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WEEKLY EMAIL

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This email was sent
10th May 2017
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 This info may be out of date.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."

10 May 2017
         
 
THE TOP TIPS IN THIS EMAIL
Ends Thu: MSE Big Energy Switch 7 - save £280/yr & stop being ripped off
New. Free £20 + cheap overseas spending
Four ways to slash overdraft costs
'Thought I wasn't stupid enough to have PPI. Then I reclaimed £5,000'
Psst. Wanna know where supermarkets hide bargains?
£5 off any £25+ train ticket code
New. Longest-ever 0% spending card
10 kids' books for £10 all-in
Paris, NYC, Rome etc MoneySaving
£3 'Grow Your Own' book & seeds
FREE tix to This Morning Live show
Premium Bond rate cut - worth it?
Free Mental Health & Debt booklet
£8 Kurt Geiger shoes code
Trick to find the cheapest forecourt
£75 Ciaté for £19 all-in
 

ENDS 10PM THU: MSE Big Energy Switch Event 7

Our special deal saving typically £280/yr is ending - time to stop yourself being ripped off


EnergyThis is your last chance to join the thousands switching to a special tariff in our latest Big Energy Switch. Forget the up to £100 annual saving in the Tories' proposed price cap (which could take ages to come in), our deal saves a typical £280/yr all-in on big six standard tariffs.

Yet it ends tomorrow (Thu) at 10pm and we've only 32,000 left. So ACT QUICK if you want to grab it. For those who have, savings can be huge. Jane tweeted: "Used the Cheap Energy Club link @MoneySavingExp and I'm now saving £69 per month (£828/yr) thanks to you." And Zella wrote: "£412/yr saving. Thank you."

Are you eligible for Big Switch 7? A collective switch is where firms bid to provide energy through a trusted provider (such as us or a council). Regulator Ofgem's rules mean you need to be pre-registered, but if you get this email YOU COUNT, provided you were signed up by 23 April. You must use the same email though. Members of our Cheap Energy Club up to the same date also count.

So speed straight over and do a quick Cheap Energy Club comparison. Even if not pre-registered for the collective you can still compare and save big, but you won't see our winner, below.
Our winner. Green Star Energy 1-year fix. The Green Star Energy Rate Saver 12month Fixed MSE tariff is available across Britain (but sadly not NI) and the rate's locked in for a year - though of course what you pay varies with usage.

It's available for dual fuel AND gas-only AND elec-only AND Eco 7. You can pay by monthly (cheapest way) or quarterly direct debit, or quarterly cash or cheque, but NOT prepay.

More on Green Star... It's a decent-sized provider which has been around since 2013, has nearly 200,000 customers and is owned by a large Canadian company. Plus, it's taken part in our Big Switches before and has been well received in previous collectives.

How it compares for someone with typical usage
Avg price on Ofgem typical dual-fuel direct-debit use (varies by region)

Typical cost: Current avg Big 6 standard tariff: £1,138/yr
MSE Big Switch: Green Star fix: £884/yr + £30 MSE cashback: £854/yr
Next-cheapest fix: Green Network Energy: £878/yr, no cashback

Get YOUR EXACT PRICE & saving via a full market comparison

PS: New provider One Select has launched a fix it says beats these on price. It hasn't yet provided data for our comparison, so we can't compare it. We've no details of its customer service, capacity to cope if lots apply or financial strength, so it's your call.


- We give you £30 dual-fuel (£15 single-fuel) cashback: For tariffs where we get paid if you switch (we show all regardless of whether we do or not), we share roughly half in cashback, so it's win-win. To help we've now a filter to order savings including cashback, and the links above default to that.

- Boosted customer service: Green Star got 56% 'great' feedback in our last customer service poll, though that's based on just a few votes. We've also negotiated bolstered support, so it has a special help team just for this. And while Green Star is responsible for the tariff, we take our bit seriously, so if something goes wrong, and it won't help, let us know and we'll try to help.

- Early exit penalties:
There are £30 per fuel exit penalties, though if you move home, it says it'll waive them. Existing Green Star customers also won't pay exit fees if they switch to this.

- NO credit check and NO upfront payment needed:
Unlike others.

- You CAN'T get the Warm Home Discount: If you get it, this likely isn't for you. Instead do a quick comparison and use our 'Warm Home Discount' filter.

- It's not a renewable tariff: Green Star sometimes offers them (which tend to be costlier), and tries to get as much of its energy as it can from renewable sources, but our deal isn't certain to be.

Want to ask Martin a question on this?
He'll be doing a Facebook Live at 2.30pm today (Wed), post your questions about switching, the collective, saving, the energy price cap & more.

No bidders for green, prepaid & long fixes, but you CAN save. As always, we tried to get a deal for each of these, but no supplier would bid, never mind offer a market-leading tariff. Yet there are still some good deals on the open market. So here's what to do...

- Cheapest Green Tariff: Just do a quick comparison and click the '100% renewable' box in the filter on our results page.

- Cheapest Prepaid Tariff:
Just do a quick prepaid comparison - make sure you select prepayment options when filling in the form.

- Cheapest 'Long Fixes': To lock in for longer to save you from having to switch as often, and protect against future hikes, you usually pay a slightly higher rate (though many still save). So we pull out the best long fix in our top picks comparison.

The MSE Big Switch Event 7 FAQs
For more detailed answers, see the full MSE collective FAQs


Q. I switched a year ago, why is this more expensive? Unfortunately the cost of the cheapest deals has risen by 21% since last May, as wholesale costs have risen. And we can't beat the market. But this is one of the cheapest available now - it'll still save an average £280/yr versus big six standard rates.

Q. What practically happens when I switch? Very little. No one visits your home. You don't lose supply. Just give your new supplier a meter reading and then after a few weeks in the background you're switched. It's the same gas, same electricity, same safety - only price & service charge.

Q. What info do I need to switch? It's best to have a bill, and input kilowatt hours (kWh) into Cheap Energy Club, rather than cost. Yet DON'T WORRY if you don't know your usage, Cheap Energy Club helps guesstimate. While the answer won't be perfect, it's usually far better than doing nowt.

Q. Why must I compare cost? Can't I just click a link and get the deal? Exact costs vary by region & usage, so it's important you see how it compares to the rest of the market - on principle we do a full comparison with our collectives.

Q. I'm on a fix now - should I switch to this? Do a comparison and see if you'll save, factoring in any exit fees and the length the fix is protecting you from price hikes. Remember, if you've 49 days or fewer until your fix ends your supplier CAN'T charge exit fees anyway.

Q. How does Cheap Energy Club work? It does 3 things:

1) We show your exact price & saving, & compare to ALL market tariffs.
2) You get £30 dual-fuel cashback (£15 single-fuel) any time we switch you. It's sent roughly 60-90 days later.
3) We check for better deals. You set a 'trigger saving', eg, £150/yr, then we alert you if you can save this by switching again.

Q. I've heard about an energy price cap - should I wait for that? The Conservatives' plan to cap energy prices (should they win the election) is aimed at helping those who have never switched. They claim it'll save people on "poor value tariffs" up to £100/yr. But switching will likely save much more, with our collective saving a typical £280/yr.

The big energy companies also say a cap could force the price of the cheapest deals up, meaning switch incentives may not be as strong. So however you look at it, it makes sense to switch now.

Quick FAQs:

Q. Can I switch if with an independent gas transporter? Yes, see IGT help.
Q. I'm in credit - will I get it back if I switch? Yes. See Reclaim credit.
Q. I'm in debt - can I switch? Yes, usually - see Switching in debt help.
Q. Can I switch if I'm renting? Yes. See our Renters' switching info.
Q. Can I see the standing charge and kWh costs? They vary by region, so we display YOUR exact cost in the Cheap Energy Club comparison result.
Q. Can I switch if I've solar panels & a feed-in tariff? Yes. Solar & FIT info
Q. I'm on a smart meter. Can I switch? Yes, but you may lose functionality. Smart meters & switching info
Q. Can I get paper bills on the Green Star deal? Yes but for £15/yr if you've dual fuel. See paper bills.
Q. Is paying by direct debit cheapest? Yes, but do regular meter readings.
Q. Can suppliers put my price up on a cheap fix? The rate's fixed, yet use more (or if it's estimated you will) & the direct debit can rise. See Fight Unfair Direct Debits.
Q. Can I pick a date for when my switch will happen? We get asked this over and over - sadly, providers don't let you do this. See Switching FAQs.
Q. Can I get this in Northern Ireland? Sadly no, but see Cheap Northern Ireland Energy for help.

 
 
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New. Get PAID £20 to get near-perfect rates on spending abroad

Halifax Clarity's been one of our top overseas spending picks for years. Now newbies get an extra bonus


If you're going abroad a specialist credit card is a no-brainer. They're dead easy to use - just stick one in your overseas wallet for spending every time you go away. As they have no exchange fees you get the near-perfect rate the banks get every time. Just make sure you set up a direct debit to repay IN FULL. Sort one now because they take time to arrive, and as with any card you'll be credit-checked. Full details in Overseas Spending Cards, but in brief...

  • HalifaxNew. Get £20 cashback with top overseas card. One of our long-term top picks, Halifax Clarity (eligibility calc / apply*) just got better. Apply, then buy anything abroad by 30 Sep and you'll get £20 cashback within 90 days. Repay IN FULL - or it's 18.9% rep APR on spending and cash, though you pay small interest on ATM withdrawals till they're paid off.

  • Will you get it? As it's a top credit card you need to pass a credit check, and not everyone will get it. So use our Overseas Card Eligibility Calc, which lists most of the top overseas spending cards to see which you've the best chance of getting. If you've stronger odds of getting another, you may as well apply for that one instead.

  • Need cash? Use our tool for the best rates. Speedily compare 30+ bureaux with our TravelMoneyMax holiday money comparison tool to find the cheapest travel cash near you. The app (iPhone or Android) does the same plus has functions such as storing details of your plastic to show which is your cheapest way to pay.

 

Psst. Wanna know where supermarkets hide top bargains? Eg, cotton buds 75% cheaper in the baby aisle. See Well, aisle never.


3,000 codes for £5 off any £25+ train ticket. MSE Blagged. Works with railcards, £1 booking fee. All aboard


New. Longest-EVER 0%-interest credit card for spending. Accepted new cardholders can now pay zero interest for 31mths on new borrowing from Sainsbury's Bank (eligibility calc / apply*). Plus, spend four times in Sainsbury's in the first mth and you'll get 5,000 bonus Nectar pts worth £25. For more options, incl free £30 cashback, see Top 0% Spending Cards (APR Examples). Warning: Only borrow if it's planned & budgeted, never miss a min repayment & clear before the 0% ends or it's 18.9% rep APR.


10 kids' books £10 incl Mr Men. MSE Blagged. Or 6 books for grown-ups for £10, ends Sun. Cheap reads


Off to Paris, NYC, Amsterdam, Rome, Barcelona, Costa del Sol? Check our MoneySaving guides. See 30 Paris tips | 36 Barcelona tips | 34 New York tips | 26 Amsterdam tips | 21 Rome tips | 43 Costa del Sol tips


£3 'Grow Your Own' seeds & book bundle (norm £20+). MSE Blagged. 6 seed packs incl salad leaves, tomatoes. 6,000 avail. Sow good

 

BLAGGED FOR MSE

- £5 off any £25+ train ticket code 3,000 available

- 10 kids' books £10 incl Mr Men Ends Sun

- £3 'Grow Your Own' seeds & book bundle (norm £20+) 6,000 bundles available

- 20% extra off Kurt Geiger shoes code Ends Sun

- £75 Ciaté nail polish collection £19 all-in 800 available

DID YOU MISS?

- Cut your mobile phone bill in half

- One app to replace ALL your loyalty cards

- Check how long till your student loan will be written off

- TWO pairs of prescription glasses £17

 
 

4 ways to slash overdraft costs

The Bank of England says rates are rising - ditch pricey overdrafts and save £100s


Many people don't treat it as such, but an overdraft is a debt like any other and fees can be horrendous. A constant £200 overdraft could cost you £365 A YEAR, and if you bust the limit they can be worse than payday loans. So to cut your overdraft first cut the cost, so more of your money goes towards clearing the actual debt. Right now you can get a 0% rate and even GET PAID, helping you slash the overdraft further. Full info in Cut Overdraft Costs but in brief here are your options... All accounts below require a credit check.

  • OverdraftOption 1: Get PAID £125 to grab a £250 0% overdraft. Suitable for those with overdrafts under £400ish. Newbies applying via this First Direct* link get a £250 0% overdraft AND £125 to switch to it (£100 if you apply direct). Use the free £125 to reduce your existing overdraft and then you've got time to pay the rest down. You must pay in £1,000/mth (or there's a £10/mth fee). In our last poll, 90% of people rated First Direct 'great'.

  • Option 2: Get a (potentially) larger 0% overdraft for 12 months. Suitable for those who can pay it off within 12mths. New customers to Nationwide's FlexDirect get a 0% overdraft for a year (50p/day after). There's no set limit as it depends on your credit score, but many have had success as Matt tweeted: "@MartinSLewis Matched my old one - £1,200. Implied I could have asked for more but the point was I wanted to pay off." Plus if you've a friend who's already got a Nationwide account, you can both get £100 if you switch via Nationwide's recommend a friend scheme.

  • Option 3: SHIFT overdrafts to special 0% credit cards. A money transfer card works like a balance transfer, but instead of paying another card off it puts money into your bank, so the overdraft debt is cleared, and you owe the money transfer card instead. They're useful for big overdrafts, but come with a fee.

    Our overall top pick is this Virgin Money card (eligibility calc incl pre-approval / apply*) which gives accepted customers 32mths 0% for a one-off 2.5% fee of the amount shifted. Never use for spending or cash withdrawals and clear by the end of the 0% period or it's 20.9% rep APR. There are other cards, so use our Money Transfer Eligibility Calc to see what's best for you. Full info and golden rules in Money Transfer Cards.

  • Can't get a better deal or struggling? Ask for help. Regulator the Financial Conduct Authority says firms are responsible for ensuring customers are treated fairly. So if you've a big overdraft and you're unable to switch, try calling your bank. You can ask it to waive fees or reduce interest, especially if they're causing problems. If that still doesn't work, get free one-on-one debt-counselling help from Citizens Advice, CAP, StepChange or National Debtline. They're there to help, not judge. Full info in Debt Help.

 

4,000 FREE This Morning Live tickets - see Holly, Phil, our Martin and other stars. Norm £21 each. NEC Birmingham, 18-21 May. This Morning Live


Should you save in Premium Bonds? The rate's been cut so are they still worth it?


Mental health and debt is a marriage made in hell. FREE booklet to help. It's Mental Health Awareness Week. Sadly those with mental health issues are 4x more likely to be in debt crisis. If you or someone you know is impacted, we've updated our pioneering free 44-page Mental Health & Debt 2017 PDF booklet. Also Martin would love you to join the research community for his Money & Mental Health Policy Institute charity.


20% off Kurt Geiger outlet, eg, £8 shoes. MSE Blagged. Via code, £5 del. Ends Sun. Kurt Geiger outlet


Trick to find your cheapest forecourt. With fuel prices falling, see this and more tips in our Cheap Petrol & Diesel guide.


£75 Ciaté nail polish collection £19 all-in. MSE Blagged. 15x 5.5ml minis incl confetti, glitter effects. 800 avail

 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS
 

'Thought I wasn't stupid enough to have PPI, then found I was owed £5,000'

Check now EVEN if you think you're unaffected - and beat August rush when the system's likely to get clogged


We often hear people wrongly and offensively say "only the stupid were mis-sold PPI". (It's worth reading Martin's Time for 'stupid people's' rights blog.) Well, this week we heard from a newly-reformed character: "I didn't think I was stupid enough to have PPI. Used your tool, took me 10 mins, within 2 weeks... I received £4,900." In fact, 100,000s of bright and careful people don't know they've even had PPI - let alone were mis-sold it - which is why EVERYONE needs to check. And check NOW because the regulator's going to start publicising the 2019 deadline in August, meaning thousands will swamp the system. Full help & free tool in our PPI reclaim guide, but here are the key steps...

  • PPIDig out your paperwork (and how to find it for FREE). There's no time limit on how far back you can claim, as long as you've evidence. Check old loans, credit cards, mortgages, store cards and overdrafts to see if there was PPI. It could have been called something like 'loan care'. See other names.

    - Forgotten the lender's name? All debts active in the last 6yrs are on your credit report(s). Get your Experian report (from the UK's largest credit reference agency) for free via the MSE Credit Club, plus see how to check other reports.

    - No trace of your docs? Request them from your lender going back 6yrs. Had a very old loan? Try a data request from your lender for a tenner but be prepared, you might be too late.

  • Check if you were mis-sold. As our case study shows, it could've happened to ANYONE. Typical ruses included lying that PPI was compulsory or that it'd cut your loan costs. Some even added it without asking. See the full Mis-selling checklist.

  • Do it yourself for FREE. You do NOT need to pay to reclaim. Our free reclaiming tool does all the work for you once you've put in your details, saving you £1,000s that claims handlers often take.

  • Rejected? Take your case to the FREE Financial Ombudsman within six months. Last year, over half of all rejected reclaim cases were overturned by the Financial Ombudsman Service, an independent body which can adjudicate and force banks to pay you back. For ease, our free reclaim tool does this, or call its helpline: 0300 123 9123.

 

Going to uni this autumn? You need to apply for student finance NOW. Deadlines are looming for new and returning students. Student finance deadline


SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"You are heroes. Form took less than two minutes to fill in and I should get the £662 marriage tax allowance. Just OMG. Thank you so much, need that badly."


Free tennis sessions & coaching THIS WEEKEND. Last chance to book for 800+ events across Eng, Sco & Wal. ALL ages & abilities welcome - equipment provided. See Great British Tennis Weekend.

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

The MSE Leaders' Debate - Pick key issues for PM candidates  The leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, the Lib Dems, SNP, Greens, UKIP and Plaid Cymru have agreed to take part in our 'leaders' debate'. We'd like to know what your priorities are, to help us decide the final questions.

Click here to tell us what issues you think most important

Should the state pension triple-lock end? From last week's poll, those nearing state pension age were most keen for the Government to keep the state pension triple lock, with two-thirds of those aged 50 to 64 and 79% of those aged 65+ wanting this. Of those under 50, just 27% would keep it. See our full pension poll results.

 

MONEYSAVING NEWS

- Top story: EE to charge some customers to use data in EU despite 'ban' on roaming fees

- Debenhams Flowers customers hit by cyber-attack

- Plusnet to increase line rental and call charges - how to beat the hikes

- Mortgage price war intensifies with HSBC 1.69% five-year fix

- Passengers less likely to be able to claim for bird strike flight delays after EU ruling

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should I alone make overpayments on our joint mortgage? I recently got a mortgage with my partner who earns less than me so we apportion payments according to our income. I can make overpayments but he can't, though his income is likely to overtake mine in the next few years. Should I do this to save us money in the long term, even though I'd still only own the same proportion? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I alone make overpayments on our joint mortgage? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES
- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: May the (NST) force be with you
- Competitions thread of the week: Win the Samsung Galaxy S8 64GB
- Old-style board thread of the week: Irresistible combinations
- Discussion of the week: Neighbours stealing bins
 
 

DEALS HUNTERS' BLOG

- Psst. Wanna know where supermarkets hide top bargains?

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 10 MAY ONWARD)

Thu 11 May - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. View previous
Fri 12 May - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, time TBC. View previous
Mon 15 May - This Morning, ITV, time TBC
Mon 15 May - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Subscribe to podcast

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 10 May - BBC Radio Cumbria, 'Money Talks', from 6pm
Thu 11 May - BBC Radio Tees, 10.35am
Fri 12 May
- BBC South West stations, breakfast
Tue 16 May - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: I have switched bank accounts but my old bank has refused me online access to my old account. Is this allowed? Adrian via email

Karl TalbotMSE Karl's A: It'll depend on your bank's rules. Some, such as Santander and Barclays, allow you access to your old account but not all do.

In your case, you could try heading into a branch or phoning up and asking for copies of old statements - you should then be able to access old transactions, though you may be charged. If you need an interest statement for the taxman, banks need to provide these for free, though if you were already sent one, they can charge up to £10 for duplicates. For both, you'll need ID and the old sort code and account number.

If this doesn’t work, under the Data Protection Act you've a legal right to know all information an organisation holds about you going back six years. To do this, write to your bank and be clear you're making a 'Subject Access Request'. Again, providers can charge up to £10 for this.

For more information on the seven-day switching process, see our Best Bank Accounts guide.

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

 

'Your meal on this 9-hour flight, sir... a banana.' The food intolerance nightmare...

That's it for this week but before we go, we want to know if any of you can beat this sorry effort for a substitute meal. When one traveller booked a gluten-free meal in advance with Japanese airline ANA, once onboard he was offered... a banana. As it's Coeliac Awareness Week, we wondered just how good or bad your replacement meals have been. Share your experiences and read others' in our Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

 
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