A Cherwell investigation has revealed that it would be extremely easy for an Oxford student to open several bank accounts at once, opening the door to thousands of pounds of debt from overdrafts and credit cards. It is against most banks’ regulations for students to hold more than one account, yet several Oxford branches of major banks failed to enforce this rule when approached by a Cherwell reporter. NatWest, the Co-operative Bank, Santander and Halifax all omitted to ask the reporter whether they already held a student account at another bank. Only Lloyds TSB and HSBC enforced the rule about multiple accounts, informing the reporter that they would have to close their current student account before opening another. If a student were to open an account with all the banks which failed to ask if they already had one, they could find themselves with triple the level of overdraft they would receive from a single account. A first year student making use of the full overdraft at each of the four banks that did not challenge the reporter could have access to £6,400 worth of overdraft. This figure increases as a student moves through their studies, rising to a potential high of £9,000. Most banks visited by the reporter asked only for identification, a UCAS letter as proof of study, and occasionally a proof of address before an account could be opened. Even when asked multiple times, they did not enquire about other accounts. Although most student bank accounts offer interest-free overdrafts, rates usually soar as soon as the account holder leaves university. This means that someone holding multiple accounts in Oxford could find themselves facing severe debt within months of graduation. Student bank accounts also frequently allow the account-holder to have a credit card with a limit of up to £500. Using the four potential bank accounts Cherwell identified in Oxford, this could add an additional £2,000 worth of debt. The Co-operative Bank, which is near the Westgate Centre, offers a £1,400 overdraft for its first year student accounts. The reporter was told that their student loan would not even have to be placed in the bank account in order for them to use it and access the overdraft. NatWest, which has branches on the High Street and Cornmarket Street, offers a starting overdraft of £1,500, which rises to £2,000 as a student moves through university. They also offer credit cards with a limit of £500. First year students can claim an overdraft of £1,000 from an account at Santander, and up to £2,000 in following years. Halifax, whose Oxford branch is in the Westgate Centre, offer a starting overdraft limit of £1000 in the first year. Their maximum limit rises to £3,000 over a period of five years. None of the banks approached by Cherwell chose to comment on the problem of multiple student accounts. However one second year student commented, “Almost everyone I know with a student loan went into their overdraft in their first year.“It’s really scary how easy it is to get into loads of debt.” It is in fact not possible for banks to know whether students hold accounts elsewhere, but their omission even to ask is a serious failing. Advice to students on the website moneysavingexpert.com said, “When applying you can either be honest and tell the bank you have a student account elsewhere and risk being turned away, or you can lie to them if they ask you. It’s your choice.” A number of the banks also offer additional incentives to lure students into opening accounts. NatWest offers free Young Person’s rail cards, while a Lloyds TSB student account comes with free membership of the Youth Hostel Association. Santander offer mobile phone, gadget and laptop insurance, HSBC offer free travel insurance, and Halifax provide 25% off AA breakdown cover. Only The Co-operative offer no discounts or freebies with their student current account. With student debt set to rise considerably in coming years, the problem of multiple accounts and finance mismanagement is likely to become far worse. A second year student from Christ Church College said, “It’s really embarrassing, but I just find it too daunting to try and keep track of my money – Oxford is an expensive city to live in.”
Ocean City resident Tara Wigginton purchases First Night admission buttons and 2020 beach tags from Samantha Dowling at City Hall. By MADDY VITALETara Wigginton, of Ocean City, walked into City Hall on Saturday morning with two very important things in mind.“I’m getting seven buttons to First Night,” she said. “They go up after today.”Wigginton was pleased with her savings of $35. The cost per First Night admission button for the family-friendly way to ring in the New Year goes up from $15 to $20 beginning Sunday.The non-alcoholic New Year’s Eve celebration features more than 70 entertainment programs at 20 different locations in Ocean City from 4 p.m. until midnight, with a fireworks display to cap off the festivities.“I get them before they are sold out,” Wigginton said of the First Night buttons. “My family goes every year. My nieces and nephews go, too. It is a great family tradition.”She also purchased five 2020 beach tags, which went on sale this weekend.Preseason 2020 beach tags save beachgoers money and also make popular stocking stuffers.Each year Wigginton buys four preseason tags for her immediate family and one for a guest.Again, she saved money. Beach tags are $20 preseason, then they go up after May 16 to $25.Bill and Barb Blunt, of Pottstown, Pa., were also in line at City Hall for the beach tags.They seek out savings on their beach tags each year and make sure to head to the resort for the weekend and also to make the savvy purchases.The Blunts offer four of the beach tags to their renters at their vacation home in Ocean City.They also buy one extra.“The beach tags are for us and also the renters. We want to make sure the tenants have them, too,” Bill Blunt said. “We also buy an extra one for our daughter. She likes to have her own for when she visits, and they make great stocking stuffers.”Samantha Dowling, who works for the city, was ringing up the patrons at City Hall.Dowling said people were steadily coming in to purchase the beach tags and to take advantage of the last day for discounted First Night buttons.“With Small Business Saturday today, and the beach tags becoming available this weekend, I expect we will be really busy today,” she noted.Bill Blunt, of Pottstown, Pa., purchases 2020 beach tags for his family and tenants at his summer home in Ocean City.Here is a list of the locations for 2020 Beach Tags and First Night Buttons:City Hall (861 Asbury Ave.) – Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat-Sun 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (winter hours)Rt. 52 Welcome Center – Mon-Sat 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sun 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (winter hours)Henry Knight Building (12th Street and Haven Ave.) – Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (no holidays).Aquatic & Fitness Center (17th Street and Simpson Ave.) – Mon-Fri 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sat 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sun 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.46th Street Welcome Center (4500 block of West Avenue) – Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.For more information about the 2020 beach tags visit www.ocnj.us. For more information and schedule updates for First Night, visit www.firstnightocnj.com.
Seamie Heffernan will again be on board, and Winters reports her in great form. He said: “Seamie rode her after racing at Clonmel last week and he was happy with her. He said she got a bit tired up the straight, but she’s in good order. “We never thought we’d be going back to a mile and a half with her, and it will probably be a game of tactics with just three runners. Two miles and two and a half miles is her trip, really. “The owners had her at home and have had her riding out for a while. She’s come back looking a million dollars. She’s always improved from her runs and I’m sure she will again. She looks fantastic in her coat and her attitude is very sweet, which is important. “I wouldn’t mind heavy ground as long as it was loose, so some rain would be a help. She wouldn’t really like tacky, holding ground.” Looking ahead, Winters said: “The Martin Molony Stakes (Listed) could be next on the agenda after this (at Limerick on April 26), and if she stays in form she could go for the Gold Cup at Ascot. “Then you would have a month or six weeks before the Galway Hurdle. She is still nicely rated on 144 over hurdles compared to the really top mares like Annie Power and Quevega who are about 20lb higher. The prize-money is huge at Galway. “There are plenty of good staying races for her to aim at later in the year, all the Cup races, but we’ll space them out a bit more. As a young mare she was winning races easily and ran two or three times in the space of a few weeks, but she will be operating at a higher level now.” Missunited is the star turn at Limerick on Thursday when the Mick Winters-trained mare makes her reappearance in the Summer Twilight Nights Race in a season that could see her take in the Ascot Gold Cup. The seven-year-old faces just two rivals in the shape of last year’s winner El Salvador and recent Gowran Park maiden scorer Cosmic Cannonball. The daughter of Golan, home-bred by Dan and Vanessa Hutch, proved a real money-spinner last year winning the Guinness Galway Hurdle and returning to Galway the following month to land the Listed Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes on the Flat. Press Association