Direct debits and standing orders are a great way to save time when making regular payments for services and consumables. Council tax, telephone bills, energy bills, insurance premiums, monthly savings and investments can all be paid easily and hassle free. These automated electronic payments undoubtedly add value and save time - a welcomed benefit.
Regardless of recent austerity trends and increased costs of finance it can always be argued that buying luxury or non-essential items only makes sense when sufficient funds are available to meet additional financial obligations.
With regular direct debit or standing order payments automatically consuming funds it can be difficult to know affordability and impact on one's budget remaining for a month. In particular, knowing in advance if a one-off transfer of funds may avert the misfortune of going into overdraft, or defaulting on a payment obligation, potentially tarnishing one's credit worthiness.
Help is at hand, the free Money Dashboard application has a useful pro-active alert system which can forewarn the user of a potential looming cash flow crisis by simply clicking a checkbox and setting a threshold for the budget alert. If triggered the alert will be sent by email giving the user the opportunity to quickly rectify the position and avoid potentially unwelcome charges.
by Angus Grossart, Software Architect and Team Leader