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04th Jul 2012
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 This info may be out of date.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."

04 July 2012
Martin's Quick Briefing

Bank a b*****d? Don't whinge, leave
GAIN £100s, improve service & ethics with 10 must-knows

It's hard to believe banks' reputations could get worse. But the RBS/NatWest screw-up and Barclays' moral bankruptcy have sunk them even lower. Let this be a catalyst for EVERYONE to ask: "Can I get a better bank?" Most big banks, incl Barclays and NatWest, have poor rates and bog-standard service ratings.

1. Switching bank isn't the hassle it was. Banks' switching services move direct debits & standing orders for you. You just need to tell those who pay you (eg, employers) the new details. My tip is keep your old account open for a few months, with minimal funds, as a back-up.
2. Banks will PAY YOU to switch. There's a price war on, full top deals info in Best Bank Accounts. Here's a taster - all require a credit check.

First Direct: £100 bonus, top service, 8% savings. Min salary £23,000. First Direct's* customer service scored an unbeatable 90% 'great' in our poll and it pays £100 to switch. It charges 0% on overdrafts up to £250, 15.9% above. No in-credit interest, but there's a linked 8% regular savings.

Santander: Up to 3% cashback & interest. Min salary £6,000. The Santander* 123 account is £2/mth but you can make far more via cashback on bills, eg, 1% coun tax, 2% energy, 3% phones & up to 3% interest. Beware £1/day overdraft & poor service. See Santander Right For Me?

Halifax: £100 bonus, plus £5/mth. Min salary: £14,000. Halifax's Reward pays a £100 bonus, plus £5 per month. Don't get if you ever go overdrawn. It's £1/day min and that's due to rise. Customer service ain't hot.

3. bank credit cardStruggling to get accepted? Ask for a basic bank account. These don't credit score you (though you need ID) as they don't offer overdrafts. Make sure you ask for their application forms, or you'll get standard ones and then be rejected. Full help & tips in our Basic Bank Accounts guide.
4. Is ethical banking an oxymoron? Ethical Consumer (EC) rates companies out of 20 based on the environment, human & animal rights and politics. Over 12 is a good score - here are our top accounts that hit this.

Nationwide: Free travel insurance. Min salary: £9,600. Nationwide* offers Europe travel insurance (up to 75) + well-rated service.

Co-op: The Co-op's* EC's top ethical pick for its unique campaigning brand. Unexpectedly, its overall score is 7.5 as its shops' rating lowers it.

Norwich & Peterborough. N&P Building Society has unbeatable debit card exchange rates. Find out more in Cheap Overseas Spending.

Other high scorers incl Metro Bank, Leeds BS, Cumberland BS & Coventry BS.
5. Pay a monthly fee? Are you a winner, or just a loser? Multiply the fee by 12 to get its annual cost (so £25/mth is £300/yr). Now use our insurance guides to see how much the 'included insurance' you actually use would cost on its own. It's often less, in which case, DITCH IT. If not, are there better deals? Nationwide's* no-fee account includes travel insurance, or...

Co-op, incl family world travel, 4 x mobile & breakdown insurance. If you would actually use them all, the Co-op's* £13/mth (£156/yr) is corking value. You can get it for £9.50/mth* without breakdown cover.

6. Use your bank's credit card? It's likely you're being ripped off. If you've had a card over a year, you're likely overpaying.

Got debts? Cards usually charge 15%+, yet new cardholders with decent credit can shift debts to Barclaycard's* 22 mths 0% (2.9% fee). After that it jumps to 17.9% representative APR. Full options in Top Balance Transfers.

Fully repay every month? Make 'em pay - even with poor credit. Capital One* pays 5% cashback for 3 mths then up to 1.25% after. Poor credit scorers can get Aqua's* 3% cashback (max £100). Full info in Top Cashback Cards. Fail to repay and they're 19.9% and 34.9% representative APR. See Official APRs.
7. Fed up with banks? Try a non-profit local credit union instead. There are 500 UK-wide, some offer bank accounts, all do savings & loans. There's the same £85,000 per person protection as banks, and the Govt's just given £38m extra funding. Find your nearest in our Credit Unions guide.
8. Warning - Halifax, Lloyds & Co-op raising overdraft charges. Halifax is increasing daily fees for bigger overdrafts (see Halifax overdraft news). Lloyds is upping interest by up to 3% points, but will boost its no-fee buffer zone to £40 for most (see Lloyds overdraft news). Co-op & Smile will increase their overdraft interest by up to 4% points (see Co-op overdraft news).
9. Reclaim cash from old accounts. There are billions unclaimed in forgotten accounts (or those of deceased relatives). Check if you've Cash to Reclaim.
10. If struggling, don't bank or save where you've got debts. If you've debts where you bank, the nasty setting off rule means if you're behind, it can take cash without warning to pay debts. See the Setting Off guide.

Have you saved? Tell your mates

If this site or email has ever helped you, please forward this email to friends and suggest they get it themselves via

Use the Money Mantras If you're skint, ask - do I need it, can I afford it If you aren't, ask Will I use it, Is it worth it?

The Ones Not To Miss

Wed 4 Jul 2012
£16 for a year's travel insurance
Booked your holiday? Arrange cover ASAP | New tool finds the right best buys for you

Don't book insurance with your holiday, you'll usually overpay. But do get it at the same time - or if a trip's cancelled, you're stuck. We've revamped our Cheap Travel Insurance guide, including a new tool to find YOUR best cover. Here's a taster.

  • Choose 'cheapest' or 'top value'. Our cheapest picks are the lowest cost FSA-regulated policies with our min cover levels. Our top value picks are subjective, including a past payout record, extraordinary circumstances such as volcanoes, plus feedback. Even then, insurance is about unexpected events, so you can't predict everything.
  • A year's cover for £16, or £34 for a family. Go away just twice a year (incl weekends) and annual policies usually win. Here are the best buys for u-65s (prices depend on age). If you do a full comparison, slightly cheaper deals are possible via MoneySupermarket*. FULL best buys in Cheap Travel Insurance.

Cheapest Europe

Cheapest worldwide

Top value picks include


18-40 Travel Guard* £16-£20
Protect Yr Bubble* £28
55-64 Diamond £34

18-54 Protect Your Bubble* £30-£33
55-64 Diamond £41

Top pick: Direct Travel*
Europe £37-£59 World £57-£91
Add £20 for catastrophe cover

Family / Couple

18-54 Protect Your Bubble* £34-£38
55-64 Diamond £48

18-54 Protect Your Bubble* £42-£46
55-64 Diamond £58

Top pick: Direct Travel*
Eur £71-£113 World £109-£172
Add £40 for catastrophe cover

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Amazon 20% clothes & shoes code (gets £36 Hunter wellies). Up to 5 items. The giant e-tailer has a huge range of brands and clothes. See Amazon Deals. Related: Amazon Discount Finder

24hr FLASH euro & dollar sale + free £80 tastecard. From 9am Thurs, ICICI's* boosting rates for 24 hrs. Plus order £600+ worth, and get a 12-mth tastecard (gives 2for1ish at 1,000s of restaurants). To see how good its rates are, use our Travel Money Comparison.

Domino's 50% off £15 code. Use on any £15+ pizza for delivery/collection. Ends Sun: Domino's Deals

Reclaim PPI for FREE - revenge on the banks' biggest rip-off
Don't fall for cold calls, DIY | Even if loan or card's gone, you may still be owed £1,000s

While banks are rightly flogged for interest rate manipulation, let's not forget the big one. They have already paid out £4bn in PPI mis-selling claims since they lost in court a year ago, and they've put a further £5bn aside to pay new claims.

  • reclaim for freeDon't assume 'it's not me'. If you got or had a credit card, store card, mortgage, overdraft, catalogue loan or car finance in the last 10-15 years, you may have been mis-sold PPI alongside it WITHOUT KNOWING.
  • Don't listen to cold callers. There's no need to pay to reclaim. Reclaiming is now easy to DIY for most people. Our Free PPI Loan Reclaiming and Credit & Store Card PPI Reclaiming guides include full template letters and FAQs ("I've no paperwork" or "how do I know if I was mis-sold?"). Claims firms take 30% of what you get, so on £5,000 that's £1,500 (see Martin's 10 Need-To-Knows About Claims Firms blog).
  • Recent success stories. Don't just take our word, successes come in daily. These via Twitter (@MartinSLewis).
    "Used MSE PPI claim guide rather than claims company and received a cheque for over £43,000. All mine & no fees."
    "Thank you for PPI advice. Filled it out on a whim, didn't think I would get a penny. Got £1,500."
    "PPI refund from Halifax, £2,532. Add that to £3,361 from HSBC a few months ago and I'm a very happy girl."
Back to top ^

Free Optical Express £15 eye test. Book online for instant specs appeal (sorry). See Glasses Deals

Havaianas £10 flip-flops. Back online & in store (limited stock). Hugely popular last time. Matalan Deals

Easy-to-get 3% cashback card - earn £100. A reminder about the Aqua* card, which even some with past CCJs can get. It pays 3% every time you spend, up to £100/yr (£3,333 spend) + gives cheap spending overseas. Only apply if you fully repay each month, or it's a big 34.9% rep APR. Full info: Cashback Cards & Official APRs

Free £6 laundry liquid, Dairylea tub & pizza. Buy 'em, get refund, see Supermarket Coupons.

Have phone, will roam? EU cuts cost of using data abroad
It's cheaper but BEWARE | Find free wi-fi hotspots | Grab data bundle | Get specialist Sim

New EU data rules came in on Sunday. Take your mobile around the EU and you now can't be charged over 69p/MB. (It's still horrid elsewhere, eg, Three in Canada's £10/MB.) Plus now use €50+ of 3G data abroad (EU and beyond) and you'll be cut off, unless you arrange a higher limit (you can reduce it too). Full help and tips in our Data Roaming guide. Here are a few quickies:

  • data roamingDo you know the difference between 3G and wi-fi? Use 3G and you pay your mobile provider for data via your mobile's signal - abroad, this can cost large. Wi-fi means your handset accesses a fast local connection. Many cost nothing (find via Jiwire, Locations or Hotspot) or have a one-off charge. If poss, turn 3G off & only use wi-fi.
  • Beware hidden data use and NEVER watch TV on 3G. Many apps and programs routinely check for updates via 3G in the background. This can use 100+MBs, costing big money. If you're keeping 3G on, turn apps off to save on costs. Even worse is watching TV, vids or streaming music via 3G. This has led to jaw-crashing £1,000+ holiday mobile bills.
  • Ask for 'don't ask, don't get' discounts. Many providers offer special roaming bundles, eg, Three's Euro Internet Pass costs £5/day for unlimited data. Yet this will opt you out of the €50 cut-off. See Cheap Data Bundles.
  • Big data user? Switch Sim. If your provider's offering isn't hot, and you're visiting just one country, get a local Sim. If you travel around and have an unlocked mobile, pre-paid Sims can cut the cost as low as €0.39/MB, even in US/Canada. Full details and picks in Pre-paid Sims.

Full info on all this in the Updated Guide: Cheap Data Roaming. Coming next week: Mobile calls & text roaming.

Back to top ^

Travel by train? Free 20% off station eateries card. 20% off coach & rail station food, incl BK & Upper Crust. Already got one? You need to re-register. See Bite Card

Knickers coming down - £40 Gossard undies £16. We promise we didn't just include this so Martin could do his favourite pun - it's a decent deal. Pay £16 to get £40 spend. While stocks last. See Gossard Deals

Click titles for full info & all top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
22 mths 0%, 2.9% fee

(17.9% rep APR)

Low fee 0%: Barclaycard*
16 mths 0%, 1.6% fee

(17.9% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Sainsbury's* (£5k - £7.5k)
7.5% rep APR
(Need Nectar card)

Sainsbury's* (£7.5 - £15k)
5.8% rep APR

(Need Nectar card)

Santander* 3.3% AER
Min £2,500. Incl bonus.
Top for transfers

Marks and Spencer*
3% Min £100, Clean rate. Transfers Allowed
See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Debenhams & possible Dotty P 10% SALES codes. Boost discount on existing reductions. Plus 20% off at Sunglasses Shop. See Discount Vouchers

Instant Alton Towers 2for1. Starts Wed. Click 'n' print voucher for any July day. See Alton Towers Deals

Tell friends about us. They can get this free every week.

People Tree £35 clothes goody bag. Lucky dip of £150 of last season's Fairtrade clothes. People Tree

£2 Accessorize earrings & purses, £7 bags. Up to 50% off sale. Accessorize deals

New 5.8% APR loan - cheapest since 2007
Loan price war | Rates are dropping for bigger borrowing | Still costly for under £5,000

Last week, Derbyshire cut its rate. This week, BAM. The previous best buy, Sainsbury's, hit back. Yet while rates are cheap, don't borrow unless you need to. Keep the debt to a minimum, budget to ensure affordability and repay ASAP. Full help in Cheap Loans, here's a taster. All require credit checks (see Loan or Card official APR examples).

Cheapest representative APRs for standard loans
£5,000 to £7,500 Sainsbury's* (1) 7.5% for 1-3yrs, 7.6% for 4-5 yrs. Derbyshire BS* (2) & Santander are 7.6%
£7,500 to £15,000 Sainsbury's* (1) 5.8% for 1-3yrs, 5.9% for 4-5yrs. Derbyshire* (2) 5.9%
Over £15,000 Sainsbury's* (1) 7.6% for 1-3yr, 7.7% for 4-5yrs. Derbyshire* (2) & Clydesdale 7.7%
(1) Requires Nectar card (2) Exclusive via MoneySupermarket (link goes there)

  • Get no-credit-impact quote. Loans are 'representative APRs', so only 51% of accepted applicants need get that rate; the rest can pay more. Worse, to find out, you must apply, which marks your credit file. Uniquely, for £7,500+ loans, Nationwide's* 6.8% rep APR (6.3% existing customers) gives a quote without formal application.

For more options, including peer-to-peer borrowing, and how to borrow for UNDER £5,000, see the Cheap Loans guide.

Back to top ^
Forum Hottie

Book sale: 100s £1 books, or Jamie Oliver £5, Charlaine Harris £3. Online sale, big discounts on 100s of kids 'n' grown up titles. Forumites love it. See The Book People Deals

Krispy Kreme instant 2for1 dozen voucher. 24 for half the dough. See Krispy Kreme Deals

60 tricks to boost your income
New - get paid to walk into stores | Flog stuff for cash | Don't want to flog it? Rent it out

Nowt beats a good day's pay for a good day's work. But if you're looking to rake in a little more, our 60 Tricks To Boost Your Income guide can add to the coffers. Or compete in the forum's make £10 a day challenge. Here's a taster.

  • boost your incomeNew. Earn £110/yr popping into shops. A cashback site's relaunched an app that pays you just for entering 70 stores, incl Apple, Debenhams & Phones4U. So swing by a participating Homebase, check in & it credits 50p. See Get Paid To Enter Stores.
  • Do you have unused assets worth £100s or £1,000s? Stop hoarding - declutter for cash. An easy way to start is our Mobile Phone Selling Comparison tool for old handsets, iPods, cameras etc. Flog a mint iPhone 3GS 8GB and the worst payer gives just £47, the best £125. Once you've a taste for it, see the Flog What You've Got section.
  • Can't flog it? Rent it - spare rooms, cars, parking spaces. It's not just selling. You can let your spare room, storage space or even your car. See the Rent It Out For Cash section of the Boost Your Income guide.
Back to top ^

Free £10 A Place In The Sun B'ham tix. NEC, 28-30 Sep. Register online. A Place In The Sun Deals

Convert BMI miles to Avios | Double Avios with Lloyds. BMI miles holders can switch (see how on the BA site), plus Lloyds Duo cardholders can activate double points in July. See Avios news

Olympics £10 camping. 8 in London. In-tent on avoiding pricey hotels during Games? See Olympics Deals

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

£15 per switch

£30 dual fuel

8 bottles of wine

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...

Direct Line*
Get quotes in this order...

Primus Line Rental Saver*
£6.29/mth (pay a yr upfront)

BT Line Rental Saver*
£10.75/mth (pay a yr upfront)
Do a Money Makeover Budget Planner MSE car sticker £16 Travel Insurance

the moneysaving community

spill beans

Spill the beans... on getting deposits back from landlords
It should be simple. You give a deposit on the agreement you leave the property as you found it. Yet for many tenants, getting money back isn't simple. Some landlords try to keep cash no matter what, often charging extortionate amounts for cleaning or damage. This week, we want your tips on how best to get your deposit back with least hassle. Spill 'em: Get your deposit back Past topics: View all

Campaign of the week

Disabled, or care for disabled child & claim benefits? Please help
There's a study into how the new universal credit will affect those with disabilities. Citizens Advice, The Children's Society and Disability Rights UK would like you to take a quick survey to help their research. Spotted a campaign? This space is for MSE to support the work done by other charities, community groups and campaigners. Send us a Campaign of the Week suggestion.

Money Moral Dilemma

She dumped my son - should I make her pay for the holiday?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
I booked a holiday for me, my partner, our son and his girlfriend to go to Orlando using air miles for the flight. The four tickets cost nothing, but taxes worked out at £450 for each seat, plus £80 for a connecting flight. We didn't ask our son's girlfriend to contribute. She dumped him last week. Should we ask her to pay for the taxes and economy ticket cost? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should my son's ex pay for holiday? Previous MMDs: View all Suggest: A Money Moral Dilemma

Book Giveaway RESULT. Polish For Dummies. 30 blagged for MoneySavers. Check your inbox to find out if you got one. Fajne.

Cheap Flight Sales

Monarch Code: £15 off return Ends Wed 4 Jul
Our pick this week is Monarch's £15 off return flights using code SALETIME. It's on routes for travel till Sun 21 Oct 2012, and includes most taxes and fees. Flights include London to Venice for about £50. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £50 each-way 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

Back to top ^

Cutting the cost of home printing. Spill the beans... revealed
Last week's topic sparked some debate in the forum, but most agreed it's cheaper to print everyday documents at home. Using draft/economy mode can save ink and doing a quick price comparison can save reams on paper costs. If you print a lot, it might be worth learning how to refill your ink cartridges, which can save a lot in the long run.

Cheap Travel Money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 124.01 112.46
US Flag $ 156.16 141.79
Turkish Flag TL 275.25 246.72
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Rank your bank's characteristics in the most important order.

Poll Results

Would you avoid tax if you could?

A whopping 21,000 of you voted in last week's topical poll about tax, with a massive 45% of you saying you'd avoid tax Jimmy Carr-style so long as it was legal. Only 10% of you would break the law, whereas 14% would keep it legit. See Full Results.

Question Of The Week

Q: On a store's eBay site an exercise bike was advertised at £70. Now it says the correct price is £90 and it won't sell for less. Alan, by email.

MSE Wendy's A: I'm sorry, the store said "we retain the right not to sell if there is an error", and that is legally correct. Shops don't have to sell anything to you if they don't want to, regardless of price. Yet if they deliberately mislead you with false prices, that's criminal.

Online contracts are only binding when goods have been paid for AND delivered. Until then, the store has the right to correct any mistakes.

If something is wrongly priced don't be afraid to try to haggle. Although it doesn't have to, the retailer may sell it to you at a knockdown price as a gesture of goodwill. See the Consumer Rights guide.

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

Board Of The Week

The Motoring, Public Transport & Cycling Board

Share offers and tips on vehicles and travelling. Recent discussions include haggling with a used car dealer, M6 where to get petrol? and Driving Test Dilemma.

Back to top ^
Game Of The Week


Try the Google Translate beatbox...

That's it for this week, but before we go, who'd have thought translating into German could be so much fun? Try the Google Translate beatbox.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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