New! HALF PRICE loans for under £5,000 (via card)
Borrow at 6.9% APR thrashing the best-buy standard loans, where cheapest is 18%+
While rates for £5,000+ loans have plummeted, borrow less and even the cheapest are prohibitively expensive (eg, lowest sub-£2,000 loan is 18.6% APR). Yet use a new credit card correctly and you can do it for less than half the rate. However, ONLY get new debt if you truly need it, keep it small, repay as quickly as possible and have done a budget to ensure it's affordable. All cards require credit checks, never miss monthly repayments.
- Borrow lump sum at 6.9% using a credit card. Provided you can buy the item on plastic (eg, car, kitchen) the new long-term low rate card from Sainsbury's* is 6.9% representative APR (you need an active Nectar card) on both spending and other card debts shifted to it. Next best is Barclaycard* Simplicity at 7.9% rep APR.
How to turn it into a loan. While it's cheaper, the big card dangers are you choose your repayments (provided it's above the minimum) and can spend more later. Loans have fixed repayments to clear the debt in a set time. To replicate this discipline, once you've done your 'loan' spending, lock the card away (jar of water in freezer?) and repay a fixed monthly amount by direct debit to clear within a set time (use the loan calculator to work it out).
Is the rate fixed? As the cards are 'representative' rates, only 51% of accepted applicants must get the rate offered, others may pay more. While advertised as long term low rates, technically they're variable. Yet card rules say you pay the minimum, they can't up it in the 1st year, and after that, you've a right to reject APR rises, if you don't borrow any more (which if you're following the above, you won't). See the Rate Jacking guide for more.
- Borrowing for under 15 months? Do it free. If you're borrowing an amount you will repay quicker, Tesco* and M&S* both give 15 months 0% (though repay by then or it's 16.9% and 15.9% rep APR respectively).
- Trying to consolidate credit card debts? Far better to use the Cheapest Balance Transfers.
For full details of this card and other options see the Updated guide: Cards for Spending (and Official APR Examples) Related: Cheap Loans, Best Balance Transfers, Credit Card Loans
Free antivirus | Protect your PC, Mac and now MOBILES too
Shop, bank or pay bills online? Get legal, professional programs to protect you for free
Fail to safeguard your computer and you run the risk of malware and viruses, as well as identity theft and fraud, for which, if you're proved negligent, banks may MAKE YOU PAY. Our updated Free Antivirus and new Free mobile anti-virus guides include top baddy-fighting software. Here's a taster...
- Free antivirus software for PCs and Macs. If you're a standard home user why pay for antivirus when you can get it free from Microsoft, Avast, AVG and iAntiVirus? All offer professional, legal software which crucially provides regular downloads for their "virus bank", the bit which tells the software about new bugs. Full reviews and links, plus malware, spyware and other bug prevention in the Free Antivirus guide.
- New. Free antivirus for mobiles. While attacks on mobiles aren't as common yet, they do exist, so if you shop, bank or pay bills online, beware. They're especially a problem for Android smartphones. Our new Free Antivirus For Mobiles guide includes tips from a top mobile security expert plus a list of mostly-free downloadable antivirus apps.
- Why is the software free? Companies usually offer basic versions for nothing, hoping you'll upgrade for more advanced features. For most, there's no need to do that. Plus, the free software on millions of computers worldwide is a way of marketing and brand-boosting (after all, if you saw them offer another product, you'd trust the brand).
For full info, see the Updated Guide: Free Antivirus Software and New Guide: Free Antivirus For Mobiles
|Tesco Clubcard Rewards BOOSTED, points SLASHED
Now you can trade-in vouchers at 4x value | Yet the amount earned per £1 will halve
Tesco's widely-reported 'Big Price Drop' price cut for 3,000 everyday items comes at a cost. Next month it'll end its double points promo that's been live since Aug '09 so you'll only earn 1 Clubcard point per £1 spent in-store, not the current two (see Tesco Clubcard cuts). Yet for point chasers who already have a stash, at least some rewards are improving...
- Now get 4x your voucher value not 3x. If you get vouchers, redeeming them in-store is often a waste, as using Tesco's Rewards Brochure lets you trade them in at a higher value. This was 4x, last Dec was cut to 3x, but now for some "popular" items it's back at 4x. So £5 becomes worth £20 (at list prices anyway).
|Improved Tesco vouchers trade-ins include...
||Thorpe Park entry
||£2.50 = 50 Airmiles
||£2.50 = 60 Airmiles
||£2.50 = 500 miles
||£2.50 = 600 miles
- Are these the best use of points? If you'll spend at those outlets it's an improvement, though if there are free 2for1 vouchers available anyway (see Restaurant Vouchers and Days Out Vouchers), in reality you're only doubling your value compared to the cost to 'MoneySavers'. Instead, consider 3x value on rewards such as train fares or jewellery, see the Top 10 Tesco Rewards.
- Reclaim lost Tesco vouchers. Everyone should check if they've old unused Tesco vouchers they can reclaim. It takes two minutes online (see Reclaim Tesco vouchers). Many people find £100s which, when trebled, is huge.
For a run-down of which rewards are changing, see the Updated Guide: Boost Tesco Points guide. Related: Discount Codes, Loyalty Points Boosting, Supermarket Shopping