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MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

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Jul11

This week: Over 50 ways to save, incl... Ikea hacks, Amazon Prime Day, Martin’s PPI alert, Nando’s trick

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."

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


 

STOP paying to pay when abroad: 9 travel money must-knows to avoid rip-offs

Whether you're planning to eat out with your colón in Costa Rica, phone home with your ringgits in Malaysia or do whatever you like with your dong in Vietnam, the big summer getaway is only a few weeks away.

Many of the best ways to get travel money take time to sort - so do 'em now to save big bucks.

1. Urgent. Apply NOW for a top overseas credit or debit card. The easiest and cheapest way to spend abroad is on the right plastic, but cards can take a couple of weeks to arrive, so early planning is essential.

Normally, spend abroad on plastic and it adds a 'non-sterling exchange fee' of 3%-ish, meaning £100 of euros costs £103, plus it'll charge cash withdrawal fees on top. Specialist cards don't do that.

  • Top pick for reliability, cheap spending, plus get £20 cashback. The Halifax Clarity (eligibility calculator / apply*) credit card gives near-perfect exchange rates on spending worldwide, plus apply now and spend in a foreign currency by 30 Sep 2018 and you'll get £20 cashback. This has been one of our top picks for years, and feedback's strong.

    It's better to spend on the card than withdraw cash, and of course repay IN FULL so there's no 18.9% rep APR interest. If you do withdraw cash, there's interest even if you repay in full (about £1.50 per £100 per month), but even that's usually better than bureaux de change.

  • Cheap spending & cash withdrawals, plus no credit check. Anyone can get the debit card from app-only Starling Bank (apply*), as unlike credit cards there's no credit check unless you want an overdraft (though it does ID-check). Technically it's a current account, but you can just put cash in to it then spend abroad. You needn't switch to it or make a min pay-in.

    There are only two issues: 1) Unlike credit cards, as it's a debit card you don't get Section 75 protection on your spending abroad. 2) This deal may not last - we've seen similar before elsewhere that start cheap to bring in customers, then add charges. So enjoy it while it lasts (you can close it any time).

  • Top card if you want it for spending abroad AND at home. The Tandem (apply*) credit card also gives near-perfect exchange rates on spending worldwide, plus 0.5% cashback on spending in the UK and abroad. So if you want to trouser just one card to pay off IN FULL and spend everywhere, this is a good option.

    Like the Halifax Clarity, it's 18.9% rep APR for spending and cash withdrawals, and like Starling it's app-only (though has some poor reviews) and a new deal, so we don't know how long it will last.

All these cards are Mastercards, so can be used anywhere that takes Mastercard. And remember with the credit cards (not Starling), only do this if you pay off IN FULL each month, or the interest dwarfs the exchange rate gain.

These are not the only good cards, though we think they're best for most. If you already have another specialist card, it's probably not worth switching. For a full rundown of all the top cards and more help, see Top Travel Credit and Debit Cards.

2. Want cash? TravelMoneyMax compares 30+ bureaux in seconds. Who's cheapest depends on what currency you want and how much, and changes by the hour. So our TravelMoneyMax comparison tool tells you. It quickly compares 30+ bureaux to find you the best rate for delivery or collection.

3. Warning. Your holiday could cost £150 more if you spend the wrong way. Many end up paying for paying - make sure you don't. To show you the difference, here's a comparison of rates (done on Mon).

The cost of €1,000 (5 x €100 at ATMs, rest spent in 20 transactions)

- Top specialist credit/debit card repaid in full:
 £890
- Cash, via TMM's cheapest bureau (must pick up in London): 
£893
- Cash from M&S on the high st (non-cardholders): 
£916
- Using a debit card from hell (Santander in this case - see more below): 
£946
- Changing cash at airport (not pre-ordered): 
£1,046

As you can see, airport rates are the worst. If you've left it that late, at least order on your way to the airport - NEVER just walk up and buy cash.

4. I'm not going away till later in the summer. With all the Brexit stuff going on, should I buy my euros/dollars etc now? Lots of you are asking that and the answer's complicated, so read Martin's new Buy holiday money now? blog.

5. Top prepaid card - if you want one. We used to go big on prepaid travel cards because they don't require a credit check. But now Starling doesn't require a credit check, its rates are hot and you get the rate on the day you spend. Whereas with some prepaid cards you can get the rate on the day you load up the card. Which is better depends on the way exchange rates move. So if you want it for rate protection, here's our top prepaid card pick...

Revolut* lets you lock in perfect rates for 23 currencies (though there's a 0.5%-1% exchange fee at weekends) and lets you withdraw £200/mth for free (2% after). The card's FREE for newbies via our link (£5 direct). Full details and more options in Cheap Prepaid Travel Cards.

6. Don't buy cash or load a prepaid card with a credit card. Most credit card providers count buying foreign currency as a cash withdrawal - and they usually charge a fee for those, and interest even if you repay in full. Some (incl Santander and Virgin Money) do the same when loading up prepaid cards. So it's better to pay on a debit card, as they can't charge fees for it. See Don't buy travel cash with a credit card.

7. Will withdrawing cash abroad on a credit card hurt my credit file? On the right card it's cheap, but there's a possible minor impact on your creditworthiness - full info in Credit card ATM withdrawals abroad.

8. Beware the DEBIT CARDS FROM HELL - is yours one? Not only do they add around 3% to the exchange rate and an ATM fee, some also charge up to £1.50 every time you use them to spend overseas.

GOT ONE OF THESE DEBIT CARDS FROM HELL?
Bank of Scotland | Halifax | Lloyds | Santander | TSB | IF |
Clydesdale/Yorkshire | NatWest/RBS (though spending fees waived till Sep)

ANY other card, including a credit card (if repaid IN FULL), is cheaper to spend on than these. See full Beware the debit cards from hell info.

9. And finally... when using plastic abroad, if you're asked 'Do you want to pay in pounds or euros?', what do you say? Euros. For why, see Martin's Pay in euros? blog. 

 
 

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.

 

 
 

Martin's PPI alert: '£18 billion EXTRA to be paid? Yet the clock's ticking'

A new court case raises the question of banks underpaying, as the deadline on reclaiming gets closer

PPI doesn't just happen when changing a little boy's nappy (say it aloud, then move on swiftly). Anyone who's EVER had a loan, mortgage, credit/store card, overdraft or catalogue debt should check now if this systemically mis-sold insurance was added. £30 billion's already been repaid, and the Aug '19 deadline to claim is just a year away - queues will build as we near then. Use our FREE PPI reclaiming tool & guide to get your money back.

Nicole's tweet shows why: "@MartinSLewis Reclaimed just over £51,600 PPI from 4 banks/products. #THANKYOU." And this week there's news that could mean even more is due - here's a two-minute briefing... 

  • Classic PPI reclaiming is all about mis-selling. When adding payment protection insurance (PPI) to debt, lenders should've checked it was suitable, but commonly didn't. They added it without asking, lied that it was compulsory, sold the self-employed 'unemployment' cover and didn't warn of exclusions for those with pre-existing medical conditions. If any of these happened to you, you were mis-sold - use our free PPI tool to claim your money back. As Annette emailed: "I was CONVINCED I wouldn't be due but am now £2,700 better off. All I say is listen to Martin and DO IT."

  • Now Plevin rules mean you're due money even if you weren't mis-sold. When banks sold PPI policies alongside debt, the typical commission insurers paid them was a hideous 67% of the cover's cost. After a successful lawsuit by Susan Plevin, last year regulator the Financial Conduct Authority ruled that even if you weren't mis-sold, when commission on your PPI was 50%+ (most was) and you weren't told (most weren't), you are due the commission over 50% back.

    Lenders have to follow this. If not, you can go to the free Financial Ombudsman Service (our free tool helps you do this too) - see Plevin help. Payback's often £100s, but can be more, as Cath emailed: "I never thought I'd be eligible for any PPI refunds... I put in a claim with literally no idea of loan account numbers or dates. I've currently got back up to £26,000. Thank you so much."

  • New. A court's ruled a 'Plevin-only' case should get ALL the money back. Judges needn't follow the regulator's guidelines. Last week a county court ruled in the Doran case of 76% undeclared commission, the claimants should get ALL their PPI payments back plus interest - £17,345 - not just the amount over 50%. It's rumoured to be the fourth time a court has done this. Yet as it's a lower court it doesn't yet set a legal precedent - if it did, some estimate the banks may need to shell out £18bn MORE. For now though, with 'Plevin-only' cases, follow the normal bank & ombudsman route - you may still be able to go on to court later. More Doran news in our guide.
 

20+ Ikea hacks, incl store shortcuts & half-price truck delivery. How to get victory over the Swedes (again) in Ikea MoneySaving tips

POW - Post Office launched the top easy-access savings since Feb. BOOM - it's been beaten. It's a mini-savings price war. First the Post Office* launched 1.33% AER variable savings (min £1). Now two players have upped their rates a smidgeon to 1.35% AER variable (only 20p/yr more per £1,000, but every penny counts). They're National Counties BS (min £5,000, make all deposits by Tue 31 Jul) and Coventry BS (min £1, only allows 3 penalty-free withdrawals/yr). Post Office and Cov include 1yr interest boosts, so diarise to ditch and switch after. Full info in Top Savings.

New. Free bargain flight finder 1mth trial, eg, Boston £199 rtn (norm £300+). MSE Blagged. Jack's Flight Club sends alerts for mega-cheap deals which are often hard to spot elsewhere. Basic membership's free, but its £35/yr premium service gives 4x more deals and early access, and we've blagged 5,000 free trials. Jack's Flight Club

Amazon Prime Day's next Mon/Tue - it promises 'epic' discounts. Trick to get free access. The online retail giant's big 36-hour sale is for Prime members. Yet if you're not a Prime member, you may still be able to take advantage. Amazon Prime Day

New improved Nando's trick - buy £1 sauce, get 'free' chicken or side. A fiddly but rare deal just got a little cheaper. Cheapy Nando's

It's coming home (fingers crossed)... World Cup promos: England shirts, flags, other discounts. As firms latch onto footie sales ops (good, bad and ugly) we're constantly updating what's on offer, from £1 5ft flags to shirts and promo codes. Eng-ger-land

 
 

Ends Mon. Shift credit card debt to 0% and get PAID to do it

Some cards effectively PAY YOU to shift existing credit card debt - but one of the main options is about to stop 

A balance transfer is where you get a new credit card that pays off debts on existing credit or store cards for you - so you now owe the new card instead, but at a cheaper rate. This means all your repayments will go towards clearing the debt, rather than paying off interest. These cards often charge a one-off fee, but right now some also offer cashback that can be more than the fee - so you're making money as well as getting interest-free debt. Use our Balance Transfer Eligibility Calculator to see the cards you've the best odds of getting.

TOP BALANCE TRANSFER DEALS FOR NEW CUSTOMERS
PROVIDER  0% LENGTH (REP APR) FEE AND CASHBACK
Ends Mon. HSBC (eligibility calc / apply*)
Wins if: You're shifting £300 - £999
32mths (19.9%)
1.4% fee (min £5), £25 cashback when transferring £300+
MBNA 31mths (eligibility calc / apply*)
Wins if: You're shifting £1,000 - £2,270
Up to 31mths (21.9%) 1.1% fee, £25 cashback when transferring £1k+
Santander (eligibility calc / apply*)
Wins if: You're shifting £2,270+, or £100-£300
27mths (18.9%) No fee 
MBNA 36mths (eligibility calc / apply*)
Wins if: You need longer than 32mths to clear 
Up to 36mths (21.9%) 2.49% fee


  • How to decide which is best for you. The first thing is to see which you can get, that's why we say use our eligibility calc. If you can get them all, there are a number of rules...

    Some have an 'up to' 0% length, so you may get a shorter deal even if accepted. That's why we also include the best non 'up to' options, where you'll get that length if accepted (our eligibility calc says if you've good odds).

    Normally we say go for the lowest fee in the time you're sure you can repay. Calculate how long you need to clear the debt, add a bit for safety, then pick the lowest fee within that time. Yet this week you need to factor in the cashback too, so to help we've explained above which cards are cheapest for which amount. Not sure you can repay in that time? Play safe and go long - the fee is usually small compared with having to pay interest after.

  • Balance Transfer Golden Rules. 
    a) Clear the debt or shift again before the 0% period ends, or the rate jumps to the rep APR.
    b) Never miss the min monthly repayment or you could lose the 0%.
    c) Don't spend/withdraw cash. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and withdrawals hit your creditworthiness.
    d) You must usually do the transfer within 60/90 days to get the 0% and cashback. 

Full help and more best buys in Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

 

WarningA SECOND round of energy price hikes on the cards as EDF raises prices (again). Only 3 weeks ago, E.on became the last of the Big 6 energy firms to announce a price hike. Then last week EDF announced it's putting up prices for the 2nd time this year, by 6% in August, blaming a continued rise in wholesale prices. Generally, when one energy firm does this, the others follow like sheep. DON'T LET THEM RIP YOU OFF. Act now - many can save £350+/year. Just do a Cheap Energy Club comparison.

It's not just energy, it's M&S Energy... NOT any more - now it's SSE. M&S Energy is to officially become SSE - then again, in truth, it always was. Most of its customers are massively overpaying, so check - and if so, ditch and switch. Full info in M&S Energy partnership to close.

Build-A-Bear pay your age for a teddy - eg, if you're 3, pay £3. Norm £20ish. In stores this Thu. Ready, teddy, go

Extra 20% off FitFlop sale & free del, eg, £12 flip flops (were £22). MSE Blagged. Code gets 20% off everything, incl new stock. FitFlop

15 Roald Dahl books for £16 delivered (norm £25ish). MSE Blagged. Via The Book People code. Incl Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda, BFG etc. Save some Wonka

A raft of cheap deals end this week. They're for newbies ONLY on 18mth contracts, unless stated. Links go to our Broadband Unbundled comparison tool, which checks what deals you can get in your postcode.

Ends Thu. TalkTalk, avg 11Mb speed, equiv £12/mth, if you claim & use £60 vch (12mth contract).
- Ends Thu. TalkTalk, avg 35Mb fibre, equiv £18.89/mth, if you claim & use £75 vch.
- Ends Sun. Vodafone, avg 35Mb fibre, equiv £19.23/mth, if you claim & use £50 vch.         
- Ends Sun. Vodafone, avg 61Mb fibre, equiv £24.23/mth, if you claim & use £50 vch.


 
 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS

Longest 0%: MBNA* up to 36mths 0%, 2.49% fee (19.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: Santander* 27mths 0%, no fee (18.9% rep APR) 

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

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

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*
Aviva*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Hitachi* 3.3% rep APR (2-5 yrs)
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.7% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-3 yrs) 

Standard b'band & line rent: TalkTalk equiv £12/mth 
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
TalkTalk equiv £18.89/mth

Choice of £150 Expedia vch, tech gadget & more: First Direct
5% interest fixed for a year: 
Nationwide FlexDirect

 

Ending. Earn AT LEAST 3% interest via auto-saving app 

It's a new way to save for the tech-savvy - and our code for Chip smashes the top standard savings deals 

Chip is an app we've featured a couple of times in the past six months - so far with good feedback. It analyses your spending to put any spare cash you may have each month away for you automatically. What's more, sign up by Thu and you can get our special blagged interest rate for a year. Here are the pros (easy saving) and cons (not the usual savings protection), to help you decide if it's for you. 

  • Chip app - get 3-5% interest. Newbies who sign up via the Chip app* and use the code MSE3 by 11.59pm Thu (4,000 are available so they could go sooner) get a min 3% interest on savings for a year (otherwise it's 0%). It then adds 1 percentage point for a year for every person you recommend who starts saving through it, up to a max 5%. Interest accrues weekly and is paid quarterly, and you can make withdrawals when you want. On rate alone it pays more than DOUBLE the 1.35% top easy-access savings.

     - How does Chip work? You give it 'read-only' access to your current account. It analyses your income & spending, then every 4-7 days calculates what you can afford to save, and moves that to a separate 'savings' account by direct debit. The average is £25, five times a month (max £100 a time, so £500/mth), but you can use its chatbot interface to move up to an extra £100/day manually, up to six times a month. The max you can save is £10k.

    - What if it makes me overdrawn? It says it shouldn't, but if it does it'll cover fees and pay £10 compensation. (You can choose to allow it to take you overdrawn though - for example if you have a 0% overdraft.)

  • Is my money safe? Chip's not a bank - it works with 'e-money provider' Prepaid Financial Services (PFS); both are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Your money is held in a ring-fenced Barclays account. If Chip or PFS went bust, your money remains in Barclays together with any interest, though you may pay insolvency fees (likely v small). In the unlikely event Barclays went bust though, your money ISN'T protected so you'd lose it.

    We've done checks, but there are risks with any new concept, so consider how much you want to save. Early feedback is promising, eg, forumite peachplumpear says: "Have been using Chip and finding it great."

    Also, Chip's still waiting to be authorised by the FCA under new 'Open Banking' rules. Until then, if money's taken from your main account fraudulently, banks could say you're liable as you've shared your login details. See our App-based banking guide for more.

  • Other options incl 5% regular savings. There are other auto-savers, including Plum which lets you invest your cash with peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter, or Moneybox, which invests in funds. But neither offers certain returns. Also see our Top Savings and Regular Savings guides to earn up to 5% via conventional savings.
 
COUNCIL TAX DISCOUNT - SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: 
"Read Martin's tip on the single occupancy council tax discount.  For 8 years I've paid full rate - I wrote to my council stating I was living alone and received a cheque for over £1,000. Very pleased, thanks."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

Beauty freebies, eg, £36 Rodial, £6 Benefit, £5 Murad. Either totally free or with £5ish mag. See our full round-up of cheap beauty deals.

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

How do you feel now about Brexit? There are now only eight months to go until the official date we leave the EU. Over the weekend the cabinet agreed a compromise (with itself) over our trade-negotiating stance, then like a dripping tap the resignations started. Now there's sort of a plan in place. How do you feel about Brexit and how the negotiations are going?

Most shopping is now online. Last week, we asked you about your shopping habits. Unsurprisingly, under-25s were most likely to ditch the high street, with more than two-thirds of those voting doing more than 60% of their shopping online. Overall, 67% said they do at least half their shopping online. See full online shopping poll results

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should I claim my unpaid child support? I've been told I'm owed over £10,000 in child support arrears, although my son is now in his late 20s. I thought he could use this money, as he's saving to buy a house - but my second husband says we should keep it, as we raised him without it. I now think there's too much scope for conflict, so I'm inclined just to let it go. Is that right? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I claim unpaid child support? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: I want to get out of debt/stop compulsive spending
- Competitions thread of the week: MacBook Air
- Old-Style board thread of the week: A pot of tea - and a stamp
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Big change, new lifestyle
- Discussion of the week: How to keep going for the last couple of years before retirement

 

M&S - 'up to 50% off' sale
Family & Friends Railcard - 20% off one-year card code
Sainsbury's - 25% off 6 bottles of wine & champagne
Free tennis - weekend sessions and coaching on 21-22 Jul
Aussie - freebies at festivals, incl juice & conditioner

Pizza Hut - 50% off pizzas when you spend £20 on pizzas
Beefeater - 33% off food
Subway - Sub of the Day £2.50
Burger King - meal deals incl £2 burger and fries
Café Rouge - 25% off food

Theme parks - incl half-price entry to Alton Towers or Sea Life
Free sports - incl 'Swim Safe' sessions
Free in-store activities - incl pet workshops
Free museums - 170+ museums and galleries
Cinema - from £2.50 kids' screenings

Quick Forum Tips

M&S £12 dine-in meal for two. What's the big meal?
'Free' £3ish granola. Crunch time
Aldi 'Super Six' fruit and veg offers. One in a melon

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 11 JUL ONWARDS)

Mon 16 Jul This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 11 Jul - BBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Neil Smith, from 6pm
Fri 13 Jul 
- BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 16 Jul - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Tue 17 Jul - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: There are so many bad potholes after the wet winter - I've damaged my tyres and wheels. Councils don't seem to want to take responsibility. Can I claim back money I've spent on repairs? Eileen, via email.

MSE Kelvin's A: You may be able to claim - some MoneySavers have got £100s back. But it depends on whether the authority responsible for the road has been maintaining it properly. If, say, a cannonball falls out of a lorry, causes a pothole and minutes later you hit it, you've no right to claim as there's nothing the authority could reasonably have done to prevent that. But if an authority's been negligent, you may be able to - it has a legal duty to maintain the roads so they're safe to use. 

If you're eligible to claim, gather evidence - if it's safe to do so, measure the pothole and take photos, and keep a record of the damage and cost of repairs. The fastest way to claim is by using the relevant authority's own process, which usually just means filling in a form. If it doesn't have a claims process or your claim's rejected, you can make a more detailed claim, but this isn't simple and can mean making a Freedom of Information request. See our Pothole Claims guide for step-by-step help.

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

 

OUT WITH THE OLD? NOT ME - I HAVEN'T BOUGHT A BRA FOR 7 YEARS

That's all for this week, but before we go... MoneySavers in the forum have been discussing how often they fork out for a new wardrobe - and how long they can last without fresh threads. One admits to wearing the same bras for 7 YEARS, while another says she never gets anything new, instead buying her clothes from a charity shop before donating them back and buying more. But some admit they still love to shop even if they don't need to - tell us how often you buy new in our clothing forum thread. 

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

 
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