to their slick ad campaigns and eye-catching marketing claims. Have you ever bought a financial product that’s turned out to be a dud?

When buying an insurance policy or choosing a bank account, it’s not as straightforward as going into a shop and trying it on for size; you can’t easily judge its quality by sight or by touch.

This is likely to make our decisions more influenced by providers’ marketing promises. But if you accept these at face value you could end up paying over the odds for a policy, account or service that appears to be beneficial, but may have significant downsides.

So, are there some financial products that you just don’t need? We think so, which is why we’ve compiled a list of overpriced financial products we believe you can live without. We think each one offers poor value for money – and there’s usually a better alternative too.

What a waste of money

Some financial products are overpriced – such as the excess waiver cover sold by car-hire firms – which can cost as much as the rental, and is available for a fraction of the price when bought from a specialist UK provider.

Similarly, insuring your phone with a policy offered by a mobile network is an expensive option – it can set you back as much as £160 a year for an iPhone. A better option is to get cover through your home contents insurance policy for around a tenth of the price at just £16 a year.

Others have a long list of limitations. Take over-50s plans, which pay out a fixed lump sum when you die – these can easily end up paying more in premiums than your loved ones will receive. And if you decide to cancel a plan at any point, you’ll usually get nothing back. If you’re in good health, you’d be better off putting your money into a savings account.

Financial products you don’t need to pay for

In some cases, there’s no need to pay for the service at all. If you want to check your credit score, for example, you can do so for free – rather than paying up to £180 a year for a subscription service from a credit reference agency.

Or if you’re looking to claim compensation for the ultimate useless financial product – PPI – steer clear of claims management companies. They’ll typically take 28% of any compensation you’re offered and add VAT on top. It’s easy – and free – to submit a claim yourself – just use our PPI tool.

Have you forked out for a poor-value financial product and then regretted it? Which ones would you add to our list of products you can live without?


Jenny you have hit on a very sore point with me -those over 50,s plan . Yes they plan to take you to the cleaners and dont get me started on “death ” policies which contrary to 90 % of UK adverts are aimed at over 50,s white males –why ? why not other sexes or colours surely that isnt PC? Yet nobody says a word . Having got that off my chest I agree wholeheartedly with your convo but again it shows how powerful advertising rules the minds of people . I just dont “get it ” when you have worked all your life to pay off your home only for the vultures to brainwash you into a “life mortgage ” or similar just because they put on some female actress telling the male he should put all that at risk by “going on an oversea holiday ” they obviously think the British public are downright stupid and the stupid male with a stupid grin agrees – try that with me and it would be — &%£ ! :@ etc.

This is a good topic for an informative booklet from Which?. Many of these plans can be exposed by doing the maths to show just what they will cost compared to the benefits they might bring- like extended appliance warranties vs. cost of repair, funeral plans vs saving separately, covering items separately on insurances when they could be included in your home or car…… Plus those given in the intro. Giving the alternative, cost-effective, way of handling them would be a good service for many consumers.

These booklets can be very useful but I wonder if they need to be free? I’d be interested to know how many new subscribers they attract, which is presumably the reasoning behind them. I’d charge £1 for something so useful (Members can usually access a .pdf on the website).

Many people cannot make up their own mind up about anything let alone financial matters ADVERTISING does that for them , some convo posters I know can make decisions for themselves The more who can the merrier and better

Patrick Taylor says:
21 June 2018

This link returns me to the Conversation. Should it be linking to a “list”.?

“So, are there some …. financial products .. we’ve compiled a list of overpriced financial products.”