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This week: Over 50 ways to save, incl... Free £10 M&S/John Lewis, 100Mb Virgin, £100 switch ends, ‘free’ Nando’s, Ikea 40% off

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."

13 June 2018
Hi - here are your latest deals, freebies, tricks and messages to help you save.


The battle of the overseas spending cards - get PAID to bag near-perfect rates

It's that exciting time of year when thoughts turn to sun, sea, sangria and... spending. If you want it cheap and easy (spending, that is) we've said for years the best way is to use specialist plastic to protect your wallet from hideous charges. But cards can take a few weeks to arrive, so now's the perfect time to sort your holiday wallet.

Top specialist overseas credit & debit cards

We're big fans of these cards as they don't charge the typical 3% exchange fee most levy. So £100 in euros costs just that, not £103. Plus none charge ATM fees (local ATMs may do) though you may pay a little interest on cash. There are four cards competing for top spot. Some key points first:

- You need to pass a credit check with all bar Starling to get 'em.
- Mastercard often beats Visa on exchange rates so we make it clear which card is which.
- With a credit card you've additional 'Section 75' protection, as the card firm's jointly liable if something goes wrong with any purchases worth £100-£30,000.

  • Great long-term track record + get PAID £20. The Halifax Clarity (eligibility calculator / apply*) Mastercard credit card has been one of our top picks for spending abroad for years. And if you apply by 31 Aug, you get £20 cashback within 90 days if you make a transaction in a foreign currency by 30 Sep. It charges 18.9% rep APR, so pay IN FULL to avoid spending interest. 

    Any cons? You pay 18.9% interest on cash every day till paid off, so it's best to pay it back immediately to minimise costs (about 5p per £100 per day). 

  • No credit check, no cash charges + get PAID 0.5% interest. The Mastercard debit card from app-only Starling Bank (apply*) is easier to get as there's no full credit check if you don't want an overdraft. It's a current account but there's no need to switch to it and no min pay-in or direct debit requirements, so it's more like opening a prepaid card.  

    As it's a debit card you're not charged interest, so you've fee-free withdrawals. In fact, you'll be paid interest on credit balances - at 0.5% AER variable on up to £2k or 0.25% on £2k-£85k. Any money in there is protected up to £85,000 per person by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

    Any cons? There's no Section 75 protection and some may not like the fact it's app-only. Also, we've seen other newbies cut perks after launching similar deals, so there's always a risk it could happen here. If it does, you can just leave.

  • No cash charges and there's protection on many purchases. The Barclaycard Platinum travel (apply) Visa credit card has no exchange fees on purchases or withdrawals, and unusually doesn't charge interest on overseas cash withdrawals paid in full each month. Plus because it's a credit card, unlike Starling above you get Section 75 protection on purchases. Pay IN FULL to avoid the 19.9% rep APR on spending and 27.9% on cash.

    Any cons? As a Visa it tends to give slightly worse rates than Mastercard. Also you won't qualify if you've had a Barclaycard in the last 6mths and there's no free money like the others. Meanwhile, it's only committed to being fee-free abroad till Aug 2022.

  • Good at home and abroad as you're PAID 0.5% cashback on ALL spending. If you just want one card for the UK and abroad, the Tandem (apply*) Mastercard credit card is attractive as you get 0.5% cashback wherever you spend (not on withdrawals). It's 18.9% rep APR, so pay IN FULL to avoid spending interest. 

    Any cons? You also pay 18.9%-24.9% rep APR interest on cash till paid off, so even if abroad it's best to pay it back immediately to minimise costs (from about 5p per £100 each day). Plus, its app has some poor reviews, and it's new so doesn't have a track record of maintaining good rates.  

See Top Credit and Debit Cards for Spending Abroad for lots more help.  

What about specialist prepaid cards? 

One of the big selling points of prepaid cards over other types of plastic has always been that there's no credit check so they're easier to get, but that's the same for Starling's debit card (above). So the big difference with prepaid cards is you can lock in the rate on the day you load up the card, protecting yourself if rates get worse (though you won't benefit if rates get better). Whereas on the cards above it's always when you spend. Here's our top pick:

  • Perfect interbank rate (mostly) but limited cheap cash withdrawals. This Revolut* card normally costs £5 delivery, but go via our link above and it's free.

    On spending, you can choose to load and convert immediately to 25 currencies including euros and dollars -  so you get the perfect interbank rate on that day in those currencies.

    Alternatively, you can also load it in pounds and spend abroad in ANY currency to get the rate on the day you spend. Done that way, it'll be the perfect rate on most currencies.

    Any cons? You can only withdraw £200/mth before incurring a 2% charge. And if you load with pounds, when you come to spend, there's a 1.5% fee on Thai baht and Russian roubles, and a 0.5%-1% fee on other currencies if you spend at weekends (UK time).

Full details and more options in Cheap Prepaid Cards.

Key currency queries answered
These are two of the most common questions we get...

- When they ask 'Do you want to pay in pounds or euros?', what should I do? Always pay in local currency. If in pounds, the overseas store, restaurant, bank etc does the conversion, and rates can be awful. It's the same for cash. For an explanation, see Martin's Pay in euros? blog. 

- I need cash before I go. What's the best way? Simply use our TravelMoneyMax comparison tool which compares 30+ bureaux to find the best rate. And NEVER buy from the airport, where rates are hideous.  


DON'T believe the fake ads on Facebook
Lots of scam ads that litter social media lie that we or Martin promote Bitcoin, binary trading etc. See Fake ads warning.



Ending. NatWest free £100 + 2% cashback (great as a bills account)

NatWest's switch bonus works on most of its accounts, and with bills cashback some can get £200+/yr

If you're fed up with your bank, this deal from NatWest is a cracker to switch to when combined with its Reward account. It's best for people who have a separate account for bills, because, for a small fee, it pays 2% cashback on council tax, energy and other household bills, on top of the £100 switch bonus. This is a rare deal from NatWest: it's only run once before, and we've no idea if it'll ever return, so if it's right for you, go quick. Here's the full info...

  • Ends Tue 19 Jun. Free £100 AND ongoing 2% cashback: good for bill-payersNatWest pays a £100 bonus to switchers (incl existing NatWest customers who haven't got the bonus since last Oct) to most of its current accounts. The standout is NatWest Reward* which, for a £2/mth fee, gives 2% cashback on council tax, energy, broadband bills etc paid by direct debit. Alternatively, you can just get the £100 bonus on the NatWest Select* account which has no fee - great for regular switchers.

    - How do I get it? To get the £100 you must apply to switch by Tue 19 Jun, pay in £1,500+ and log in to online or mobile banking by Fri 13 Jul. To get the Reward cashback you then need to pay in £1,500/mth (equiv to a £21,500 annual salary).

    - How much cashback can I get? We estimate that after the monthly fee, those with higher bills (eg, £1,700/yr energy) get £135/yr, average household bills £66/yr, or lower bills £30/yr. For those on low bills you might be better switching to  Barclays Blue Rewards.

    - RBS also pays £100 to switchers. NatWest's sister bank RBS has the same deal on its RBS Reward* and Select* accounts. It has the same qualifying criteria as above, but you have until Fri 6 Jul to apply and Fri 24 Aug to meet the conditions. RBS is bigger in Scotland; NatWest is bigger in the rest of the UK, although you can use either's branches wherever you live.

  • Free up-to-£200 switch bonus, freebies with top service and more. Don't want to switch to NatWest or RBS? You can get up to £200 if you switch to HSBC, freebies worth up to £170 with top service-rated First Direct, or up to £185 in M&S vchs from, er, M&S. See Best Bank Accounts for full info.

New. Hurrah - finally a 1yr fixed savings account paying OVER 2%. We haven't seen a rate this high for over a year, so this 2.05% 1yr fix from app-only Atom Bank (with FULL £85,000 UK savings protection) is a corker, though of course you have to lock your money away without access for the year. It smashes the competition and the best 1.31% easy-access rate. But hurry - these deals often go quick. Top 2.05% fix

FREE £10 at M&S / John Lewis / Toby Carvery etc. MSE Blagged. When you sign up to a new loyalty scheme, but you need a Mastercard. Also gives up to 12% back at thousands of shops and pubs. Free £10 M&S/John Lewis

Ikea 'up to 40% off' summer sale, eg, £10 single bed frame (was £25). See our analysis of deals.

5 Odeon tickets for £25. Norm up to £17 each. Can be used on multiple visits, but excl Jurassic World and a few others. Cheap cinema 

Warning. Npower hikes energy prices 5.5% - 1m affected. Prices go up on Sun - it joins British Gas, E.on, EDF, Ovo and Scottish Power, which have all hiked recently. Yet you can save £100s/yr ditching pricey standard tariffs. Use our Cheap Energy Club for a full comparison, or just compare big name firms, or good customer service suppliers

'Free' Nando's chicken, when you buy £1.50 sauce. Fiddly, but Nando's discounts are rare. Cheapy Nando's


6 Scam-busters: Don't think you're too smart to be had  

Even if you think you're savvy, scammers are getting professional & often target when you're most vulnerable 

It's Scams Awareness Month and we're supporting Citizens Advice to raise awareness of how increasingly sophisticated scumbags try to target YOUR cash. And it's timely - it was revealed last week that 1,300 TSB customers had money stolen by fraudsters after its IT meltdown. Meanwhile, our Martin is involved in a spat with Facebook over its publication of scam ads. Our Scam-Spotting guide highlights the warning signs, here are six key tips...

  1. Never give personal details if they call, text or email. The classic scam is fraudsters sending messages or emails asking for your details to break into your accounts, claiming to be from a bank, insurer, HMRC, even the police. An increasingly common trick is where they call, ask you to call your bank back, but play a dialling tone, tricking you into thinking they've hung up. Yet you're still talking to them. These have all sorts of names such as 'phishing', 'smishing' and 'vishing'. See phishing etc help.

  2. Beware fake Martin Lewis ads. MSE founder Martin Lewis's face has been plastered all over the internet, in ads wrongly claiming he's endorsing binary trading, PPI companies and more. NOT ONE of these scam ads is genuine - don't be fooled. There's more in our Fake Martin Ads guide - plus, read why Martin's suing Facebook over scam ads.

  3. Check if hackers have stolen your data. Find out if passwords, email addresses, your home address, phone numbers or DOB have been compromised without you knowing. See hack check, incl what to do if hit.

  4. Don't fall for fake deals on WhatsApp & Facebook. We hear of many bogus offers popping up in people's feeds and messages, eg, Alton Towers and Ryanair giving away free tickets on WhatsApp. They're a con: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Here's how to spot Facebook/WhatsApp fakery.                                       

  5. When is not Not all links are genuine - fraudsters exploit this a lot. But there are ways to check where a link takes you BEFORE you click. Always look where you click. (We bet you checked this BBC one.)

  6. Ensure you've FREE antivirus software. It's simple and effective. See our Free Antivirus Software guide.


£5 Pandora charms, £1 Miss Selfridge necklace & more. Summer sales are on, incl up to 60% off H&M,  Victoria's Secret, and up to 50% off Mulberry, Asos, Gap and Ted Baker. Plus, rumoured up to 50% off Selfridges. Summer sales

Father's Day deals incl 'free' steak, 20% off Moonpig, £3 shaving kit. It's this Sunday. Father's Day deals

Find the NEW best-value Tesco Clubcard Rewards. Now Tesco has completed its overhaul we've crunched the numbers to identify the best deals. Incl train tickets, Evans Cycles and Pizza Express. Top 10 Clubcard Rewards 

Net £16 off an England football shirt - a great save. Not MoneySaving, but if you're after one for the World Cup we bring you the cheapest. Get kitted out

70 garden-ready plants £8 all-in (norm £19). MSE Blagged. 6-10cm plants. Lucky dip from, eg, geraniums, busy lizzies. Jersey Plants

MSE victory as regulator Ofgem plans compensation for consumers hit by late final bills. See our energy campaign success.


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Longest 0%: MBNA* up to 36mths 0%, 1.99% fee (19.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: Santander* 27mths 0%, no fee (18.9% rep APR) 

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  3. Gocompare*
  4. Compare The Market*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Zopa* 3.4% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.7% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-3 yrs) 

Standard b'band & line rent: Plusnet equiv £10.24/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Plusnet equiv £18.33/mth

£150 to switch + £50 if you stay a year: HSBC
5% interest fixed for a year:
Nationwide FlexDirect


New. MEGA-fast 100Mb broadband + TV + line rental '£25/mth'
Many pay £43/mth for SLOW broadband & line. For just over half that, get lightning fibre speed & more

It's a fact - MILLIONS overpay for broadband, line and TV, in effect letting providers help themselves to their cash. If that's you, the trick to consistent cheap prices is to switch to short-lived promotions such as this 100Mb Virgin belter. Fibre is the fastest type of broadband, but this is fast for fibre. In fact, it's 10x faster than standard speeds and you get a swanky TV box. So while this speed is a luxury, it's cheaper than most fibre deals. Here are the main details:

  • New. Virgin Media avg 108Mb fibre broadband + line rental + TV box, equiv £24.84/mth. Until Thu 21 Jun anyone who's not been a Virgin Media customer in the last year can get this deal, incl weekend landline calls, on a 1yr contract. It's only available to 50% of the UK so our special Virgin Media link lets you see if you're eligible and, if so, takes you to Virgin to apply. Here's what you get:

    - It's £29/mth for 1yr. Bizarrely, there's a £20 activation fee added to your first bill that's immediately refunded, so you never pay it. After 12mths, the price jumps to £48/mth - but you're free to leave then.
    - You get an immediate £50 bill credit. So unless you use chargeable services (eg, calls) you pay nothing in the 1st mth, £8 in the 2nd, then £29/mth. That's why it's equiv to £24.84/mth over the year.
    - You get a 'V6 TV box'. It's essentially Freeview with pause and rewind, plus it can record up to 6 channels at once.
    - Virgin scores well on customer service. In our most recent poll, 41% rated it 'great' - ahead of BT, Sky and TalkTalk.

  • Can't get Virgin or don't need high speed? Use our Broadband Unbundled tool to check top deals available in your area, incl '£10.24/mth' for standard speed, or '£18.33/mth' for faster fibre. If you just send emails or browse, standard is fine. Fibre is best for large households online at once, gamers and heavy downloaders.

Free tix to Martin's 'How to Be Successful' London lecture for uni students. This Thu at noon, at the London School of Economics, Martin's doing a free talk on money, work, enterprise etc (being filmed for ITV). Places are limited. If you've a uni student ID, book via with 'Shaw Library' as the subject. It'll be similar to but more wide-ranging than his 4 things to be successful lecture.

"I called the Student Loans Company to see if I'd started paying back my student loan early - I had, and reclaimed nearly £1,100. Lovely surprise, thanks."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

FREE open water swimming safety sessions. With qualified lifeguards this summer. Just keep swimming



Teachers - it's My Money Week. Education charity Young Money (part of Young Enterprise) is running My Money Week until Sunday, offering resources (incl lesson plans and suggested activities) to teachers delivering cash classes for the first time or to those after new ideas. See My Money Week plus MSE's Financial Education info.



Should the railways be renationalised? We used to let the train take the strain, though in the last few weeks rail chaos has meant it's been the cause of it. Could putting the rails back into public hands be the solution? Should the railways be renationalised? 

Monzo and Starling top our banking-app poll. Last week we asked how you rate your banks' apps, and over 5,000 responded. Monzo was top of the tree, with 75% of its customers saying its app is 'great to use', while 70% of Starling customers felt the same. Among the old-school banks, NatWest's and Barclays' apps were the highest rated. See full banking app poll results.



Should I make my grown-up daughter pay to live at home? Our 30-year-old recently moved back in with us, after her relationship ended. She'd been living with her boyfriend and splitting the cost of rent. I've said that it's only right she contributes towards extra expenses we incur, eg, utilities and food. What do you think... and how much? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should my grown-up daughter pay to live at home? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Cash gift - where should it go?
- Competitions thread of the week: Win a MacBook Air
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Batch-cooking recipes for soon-to-be parents
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Pay daughter for doing ironing?
- Discussion of the week: Will I be OK for mortgage?


Currys - 10% off eBay outlet code
Gift cards - 20% off incl Gap, New Look, Pizza Express
Selfridges - up to 50% off sale?
Iceland - £5 frozen pizza meal deal incl Ristorante
Homebuilding & Renovating show - 2,000 free tix nationwide

Toby Carvery - 'free' main on Father's Day
Beefeater - 'free' steak for dads on Father's Day
Harvester - 'free' main on Father's Day
Handmade Burger Co - 'free' Burger On Father's Day
Sizzling Pubs - 'free' main for dads on Father's Day

Sterling Shave Club - razor, shave cream & moisturiser £3
Soap & Glory - £30 'Spa of Wonder' (worth £78)
Tangle Teezer - free hairbrush swap at London Waterloo (Wed)
Gruum - beard and skincare kit £15 (norm £40ish)
Boots - free eye test (norm £25)

Quick Forum Tips

£1.48 L'Oreal for men shower gel. Clean up
River Island sale incl £7 shoes. Got sole
Free Playmobil toy figure at Intu. Figure it out



Thu 14 Jun - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Thu 14 Jun - Talk at the London School of Economics, noon
Fri 15 Jun - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am
Mon 18 Jun - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am. See previous
Mon 18 Jun - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again 
Tue 19 & Wed 20 Jun - The Martin Lewis Money Show - roadshow at the Royal Cheshire Show from 11am


Wed 13 Jun - BBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 15 Jun 
- BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am, Travel Money
Mon 18 Jun - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Tue 19 Jun - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: I've found out I have PPI, but I've been told that because I'm a discharged bankrupt, any money will go to the official receiver rather than me. Is this correct? Andrew, via email.  

MSE Sarah G's A: Unfortunately, yes - assuming you were mis-sold the PPI before you went bankrupt. 

After you're discharged from bankruptcy, which usually happens automatically after 12 months, you normally get to keep new assets or money that comes in.

However, a PPI payment relating to a policy you were mis-sold before going bankrupt would still count as part of your bankruptcy estate (ie, what you owned). It'll therefore be paid directly to the person managing your estate, known as your 'trustee'.

If you were mis-sold the PPI after you went bankrupt, it's a different story - in that case you're able to keep the money. Anyone who thinks they've been mis-sold PPI can visit our Reclaim PPI for free guide for full help. 

Please suggest a question of the week (we can't reply to individual emails).



That's all for this week, but before we go... last week it was World Environment Day, so we thought we'd ask for your top tips on going green AND saving cash. Examples MoneySavers have sent in include carefully opening envelopes so they can be re-used, hoarding plastic bags and simply never forgetting that packed lunch. Share your eco-friendly MoneySaving tips over on our environmental savings Twitter post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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