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Weekly Email
This email was sent
12th Aug 2009
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email
12 August 2009
Sent: Wednesday 12 August 09
Highlights below include ...
Free vodka Redbull 9 mth 0% no-fee BTs
Repossesed Prop Buying £150 Virgin TV cashback

Free lippy, new top 3.25% savings, Travelodge £19

Why no reply on bank charges reclaiming Mr. Cameron?
Yet Lib Dem leader pledges legislation for AUTOMATIC payback

Three weeks ago, I wrote an open letter to David Cameron here. The Tories had publically said bank charges were unfair, so I asked them if bank charges should be repaid without people needing to ask (read the open letter).

We sent it to his office & parliament, but haven't heard a dicky bird. Yet the leader of the Lib Dems, Nick Clegg MP spotted it...

"Dear Martin, as a subscriber to your weekly email, I saw your recent comments on unfair banking charges. I couldn't agree more with you about the scandalous nature of these charges.

The Liberal Democrats have taken a strong stance on this for a long time - in particular, in our manifesto for complete reform of Britain's banking and financial institutions 'A New Deal for the City', launched in May 2008 where we stated:

'The treatment of charges by the banks borders on the scandalous. It is a continuation of the practice described above: a protected industry seeking to maximise profits by exploiting the weakness of individual consumers who lack information and sophisticated knowledge of products or legal advice. The principle should be established that bank charges must be transparent and cost based.'

In your email, you made a further suggestion that banks should have to pay back all unfair charges automatically if the courts do rule against them. This struck me as an extremely good idea that we should do all we can to put in place. Vince Cable, my shadow Chancellor, and I would be delighted to support your campaign.

We will put a motion before Parliament setting out our support for your idea as soon as the recess is over, which will hopefully put pressure on the government and the banks to act to return the money they so unfairly took from customers.

All the best,

Nick Clegg"

This pledge is a huge leap forward for the bank charges campaign, let's hope Messrs Cameron & Brown follow Nick Clegg's lead. See the full News Story: Lib Dems pledge motion Discuss this: Bank Charges policy.

Put a claim in now: Full guides & letters: Bank Charges Reclaiming & Bank Charges Hardship guide.

Week of Tue 4 - Mon 10 Aug '09
(Last week's position)

1. Beat Budget Airline Fees (New)
2. Top Savings Accounts (-)
3. Freebies (4)
4. Cheap Travel Money (3)
5. Ryanair £1 Flight Sale (1)

The above excludes daily deals notes

Unfair energy direct debit crackdown

Greenbullet Amex cardholders face penalty fees danger
Greenbullet Beware debt write-off firms
Greenbullet MPs slam mortgage strugglers

Energy firms must slash prices

This week's full MSE News list

Please suggest friends/family/colleagues get this free weekly e-mail from


The Ones Not To Miss

Urgent! New top balance transfer. 0% for 9 months FEE-FREE! Ending imminently.
A new deal allows those with existing credit card debts to get 9 mths' 0% interest (18.6% after) and uniquely there's no fee for doing so (normally it's 2-3% of the amount shifted). So if you can repay it all WITHIN that time it's a cracker. New Top Deal: It's a Virgin card, but is only available if you do a search (use this link*) via comparison site moneysupermarket. Yet it requires a v. good credit score & is a limited offer so it's likely to end imminently. Longest 0% deal: The longest 0% is the standard Virgin* card at 16 months (18.6% after), but with a 2.98% fee, after that the next best open to all online deal is Halifax at 13 mths 0% (16.9% after) with a 3% fee. FULL info, help & more best buys in the Updated Guide: Balance Transfers Related: Credit Rating Check, Cheap Loans, 0% Cards, Credit Card Shuffle

Free Double Vodka & Redbull at Yates! A register, 'click 'n' print' voucher to use in any of its bars, (pls be DrinkAware). See the Deals Note: Restaurant Vouchers

Repossessed Property Buying: Up to 30% off market values. Inc. sites, auctions & hidden tricks.
Repossessed or distressed properties can be 30% cheaper than market values, though research and renovations are usually needed. Many've asked how to do it, so this is our provisional quick briefing on where to source bargains inc. specialist search sites, auction houses, middlemen & more. Profiting from others' misery? It's not black and white;
when someone's repossessed the debt isn't cleared, they still can owe any shortfall after the property's sold, so more buyers pushing up prices often helps. FULL info in the new Quick Briefing: Buying Repossessions

£150 cashback on Virgin TV, line rental & broadband deal (effectively £11/mth). Sign up via a cashback site and you can get £150 cashback off Virgin's 12 month packages, effectively reducing the cost to less than BT phone line rental. See the Forum Note: Virgin cashback

Last Chance? Cheapest online energy tariff may be pulled any moment.
For many (but not everyone) EDF's recently launched, sexily named, online tariff version 5, is the cheapest gas & electricity package - £200 a year less than the average. Yet we've had a tip off it's due to be pulled from the market any moment. Do a comparison: Whether it's best for you depends on your location and usage, so check via a comparison service. Switch & Get Cashback: (via these special links) Top Pick Comparison: Energyhelpline* pays £15 cashback per switch. Dual Fuel: Moneysupermarket* gives £30 cashback, Uswitch* a case of wine & SimplySwitch* £35 in Amazon vouchers. Full info in the Updated Guide: Switch Gas & Elec Related: Switching from Capped Tariffs, Grant Grabbing, Boiler Cover

New Beauty Freebies! Two free Bourjois lippies (£3 p&p), Free mascara (with £2 mag). Also Clinique has its goodie bag deal if you buy 2 x products. See the full Deals List: Beauty Deals

Got friends who'd like to save? Please tell them about this email

New! Prezzo 2 course & drink £10, M&S dine-in for £10. These join deals at Pizza Hut, La Tasca, Pizza Express, Cafe Rouge and more in the Daily Deals List: Restaurant Vouchers

Savings rates boosted. Get 3.25% AER easy access or 3.9% AER fixed for a year
While UK interest rates are stuck at 0.5%, the savings market's boiling, with more new accounts launched pipping the old best buys. New Top Easy Access: Online bank Egg* pays new customers 3.25% AER (min £1) inc a 2% fixed bonus lasting twelve months. If you've over £1,000 Coventry BS pays 3.3% AER (inc 1.3% year-long bonus) but limits you to four withdrawals a year and must be accessed by post. New top fixed rate: If you're willing to lock your cash away for a year the West Brom BS (min £5,000) pays 3.9% AER fixed, alternatively the Post Office* (min £500) pays 3.85% AER, but unlike all these other accounts you DON'T get the UK £50,000 safety guarantee, instead you're reliant on the Irish govt guarantee. FULL info & more Best Buys in the Updated Guide: Top Savings Related: Safe Savings, Cash ISAs

New Codes & Vouchers! Dotty Ps (20% off), Barratts shoes (10%), Abel & Cole organic food (£10 off £30). These plus 15% off Ocado in the Daily Deals List: Shopping Vouchers

Instant Credit Analyser. Tool of the Week. Are you a good or bad credit risk?
As banks still have a tight hold on their credit criteria for mortgages, credit cards or loans, timing applications and knowing what could affect a lender's decision is key. Tool of the week: Anonymously answer ten quick questions to find your likely credit risk with the Quick Credit Checker (using data from credit reference agency, Experian) then see how changing answers impacts your score, so you can see what to improve. Full Guide & Tool: Check & Boost Credit Scores Related: Best Balance Transfers, Cheap Loans, Remortgage Guide

32" HD-Ready TV £249 in-store. This supermarket and other HD telly deals in the Deals Note: Cheap LCD HDTVs

Quick Credit Checker

The Top Student Accounts for 2009/10. Free railcard or 0% overdraft up to £3,000.
All big banks have now published their new student packages, so we've analysed them to find the best for both new students or existing ones wanting a better deal. Biggest 0% overdraft: It's best to maximise the interest free overdraft either to use or make money from (see the guide). Yet while Halifax's published limit is £3,000, in our poll less than 10% of first years were actually given this; next top is Barclays with up to £2,000 from year one. Top Freebie: Natwest*; 0% in £1,250 year 1 but it gives a free five year railcard (worth £130). Students in Scotland can get up to £2,750 0% and a railcard with RBS. FULL info & explanation in the New Guide: Top Student Accounts 2009/10 Related: Student MoneySaving, Parents' Guide to Student Finance, Top Bank Accounts

New Travelodge £19 UK Room Sale. 60,000 for Sep - Jan. Includes October Half Term. More in the Forum Note: Travelodge Sale Related: Cheap Hotels, Cheap Trains

New Top Cashback Credit Cards: Amex changes mean top picks depend on your yearly spend
New Amex cashback card customers still get 5% cashback for 3 mths, but now only up to 1.25% after (was 1.5%). The impact's as follows. Spend £3,000/yr+ on it: Amex Platinum's* huge 5% intro cashback makes it a big winner in the first year, but after that it only beats Egg Money's flat 1% cashback if you spend over £10k. Under £3,000/yr: As you need to spend £3,000+ to get any Amex cashback, Egg Money wins for spending over £2,400, under that the Bank of Ireland Moneyback may only pay 0.5% but wins due to Egg's £12 annual fee. Warning: Only grab cashback cards if you pay off IN FULL every month to avoid interest. Existing Amex customer? You'll be hit by different changes from 1 Oct, many weaken the card's appeal, analysis here soon. Updated Guide: Cashback Credit Cards Related: Credit Card Rewards, Credit Card Freebies

Spend £40 on a PAYG mobile, get £40 in Tesco Rewards free. Some Tesco mobile handsets inc. a Sony Ericsson cameraphone give 1,000 extra clubcard points which can be converted into £40 of Tesco Rewards vouchers. Forum Note: Boost Tesco points

Warning! Driving to Europe? Don't assume insurance/breakdown provides your usual cover
Anyone taking a driving trip to Europe needs to be careful; many breakdown policies don't cover you and some comprehensive insurance becomes third party outside the UK. Euro-drivers Checklist: 1. Insurance: It's worth calling your insurer to check your level of cover and let it know where you're going (see Cheap Car Insurance) 2. Breakdown: Upgrade to a Euro policy or buy special one-off cover (see Cheap Breakdown Cover) 3. Pre-prep: Do all maintenance before you go, ensure you've got manuals and the numbers to call if you break down 4. Driving Rules: Check out country by country overseas driving regulations Related: Cheap Car Hire, Travel Insurance, Spending Overseas, Cheap Calls Abroad

Want an ITV1 thrifty makeover or to know whether to fix mortgage/savings/energy? ITV1's Tonight Programme, wants people for two programmes. A family to be taught how to live thriftily, see ITV1 Thrifty makeover, and people for a Should I fix it? makeover.


The Big & Easy Ways to Save Checklist
Quick links or click the titles for full pros, cons, alternatives & more savings

More MoneySaving

Cheap Flight Sales Alert. Airline: Ryanair £5 & Easy Jet spring '10. Price: sub. £30 e/w. Ends: Midnight Thurs 13 Aug.
Two sales right now. Ryanair £5 e/w sale: On until midnight Thur 13 Aug, it includes some taxes & charges. It's for Sept-Nov flights to a range of European destinations from many UK airports. To find them quickly use the FlightChecker on a £5 max search. Easyjet Spring '10: It's just launched flights till next June, and the earlier you book usually the cheaper it is you can use the FlightChecker to find them until May. 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

Islamic insurer launches home insurance. Salaam Halal, now provides home as well as car insurance, it's not included in any comparisons so check against other providers & offers using the full Cheap Home Insurance system

Great 'Alternative Sources of Energy' Hunt: What do you use & tips to make it work
Do you use alternative sources of energy? Whether it's LPG or you've installed solar panels with the intent to sell back energy, what are your top tips on making alternative energy sources work for you? How do you maximise savings and cut costs? Add your ideas/read other peoples': Great Alternative Sources of Energy Hunt Past Great Hunts: View All

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA. Would you park free if it blocked wheelchair access?
You're busy and town's even busier - all the usually available free on-street parking's gone. But after driving round for 15 minutes you spot a space, pull in, then notice a sign on the back of the car in front requesting, "please leave a six-foot gap between my car and yours so I can get the wheelchair in and out of the boot". If you stay there, there'd be a foot at most, but the alternative's an NCP at £5/hour. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Would you park free if it blocked wheelchair access? Previous MMDs: View All

The Recylenow 'Kitchen Caddy' result. Find out if you won one of the 50 caddies (plus details on subsidised compost bins) Bag a bin

Q. I heard estate agents & sellers take you more seriously if you've a mortgage in place when looking for a property, but is it an unnecessary credit search? Tina, by email.

A. Few lenders offer actual mortgages if you've no property in place, instead it's a ‘mortgage in principle’ (MIPs), which provisionally lets you know much you can borrow; subject to finding a suitable property within a specified time. This does mean a credit check, though one mark on your file isn't too big a deal (see the Credit Rating guide)

In reality, even MIPs are never guaranteed, as the lender will want to do a valuation too, though it can speed the process up once you find the house of your dreams. Plus mortgage rates shift daily, so ALWAYS check whether a better deal's become available. Some agents do say an MIP gives them more confidence, best is to talk to a decent morgage broker who'll often be able to help give the idea of what you can borrow (see the Cheap Mortgage Finding guide

Discuss: Applying for a Mortgage
Suggest: A question of the week

(big general issues not personal q’s pls)

Quick Forum Tips
Warning! Bargains listed here tend to sell out quickly

Board of the week: Employment, Job Seeking & Training: Help, tips & support
The state of the economy means work, job hunting, and getting what you're entitled to is becoming ever more important. Yet the Employment & Jobseeking is full of hints, discussions, tips and support from other MoneySavers. Discussions include Should I say this in my interview?, Following Up Job Applications & How do you cope with unemployment? Related: Benefits Check-up, Money Makeover, Boost Your Income

Great 'Cut Post Office Queuing' Hunt Result
Last week we asked MoneySavers for tips and ideas to Spend less time in the Post Office. What could you do at home instead of going down in person and are any of you employees with insider tips? There were some great suggestions including Royal Mail price finder, Go Sat (before 10am) and Tips from a Postie


Kids' Easy Dosing Syringe, Online Knitting Tutorials,
Toilet Water Saver, Kids' Learn to Read Books, English Heritage Open Days

Odds and Ends

Martin's Appearances...Weds 12 - Tues 18 Aug
These are scheduled appearances, though other ad hocs may happen. See the appearances list for updates.

  • Weds, GMTV, ITV1, sometime between 7:20 & 9:30am. Redundancy help.
  • Mon, The Gadget Show, five, 8pm. Reviewing net-top PCs.
  • Tues, GMTV, ITV1, sometime between 7:20 & 9:30am. The topic's news reactive.

This week's Martin's Blog: Vodafone's new reward scheme. why not just give a discount?
"Tesco's new 'extra large' products". Read m'blogs (or RSS users access)

Do you click the ads on Google? This week's poll. Vote and AdWords discussion.

Where would you cut back? Defence & Social protection. 10,078 voted last week. Asked which area of expenditure you'd cut down if you were PM, 33% voted for social protection, which encompasses pensions & benefits, and 31% said defence. The other options didn't get much of a look-in; social services came in third with 11% of the total vote, and transport fourth with 8%. See Cutbacks poll result.

Archna's Free Game of the Week! Can you Multi-task?

Site lists everyone's pin code. That's it for this week, but before I go I found a website that lists everyone's debit and credit card pin code, you may want to have a peek. Bet yours is included!

We hope you save some money

Martin & the MSE team

Explanation of * Links

FSA NOTE: Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances require FSA authorisation. For this reason, Martin Lewis of Shepherd's Studios, Rockley Road, Shepherd's Bush, London W14 0EH is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

How this site is financed. Any links with a * by them are affiliated. That means go via this link and a contribution may be made to, which helps it stay ad-free and free to use. You shouldn't notice any difference, the links don't impact the product at all and the editorial line (the things I write) is NEVER impacted by it. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the best product, it's still included in exactly the same way. As I believe transparency is important, I'm including the following 'un-affiliated' web-addresses for the same things:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Read more about this in how this site is financed. is the free to use Consumer Revenge website focused on how to save you cash. It’s owned, and run by ultra-specialised journalist and bestselling author Martin Lewis. On TV amongst other things Martin is GMTV’s Money SavingExpert and presents money programmes for ITV1 Tonight. On Radio Martin has regular slots on Radio 2 Vine and Radio 1 Whiley. He’s also a columnist for the News of The World, Moneywise and the Sunday Post. Find out more: About the site and its funding.

Disclaimer: This e-mail is based on journalistic research. It does not constitute financial advice. Any information should be considered in regard to your own specific circumstances. All tips are followed at your own risk and should be followed up with your own research Full Terms & Conditions.

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