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This email was sent
03rd Jul 2013
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

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."

03 July 2013
         

This week

Longest EVER 0% for spending card
3.5yrs no energy price hikes deals
Reclaim uncancelled card payments
30 Avios-boosting tips
Free £2,000 boilers (for some)
Hot codes: Gap 20% incl sale, Debm 10% incl sale, Hi-Tec 60% & more
TWO 27mth 0% debt shift deals
50% off FitFlops
Unbeatable exchange rates NOW
Lyle & Scott sale EXTRA 50% code
Photo canvases 60% off code
New 5% no-fee cashback card
£1 La Senza bras
Burt's Bees lucky dip code
Free Amex £5 at local shops & pubs
Free fragrance voucher for O2 custs
Cashback site free £5
Ending: £100 bank switching bonus
Tesco 5p/L off fuel with £50 spend
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank Accs

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

'Get your mortgage fix now or risk paying more'
Top mortgage expert warns now's the time. 10 mortgage need-to-knows

Fixed rate mortgages are at historic lows. Yet Ray Boulger, from broker John Charcol - one of the UK's leading technical experts on mortgages - is warning...

"If you want a fixed rate, now is the time. There's nothing to be gained by waiting and a real risk you'll pay more if you do."

He says this because money market rates (the rates banks borrow at) have jumped. In April the 5yr rate was 0.9%, now it's 1.58%. This often feeds into mortgage rates. So here are our 10 mortgage need-to-knows.

1. Five year fix now 2.49%. The top rates require you to borrow less than 65% of your home's value. Yet even if you've a smaller deposit, deals are available. Watch for big fees too, which hit smaller mortgages especially hard; our Mortgage Calc factors these in. Here are top picks from London & Country.

Top pick two and five-year mortgage fixes (picked by L&C Mortgages*)
Lender LTV (% of home value borrowable) Fix Admin fee Cost on £150k over fix (i) SVR (rate after fix ends) Overall APR
(if you never switch)
Chelsea BS* 65% 2yrs 1.64% £1,675 £16,300 5.79% 5.2%
N&P 65% 2yrs 2.19% £295 £16,000 4.99% 4.6%
Skipton BS 90% 2yrs 3.99% £0 £19,000 5.49% 5.4%
Tesco* 60% 5yrs 2.49% £1,495 £41,825 4.24% 3.7%
N&P 60% 5yrs 2.74% £295 £41,750 4.99% 4.2%
First Direct* 90% 5yrs 4.49% £0 £50,000 3.69% 4.1%
Ensure you budget so it's affordable - or as they say: "Your home may be repossessed if you don't keep up repayments." (i) 25-year mortgage, fee paid upfront.
2. Free printed MSE first-timer mortgage & remortgage help booklets. As this is a major financial decision, you need to tool up with knowledge first. To help, we've two free printed guides to take you through step by step...

First-timers' mortgage booklet: Download instant PDF, order printed.
Remortgaging (new deal) booklet: Download instant PDF, order printed.
3. remortgageHow to find top deals & get mortgage help. The easiest way if you're not sure about where to start is to consult a whole-of-market mortgage broker for advice - some even operate fee-free. They'll then guide you through the process and find deals, full info on this in Cheap Mortgage Finding.

Some mortgages aren't available via brokers, so also check direct deals via MoneySupermarket*, Google Compare* and Money Advice Service.
4. Should I fix? Judging whether a cheap fix will beat a cheap discount is tough without a crystal ball (and they cost a lot more than a house). So many need to focus on their own finances, and not look back with hindsight.

With a mortgage fix, the amount you repay is, er, fixed. So it's a bit like an insurance policy against rate rises. The closer the mortgage puts you to the financial brink, the more you should focus on certainty that you can repay and keep the roof over your head. See full Fix vs Discount Mortgages guide.
5. Your current deal not quite ended? Pre-book a rate now. A few mortgage providers let you book a deal up to 3mths ahead (some up to 6mths), setting in stone the rate for a fee of c.£100-£200.

So if you're worried you'll miss the boat & rates will rise, especially for bigger mortgages, you could do this for insurance. Then if rates do rise, you're quids in. But if you find a better rate, you simply forgo the fee.
6. Don't ignore your credit file - check before applying. Credit scoring these days plays a much bigger role in mortgage acceptance. So beware unnecessary applications before applying (eg, credit cards, contract mobiles) & check your credit files for errors. Help in Boost Credit Score.
7. Is an offset/current account mortgage worth it? Here your savings are offset against your mortgage, so instead of earning paltry rates they reduce your mortgage debt and interest cost. Conceptually, this is brilliant. The problem is that these mortgages are often at higher rates.

So you could lose on a large amount of mortgage debt to gain on a small amount of savings. Use our Offset Mortgage vs Savings Calculator to see. Many should just get a cheap rate and overpay (see next bullet).
8. Do you have a mortgage & savings? If your mortgage rate's higher than your after-tax savings rate, (it's likely with current dismal top savings rates), overpaying pays. Yet a) Check there are no overpayment penalties. b) Keep a few months' emergency cash aside. Full help: Overpay My Mortgage?

The impact can be huge. Overpaying £100/mth on a £100,000 4.5% mortgage saves £18k interest. Do your own Mortgage Overpayment Calc.
9. Are you eligible for Government help? There are a number of schemes in place if you’re struggling with a deposit. The main one is Help to Buy, which gives a cheap loan to help with deposits for homes up to £600,000. For more info, see the Mortgage Schemes Guide.
10. And finally... don't think renting is a dirty word. Many, especially younger people, think they must move heaven and earth to buy a house. Don't listen to TV property pushers. Ensure you're financially stable before embarking on such a big commitment - or you could lose the house.

Renting isn't always wrong. When house prices are falling, renters can end up being better off. More help in our 50 Renting Tips guide.

Did you miss?

Get permanently cheap energy
Our new club ensures you're always on the cheapest tariff.
Join free: Cheap Energy Club
Reclaim PPI for FREE
Claims handlers aren't more successful.
Free help & templates: Reclaim PPI

MSE News

Top story: Mobile phone insurance firms told to clean up their act
Sky TV users face 2.5% price hike
Taking cards abroad: Should I tell my bank?
'Bullying' bank ordered to pay up for harassing customer
Mobile roaming costs fall as Croatia joins the EU
PPI mis-selling: Total bill breaks £10 billion barrier
Proud to be a MoneySaver? Pass this on
If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via moneysavingexpert.com/tips
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 3 Jul 2013
New. 18mths interest-free borrowing (plus Tesco points)
If you need to borrow, done right, there's a new LONGEST EVER 0% for spending credit card - and it pays rewards

Tesco's new 0% credit card lets you borrow interest-free. Yet don't borrow willy-nilly, ONLY use it for planned, budgeted-for purchases you can repay within the interest-free period - otherwise the cost will soon outweigh the gain.

  • recurring paymentsNew longest-ever 0% spending card. Accepted new Tesco credit card* holders can spend on the card at 0% for 18mths (16.9% representative APR after) plus they earn 1 Clubcard point per £4 spent anywhere. This is a month longer than Halifax (16.9% rep APR after), where only 51% of accepted applicants get 17mths. Also worth considering:

    Fluid* 16mths 0%, easier to get with poorer credit (16.9% rep APR after).
    NatWest* 15mths 0%, gives a £10 Amazon vouch for signing up (16.9% rep APR after).
    Sainsbury's* 7.8% representative APR, a good long-term low rate (if it tries, card rules let you reject APR rises).
  • Golden rules: 1) Always budget, and plan to repay (or shift debts) before the 0% ends or the rate jumps. 2) Pay at least the monthly min, or you'll lose 0% deals. 3) FULL info & best buys in the Top 0% Spending guide. 4) If you're aiming to cut existing card costs, don't use these, get a top balance transfer card instead. See full APR Examples.
  • Will I be able to get it? With all cards you'll need a reasonable credit score. Our Eligibility Checker shows your chance of getting some of the top cards (though sadly not Tesco yet) without marking your credit file.

FREE boilers (typically worth £2,300) & loft insulation for some. For some on a low income/getting pension credit, four of the big six energy firms now give boilers for nowt - plus insulation. Free Boilers & Loft Insulation

HOT CODES: Gap 20% (incl sale), Debenhams 10% (incl sale), Body Shop 30% and more...
Ends 11.59pm Wed: Debenhams extra 10% incl sale | Gap extra 20% incl sale | Brantano extra 25% off incl sale
Ends later: Body Shop extra 30% incl sale | Hi-Tec Sprint trainers 60% | Sainsbury's £15 off £60 | More Discount Vouchers

TWO cards now give 27mth 0% debt shifts. Barclaycard's* extended its deal allowing accepted new customers to balance transfer debts from other cards to it at 27mth 0% with a 2.99% fee. Tesco's* joined it but with a higher 3.15% fee. Clear the debt or shift again before the 0% ends, or they're 18%-24% rep APR. Full info: Balance Transfers (APR Examples)

FitFlop 50% off. Via sales & codes at 3 different stores. Some for £25. See our full FitFlop Deals rundown.

Warning: Cheap energy fix deals ending. Fix now?
Another cheap deal's been pulled this week. If you want to ensure no price hikes, sooner's likely to be cheaper

EDF canned its cheap Blue tariff this week and replaced it with a more expensive version. While it's summer, switching can take up to two months, so sort it now and you should be set for September when temperatures start to dip. Key info...

TOP NO EXIT-FEE ENERGY FIXES (typical usage)
Fixed until Cost/yr
Avg standard tariff (1) - £1,420
Npower Online Price Fix Feb 2015* (2) 28 Feb 2015 £1,180
Npower Price Fix Sept 2016* (2) 30 Sep 2016 £1,320
EDF Blue+ Price Freeeeze* 2016 (2) 30 Nov 2016 £1,350
Cheapest variable - £1,155
1) Quarterly billing, dual fuel customer. Source: Ofgem. 2) Monthly direct debit, dual fuel. Varies by region.
  • Save £100s and NO PRICE HIKES for up to 3.5 yrs. A fix means your price won't rise. Yet the price you can fix at is rising, so sooner is likely to be cheaper.

    Many on standard tariffs can save £100s doing this. The table (right) shows the cheapest fixes with no exit penalties, so you can leave easily if things change. Yet that's based on typical usage, so always do a comparison (see below).

    As for how long to fix for, that depends whether you prefer the lowest possible bills now, or hike protection for longer. The longer deals would win if prices rise by c.10% each year - which has happened before.
  • Compare, get £30 cashback, a free £40 night in a hotel & price monitoring. To see your price and how these deals stack up, put your usage, postcode and current tariff in our free MSE Cheap Energy Club. It'll compare (click 'top picks' for all these) your exact price, and will monitor to check it's still cheap. Plus, until Mon 4 Aug, switch to the Npower fixes and you get a free night's stay in one of over 100 UK hotels (worth £40-90). More help: Cheap Gas & Elec.

Get unbeatable exchange rates for your hols NOW. Spend on most cards abroad, and a hidden load means £100 of euros costs £103. Yet load-free worldwide cards give perfect exchange rates. Top just for overseas: Halifax Clarity* due to low ATM fees. Top for UK too: Cap One AW* pays up to 1.25% cashback on UK spending too. Always repay IN FULL to avoid 12.9% & 19.9% rep APRs. Full info: Cheap Travel Cards & Eligibility Checker (APR Examples) Top cash rates: TravelMoneyMax.com

Extra 50% off code for Lyle & Scott shirt sale. Works on T-shirts, polo shirts and shirts. Lyle & Scott Deals

60% off photo canvases code (eg, A3 for £19). Plus free £5 for Photobox newbies, no min spend. Photo Deals

New 5% no-fee cashback credit card, great if you've a one-off big spend due. Amex Everyday* pays 5% for the first 3mths (max £100) then 0.5%-1.25% (higher rates the more you spend). Yet repay IN FULL each month or the 19.9% rep APR dwarfs the gain. Full help and more options in Top Cashback Cards and Eligibility Checker. (APR Examples)

La Senza bras £1: Can you find 'em? Sketchy reports from bra hunters (we hope we haven't boobed). La Senza

New. Reclaim regular payments if your bank's refused to cancel
New rules say you're entitled to your money back if a bank refuses to cancel a recurring payment from your card

The regulator, the FCA, gave banks & building societies a kicking on Friday for failing to cancel continuous payment authorities when asked. We've been urging you to reclaim for a while, now it too says you're entitled to the cash back...

  • recurring paymentsIf they ask for your credit/debit card's LONG NUMBER, beware. Recurring payments (also called continuous payment authorities (CPAs)) feel like direct debits but aren't. Often used by payday lenders, adult websites, subscription sites, etc, they allow vendors to take money from your card regularly whenever they think they're owed.
  • Banks must cancel them when asked. Until Nov 2009, you didn't have a right to cancel these at the bank, which meant a nightmare if firms refused. Yet many bank staff remained ignorant of that and refused. Some still do. See Cancel Recurring Payments Help.
  • If they didn't cancel when asked, you're due your money back. You're entitled to all the money paid since then back (unless you were locked into a contract, so owed the money). You can claim back as far as Nov 2009. For full help on this see our new Reclaim Continuous Payment Authorities guide, including template letters.

£24 Burt's Bees lucky dip with code, usually £50. 6 items incl body lotion & lip balm. Burt's Bees Deals

Amex cardholders free £5 at 1,000s of local shops. Register & spend £10+ at thousands of shops, pubs, etc in July and you'll get £5 credit each time (max £50 cashback). Works once per place. Full how-to: Amex Shop Small

Free perfume voucher for O2 custs. A no-min spend vch for Fragrance Shop. We've a list of sub-£10 deals. Fragrance Shop

Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
27mths 0%, 2.99% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

Longest 0%: Tesco*
27mths 0%, 3.15% fee

(18.3-24.2% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

Confused.com*
Google*
Direct Line*
Aviva*
Admiral MultiCar*

Sainsbury's* (£5k - £7.5k)
6.8% rep APR



Derbyshire BS* (£7.5k - £15k)
5% rep APR

Tesco Bank 2% AER
Min £1, no bonus
Online/phone. No transfers

BM Savings 1.75% AER
Min £1, incl bonus
Postal. Transfers allowed

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Cashback site giving £5 if you sign up & spend at Amazon. Newbies only, must give bank details. Quidco Deals

Ending. £100 bank switching bonus + £5/mth if in credit. Switch to the Halifax Reward account till Sun (min pay in £750/mth), and you get £100 & £5/mth each month you're in credit. Full info & alternatives in Best Bank Accs.

30 Avios point-boosting tips
If you are an Avios (formerly Air Miles) collector, there are a host of ways to ensure your points make prizes

The Avios scheme's now bedded in, after much furore when it replaced Air Miles. For many, it's still less generous than its predecessor, as you pay taxes & charges. But our 30 Avios Points Boosters can push it (baby), push it real good, incl...

  • aviosBook short-haul flights ASAP. Taxes & charges on its economy Reward Saver flights are currently £30 return, rising to £35 if you book from Thu 11 Jul.
  • You pay nowt if you redeem on Eurostar. Swap Avios for Eurostar return tickets instead of flights and there are no taxes to pay, making it an excellent exchange.
  • DOUBLE flights with top pick Avios credit card. BA's Amex* gives 1 Avios per £1 spent, plus 9,000 more if you spend £1,000 in the first 3mths. Use it for all spending & repay your card IN FULL each month (or it's 15.9% rep APR) to bag serious points for nowt. Its real boon's for big spenders. Put £20k+/yr on it (eg, expenses) and get a 'companion voucher' giving a 2for1, even biz class, when you redeem. Full options: Top Avios Cards (APR Example)
  • Tesco shopper? Time your Avios trade-in. Tesco shoppers can convert £10 in Clubcard vouchers into 2,400 pts. Yet periodically it's boosted this up to 4,000, so if you've no plans to use Avios yet, hold off until there's a promo.
  • Long-haul biz class gives high cash equivalency. On long haul flights, economy taxes & charges can cost similar to a full fare on cheap airlines. Yet business tends to be far better value (based on sky-high list prices). If you like luxury, it's a winner. Use Avios on an economy BA New York return and 1,000 are worth £2.10 - on a biz return they're worth £13.

Tesco 5p/L off fuel with £50 spend. Plus 5p/L off Shell with £50 Waitrose spend ends today (Wed). Cheap Petrol

"Time to cap payday loan costs." Our call at this week's payday loan summit. Coming soon: Our payday loans guide.

Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Gas & Electricity Bank Accounts Home Insurance Landlines
Compare, switch & get cashback

Cheap Energy Club
£30 dual fuel

Energyhelpline*
£15 per switch

MoneySupermarket*
£30 dual fuel

uSwitch*
£40 wine voucher

First Direct*
£100 bonus and top cust service


Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

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

Confused.com*
CompareTM*
Direct Line*
Aviva*

Post Office*
with eve & wkend calls
£13.25/mth



BT Line Rental Saver*
£11.75/mth (pay a yr upfront)
Do a Money Makeover Budget Planner MSE car sticker £16 Travel Insurance

Restaurant vouchers

Discount vouchers & Sales

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
The MoneySaving Community

THE GREAT HUNT
What's the best currency to take to Turkey, Israel, Laos and more?
The local currency isn't best in every country. So if you travel abroad regularly, we'd like to know which countries you found you were better off taking dollars, pounds or euros to, so we can collect the info. Share yours/read others': Which countries accept currencies other than their own? Past topics: View all

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK
Have you taken a payday loan since November 2012?

If so, Citizens Advice would love to hear your views via its quick and confidential payday problems survey. Did your lender stick to the rules? Did it help if you got into debt problems? Share your stories to help it ensure payday lenders act fairly. Suggest a campaign: This is for MSE to support work by other charities, groups and campaigners. Send your campaign of the week suggestion.

NEW CRAFTING MONEYSAVING BOARD
Secret sewers and canny cross-stitchers ? this is for you

You'd think home-made would be cheaper than shop-bought but materials can cost an arm and a leg. So this new board is on saving money from crocheting to quilting, scrapbooking to painting, all arts and crafts. Discussions include Making cards - ideas, Stitching group start-up and Share your current makes. See new Crafting MoneySaving Board.

BOOK GIVEAWAY:
Historical Tweets.
25 blagged for MoneySavers. Want one?

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA
Should I snitch on a cashback 'womble'?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... I recently learned my colleague who looks after staff hotel bookings does it via a cashback website, after she boasted she can get up to £80 back per booking. I don't know what the rules are, but surely the company should get the benefit? Should I report her to management? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I snitch on cashback 'womble'? | Suggest an MMD | View Past MMDs

CHEAP FLIGHT SALES ALERT
Airline: Ryanair Price: From £22.99 each way Ends: Thu 4 Jul
Our pick this week is Ryanair. The sale's on till Thu 4 Jul, it includes some taxes & charges. It's for flights until Mon 30 Sep to 18 destinations from UK airports. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £60 return max search. Extra charges warning: Avoid payment and check-in charges - see the Budget Airline Fee Fighting guide. Related: Cheap Flights, Cheap Hotels, Spending Abroad, Cheap Currency, Travel Insurance

THE GREAT HUNT... REVEALED:
What to buy or not to buy in pound shops
It seems pound shops have upped their game. Your picks include camping equipment (though not 10L water carriers, apparently), stationery and, surprisingly, pregnancy tests. Items to avoid include bike pumps and umbrellas.

Quick forum tips

Freebies

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances

4 July
Daybreak, ITV, 7.35am-7.45am.
Deals of the Week.
8 July
This Morning, ITV, 11am-12pm.
Consumer rights.

MSE team corner

Board of the week

The Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning Board

Share advice and tips on keeping holiday costs down. Discussions include Rome - Alone, One day in Calais - what to do? and Ryanair surname change.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 116.68 105.92
US Flag $ 152.45 138.40
Turkish Flag TL 293.24 260.55
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: How much should MPs be paid?

How much do you think MPs should be paid? (rough equivalent average salaries for a variety of professions)

Poll results

Do you agree with reducing the number of energy tariffs?
Over half of voters think prices should be regulated - or that energy firms should be nationalised.

- 52% voted for regulated prices or nationalisation.
- 28% voted for a few simple tariffs.
- 20% voted for many tariffs, as we have now.

4,180 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

Q: We get council tax support. Do we need to tell them we've reclaimed £16,000 PPI? Tina, by email.

MSE Wendy's A: To apply for any income-based benefit, including council tax reduction, you need to declare both your income and capital (this includes any savings you have). There are a couple of ways in which a PPI refund could affect you.

1) If the refund takes your total savings over the 'upper capital limit', you'll stop being eligible for any council tax reduction. This limit is usually £16,000, but it can depend on the rules set by your local council. Below this limit, the amount of support you're entitled to could be reduced. 2) The interest on savings usually counts as income, which again could lower the help you can get.

If you think you fall into either of these categories, talk to your council. You'll also be asked when you come to renew your application next year. Remember, the amount of your PPI refund will be worth far more than the effect to your benefits, so don't let the potential for these changes put you off reclaiming. See our PPI Reclaiming guide for more info.

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

 Archna's free game of the week: Night Lights

Does your computer screen need a clean?

Is the screen you're reading this on a bit smeary? Try this handy screen-wash (clue: you will either find this cute or rePUGnant...): Spit and Span.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

Important. Please read how MoneySavingExpert.com 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.

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More about MoneySaving Expert and Martin Lewis

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Founded in February 2003, it's now the UK's biggest consumer help website with over 6 million people getting this email and nearly 10m using the site. In September 2012 it became part of the MoneySupermarket Group PLC. Its focus is simple: how to save cash and fight for financial justice on anything and everything. The site has over 30 full time staff about half 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, he's an ultra-focused money saving journalist and consumer campaigner. He has regular slots on Daybreak, Lorraine, Radio 2 Vine, BBC1 Watchdog, Radio 5 Consumer panel and presents ITV Tonight. He is a columnist for amongst others the Sunday Post as well as an author. More info: See Martin Lewis' biog

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