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01st Apr 2015
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

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01 April 2015

This week

Last chance: Cash ISA year ends Sun. Use it or lose it. Get up to 2.25%
Cheapest-ever loan 3.6%
Hot £12/mth Sim-only deal: 500mins, unlimited texts, 2GB of 4G data
Petrol's up: 10 tricks to slash costs
Hi-Tec £8 shoes via 60% off code
Free £125 for switch to No.1 bank
Hotels4U 15% code, Ebookers 14%
Homebase FLASH 15% sale, Tesco 25% off wine, Sains Tu 25% off
Cheap prepay energy + web top-up
Pension freedom - everything you need to know in 5 minutes
Sports Direct up to 90% off
NO FEE 0% balance transfer
Bike kids' trailer £79, kid's BMX £80
Hotpoint extra 30% off clearance
'I'll get £185 CreditExpert refund thanks to your template letters'
Cheap Eurotunnel ticket with wine
100+ Easter family fun tips
80p Easter egg wins taste test
FREE £7.50 food show tix
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank Accs
Have a say on loans for postgrads

MARTIN'S QUICK BRIEFING: For more tips, alerts & awful puns, follow Martin on Twitter

Last chance: Cash ISA year ends Sun
Got savings? Get up to 2.25% TAX-FREE interest. Use it or lose it

Tick-tock, tick-tock. The tax year ends this Sun 5 April, so there are just days left for any UK over-16 to use their £15,000 tax-free cash ISA savings allowance. Don't let ISAs scare you. I wish I could hypnotise the nation so that when you hear "cash ISA" it's auto-replaced with...


Anything you can do with normal savings such as 'take your money out the next day' you can do with cash ISAs too. Plus all below have the full £85,000 savings safety protection. Here are the 10 need-to-knows...

1. ISAsWhy your money's nicer in an ISA. The gain's simple. Earn £100 interest in a savings account and after 20% basic tax, you only receive £80 - after higher rate, £60. In a cash ISA, you keep the whole £100. So, as long as rates are similar, ISAs win and top ISAs tend to beat top normal savings anyway. See how cash ISAs work.
2. Use it or lose it (and if you use it, it lasts for years). Once money's in a cash ISA, it stays tax-free YEAR AFTER YEAR. So, filling your cash ISA means you can future-proof your savings against future tax. Even though rates are crap now, when they bounce back, as you'll earn more interest, it could be very valuable.

Someone who'd filled their ISA allowance every year since they started in 1999 could now have getting on for £100,000 (incl interest) protected. And if you're saying 'why bother, I get another allowance next year', doing it now is still good practice, just in case you have an unexpected windfall next year.
3. Top 1.5% cash ISAs if you know you need to access your cash. As cash ISAs are just "a savings account you don't pay tax on", like normal savings, there are easy-access cash ISAs where you can put cash in today and withdraw whenever you want. Here are the top payers...

The Post Office's 1.5% ISA accepts new money and lets you transfer in old ISAs too. There's also Skipton BS's ISA and NS&I at the same rate, but only for new money. Newcastle BS's 2.02% regular saver ISA pays more but you can only put £1-£1,250 in a month, yet if you'll carry on next tax year or have under £1,250 it's a winner. These rates are 'variable' so can change.

THE DEADLINE: While the tax year ends midnight Sunday, open one ASAP. Newcastle BS won't take applications after Thu 3pm - the other two will accept them till late Sun, yet unless you're already their customer bank transfers even via faster payments take 2hrs. See Bank-by-bank deadlines.
4. Most people should grab up to 2.25% cash ISAs. Unless you KNOW you'll need the cash soon, fixed-rate deals pay more, give guaranteed interest and the ISA rules mean (unlike normal fixed savings) they can't lock your cash away - all they can do is levy early withdrawal penalties.

- Coventry BS 2.25% fix until Nov 18 (no transfers, max £15,000) allows you to withdraw cash by closing the account and you lose just 120 days' interest - roughly a third of a year. Thus withdraw after a year, and you'd get 1.51%, beating the top easy-access deals. You must open it by Sat.

- Virgin Money 1.65% 1yr fix for new money (max £15,000) & transfers. You can make partial withdrawals and lose just 60 days' interest on them.

- Kent Reliance 1.85% 2yr fix for new money (max £15,000) & transfers. You can withdraw but lose a serious 180 days' interest. Existing Santander 123 bank customers can get the Santander 123 2% 2yr fix for new money (max £15,000) & transfers with 120 days' closure penalties.
5. Earn 5% but taxed, if you're willing to switch bank account. Cash ISAs easily beat top normal savings (barring pensioner bonds), yet a few bank accounts pay far higher rates on savings in them, as loss leaders to encourage you to switch. Even after tax the interest beats most top cash ISA rates. Plus as they're bank accounts you can withdraw whenever you want.

- For bigger savers, 3% interest + up to 3% cashback: Santander 123* is the only one which pays strong rates on a decent whack. You get 3% AER variable interest if you've £3,000 to £20,000 in it. That's 2.4% after tax for basic-rate taxpayers and 1.8% for higher-rate taxpayers.

It has a £2/mth fee, but for most that's more than covered as it also pays cashback on direct debits paid from the account. You get 3% on mobile, phone, TV & b'band, 2% on energy and 1% on water and council tax. This earns some £10+/mth.

- 4% AER on £4k-£5k: Club Lloyds* (that's 3.2% after basic tax, 2.4% higher)
- 5% AER up to £2,000:
TSB* pays 5% (4% after basic tax, 3% higher).
- Free £125 + £5 each month you're in credit: Halifax Reward* pays this regardless how much you've got. As it's after basic-rate tax it beats TSB for most averaging under £1,500 in their account even before the £125.
- Want to save monthly, not a lump sum? Two 'free cash for switchers' bank accounts - First Direct* (free £125) and M&S* (free £100 M&S gift card) - also have linked 6% regular savers where you can save up to £300 and £250/mth.

There are still some long-term reasons cash ISAs can win though - read a full analysis of the pros and cons in my Santander 123 v Cash ISAs blog.

The 'using bank accounts as savings' need-to-knows...
1) Not everyone can get 'em. Most require... a) you to pass a credit check b) a min monthly deposit to be made c) you to set up a couple of direct debits.
2) The rates are variable. So keep your eyes open in case they change.
3) You can open more than one. This lets you save larger sums, but it can be tricky - for full help see the 5% Savings Loophole.
6. Consolidate old and new ISAs to boost rates. Many old ISAs pay appallingly low rates - check yours. Yet you've a right to transfer them to a new provider to boost it. Plus combining new & old together makes transferring again in future (when rates change) easier.

Don't withdraw the cash though, as it'd no longer be in an ISA. Tell the new provider to transfer it for you. We note which of the best deals above allow transfers - there's a full rundown in our Top ISA Transfers guide.
7. You get a NEW £15,240 cash ISA allowance Mon 12.01am. The brand-new ISA year starts next Monday, which means EVERYONE gets a brand-new, bigger cash ISA allowance of £15,240 to use then. The earlier it's open, the earlier your savings are tax-free.


There's nowt stopping you from opening this year's ISA today, and next year's on Mon - protecting £30,240 from the taxman in a week.
8. Want a Help to Buy ISA? Use this year's cash ISA, not next year's. Last month's Budget announced the creation of a first-time buyers' Help to Buy (H2B) ISA to launch this autumn, where for every £200 you contribute £50 is added. We take you through it step-by-step in our Help to Buy ISA guide.

Yet in simple terms you can't open an H2B ISA and a cash ISA in the same tax year. So if you want a H2B ISA, for safety don't open a cash ISA from 6 April (so far better to fill this year's cash ISA allowance by Sunday). Yet there are ways round this, see H2B ISA & Cash ISA info.
9. If the '£1,000 tax-free interest' allowance comes in, aren't ISAs dead? In the Budget the Chancellor announced plans that from April 2016, basic-rate taxpayers will be able to earn £1,000/yr interest without paying tax (higher rate £500). Yet don't let that affect you now - firstly it's not done & dusted yet, and second even then there will be times ISAs win. For full info see my why ISAs are still winners note.
10. The tip of the ISAberg. There's lots more info in our cash ISA guide that can help you. Here are just a few more pointers...

- Don't forget stocks & shares ISAs too. While I've focused on cash ISAs as that's our speciality, it's also the deadline for stocks & shares ISAs.

- 16-17 year olds can open regular AND junior ISAs. Children under 18 can put up to £4,000 in a top junior ISA or Child Trust Fund by Sunday too. Yet over-16s can also have a cash ISA as well.

- Beware ISA direct debits now. If you've an ISA direct debit, unless you want to keep using the same ISA next year, STOP IT. Even if it just makes one payment after 6 April, technically you've opened a new year cash ISA and can't choose a different one without transferring.

- Flexible ISAs start in the autumn. Currently you can only 'put in' £15,000 in a year. Eg, if you put in £10,000 you've only £5,000 left to put in, even if you later withdraw cash. From autumn, you'll be able to withdraw cash then put it back in - see new Flexible ISA rules.

And finally... struggling to get it in? Just put it anywhere.
Not a rule for life, just for ISAs. If you miss the best buys or want to be safe about getting cash in, just open your own bank's easy-access ISA - even if the rate's pitiful, then once in, you've a right to do an ISA transfer to up the rate.

Blagged for MoneySavers

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MSE News

Top story: Does loyalty pay when it comes to cash ISAs?
BT returns to the mobile market - but are its deals any good?
Consumer rights are changing: MSE asks Jo Swinson what's happening
Third portion of Green Deal funding runs out in 10 days
Co-op Energy faces backlash following bungled system upgrade
Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.
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Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 1 Apr 2015

The MSE Leaders' Debate - 7 party leaders have agreed to take part. Please VOTE on the questions to ask.

Cheapest-EVER loan 3.6% - and tricks to slash costs further
Loan rates have plummeted, yet there are more catches than a corset - so we've 3 tricks to unclasp them
Done right borrowing's cheap, yet that doesn't mean you should do it. Only go for it for planned spending, eg, new car or kitchen, borrow as little as needed, repay as quickly as poss, and ensure you've budgeted & repayments are affordable.
  • Cheap LoansNew 3.6% loan. The rate depends on how much you borrow, yet acceptance is the key - our Loans Eligibility Calc shows your chances without impacting your credit worthiness.

    - £7,500 to £15,000:
    Sainsbury's* over 1-3yrs is now 3.6% rep APR for Nectar cardholders (or get one instantly) or it's 3.7% rep APR over 4-5 yrs*.
    - £5,000 - £7,499: Cahoot* offers 4.6% rep APR over 1-5 years.
    - £3,000 - £4,999: Hitachi* is 7.8% rep APR over 2-5 years, far cheaper than others.
    - £2,500 - £2,999: Hitachi* is 8% rep APR over 2-5 years (next cheapest's 14.9%).

    Plus don't ignore peer-to-peer lenders Zopa* and Ratesetter* which have decent rates and may undercut the above (our loans eligibility calc shows them). For full info, see our Cheap Loans guide (APR Examples).
  • 3 tricks to slash loan costs. Here's what lenders aren't always so keen to tell you...

    1. Borrow more, pay less? Rates decrease the more you borrow. This has a perverse effect at the borders. Eg, borrow £2,499 and the cheapest's 14.9% - borrow £1 more and it's 8%. As our loans calculator shows, on a 5yr loan you'd then repay £540 less. Borrow £2,175+ and a £2,500 loan's cheaper. Use the extra cash for repayments.

    2. For smaller amounts 0% credit card loans win. A few specialist cards allow money transfers, where the card pays cash into your bank account, like a loan, then you owe it instead. Eg, accepted new MBNA* (eligibility calc) cardholders can get 2yrs 0%, for just a 1.94% one-off fee (min £3). Ensure you never miss a min repayment and clear before the 0% ends or it's 22.9% rep APR. Step-by-step help & more options in our Money Transfers guide.

    3. A 3.6% loan can charge you 20%. All loans are now 'representative' rate, meaning only 51% of those accepted need be given that rate - the rest could pay more. Usually the only way to know is to apply, and that marks your credit file. Our Loans Eligibility Calc can't tell you your rate - but it does show your acceptance odds and the higher they are, (roughly), the more likely you are to be given the advertised rate, so it's an indication.

Hi-Tec £8 shoes, £13 walking boots via 60% code. MSE Blagged. Incl sale goods. 43 styles avail. £3 p&p. Hi-Tec

New. FREE £125 for switching to the No.1 bank account. Via this specific link First Direct's* boosting its switch bonus to £125 (£100 elsewhere). It's won every customer service poll we've ever done, with 92% rating it great. Plus, the account comes with a long-term £250 0% overdraft and a linked 6% regular savings account. You need to pay in £1,000/mth to ensure it's free. Full info and MORE free cash options in Best Bank Accounts.

Urgent: Hotels4U 15% off & Ebookers 14% codes - work on 10,000s hotels in 2015. Both these hotel brokers let you book 10,000s hotels so discount codes are powerful - but go very quick. Full info Hotel Codes.

Homebase FLASH 15% off, Tesco 25% off wine, Sainsbury's Tu 25% off, Thorntons 20% off...
Flash Sales: Homebase 15% off online & in store, this wknd only | Tesco 25% off wine | Sains Tu 25% off EVERYTHING
Codes & vouchers: Thorntons 20% off code incl Easter chocs | Body Shop £10 off £25 | Dorothy Perkins 20% off |
FitFlop extra 10% off code, incl sale | Matalan £15 off £75 code. See ALL Codes & Vchs

New. Cheapest prepay energy + you can top up online. Ovo prepay* can save someone with typical use on a costly tariff £200+/yr. Plus it comes with a free smart meter & is the first prepay tariff with an app to top up online (so no more trips to the shops in your dressing gown). Yet ALWAYS do a prepay comparison to check if/how much you'll save (& get £30 cash).

New hot mobile Sim deal: £12/mth for 500 mins, unltd texts & 2GB 4G data
Bring (or buy) your own handset and many can save £100s a year by switching to a new range of Sim-only tariffs

Sim-only deals let you bring your own handset, then plug the little gold Sim card in the back to dictate your call, text & data charges. So pop a cheaper one in and you can drastically cut costs. Full info in 30 Cheap Mobile Tips - in short...

  • New £12/mth Sim. BT has shaken the mobile establishment by relaunching itself into the mobile establishment. It's only market-leading if you also have BT broadband - but as nearly 8m do, that's not small potatoes.

Top pick cheap SIM-ONLY tariffs
Who's it for Light user All-round winner Mobile data fiend
BT b'band customers (1) BT £5/mth* 200 mins, unltd texts, 500MB 4G data BT £12/mth* 500 mins, unltd texts, 2GB 4G data BT £20/mth* unltd mins, unltd texts, 20GB 4G data
All (12mth contract) Virgin £8/mth* 1,000 mins, unltd texts, 500MB 3G data Tesco £15/mth* 3,000 mins, 5,000 texts, 2GB 4G data OR Virgin - £15/mth* unltd mins, unltd texts, 3GB 3G data Three £22/mth* 600 mins, unltd texts, unltd 4G data
All (PAYG) Three 321* 3p/min, 2p/text, 1p/MB (2) GiffGaff £15/mth* 500 mins, unltd texts, 3GB 4G data Three £15/mth* 300 mins, 3,000 texts, unltd 4G data (3)
Unlimited minutes means to UK landlines & mobiles, unlimited texts to UK mobiles - other calls/texts and roaming costs. 1) 12mth contract. If you cancel broadband it's £5/mth more. 2) £10 min top-up. 3) Via top-up and buying an add-on.
  • Is it worth sticking to BT broadband for this? Generally not on price, but many like to stick with a big name, and it does occasionally have promo deals. Currently it has a BT phone & broadband & a BT quad play deal (that's where you get phone, broadband, TV and mobile all together). Compare to our standard cheap broadband.
  • The six Sim-only need-to-knows. Before you pick your Sim and dive in tick these off your list...

    1) Bill analysis:
    Let BillMonitor* log into your online mobile statement then analyse your bills to find cheaper deals.
    2) You can keep your existing number. Get your PAC from your current provider & ask the new one to port it over.
    3) Is your phone locked? If so it only works on one network, so you'll need to unlock it. See Mobile Phone Unlocking
    4) Whose line is it anyway? There are only really four networks, all the rest piggyback on these. Of those above, Three is a network, BT & Virgin are via EE , Tesco Mobile & GiffGaff are via O2. For more on this see our piggyback networks - who's really who?
    5) Will you be credit-checked? Yes with Sim-only contracts, no with pay-as-you-go (PAYG). See Credit Score Boosting
    6) What Sim size do you need?
    Most smartphones use micro-Sims, iPhones nano Sims - get the right size Sim card.

New. Pension freedom - everything you need to know in 5mins. It starts Monday, read Martin's pension freedom briefing.

Sports Direct up to 90% off sale, eg £13 kids' Nike trainers. Online & in all of its 400+ stores. Limited stock

Shift debts to 15mths 0% NO FEE or 36mths 0% (2.99% fee). Accepted new Santander* (eligibility calc) credit cardholders can balance transfer debt to it for 15mths 0% fee-free, meaning it's totally free within the 0% period. Need longer? Lloyds 28mths 0%* (eligibility calc) has a 1.5% fee or longer still Barclaycard 36mths 0%* (eligibility calc) has a 2.99% fee. Clear these before the 0% ends or they jump to 18.9% rep APR. Info: Top Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

Bike kids' trailer £79 (was £200), kid's BMX £80 (£160), mountain bike £72. Some wheelie good deals

Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
36mths 0%, 2.99% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

No fee 0%: Santander*
15mths 0%, no fee

(18.9% rep APR)
Get comparison site quotes in this order...
Compare The Market

Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Cahoot* (£5k - £7.5k)
4.6% rep APR

Sainsbury's* (£7.5k - £15k)
3.6% rep APR

Post Office 1.5% AER
Min £100, incl bonus
Online. Transfers allowed

Coventry BS 2.25% AER
Min £1. No transfers
Loophole: Fixed till Nov 2018

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Hotpoint/Indesit large appliance clearance EXTRA 30% off code. MSE Blagged White goods incl cookers & fridges - eg, Hotpoint washing machine £245 (was £350, next cheapest £323). See Hotpoint deals.

Did you pay Experian for CreditExpert? SUCCESS OF THE WEEK (Send us yours on this or any topic)
We've been swamped with successes from our new reclaim campaign, here are two from the deluge this week alone
"Just got email telling me I will receive a goodwill refund of £185 from CreditExpert thanks to your Experian template letters." and "A big thanks to @MartinSLewis and MSE's advice on Experian fraud insurance - just received £65 refund, that's my wedding shoes paid for."

Buy £140 beer/wine and get an £80 Eurotunnel ticket for £25. A cheap one or two-day return ticket for the car train tunnel (Folkestone-Calais) when you pre-order £140 of beer, wine or spirits via Majestic Calais. Be Drinkaware.

10 tricks to slash motoring costs
Petrol and diesel prices are on the up again - but whether it's a car, van or bike, you may be able to save £1,000s

Running a car now typically costs £3,000/yr (source: the AA). While the world oil price crash had pushed petrol prices down to £1/litre, they're now creeping up to an avg £1.12/litre. We've 50 Motoring Tips to rev up your savings - here's a taster...

Slash motoring costs1. Find your cheapest forecourt. A petrol price comparison can save you 5% on filling up.
2. Driving smoother uses up to 30% less. It's not about slowing down, it's about more gentle use of acceleration & better road positioning. Savings are HUGE. See drive more efficiently.
3. Lock in cheap car insurance before prices jump. Prices are predicted to rise 10% this year. So lock in quotes at today's prices for months ahead - see how to lock in quotes.
4. Has the PHOTO on your licence expired? 2m have - you risk a £1,000 fine. Photo ID help.
5. £13 RAC breakdown cover. Don't auto-renew & pay over the odds. See Cheap Breakdown.
6. Get 3% cashback on fuel. The Santander 123* (eligibility calc) credit card pays 3% cashback on fuel (max £9/mth), 2% in department stores, 1% supermarkets. There is a £24 annual fee for most, so it's best for those who do heavy miles. Always ensure you repay IN FULL each month though to avoid the 16.5% rep APR or it's not worth it. Full help: Petrol Credit Cards
7. Private parking firms CAN'T fine you. Tickets at supermarkets etc are invoices. Fight unfair PRIVATE parking tickets.
8. Hidden council MOT centres. As they don't do repairs, there's no vested interest to fail you. And anecdotally people say it's huge - eg, forumite Fed up hippie says: “Thanks. Our camper van MOT was £37 this year - last year it was £400.” See Cheap MOTs.
9. 3rd-party car insurance isn't always cheapest. Bizarrely, the mere fact you're selecting comprehensive makes some insurers see you as a lower risk, which outweighs the saving from 3rd party's lesser cover. More tricks in Car Insurance.
10. Unfair council parking fine? You've the right to appeal. See how to fight unfair COUNCIL parking tickets.

100+ Easter family fun tips and tricks - incl Easter egg hunts. See our guide for cheap or free things to keep the kids entertained, incl free tennis & football coaching, free £5 craft box & 2for1 zoos & theme parks. Easter fun

Easter Egg taste test - the winner cost 80p. An egg-cellent result for our wallets, & proof you don't have to shell out to get the yummiest egg this Easter. Sorry about all the yolks. See our Deals Hunters' Easter egg taste test blog.

FREE £7.50 food show tix - Organic Show, Just V Show & Allergy & Free From Show. One ticket gets access to all 3 shows at Olympia, London (3-5 Jul), via our links - usually £7.50-£10. See all free tickets.

Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Gas & Electricity Bank Accounts Home Insurance Landlines

Compare, get £30 dual fuel cashback & alerts if your deal's no longer cheap. Go via the free MSE Cheap Energy Club Top Pick Fixes Comparison.

The savings can be huge. Someone with typical dual fuel usage on a big 6 standard tariff pays £1,159 a year, the cheapest deal's £928.

First Direct*
£125 bonus and top cust service

Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

(£2 per month fee)
Get comparison site quotes in this order...


Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*

Direct Save Telecom*
with weekend calls
£11/mth (pay a yr upfront)

Post Office*
with weekend calls
£12/mth (pay a yr upfront)

Do a Money Makeover Budget Planner MSE car sticker £13 Travel Insurance
Show Vouchers and Top Deals

Restaurant vouchers

Discount vouchers & sales

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
Show Money Saving Community
The MoneySaving Community

Student loans for Masters: tell Govt your view

First-time postgraduates in England, aged under 30, may soon be able to apply for student loans of up to £10,000 (potentially up to £25,000 for research students) if they wish to do a master's degree, repaid at 9% of salary above £21,000, as per the current undergrad system. Has lack of funding stopped you studying for a master's degree in the past? Is the max age of 30 appropriate? Fill in the online survey to have your say or discuss in the MSE Forum.

Should I let my friend pay for my theatre ticket so he can pull?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... A friend of mine is going to a play in order to impress a girl who's starring in it and invited me along for moral support. He's offered to pay for my ticket but they're £30 a pop and he's a bit hard up. While I feel bad letting him, I'm not that keen on going and think the price is a little steep for a student production. Should I let him pay? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I let my friend pay for my theatre ticket? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

Airline: Ryanair Price: Flights from £19.99 one-way Ends: Tue 7 Apr
Our pick this week is Ryanair's sale ending Tue 7 Apr, which includes all compulsory taxes & charges. It's for flights until Sun 31 May on selected routes and you must book at least 14 days in advance. While marketed as from £19.99 we found one-ways for less, such as Stansted-Ibiza for £14.99 on Tue 14 Apr. Extra charges warning: Avoid payment, luggage & check-in charges - see the Budget Airline Fee Fighting guide. Related: Cheap Flights, Cheap Hotels, Spending Abroad, Cheap Currency, Travel Insurance

Quick forum tips

Freebie of the week

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances (from Wed 1 Apr onward)

Wed 1 Apr - Jeremy Vine Show, BBC Radio 2, Pension Freedom, 1pm
Thu 2 Apr - GMB, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. Watch last week's
Thu 2 Apr - The Ideal Home Show, Olympia, London, 12noon
Fri 3 Apr - The Ideal Home Show, Olympia, London, 12noon

MSE team corner

Discussion of the week

Up-selling at the till

You've completed your shop and you're ready to pay but when you get to the till, the cashier tries to flog you a load of extra items. For some, there's nothing more annoying. Join the Extra selling at tills discussion and let us know what you think.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 136.26 122.63
US Flag $ 146.56 131.90
Turkish Flag TL 371.50 327.68
Rates correct at 2pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: The MSE Leaders' Debate - pick the key subjects for PM candidates

Seven party leaders have agreed to take written questions on consumer finance issues - Tory, Labour, Lib Dem, UKIP, Green, SNP & Plaid. Here’s our subject shortlist, some by us, some suggested by you - voting isn’t about whether you agree with the issue, but if you want them to answer it.

You can choose up to five subjects you want them to be asked about.

Poll results

How much are you worth (or do you owe) - not counting your home?
Despite the 5% of millionaires among you, your overall average net worth was £237,000 while overall net debt was £50,000. For homeowners, 85% were in credit and had an average net worth of £266,000 while 15% were in debt with an average net debt of £52,000.

In contrast, 64% of non-homeowners were in credit and had an average net worth of £89,000 while 36% were in debt with an average net debt of £45,000.

16,484 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

Q: Should the retailer/merchant first advise you that they intend to tap rather than insert your card into a chip and pin device for payments under £20? Paul, via email.

MSE Eesha’s A: The contactless payment system is designed so that you can quickly pay for items under £20 (rising to £30 in Sep) without having to part with your card or enter a pin. But if for some reason the cashier takes the card from you, there's no legal requirement for them to tell you they'll be using the contactless method.

When paying with a contactless card you won't see how much you're charged on the card reader and you won't necessarily get a card receipt (as best practice always ask for a store receipt) like you would if paying by Chip and Pin. So if you find there's a dispute with the amount charged, you should contact your bank straightaway so it can investigate. If you don't want a contactless card, most banks will issue you with a standard chip and pin debit card instead.

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

 Nick's free game of the week: Shopping Cart Hero

Hidden game on Google Maps - play Pacman on your street

Thanks to Google you can now play Pacman around your neighbourhood. Just head to Google Maps on a desktop computer and look at the bottom left of your screen. A little pacman icon will appear - click it - and providing the page you’ve selected is suitable it’ll turn your street into a pacman game.

Let us know the best places you’ve found to play it...

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

Important. Please read how works

We think it's important you understand the strengths and limitations of this email and the site. We're a journalistic website, and aim to provide the best MoneySaving guides, tips, tools and techniques - but can't promise to be perfect, so do note you use the information at your own risk and we can't accept liability if things go wrong.

What you need to know

  • This info does not constitute financial advice, always do your own research on top to ensure it's right for your specific circumstances - and remember we focus on rates not service.

  • We don't as a general policy investigate the solvency of companies mentioned, how likely they are to go bust, but there is a risk any company can struggle and it's rarely made public until it's too late (see the section 75 guide for protection tips).

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  • Always remember anyone can post on the MSE forums, so it can be very different from our opinion.

Please read the Full Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, how this site is financed and Editorial Code. Martin Lewis is a registered trade mark belonging to Martin S Lewis.

More about MoneySavingExpert and Martin Lewis

What is

Founded in February 2003, it's now the UK's biggest consumer help website with more than 10 million people getting this email and about 13 million using the site every month. In September 2012 it became part of the MoneySupermarket Group PLC. Its focus is simple: saving cash and fighting for financial justice on anything and everything. The site has over 80 full time staff, more than a third of whom are editorial – researching, analysing and writing to continually find ways to save money. More info: See About MSE

Who is Martin Lewis?

Martin set up and runs MSE, and still writes this email each week (unless it says so). He's an ultra-focused money-saving journalist and consumer campaigner with his own ITV prime-time show The Martin Lewis Money Show and weekly slots on Radio 5 Live, This Morning and Good Morning Britain, among others. He’s a columnist for publications including the Telegraph and Woman magazine. More info: See Martin Lewis' biography

What do the links with a * mean?

Any links with a * by them are affiliated, which means get a product via this link and a contribution may be made to, which helps it stay free to use. You shouldn't notice any difference; the links don't impact the product at all and the editorial line (the things we write) isn't changed due to it. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the best product, it's still included in the same way. More info: See how this site is financed.

As we believe transparency is important, we're including the following 'un-affiliated' web-addresses for content too:

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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Note

Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances constitute an FCA regulated activity. For this reason, pages with links which take you to the sites of insurers or insurance intermediaries are hosted by Limited on behalf of Group PLC. Financial Group Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 303190). The registered office address of both Group PLC and Financial Group Limited is MoneySupermarket House, St. David’s Park, Ewloe, Chester, CH5 3UZ.

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