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Weekly Email
This email was sent
18th Feb 2015
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 This info may be out of date.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."

18 February 2015

This week

Have you booked holiday but not travel ins yet? Warning: sort it ASAP
First ever THREE YEAR 0% debt shift
50 big fat wedding tips
Free £25 J Lewis with free insulation
Sky TV '40% off + £100 credit' code
Family & Friends Railcard £10 code
Santander 123 v cash ISAs
Urgent: Hot BT fibre & TV deal
How to get Amazon Prime £79 back
Hotpoint clearance extra 30% code
Two pairs of specs £23 delivered
Odeon £5 tickets
20% off Soletrader Outlet code
Free £125 & £5/mth for bank switch
Tesco Clubcard pts flash boost
Codes: Dotty P 25%, Boohoo 25% off dresses, BHS 20% home & fash
Black & Decker £20 tool set
Sainsbury's Tu 25% off everything
'We saved £800/yr with water meter'
Ideal Home Show Ldn 2for1 code
Free £7ish cocktail/£4ish lager
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

Mortgage rates at historic lows - can you save?
Many people can slash £1,000s a year off costs. EVERYONE check now

For mortgage holders the silver lining to the teetering world economy is the threat of imminent interest rate rises has gone. And, the cost of mortgages has plummeted to an historic low. According to Moneyfacts, the average fixed rate is now 3.42% - and the cheapest deals limbo far under that, some nearing 1%. Big savings are possible...

"I followed your remortgage tips and formula on the website and now pay
£431 LESS PER MONTH by changing my HSBC mortgage deal" - £5,000 a year saved.

"Renegotiated to a 5-yr fix. The payment's reduced by £600/mth which is still being paid into the mortgage so we'll pay off the whole lot in 15yrs not 20."

1. How to check your current deal. A mortgage is the biggest expenditure most people have, so I'm always slightly surprised that when asked not everyone knows their rate and details. So check now that you know...

a. The current rate: And, monthly repayment & amount outstanding.
b. Type: Is it a fix, discount, tracker or on a standard variable rate (SVR)?
c. Deal deadline: If it's a short-term deal (eg, a 2yr fix), when does it end?
d. Term: How long is the term, eg, 25yrs, and when will it be fully repaid?
e. Penalties: Are there any early repayment penalties?
f. Your loan-to-value (LTV): What proportion of your home's current value is borrowed. Eg, £80,000 outstanding on a £100,000 property is an 80% LTV. The lower the LTV the better deal you can get. See LTV help for full info.

Everyone should check, but not everyone can save by remortgaging (shifting to a better deal). Yet armed with information, you can then see if a better deal is available. For more help, or if you don't understand this, get my free MSE Remortgage Booklet 2015 (instant PDF or order printed).
2. Benchmark your cheapest deal at speed. Now you know what your rate is, it's important to see what's out there for you, to help we've our...

Mortgage Best Buy Comparison Tools

Remortgages | Moving house | First-time buyers

We aim to include all possible mortgages - so that's all the usual mortgages that brokers can source, plus those only available directly too. The only ones we may miss are the rare exclusives some brokers have.

The ready-reckoner table below shows you the kind of deals that are out there, but of course to see your best, use the comparison. I've added in the average standard variable rate so you can see the savings possible.

What's out there right now - some example deals

Sourced with help from L&C Mortgages*

Deal Rate Fee Annual cost during deal term (incl fee) on £150k (i)
FIX 2yr at 65% LTV 1.29% £975 £7,510
FIX 2yr at 85% LTV 2.5% £250 £8,200
FIX 5yr at 75% LTV 2.69% £995 £8,440
FIX 5yr at 85% LTV 3.29% £975 £9,000
TRACKER 2yr at 75% LTV 1.44% £999 £7,650
TRACKER 2yr at 85% LTV 1.75% £995 £7,910
Typical SVR rate for comparison 4.85% N/A £10,370
(i) Fee spread across the deal period plus the repayments assuming 25yr term
3. Fees have a huge impact too - use the MSE total cost comparison. It's not just about rate, the smaller your mortgage, the bigger the impact of fees. Eg, for those on £100,000 mortgages, the 1.29% deal with its £975 fee is beatable by higher-rate, lower-fee deals.

To help, within our Mortgage Comparison, we have the 'MSE Total Cost' assessment, which factors in both rate and fee over the fix or discount period, so you can see which is really cheapest.
4. How much can you save? So now you've a rough idea of what you're paying and what you could be paying (in a best case scenario), you'll want to see how much the potential saving is. Our calculators allow you to work it out, even if, for example, you're locked into a fix...

Ultimate Mortgage Calculator
Nine tools to home in on the right answer for you including...
Basic Mortgage Calc | Compare Two Mortgages | Mortgage Overpay Calc
How Much Can I Borrow? | Compare Fixed Mortgages | Ditch Your Fix?

5. MortgagesFinding a top deal's just the start - then you've got to get accepted. The days when lenders would fling out deals to all and sundry are long gone, getting accepted is now the challenge. There are two key elements to this...

- Is your credit score good enough? It now plays a much bigger role. Key tips include: a) Never withdraw cash on credit cards; b) Avoid payday loans; c) Avoid other applications, eg, credit card, contract mobile, just before applying; and d) Check your credit file for errors. Full help in 35 Credit Boosting Tips.

- Are the repayments affordable? New rules launched last year mean you need to prove you can afford it. See Boost Your Mortgage Chances.
6. Mortgage brokers can help boost acceptance. You can, and often should, use a mortgage broker to help you find the right deal.

They have info that's not available to consumers - such as lenders' credit and affordability criteria - so a good broker can match you to the right deal to get accepted. It also offers an extra layer of protection if things go wrong, and they carry more clout with lenders to ease acceptance. Read our Top Mortgage Brokers guide for full info.

However, it is worth noting that some lenders, such as Yorkshire BS, Tesco Bank and HSBC, mainly only sell their mortgages direct to the public, cutting brokers out. As brokers only need advise you of the best deal from all available to them - many don't include these, hence why doing this in conjunction with our best-buy tool above, which does, is important.
7. Should I get a fix or tracker/discount? With a fixed mortgage, the amount you repay is, er, fixed so it's like buying an insurance policy against possible rate rises. Variable deals move with UK interest rates (sometimes just at the provider's whim). Currently you only pay a touch more to fix.

It's very difficult to predict future interest rate moves, even top economists are singing a different tune now from a year ago - saying it'll be early 2016 (or even later) before UK rates start to rise, and there's even the possibility they may fall before then.

While you can't predict the market, you can examine your own situation. The more important the security of knowing exactly what you'll pay is, the more you should hedge towards fixing (and fixing for longer). The more you care about cracking the perfect deal, the more you hedge to short-term trackers. Full help in Fixed vs Variable.
8. Got savings? They could get you a better mortgage. The lower your loan-to-value the better mortgage deal you may be able to get. At every five per cent LTV threshold from 95% down to 60%, the deals tend to get better, so a little bit of savings could have a big impact on your mortgage rate. An example will help.

Imagine you've a £150,000 home, and want a remortgage for £136,000. That's an LTV of 90.7%, so the top 5-year fix available is 4.89% Yet if you use £1,000 of savings to reduce the borrowing needed you'd cross a threshold and be at 90%, where the top 5-year fix is 3.99%. This would save £830 a year in mortgage payments alone. See should I overpay my mortgage for more.
9. Rates are cheap now - could they get cheaper? Last week the Bank of England Governor said: "Were these downside risks to materialise, the committee could adjust the pace and degree of bank rate increases, expand the asset purchase facility, or cut bank rate towards zero."

That's banker gobbledegook for, if we get extreme deflation (ie, prices across the economy seriously falling), the UK base rate could be cut. Yet the rate mortgage fixed rates are set at anyway already incorporates that to an extent - so quite how much it's possible to drop is debatable.

And remember, if switching now would save you, waiting means you miss out in the meantime, so it's a balance.
10. New FREE remortgage, first-timers guide & buy-to-let booklets 2015. Mortgages are a big transaction, and the best thing to do is make sure you really know what you're doing. To help we've three totally free 40+ page printed guides, and they've all been updated for 2015.

- Remortgage booklet 2015: Download instant PDF | order printed
- First-Timers' mortgage booklet 2015: Instant PDF | order printed
- Buy-to-Let mortgage booklet 2015: Download instant PDF | order printed

Blagged for MoneySavers

Did you miss?

Get constantly cheap energy
Our 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: Did you get engaged on Valentine's Day? Don't forget to insure your ring
Is The Big Deal's collective switch worth it?
Single parents sent 'threatening' letters from Concentrix
Spark to give £250K to Citizens Advice after 'serious breaches'
New insurance laws will stop insurers wriggling out of claims
Power NI is first major supplier to announce electricity price cuts
Be a MoneySaving hero.
If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 18 Feb 2015
Warning. Have you booked your holiday but not got insurance?
'I've booked a trip to Turkey, but just found a lump in my breast and need an operation. What can I do?'

A woman asked me (Martin) this last week. She'd tried the holiday firm, but as it was a cheap deal with inflexible terms, it wouldn't help. In reality this is what travel insurance is there for, but she hadn't got it yet. She wants her story (tweaked to protect anonymity) to be a warning - BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE AS SOON AS YOU BOOK, it doesn't cost more to buy early. If not, you're not covered for an illness that lasts till you go away, a family death that means you need to cancel, and more.

  • You can cover a YEAR's trips from just £13. Basic travel insurance can be cheap and quick to get. If you travel at least twice (incl weekend breaks) in a year, an annual policy usually wins. Full info in Cheap Travel Insurance.
Annual travel insurance (prices vary with age)
Cheapest (no-frills) Europe Cheapest (no-frills) world MSE top VALUE picks
FCA-regulated policies meeting our minimum cover levels (1) Subjective picks factoring in feedback & past payout record
Individual Age 18-35 Holidaysafe Lite* £13
Coverwise* £13-£14
51-65 Holidaysafe Lite* £15-£19
Age 18 Holidaysafe Lite* £23
19-50 Coverwise* £22-£25
51-65 Holidaysafe Lite* £25-£28
18-64 Direct Travel*
Europe £42-£66, world £66-£101
18-65 Holidaysafe Lite* £27-£38

Holidaysafe Lite* £46-£56
18-64 Direct Travel*
Europe £79-£125, world £120-£191
(1) We review 21 of the cheapest insurers to find these, see our min cover levels. Holidaysafe Lite is an MSE Blagged policy (ie, only avail via these links). Comparing via MoneySup* sometimes beats these due to its exclusives.
  • Going once? Single trip cover from £6. You can usually buy policies up to two years in advance. Protect Your Bubble Economy* tends to be cheapest for under-45s (eg, 1wk Europe is £5.60, £13 families) while winter sports starts at £12 (£27 family). If 45+ Holidaysafe* tends to be cheaper. Full options in Single trip travel insurance.
  • Older travellers, winter sports, or pre-existing conditions. Here's the lowdown:
    - Older travellers: It can be expensive but there are competitive options. See Over-65s travel insurance.
    - Had medical issues? Always declare them. If getting cover's tough, see Specialist medical travel insurers.
    - Hitting the slopes? Add cheap winter sports cover so you're protected for accidents or lost/stolen gear.

Also see: Free EHIC Card | ESTA Help | Cheap Flights | Cheap Hotels | Cheap Package Holidays | Priceline Bidding Tricks

FREE loft & cavity wall insulation + it gives £25 J Lewis/Argos giftcard. MSE Blagged. It's back - anyone in a suitable home (not NI) can get free loft & cavity wall insulation fitted worth up to £700 and a £25 J Lewis/Argos/Homebase gift card. It's installed by British Gas but you don't need to be its customer. Free Insulation

Ends 11:59pm Thu: Sky TV newbies codes, 40% off & £100+ bill credit. MSE Blagged. We've 10,000 more codes usable by Sky newbies (anyone who hasn't had it for 12mths). As Aimi tweeted us after using one: "Will save £385 over the next 12 months with the Sky code, plus the bill credit - thanks." Sky Codes

Family & Friends Railcard £10 off code. Ends Sun. Normally £30, now £20 on a one-year railcard. It gets you and up to three other grown-ups a third off, providing you're travelling with 1-4 kids, who all get 60% off. Railcard

'Does Santander 123's 3% interest beat a cash ISA?' You asked, Martin's answered here: Santander 123 v ISA.

Urgent. BT fibre b'band, line rent & TV £126/yr off + £100 Sains + £30. MSE Blagged. Until 11.59pm Wed, newbies to BT broadband can get this deal (avail to 75%) far cheaper than normal, see Urgent BT deal. PS. In some early versions of last week's email we wrongly said "existing BT broadband users can get it" - huge apologies.

New. THREE YEAR 0% balance transfer card
Longest ever 0% card. Slash the cost of existing credit card debts by £100s or £1,000s with a top debt shifting deal

A balance transfer is where you get a new card that pays off old card(s) for you, so you now owe it at a lower rate. The lower rate means your repayments clear the actual debt, rather than just paying interest, so you get debt-free quicker.

  • New 36mth 0% balance transfer. While only a month longer than the prior best, the three-year barrier's finally been reached. To do it Barclaycard's increased its fee (a one-off on the amount shifted) from 2.49% to 2.99% and is only making this deal available direct, not via comparison sites, so you may not see it listed elsewhere.

    That also means our eligibility calculator, which shows which top cards you're most likely to be accepted for, doesn't have a score for it. We do have its 35mth 0% deal there, though. Barclaycard does have its own eligibility tool on its site for its cards only but it has its limitations.

    Long 0% isn't always best - aim for the LOWEST FEE card, ensuring you've enough time to clear it.

Top pick NEW CARDHOLDER 0% balance transfer deals
Find the card you're most likely to get with our ELIGIBILITY CALC (protects your credit score)
Card Intro offer One-off fee (1) Rep APR after Check your chances for this card
Barclaycard (no eligibility avail) - longest-ever 0% 36mth 0% (2) 2.99% (3) 18.9% Not available
Barclaycard* alternative card we give eligibility score for 35mth 0% (2) 2.99% (3) 18.9% Eligibility calc
Halifax* longest 0% for existing Barclaycard customers 34mth 0% (2) 2.8% (3) 18.9% Eligibility calc
MBNA* also allows money transfers (ie, cash into bank) 32mth 0% (2)(4) 1.94% 18.9% Eligibility calc
Lloyds* long 0%, but substantially lower fee 28mth 0% (2) 1.5% (3) 18.9% Eligibility calc
Santander* longest 0% NO FEE 15mth 0% None 18.9% Eligibility calc
Halifax* 2nd longest 0% no fee-card 13mth 0% (2) None 18.9% Eligibility calc
1) % of amount transferred. 2) Some get shorter 0%. 3) You pay a higher fee & they refund the difference later. 4) For money transfers 24mths 0% and 22.9% rep APR after. More info & options: Best Balance Transfers, (APR examples)
  • The Balance Transfer Golden Rules. It's not just about picking the right card, it's about using it the right way...

    a) Don't just apply in hope, that marks your credit file. Instead use our Eligibility Calc to find your best chance first.
    b) Never miss the min monthly repayments, or the bank is allowed to end your 0% deal and charge far more.
    c) Ensure you clear the card or transfer again before the 0% ends or the rate rockets to the rep APR.
    d) Don't spend/withdraw cash on these. It usually isn't at the cheap rate & cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
    e) Unsure what to pick? Use our Which Card Is Cheapest? tool. Full help in Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

Been hit by an unwanted £79 charge from Amazon Prime? We're swamped with complaints, so have a new how to get your £79 back guide. Steve read it: "It took me by surprise but just got my £79 back following your tips."

Hotpoint/Indesit large appliance clearance code for EXTRA 30% off. MSE Blagged. 30% off white goods web clearance store. Eg, fridge £198 (was £282, elsewhere £290), tumble dryer £185 (was £264, elsewhere £270). Hotpoint

TWO pairs of specs £23 del. MSE Blagged. Use code on Glasses Direct's existing 2for1 on £55+ specs. Ends Tues

£5 Odeon cinema tickets. Via daily deals site. 2D films, excl central London. Ends Sun. Odeon 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 quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Clydesdale* (£5k - £7.5k)
4.7% rep APR

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

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

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

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Wed only: Extra 20% off Soletrader Outlet code. Incl limited Uggs and Vans stock. Soletrader

New. Free £125 + £5 every month if you switch bank account. The Halifax Reward* account's temporarily boosted its switching bonus to £125 plus as always gives £5/mth each month you're in credit (provided you pay in £750/mth) - avoid its overdraft though. Also M&S Bank* via this link has boosted its intro bonus to a £125 M&S gift card, it also has a £100 0% overdraft and linked 6% regular savings. See how these compares: Top Bank Accounts.

Tesco Clubcard points flash boost - iTunes and child cinema tix. Get £25 iTunes vouchers for £5 of points or a child cinema ticket for £2.50 of points. More coming, new ones here: Tesco flash boost

CODES/VOUCHERS: Dorothy Perkins 25% off, Miss Selfridge 25%, BHS 20% etc...
Dorothy Perkins 25% off code/vch | Miss Selfridge 25% off code/vch in £2 mag | BHS 20% off home and fashion code/vch
Coast 25% off code/vch in £4 mag | F&F Clothing 10% off sale online | Boohoo 25% off dresses code | ALL codes & vchs

Black & Decker £20 tool set incl £22 screwdriver. DIY tool set reduced. Limited stock at Homebase.

50 big fat wedding tips
Getting hitched? Congratulations. Here's how to say 'I do' to the one you love, not to £1,000s of debt

Did your loved one pop THE question this Valentines's Day? If it's time to start planning the big day, be aware that while the average bash costs a heartbreaking £22,000, it doesn't have to. We've got 50+ Cheap Wedding Tips, here's just a taster. (And if it's not you getting married - why not send this to engaged couples who may miss it?)

wedding tips1. Don't let your bank steal wedding cash. One bride got caught by the 'setting off' laws, ie, the bank used her wedding cash to repay debts without asking. To avoid it see wedding warning.
2. Classy free invites.
Stationery can cost £100s. Add flair with your own stunning free invites.
3. Unusual dates. Marrying on a frosty Tue can halve costs. See cheapest times to wed.
4. Tap friends' skills. Know a photographer, florist or cake maker? Ask friends to help, not give - for inspiration read our own MSE Rebecca's story of saving her pal £430 on a cake.
5. 66% off rings. Swap Tesco points for Goldsmiths vch, so £600 sparkler £200. Budget bling
6. Film star gown, Z-list price. £100 custom-made, 2nd-hand (aka worn once), or high st dream dresses.
7. Venue checklist. Some have more add-ons than Ryanair. Use our top 10 questions to ask list, eg, is VAT included?
8. Haggle, Haggle, Haggle. MSE Amy, who got hitched last yr, saved £1,000s by bargaining, eg, got corkage £1 cheaper, that's £100 off 100 bottles of wine. See Wedding haggling tips.
9. Be your own wedding planner. A host of free wedding tools & apps help map seating plans, playlists and more.
10. Rent a fancy villa for your venue. No corkage charge & guests can stay in the rooms. See Alternative venues.

And if you're still looking for the 'One'? Top FREE online dating websites and apps.

Sainsbury's Tu 25% off EVERYTHING, incl sale. In-store clothes discount, incl school uniforms. Ends Mon. Tu

Success of the week: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Our water bill was nearly £1,200/year. We have a four-bed house and only three people living in it. We have changed to a water meter, our bill is now £400/year - an £800 annual saving."
- see Is it worth switching to a water meter? to see if you can make similar savings.

Ideal Home Show London code gets 2for1 ticket and 'free' £3.60 mag. 500 codes for this deal, after that you still get the 2for1 tickets just not the 'free' Ideal Home mag. Makes tickets £14-£16 a pair, see Ideal Home Show.

Free £7ish cocktail/£4ish lager at Pitcher & Piano. At all its bars. Sign up at Pitcher & Piano. Pls be Drinkaware

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 £1,158 a year, the cheapest deal's £913.

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...*
Compare The Market
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

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
Show Money Saving Community
The MoneySaving Community

Should I support my partner's firm or just buy the cheapest?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
My partner works in a small electrical store which prides itself on personal service. Even though she gets a staff discount, quite often it is possible to buy items cheaper elsewhere. My problem is that if I buy somewhere else then I could be contributing to her losing her job. Should I pay extra to help secure the shop's future or follow the MoneySaving mantra and buy cheaper elsewhere? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I support my partner's firm or just buy cheapest? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

Cheap packing materials for moving house
Moving house isn't just stressful, it's also expensive, with the cost of boxes and other packaging materials fast adding up. We want to tap MoneySavers' collective knowledge on the best ways you've found to keep costs down without moving all of your personal possessions in plastic carrier bags. Share yours/read others': Cheap packing materials for moving house Past topics: View all

Airline: Aer Lingus* Price: Flights to Ireland from £19.99 one-way Ends: Mon 23 Feb
Our pick this week is Aer Lingus'* offer for flights until 30 Jun 2015 to six Irish destinations from 13 UK airports. The sale ends Mon 23 Feb and includes taxes and charges. There is no code to enter, the price appears automatically. 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

Cheap ways to learn a new language

We asked for your top tips on becoming multilingual on a budget. One forumite recommended borrowing expensive CDs from the library, while
others favoured free websites such as Duolingo and Buying second hand on eBay was another suggestion, along with taking in a foreign lodger or even finding a partner who speaks a different language.

Quick forum tips

Freebie of the week

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances

19 February
Good Morning Britain, ITV, 7.40am
Deals of the Week
20 February
This Morning, time tbc
Martin's 90 Second Savers
23 February
This Morning, time tbc
Subject tbc

Radio 5 Live, 12 noon
Consumer Panel
Subscribe to podcast

MSE team corner

Discussion of the week

Do you wash your bras enough?

How often do you clean your sheets, clothes and pillows? Off the back of an article advising more frequent washing than many of us do, our forumites discuss their own habits and patterns. What's your stance? Join the forum's discussion thread and have your say in Would you or do you wash?

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 133.31 119.97
US Flag $ 152.26 137.03
Turkish Flag TL 365.60 320.50
Rates correct at 2pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: How do you rate your bank account's service?

Please vote based on CUSTOMER SERVICE for your main CURRENT account over the last SIX MONTHS. Please ignore rates or any other products, or service from before six months ago.

Poll results

You CAN use a 2for1 voucher on a first date

There was little difference in views of men and women when asked if vouchers and romance mixed well. If a man asked a woman out and said he'd pay but then produced a 2for1, responses overall were:

- 31% said he's a keeper.
- 56% said it's not an issue.
- Only 13% said she should run.

7,562 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

Q: I'm looking into ISAs ahead of the April deadline but can you tell me the difference between a stocks and shares ISA and a cash ISA? David, via email.

MSE Eesha’s A: A cash ISA is just like a normal savings account as you earn interest at either a variable or fixed rate, but you don't pay tax on the interest earned. A stocks and shares ISA is slightly more complex in that it's not like a normal savings account and you are investing your cash in bonds, shares or funds. The amount you earn varies depending on how the market is performing, and generally the more risk you are willing to take, the greater your possible returns (or loss, as the case may be) - you are never guaranteed a set rate and you can lose money.

Unlike cash ISAs, stocks and shares ISAs aren't tax-free, they are tax-efficient, meaning you may still have to pay some tax, for example, on dividends earned. And while cash ISAs are free to open, stocks and shares ISAs come with a host of fees. Our guide to Stocks & Shares ISAs explains these in more depth.

You have until 5 April to deposit up to £15,000 (increasing to £15,240 from 6 April) in either a cash ISA, stocks and shares ISA, or a mix of both. You can also transfer your money freely between the ISAs. See Full ISA guide for more details.

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

 Nick's free game of the week: Pogo Swing

Are you a poet but you didn't know it?

That's it for this week, but before we go, could your tweets make literary history? Find out with instant poems from your Twitter history with 'Poetweet'.

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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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:

Unaffiliated web-addresses for links in this email,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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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