Jul
01
2020

MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

01 July 2020

THIS WEEK: Over 50 ways to save, incl... beware trav refund reverses, urgent Brit Gas, Uber Eats £15 off, UK hols help, £5 Amzn code?, 0% for 20mths

Plus... Uber Eats £15 off, make-up bundle £34, UK hols help, £5 Amzn code?, 0% for 20mths
                                                           
 


 

Ends Thu. Broadband price war 
Virgin and Shell slug it out... but YOU win with sub-£20/mth fast-fibre & line. HALF PRICE compared to what many pay for slower

Broadband is all about speed. Not just with your connection, but it's also about pouncing to grab short-lived promos for newbies, and right now we've a quick double-step.

Two providers, Virgin and Shell, are slugging it out with hot new deals that are only on for a few days, and one ends as soon as tomorrow (Thu). Both have reasonable feedback - about a third of custs rate them 'Good', a third 'OK' and a third 'Poor' - so they're neither the best nor the worst. As with almost all big broadband firms, some of their customers will have horror stories too.

EVERYONE should check if they can slash costs, as a huge 9m households are out of contract, often paying a rip-off £50+/mth for the slowest speeds. Our comparison will take you through many more deals (& includes service ratings), but here are the cheapest - fastest first:

TOP BROADBAND (& USUALLY LINE) DEALS (1)
Links via our Broadband Unbundled Comparison as deals are postcode dependent, and it shows if you can get them
DEAL
EQUIV COST (2)
HOW GOOD IS IT?
Ends 11.59pm Fri
Virgin Media

108Mb fibre (mega-fast) 


'£19.84/mth'
IMPORTANT:  Unlike other deals below, this is BROADBAND ONLY, no phone line


Cheapest MEGA-fast b'band (avail to 51% of homes). If b'band alone is fine and you want serious speed, apply via THIS Virgin link and it's £24/mth over the 18mth contract. You can then CLAIM a £75 Amazon vch, so if you do that & would've spent it anyway, it's equiv to £19.84/mth.
Ends 11.59pm Mon
Shell Energy

64Mb fibre
(very fast) & line rental

 
'£19.58/mth' 
MSE Blagged

Cheap very fast b'band & line (avail to 95% of homes). Apply via THIS Shell link and you pay £29.99/mth. As you get an AUTOMATIC £125 bill credit within 3mths, it's a total £234.88 outlay over the 1yr contract, equiv to £19.58/mth.
Ends 11.59pm Thu 
Virgin Media

54Mb fibre 
(very fast) & line rental
 
'£18.40/mth'
MSE Blagged
Cheap very fast b'band & line (avail to 51% of homes). Apply via THIS Virgin link and you pay £23.95/mth, but you get an AUTOMATIC immediate £100 bill credit, so you pay nowt for 4mths. It's a £331.10 total outlay over the 18mth contract, equiv to £18.40/mth.
Shell Energy
35Mb fibre (fast) & line rental

'£17.74/mth'
Ends Mon 13 Jul
MSE Blagged
Cheap fast b'band & line (avail to 95% of homes). Apply via THIS Shell link and you pay £23.99/mth, and get an AUTOMATIC £75 bill credit within 3mths. So it's a total £212.88 outlay over the 1yr contract, equiv to £17.74/mth.
Shell Energy
11Mb (basic) & line rental
'£15.83/mth'
Ends Mon 13 Jul
MSE Blagged 
Cheapest b'band & line (avail to 98% of homes).  Apply via THIS Shell link and you pay £19.99/mth, and get an AUTOMATIC £50 bill credit within 3mths. So it's a total £189.88 outlay over the 1yr contract, equiv to £15.83/mth.
(1) Deals are for new custs of that provider, which usually means you can't have had it in the last year. (2) To compare, we use 'equivalent cost' - adding all fixed costs, deducting promo cash or vchs and averaging it over the contract.


Seven broadband switching need-to-knows

1. Consider if you really have a need for speed. Faster costs more, though actually with the deals above the differentials aren't huge. Standard avg 10/11Mb is usually fine for browsing or light streaming (eg, watching TV) for one. Yet go faster for good streaming, gaming or if multiple people use the b'band at the same time.

2. The advertised speed is more reliable than it used to be. Rules have been tightened up in recent years. Now more than 50% of custs must get the advertised speed at peak times. Plus most firms, incl the two above, now tell you the estimated max you're likely to get in your home before applying. Virgin will allow you to cancel penalty-free if your speed doesn't live up to this for three consecutive days, and then isn't resolved in 30 days. See how to check your current speed and eight broadband speed tips.

3. Happy with your current set-up? Haggle. If you're out of contract, use the prices above to haggle with your current provider. It's often easy to get a deal. In our last poll, 84% of Sky custs said they succeeded. For Virgin Media it was 76%, BT 74% and TalkTalk 69%. However, it may take longer than usual to get through as providers are taking lots of calls from vulnerable custs during the pandemic - though we're hearing those call volumes are decreasing. See Broadband Haggling help.

4. Some Virgin switchers may need an engineer visit - but you may find out before signing up. You'll be told before you sign up if you're in the 60% of eligible custs who won't need an engineer. If your set-up does need an engineer, they still may not need to come to your home, as they may be able to sort it via an exchange, but you won't be told which in advance, so be aware of the risk.

5. Usually there's no need for engineers for other switchers (apart from some ditching Virgin). Most other firms require you to have a BT Openreach line, which is the underlying tech for most non-cable b'band. Though if you're leaving cable (ie, Virgin) an engineer may need to come round and install a line, which could cause a delay.

6. Switching usually means about 2hrs' downtime. You're told the switch time in advance and it's often quick. In rare cases, the outage is longer. So consider the risk as broadband's crucial now, but hopefully your mobile data can cover the gap if necessary.

7. Be warned, some providers can hike prices a little. Sadly, some telecoms firms do this in line with inflation once a year. If your contract states your price will increase by a certain amount, you're stuck with the rise. If not, most let you leave penalty-free within 30 days of the rise. From the duo above, Virgin says it won't increase prices during your contract, while Shell will let you leave penalty-free if it does. Though do note these in-contract rises tend to be small and as they pretty much all do it, that in itself doesn't mean you've got a poor deal comparatively.

---------------------------------------------
The Martin Lewis Money Show - 8.30pm Thu, ITV
LIVE - top tips, plus questions answered by me and the BOSS OF HMRC


This week, as well as me taking your questions, the big boss of HMRC Jim Harra is on the show, and he has agreed to answer your practical questions about coronavirus financial schemes and general consumer tax issues. Of course, I'll have the latest must-know news you can use too.

If you've a question for me or Jim, tweet @MartinSLewis, importantly using the show's #MartinLewis hashtag. Do tune in or, at worst, set the Betamax.

 
 

DON'T believe the fake 'Martin Lewis' or 'MSE' ads
Lots of scam ads litter social media and even newspaper websites - some of these lie that we or Martin promote Bitcoin, binary trading etc. See Fake ads warning.

 

 
 

Martin's 7 new CORONAVIRUS financial need-to-knows including...

Beware travel refund reverses | Bounce back baddies | MOTs return | Furlough & work | Self-employ checklist | 1/2 flight cancellations

They're calling it 'Super Saturday' (in Eng), with pubs, restaurants and hotels reopening, and 2 metres cut to 1+. Much of the rest of the UK isn't far behind. Yet it's a delicate balancing act, as the Leicester lockdown shows. Unclench too early, and you risk a viral resurgence. Unclench too late, and it damages economic recovery, which also hurts people's wellbeing. We're 'following the science', but scientists don't all agree - so let's hope we're following the right ones.

Now on to this week's need-to-knows, though first remember there's lots more in our constantly updated Coronavirus Help Guides: Employees | Self-employed & ltd co | Finance & bills BenefitsTravel rightsLockdown life

1) Is your travel refund safe? Beware CHARGEBACK clawback. Remember it's a dispute process - you may get chargeback money, but they can reverse it afterwards, and it may leave your account again. See chargeback clawback help.

2) BOUNCE BACK LOANS survey results - delays and disappointment from HSBC, Starling and Tide. Our bounce back loans survey results are in - we've analysed the Tiggers from the Eeyores, and will pass results on to regulators to try to get things improved.

3) From today (Wed), you can work for your employer while FURLOUGHED. lt's flexible, you work when needed. Full info, incl what you earn and my new 'Can you be furloughed at work if nowt to do' video, in part-time furlough help.

4) They cancelled my outbound FLIGHT, but my return's still on - help. This is getting more common and it's not easy - so we've added help in our Coronavirus flight cancellations guide.

5) SELF-EMPLOYED, eligible for the Govt's coronavirus income support grant, but unsure if you can "declare your biz is impacted"? We've detailed help & examples for the first and second grants.

6) MOT due after 31 Jul? Compulsory testing is restarting in Eng, Scot & Wal. Those due earlier get an automatic 6mth extension, eg, if MOT due 17 Jul, it's now 17 Jan (in NI it's 12mths). See MOTs update.

7) AIR BRIDGES definitely on, but which countries are you able to travel to? The UK Govt's said it will shortly announce air bridges to specific countries, likely to be major European holiday destinations, so you can travel there and won't need to quarantine on return. Exact details to be announced any day. For help, see grab travel bargains (incl pros and cons) and can I get travel insurance? from last week's email.

 

33-piece make-up bundle for £34 (£200ish bought separately) - incl 'dupes' for Urban Decay, Tarte, Ciate and more. MSE Blagged. Includes an eye shadow, lipstick, highlighter and more. Similar deal sold out in a few hours last month, see Lottie London deal. This deal, like the similar one last month, proved very popular and all bundles were gone by 4pm on Wed 1 Jul

Uber Eats newbies' £15 off food and drink code. If what you buy is £15 or less, you just pay a small service fee and possibly deliv too. Uber Eats delivery

Ends today (Wed). British Gas cheap switchers' deal - save £310+/yr. Switchers' prices have started to rise, leaving British Gas's Energy Fix Jun 2021v4 as the cheapest deal for those who prefer a big name, but we've been tipped off it's ending at some point today (Wed) to be replaced by a slightly costlier version. It's for dual-fuel custs new to the firm and comes with 100% renewable elec and 1yr's heating insurance. It's currently £317/yr cheaper than the price cap on typical use, incl £25 MSE cashback. There are cheaper deals from lesser-known names - some with good service - but the link goes via our comparison anyway (as you can't get it direct with BG), so you can see those too.

UK breaks return - hotels from £25/night and cottage deals too. If you fancy a UK summer getaway, we've a host of UK bargain break tips. It comes as hotels and self-catering open from Sat in Eng, and hotels in NI from Fri (self-catering already open). Meanwhile, both accommodation types are likely to open in Scot and Wal in the next 2wks.

New. 5GB unlimited mins & texts Sim, just '£7/mth' from BT's Plusnet. MSE Blagged. Newbies to Plusnet* (uses the EE network) pay £9/mth, but as you're automatically sent a £25 prepaid Mastercard - almost as good as cash - factor that in and over the year's contract it's equiv to £6.92/mth. More in Top Sims.

Fake 'Martin Lewis' scam ads firm shut down in court - but victims lost £1.5m. Full info in Good riddance.

Martin's now on Insta... Who knows what he'll take pictures of (there's an empty plate there already), but you can join Martin's Instagram as well as MSE's Insta. Plus there's Martin's Twitter & Facebook or, for pure tips, MSE's Twitter & Facebook.

 
 

Act ASAP? M&S's 20mths now longest 'new borrowing' 0% credit card

If you need to borrow, there's no cheaper way than 0%, as there's NO COST provided you follow our rules

Normally, we love a new best buy. Not this time. Sadly M&S's card isn't new, it's just become top pick because so many other cards have been withdrawn. Three months ago the longest new-spending 0% cards lasted 27mths, now it's 20mths. So for safety, if you need one, get it sooner, as this trend could continue.

When you buy on a 0% card for spending, it's interest-free (you still need to make repayments) so there's no cost at all. That means it is the cheapest possible form of borrowing. Yet don't do it willy-nilly, only do it if you need to borrow and it's an affordable, budgeted-for, planned purchase that you're sure you can repay (if not, don't do it).

TOP NEW-CARDHOLDER 0% SPENDING CREDIT CARDS
CARD
0% LENGTH
HOW GOOD IS IT?
M&S Bank
20mths 0%
Longest 0% and M&S points. As this card isn't an 'up to', all those accepted get the full 20mths 0%. It also pays one point (worth 1p) per £1 spent at M&S or £5 elsewhere. After the 0% ends, it's 19.9% rep APR.
TSB*
Up to 20mths 0% 
Joint-longest 0%, but it's an 'up to'. That means - based on a credit score - some accepted get 15mths or 10mths 0%. After the 0% ends, it's 19.9% rep APR.
Sainsbury's Bank
Must have had Nectar card for 6mths+ 
Up to 20mths 0%
Joint-longest 0%, but it's an up to, though good for Sainsbury's shoppers. Here, some accepted only get 16mths or 12mths 0%. Yet every time you spend £35+ in Sainsbury's in the first 2mths, you get 750 bonus pts (worth £3.75), up to a max 7,500 pts (£37.50). So if you're a regular shopper there it's worth it, though try to pay that off for the best of all worlds. But that's not a good reason in itself to borrow. After the 0% ends, it's 20.9% rep APR.
Barclaycard (1)
18mths 0%
Long 0%, and definite rate. All accepted will get the full 18mths interest-free, so if the eligibility calc shows you've a better chance of this card than others, it's likely worth going for. After the 0% ends, it's 20.9% rep APR.
(1) You can't have applied in the last 6mths.


  • ALWAYS follow the 0% Card Golden Rules. Full info in 0% Credit Cards (APR Examples), but in brief...
    a) Always pay at least the set monthly min and don't bust your credit limit, or you can lose the 0%.
    b) These cards are usually only cheap for spending - avoid cash withdrawals or shifting debt to them.
    c) Plan to clear the card (or balance-transfer before the 0% period ends) or rates jump to the rep APR.


  • There are other types of credit card deals. Be sure of what is right for you.
    - Want to cut the cost of EXISTING credit card debt? Use a 0% balance transfer.
    - Want a card to pay cash into your bank account? Use a 0% money transfer.
    - Always repay IN FULL? Get rewarded when you spend. See Top Credit Card Rewards.
    - Need to borrow larger amounts? See our Cheap Loans guide.
 

Has your travel firm been a refund ANGEL or DEVIL? Please take our 3min survey. We're updating our research into the best & worst firms for refunds. Is yours sorted or are you still waiting? We'll flag up problem areas to Govt/regulators so please take our 3min survey.

Free £5 off £25 Amazon code for some. See if you're eligible for free Amazon credit.

Next 50% off sale. It starts on Thu, though exact start times and deals TBC. See Next updates as we learn more.

24 craft beers for £28 deliv (norm £52ish). MSE Blagged. Not a down-in-one deal (please be Drinkaware), but a crafty saving, incl Fourpure, Bad Co, Moor Beer Company etc. Cheers for beers

30% off incl sale items at menswear brand Savile Row Company, eg, £299 tailored suit £174. MSE Blagged. Not MoneySaving, but if you'd be buying anyway, there are some smart savings. Suit yourself

Payday lender Sunny in administration - full info if you've a loan / mis-selling claim. See Sunny help.

 
 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS

Longest 0%: M&S Bank 28mths 0%, 2.85% fee (min £5) or 28mths 0%, 2.75% fee if you're a NatWest/RBS customer (both 19.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: Santander 18mths 0% (18.9% rep APR) or 20mths 0% if you're a NatWest/RBS customer (19.9% rep APR)

Cheapest fixed rate: Outfox the Market, typical £787/yr
Cheapest Big 6 fix: British Gas, typical £810/yr

Incl £25 MSE cashback if avail. Links go via our Cheap Energy Club

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  1. MoneySupermarket*
  2. Confused.com*
  3. Compare The Market*
  4. Gocompare*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Tesco Bank 3.4% rep APR (1-3yrs)
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: 
Cahoot 2.8% rep APR

Standard b'band & line rent: Shell Energy equiv £15.83/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Shell Energy equiv £17.74/mth
Superfast fibre b'band & line rent: 
Shell Energy equiv £19.58/mth

2% interest fixed for a year: Nationwide FlexDirect
1-3% cashback on bills: Santander 123 Lite

 

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK:
"It hadn't even occurred to me, until I saw it in the MSE weekly email, that I could seek a refund on my unused travel insurance due to my holiday being cancelled this summer. Thanks, I got £175 back."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

How do you rate your bank's app? If you access your current account by app, please rate it (just the app, not the bank overall).

Smart meters get mixed reviews from MoneySavers. Last week, we asked what you think of energy smart meters and more than 8,800 people responded. Almost half (42%) already have a smart meter. Of those, 38% liked not having to send meter readings manually and 21% said their smart meter was good for tracking usage, but 44% said their meter had gone 'dumb' after switching supplier and 20% reported installation or service problems. Of those without smart meters, a huge 76% said they don't want one. See full smart meter poll results.

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should we charge our grown-up children for living with us during lockdown? They came to stay with my partner and I when lockdown was first announced so we could be together. They're both working from our home and both earn more than us, so I think they should pay their way while they're here. Yet my partner doesn't think they should because they're still paying rent on their own homes, and it's caused many an argument. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should we charge our grown-up children for living with us during lockdown? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

 

Make-up bundle - 33-piece set for £34 (£200ish indiv) incl dupes
Uber Eats - Newbies' £15 off code
Amazon - Free £5 off £25 code for some
Next - 50% off sale. Starts Thu
Flavourly - 24 craft beers for £28 delivered (norm £52ish)

Habitat - Up to 50% off selected items. From Thu
Dunelm - Up to 50% off online and in stores
ShopDisney - 30% off selected items
Hot Diamonds - Extra 40% off outlet code
Amex - £5 cashback on £10+ spends at local shops

Sanctuary Spa - £22 skincare set (£28+ of contents)
Beano - Free digital comic each month incl past issues
Travelodge - Rooms for £29 or less for Jul-Dec stays
Tails - 80% off 1mth supply of tailored dog food
Swagbucks - Earn £30 Amazon vch doing online surveys

How to get oil stains out of clothes. Greased lightning
The ration your fashion challenge. No stitch-ups
Win £350 Blackshore Coastal Clothing vch? No shore thing

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 1 JUL ONWARDS)

Thu 2 Jul - This Morning, ITV, 10.20am
Thu 2 Jul - The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8.30pm
Mon 6 Jul - This Morning, ITV, 10.55am
Mon 6 Jul - BBC Radio 5 Live, Ask Martin Lewis, 12.20pm. Listen again

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (MOST SUBJECTS TBC)

Sun 5 Jul - BBC Radio Bristol, Afternoons with Joe Lemer, from 4.15pm, Guy Anker on travel rights
Mon 6 Jul - BBC Radio Manchester, Drive with Phil Trow, from 2.25pm
Tue 7 Jul
 
- BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, from 12.25pm

 

YOUR BEST MONEYSAVING SUCCESSES AS WE HIT THE HALFWAY POINT OF 2020

That's it this week, but before we go... this week marks the midway point of 2020. With money tight for many due to the crisis, we want to know what's your biggest MoneySaving success so far this year. We asked on social media and heard of people saving on stuff you'd expect, such as DIY haircuts, not commuting and not going on holiday. But we also heard from one MoneySaver who plumbed their own washing machine and another who's finished off all the past best-before tins in the cupboard. Let us know your best 2020 savings on our 2020 MoneySaving Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team