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12th Apr 2017
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Quick message from Martin - Get this emailed

"Hi. This free, spam free weekly email is the key way to save. We put all the latest deals, guides and loopholes in, yet many close within hours. Don't miss out, join the 12m who get it each week."

12 April 2017
         
 
THE TOP TIPS IN THIS EMAIL
STOP accepting paltry savings rates - earn 5%
New. BT fast b'band & line '£17/mth'
eBay vs Facebook selling & more ways to make £100s spring-cleaning
Free £100 vch + 2 airport lounge passes
FREE £662 for married couples
£10 Dysons, £35 TVs? Can you find 'em at the tip?
Lowest ever 5yr mortgage fix
Shift debt to 28mth 0% NO FEE
Last chance. Eat for 'free' at Ikea
Get PAID to share job ads
Easter egg taste-test - 80p winner
£2.25 for FIVE pizzas trick
Know term-time hols rights
Designer sunnies 25% off code
20-plant bundle £10
 

STOP accepting paltry savings - earn up to 5%

New 2.2% NS&I bond launched, but you can still find hidden gems to massively boost your earnings

gemsavingIn our fight to find you the best rates, each April in past years we've focused on the best cash ISAs - savings accounts you don't pay tax on - as it's when the new allowance hits (it's £20k this year). But as 98% now don't pay savings tax at all thanks to the personal savings allowance, and cash ISA rates are awful, they're no longer a no-brainer. So we're arming you with ALL the top savings instead.

When choosing, note that ISAs protect your interest from the taxman year after year - useful if rates rise or your savings stash increases. Plus, if you're a wannabe first-time buyer, consider Lifetime ISAs (which we explained last week) and Help to Buy ISAs first.

1. Earn up to a huge 5% easy-access via bank accounts. For many, the best savings account is likely to be, er, a bank account. The ones below give high interest on balances in their main accounts plus other perks, but have strict min pay-ins and other criteria.

- Get 5% on up to £2.5k. Nationwide FlexDirect* (choose 'FlexDirect' from accounts in the link) pays 5% AER fixed for 1yr on up to £2.5k if you pay in £1k+/mth. It also has a 5% AER variable regular saver into which you can save up to £500/mth.

- Get 3% on up to £5k. Bank of Scot pays 3% AER variable if you've £3k-£5k (dropping to 2% on up to £5k in June) and you can open three in all. You must pay in £1k+/mth, stay in credit & pay out 2 direct debits a month per account. Tesco pays 3% AER variable on up to £3k and most can open two, though you must pay in £750/mth and pay out at least three direct debits a month per account. TSB* pays 3% AER variable on up to £1.5k, if you pay in a min £500/mth, + register for online banking and go paperless. It also gives £10/mth cashback if you meet other key criteria.

- Get 1.5% on up to £20k. Santander 123* pays 1.5% AER variable on up to £20k. Its £5/mth fee is easily covered for most by up-to-3% bills cashback. A couple can have three accounts in all, but each needs a min £500/mth pay-in and two 'active' direct debits. Last week it boosted the rate from 3% to 5% fixed for 1yr on its linked regular saver, with a max pay-in of £200/mth.

- Who can get these? You need to pass a credit check. Full eligibility criteria and lots more info in Best Bank Accounts.
2. Earn 5% fixed for a year with a regular saver. Some bank accounts also have linked regular savers, paying high interest but only on small sums, generally for a short time, and with min & max monthly deposits. Luckily the main bank accounts you need to get 'em are best buys.

- Switchers to First Direct* get a free £100 (min £1k/mth pay-in to avoid its £10/mth fee), plus it's been voted no.1 for customer service in all our polls. Its regular saver pays 5% fixed for 1yr on £25-£300/mth. M&S Bank* gives switchers a £50 M&S gift card and £5/mth for two years, when you pay a min £1k/mth into its current account, and switch & keep 2+ 'active' direct debits. Its linked saver pays 5% fixed for 1yr on £25-£250/mth.

- The Nationwide FlexDirect* and Santander 123* accounts mentioned above also have 5% regular savers, plus let you earn interest on their main accounts.

- Who can get these? As above, you need to pass a credit check. Full eligibility criteria and lots more info in Regular Savings Accounts.

- How's the interest calculated? It's a common misconception, but because it's a regular saver you don't get 5% on your end balance. If you save the same amount every month, you'll get 5% on approx half your end balance. Full reasons why in Regular Savings Accounts - don't believe the bad press.
3. New. Earn 2.2% fixed with the NS&I investment bond. This week the Government-backed NS&I investment bond launched, paying 2.2% AER on £100 to £3k savings over a 3yr fixed term. You can withdraw money early, for the equivalent of 90 days' interest. Despite its name, it's a savings account with no risk, not an investment account.

It’s the best 3yr fix around, but isn’t special, and can be beaten by many of the bank accounts above. However because it’s backed by the Treasury, it's completely safe (unless the UK goes bust - in which case we’ve bigger problems).
4. Earn up to 2% in fixed-rate savings. Here the rate is set for a pre-defined time. While not always as lucrative as bank savings above, you can normally save a lot more. Importantly, with non-ISA fixes, your money is locked away for the duration; with an ISA you can withdraw it usually for a 3-6mth interest penalty.

- Top non-ISAs. Paragon Bank pays 1.51% for 1yr and Secure Trust Bank pays 1.85% for 2yrs. Over 3 yrs Secure Trust Bank gives you 2%.

- Top ISAs. Family Building Society pays 1.15% for 1yr, Yorkshire BS 1.25% for 2yrs & Coventry BS 1.4% for 3yrs.

- Non-ISAs smash ISAs on paper, but watch out if you pay savings tax. Eg, a higher-rate taxpayer with Paragon's 1.51% non-ISA fix would only earn 0.9% after tax and a top-rate payer 0.83%. As the best 1yr ISA pays 1.15%, they can win for some. Full help & best buys in Top Fixed-Rate Savings & Fixed ISAs.
5. Earn up to 1.15% via easy-access accounts. They're flexible as you can mostly withdraw money when you want, but the trade-off is lower rates.

- Top non-ISAs.
Yorkshire BS pays 1.15% (min £100) but only allows one withdrawal/yr. Skipton BS pays 1.02% (incl a 0.21% bonus for a year) on a min £1. RCI Bank offers 1.1% with unlimited withdrawals, but as it's French-protected (up to €100,000), in the unlikely event it went bust, you're reliant on the French govt to bail you out. Not necessarily a problem, but worth knowing.

- Top ISAs. Coventry BS pays 1.05% on a min £1. RBS also pays 1.05% (incl 1% bonus fixed for 1yr) on exactly £20k, with unlimited withdrawals. Full best buys in Top Savings and Top Cash ISAs.
6. You have £85,000 protection per UK-regulated financial institution - not £75,000 as some banks state. The rules are plain - you're protected up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, and all accounts above offer this, except RCI. Plus, with NS&I, as it's Government-backed, you'd get 100% safety for your cash.

Yet lots of you keep telling us your bank says it's £75,000. They're wrong, as it changed on 30 Jan. We updated our guides on the day, but banks have till June to update their info.Full details, incl what counts as an institution, in Are Your Savings Safe?
7. Got kids? Don't forget about the junior ISA or Child Trust Fund allowance. You can save £4,128 this year into a junior ISA or an existing Child Trust Fund. Click the links for full help and info.
8. If you've debt you may be better clearing that instead. If the interest on your debt is more than savings will earn, you're likely better off dealing with the debt first. See Should I repay debt or save?


 
 
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New. BT fibre broadband & line '£17/mth'

The key to slashing costs is bagging hot promos - and after cashback this is a real blockbuster...


Fibre broadband's best for homes with multiple users, streamers or gamers, yet while you normally pay a premium, this deal's less than half the price of many slower, non-promo broadband & line costs. With BT's standard costs at £41/mth for normal speed and £47/mth for fibre, savings could be £350+ over the year's contract.

  • bbandNew. BT fibre broadband & line '£17/mth'. Via this BT fibre link* anyone who doesn't currently have BT broadband can get up-to-52Mb fibre (3x standard speed) + line rent for a year, till Wed 19 April. It gives unlimited downloads and is available to 83% of the UK - you're told when applying if you can get it. Here's how it works:

    1. Unlimited fibre broadband and line rent £28.99/mth for 12mths. After, it jumps to £47.49/mth. Weekend calls to UK landlines are included, see BT call costs for others.

    2. You pay £59.99 set-up costs. Includes activation and p&p for the 'free' router.

    3. CLAIM a £150 prepaid Mastercard & £50 cashback AFTER installation. This is the heat that makes this a serious sizzler. Annoyingly, BT won't remind you to claim, so remember to use this Mastercard link and cashback link. You've up to 3mths after activation to claim - they then take up to 45 days to arrive.

    - Is the price fixed during the contract? Technically no, though BT told us it has no plans to increase it. If it does, you should be able to ditch your contract penalty-free.

    - Cost analysis: You pay £407.87 over 1yr before calls. But claim the cashback & use the Mastercard (which is like cash) & it's £207.87, equiv to £17.32/mth. Regular cashback site users may see bigger cashback elsewhere, but often on more expensive deals.

  • Already with BT? Top fibre alternatives incl EE's £486 over 18mths + get £100 vch - plus, it's easy to haggle with BT.

  • Don't need fibre? See full options incl BT standard speed for £298 over 12 months + £100 Mastercard and £50 cashback.

 

Married or in a civil partnership? Don't miss out on a FREE £662. A whopping 2.4m eligible couples still aren't claiming the marriage tax allowance. It's worth £230 this year and £432 for past years (if you got it last year you'll automatically get it again). Marriage tax allowance check


£10 Dysons, £35 Samsung TVs, £10 microwaves - can you find them at your local tip? Fully working, and no, you don't have to sift through the rubbish. Hunt for bargains at your tip


New. RECORD 5yr mortgage fix just 1.29%. Urgently check if you can benefit from the escalating mortgage price war.


Shift debt to 28mths 0% NO FEE - price war intensifies. We told you last week accepted new cardholders can transfer credit/store card debt to Sainsbury's Bank's (eligibility calc / apply*) no-fee 0% balance transfer credit card, for a fixed 28mths. Yesterday TSB (eligibility calc / apply*) joined the party, with an up-to-28mth 0% no-fee card. (Oddly, you're charged a 1.5% fee for Sains, 0.5% for TSB, both refunded within 60 days.) Need longer? MBNA (eligibility calc incl pre-approval / apply*) is up to 43mths 0% for a 2.99% fee. Always pay at least the monthly min and clear before the 0% ends or Sains & TSB are 18.9% rep APR, MBNA's 20.9% rep APR. Full info: Top Balance Transfers (APR Examples).


Easter egg taste-test - the winner cost 80p. We tried eight different eggs (it's a hard life) and our yummiest was one of the cheapest. MSE Easter egg taste-test


Last chance. Eat for 'FREE' at Ikea. After 4.30pm every day till Fri. Full info in our 'Free' Ikea food blog.

 

BLAGGED FOR MSE

- Designer sunnies 25% off code Ends Mon

- 20-plant bundle £10 all-in (norm £40) Ends Mon

- Morphy Richards extra 20% off sale code End Tue 18 Apr

DID YOU MISS?

- McDonald's hack - how to get £2 Big Mac & fries

- Bank with Barclays? Easy free £55

- Overpaying £1,000s in council tax? Check now

- Income Tax Calc 2017/18 - find your NEW take-home pay

- FREE 100GB of online storage for photos, videos etc

 
 

Make £100s spring-cleaning - 5 tricks to flog your junk

The Easter weekend is the perfect time to declutter and make quick cash. Here's how to max it...


From old clothes to furniture to DVDs to books, you could be sitting on a small fortune in unused possessions. Go through your home and ask: "Have I used this since last Easter?" If no, consider flogging it. You can even get CASH for selling rubbish such as old loo-roll tubes.

  • Thrify waysMax eBay with top sellers' tricks. The ubiquitous site has been a favourite for years, but get the best out of it with our 42 eBay Selling Secrets guide, incl the best keywords and how to top search results.

  • Sell for FREE on Facebook. Local Facebook selling groups are hard on eBay's heels and since 'Marketplace' launched last year on the Facebook app, it's even easier. Plus there are NO fees. Our 28 Facebook Selling Tips guide includes what to sell on Facebook vs eBay and safety tips. Zoe told us: "I've made £200-£300 selling on Facebook, it works well - no fees, no trips to the post office."

  • Trade in old games, CDs, DVDs & books. While eBay gets max cash, for speed and ease try specialist trade-in sites. Forumite Dinah93 was chuffed: "We had a massive book clear-out, made nearly £280." Sell old games, CDs, DVDs & books

  • Sell clothes by the kilo. If you've clothes in good condition you'll get a better price flogging 'em on eBay, yet if they've some wear, companies pay decent sums to take 'em away. Forumite PoppyOscar said: "We got £64 - and they took most of the clothes."

  • Flog RUBBISH for cash. Surprisingly, you can earn cash for your old loo-roll tubes, jam jars, wine corks, coat hangers & more. Eg, £1.35 per jam jar, 35p per loo roll, £8 per empty perfume bottle. Sell your rubbish

 

Get PAID to share job ads. You just need a smartphone and a liking for window-shopping - some have earned £90+ in Amazon vouchers. Share shop adverts


Pizza trick: pay £2.25 for FIVE Dr Oetker Ristorante frozen pizzas. Save serious dough by having a pizza the action.


Warning. You CAN'T take the kids on term-time holidays without risking a fine - know your rights. The Supreme Court made ruled against a dad last week - our Term-time hols guide has your key rights.


Designer sunnies 25% off code, eg, Ray-Bans £60 all-in. MSE Blagged. Ltd stock. Sunglasses Shop


20-plant bundle £10 all-in (norm £40). MSE Blagged. Hanging baskets mixed bundle incl fuchsia, petunia, geranium. Ends Mon. Thompson & Morgan

 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS
 

Get £100 vch and FREE airport lounge passes in time for summer

This Amex charge card not only gives spending rewards but also a little-known way to start your holiday in style


We often shout about the Amex Rewards Gold card for giving a £100 voucher or 20,000 frequent flyer points as an intro bonus, but what many don't realise is it also gives two free airport lounge passes - and you don't even need to use the Amex to get 'em. Great for anyone who wants to relax into their holiday without paying for lounge access.

  • Free £100 gift card/20,000 frequent flyer points AND two free lounge passes. Accepted new Amex Rewards Gold (eligibility calc / apply*) holders get...

    - Two free airport lounge passes. You get a membership card to the 'Lounge Club' scheme up to 28 working days after you activate the Amex. It comes with two free visits to affiliated lounges (£15/person after), usable in most major UK airports. See full Amex airport lounge pass info.

    - £100 voucher or 20,000 frequent flyer points on a £2k+ spend. You get 1 Membership Reward point per £1 spent. Yet spend £2,000+ in the first three months and you get a further 20,000pts, which can be converted into a £100 Amazon/Boots/M&S etc gift card (exact stores can change) or 20,000 BA/Virgin etc points. Just use it for ALL normal spending - it's not an excuse to spend more. Amex promises the points within a month of hitting the trigger but they often come within a few days.

    - Warning - there's a £140 annual fee from year two. Diarise to cancel if you don't want it then. Also, it's a charge card so you must repay IN FULL every month, preferably by direct debit, or there's a £12 charge & credit file black-mark. As you'll be credit-scored, use our eligibility calculator to check your chances first. Full info in Cashback Cards.

  • New. More cheap airport lounge tricks. Lounges aren't MoneySaving, though if you're going to do it, do it cheaply. Our new Free or Cheap Airport Lounges guide is teeming with tricks including blagged £20 entry passes (norm up to £36) at selected airports.

 

Have you used an ombudsman? Help us help them improve. Whether it was a financial, retail, furniture, energy or other ombudsman, if you've used one to settle a dispute, take our 2-min survey to tell us how good/bad it was. We're researching how well they work for a report we'll present to Parliament.


Morphy Richards extra 20% off sale code, eg, £30 steam iron £14. MSE Blagged. Free deliv. Morphy Richards


SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Followed your guide to reclaiming PPI on loans over 20 years old, even though I had no paperwork. Just received £5,078 - what a result. Massive thanks to Martin and the MSE team."


2for1 at Alton Towers, Legoland, Thorpe Park, Sea Life etc. Get voucher now and use any time until June 2018 for 2for1 at 30 attractions.


2,000 FREE cycling festival tickets. Norm £12. For London Fri 12 to Sun 14 May. Spin Cycling Festival

 
 

We've updated our privacy & cookies policies. To make them clearer for our users, we've made a few tweaks. See Privacy Policy & Cookies Policy.

THE GREAT HUNT

Have you had a credit card claim rejected because you paid via a third-party firm such as Sage Pay or WorldPay? Under Section 75 law, your credit card provider is jointly liable with the retailer for a purchase over £100 if something goes wrong. But we're concerned you may not get this protection if a retailer uses a third-party payment firm, as we've seen some claims rejected. The authorities refuse to give us a definitive answer, so we need your help. Share yours/read others': Have you had a Section 75 claim rejected? Past topics: View all
 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

Should parents be allowed to take kids out of school for a holiday? The Supreme Court has finally ruled that parents can't take their children on term-time holidays without risking being fined. But what do you think? Should they be allowed?

Click here to tell us what you think of term-time holidays

Bank branches still have a pull... for some. In last week's poll we asked when you last used your bank branch. The older you are, the more likely you are to have recently visited one, with 73% of those aged 65+ having been in the last month compared with just 39% of those aged 25-34. See our full bank branch poll results.

 

MONEYSAVING NEWS

- Top story: Legal challenge to PPI deadline launched

- Amex mulls payments shake-up to tackle contactless card security flaw

- Vodafone ordered to reduce customer's £10,500 data bill

- 270,000 Wonga customers hit by possible data breach

- Broadband customers pay £113 annual 'loyalty penalty' for sticking with provider

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should I pay for the iPad my dog broke even though he later got injured? My neighbours looked after my dog while I was away for a few days. During that time, he knocked their iPad off a chair, breaking the screen. But they also left a fork lying about that my dog trod on which meant I had to take him to the vet. So after all that should I offer to pay for a repair? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I pay for the iPad my dog broke? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES
- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Making a move on debt
- Competitions thread of the week: Win a family break at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
- Old-style board thread of the week: Freezing sandwiches
- Discussion of the week: Kitchen bins - expensive
 
 

MSE TEAM BLOG

- Hunt for bargains at the rubbish tip - £25 flat-screen TVs, £10 microwaves and more

 
 

TEAM APPEARANCES (SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 12 Apr - Share Radio, 12.20pm
Wed 12 Apr - BBC Radio Cumbria, 'Money Talks', from 6pm
Thu 13 Apr - BBC Radio Tees, 10.35am
Fri 14 Apr
- BBC South West stations, breakfast
Tue 18 Apr - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: I have a gambling problem and it would be a huge help if I had a debit card which only allowed a £50 maximum daily ATM withdrawal. Do any banks have accounts which allow you to set a low daily limit? Anon

Rosie BannisterMSE Rosie's A: The good news is a few do. We asked several of the biggies, and Barclays, Co-op, M&S Bank, NatWest/RBS and TSB said they offered this facility on all their standard accounts.

Barclays also allows you to switch off the ability to use a debit card online or over the phone. See Best Bank Accounts for our top picks including some of those above.

HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide and Santander told us they don't allow you to limit withdrawals.

For anyone with a gambling problem, organisations such as GamCare or the National Problem Gambling Clinic can help. If you're struggling with debt, see our Debt Help guide.

 

FANCY THAT EASTER EGG? IT COULD COST YOU 90 MINS AT THE GYM

That's it for this week, but before we go, if you fancy the 80p egg which won our Easter egg taste-test above, it may not burn a hole in your wallet. But a fun new tool allows you to work out how long it'd take to burn off the calories on a range of Easter eggs. It's no shock the choc may leave its mark on your waistline - though the work required to be choc-neutral may be eye-watering. See 'How long to burn off your Easter egg?' on Facebook.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

 
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