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19th Jul 2017
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

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19 July 2017
20 last-min holiday MoneySavers, incl cheap €/$, £13 airport lounges
Ends Sun. HSBC free £200 to switch & stay
SLAM the brakes on car insurance hikes
Reclaim £100s in bank charges?
Student loan rate 6.1% - panic or pay off?
2 'free' cinema tix for cleaning your loo
'I bagged £60 of shopping for £2.55'
90p for £7 Disney beach towels
Which? £60 off wills code
'Free' Nando's chicken with £6ish spend
Free Sky Sports 1-day streaming
Urgent. Tax credit renewal deadline
Designer sunnies code, eg, £60 Ray-Bans
Stop press. Rip-off card fees to be axed
2 hanging baskets £15 all-in
Santander 123 Lite 5% cashback - worth it?
Next 'at least 50% off' sale NOW ON

20 last-minute holiday MoneySavers

Incl £13 airport lounges, max €/$, EHIC warning & mile-high picnics

It's time for sun, sea, sand and, er, savings. The weak pound means spending abroad is more expensive than last summer as last July €1,000 would have cost £840 - now it's £890. So before you break for the beach, here's our last-minute checklist of things you need to do now to help your holiday cash go further...

1. Airport loungeEnding. Get 25% off airport lounge access via code. Start your hols in style from £13.50. Our blagged deal gets access at Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham & Edinburgh lounges. You've got till Sun to buy, and till 31 Dec 2017 to use it. Full info and more tips for lounges worldwide in Cheap Airport Lounges.
2. Get near-perfect exchange rates this summer and beyond. A specialist overseas credit card is one of the best ways to spend abroad. Most debit and credit cards add a 3%-ish 'exchange fee', so £100's worth of euros costs £103. Yet specialist overseas credit cards don't, giving the near-perfect rate banks get.

Stick one in your pocket, only for use abroad, and repay IN FULL each month to avoid the rep APR interest on spending & minimise it on cash. The cards often take 1-3 weeks to arrive, so if you want one, use our Overseas Credit Card Eligibility Calc NOW, to see which you've the best chance of getting.

- £20 cashback on long-term top pick: Halifax Clarity (eligibility calc / apply*) gives newbies £20 cashback if they buy anything abroad by 30 Sep 2017. It's a Mastercard, which usually beats Visa/Amex rates, and has low interest on cash (18.9% rep APR).

- Top for cash withdrawals: The Barclaycard Platinum travel credit card (eligibility calc / apply*) charges no interest on overseas withdrawals & spending if cleared in full (18.9% rep APR on spending).

- Easy-to-get card, but avoid for cash: Aqua (eligibility calc / apply*) pays 0.5% cashback & accepts some with past CCJs/defaults. It's 34.9% rep APR on spending, higher for cash & there's a 3% ATM fee (min £3).

There are more, see all top Travel Credit Cards (& APR Examples) - if you have one, it's not worth shifting. Also check overseas debit cards & Prepaid Travel Cards.
3. Ne comprend pas? Get a free app to translate 52 languages OFFLINE. Just download the iPhone or Android app before you go.
4. Slash airport parking costs - 'I saved £150'. It pays to book early, but even if you leave it late, don't just turn up. Suzanne emailed: "Used your link, saved £151 for August at Gatwick compared to my usual provider. Where would we be without MSE?"

Use our discounted links for airport parking comparison sites incl Holiday Extras* (10-30% off its standard price), Looking4Parking* (20-31% off), SkyParkSecure* (13-30% off) and FHR* (12-30% off). See Cheap Airport Parking for more sites plus full help.
5. Eat for 'free' at 35,000 feet. Food's not restricted through airport security, so BYO picnic to avoid stale sarnies at sky high prices. See what you can take. Flying BA? It's now ended free food on short hauls, so take heed.
6. Travel insurance from £5 (if you've booked, you need it NOW). Travel insurance doesn't just cover you when you're away. Grab it when you book, then if you or a family member get ill beforehand and need to cancel, you're still covered. Yet we know many leave it to the last moment, so here are the top deals that meet our minimum cover criteria.

- Going away once a year? Grab cover from £5: For individuals and families Leisure Guard Lite* generally wins, with cover from £5 for a single, one-week trip in Europe for an individual or from £10 for a family. Also try Holidaysafe Lite* to compare, as prices vary depending on age, location and family size.

- Cheapest annual policies from £9/yr: Go away 2+ times a year and annual policies usually win. A year's Europe cover for a 32-yr-old costs from £9; for a family worldwide, from £37. The cheapest no-frills cover is usually Holidaysafe Lite*, but also check Coverwise* and Leisure Guard Lite*, as they beat it sometimes.

Also do a full comparison via MoneySupermarket*,*, Gocompare* or Compare The Market*, which sometimes have exclusive deals that beat these.

Full help in Cheap Annual Travel Insurance. Also see Cheap Over-65s' Insurance, plus cover if you've a pre-existing medical condition.
7. Driving to France? Get an emissions sticker now - or you could be fined up to £60. Takes up to 30 days to arrive. See how to get one and why.
8. Want to take cash with you? Find the best rates from 30+ bureaux. NEVER buy cash at the airport, where rates are a rip-off. Instead, speedily compare 30+ bureaux with our TravelMoneyMax comparison tool to find the cheapest travel cash near you. The app (iPhone or Android) does the same, and stores details of your plastic to show which is your cheapest way to pay.
9. 'Free' tapas in Barcelona, free loos in Paris or beat the queues at the Colosseum... our MoneySaving destination guides. We've a fiesta of free and cheap things to do. See 26 Amsterdam tips, 36 Barcelona tips, 43 Costa del Sol tips, 30 Paris tips & 21 Rome tips.
10. Check your EHIC now (and your family's) - over 5m will expire in 2017. A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a must if going to Europe - it gives access to local GPs or state-run hospitals at the same price locals pay. So if free for them, it's free for you. Yet millions expire every year, voiding cover. See our Renew EHIC for FREE guide for how to check yours. PS: Some shyster sites try to charge - NEVER pay to renew.
11. Turn old sun cream bottles around before buying a new one. For why, see sun cream saving. Plus for new sun cream, see £1 sun cream deals.
12. Slash the cost of car hire by booking ASAP. You can still book for mid-Aug for as little as £7/day - though leave it till you arrive and prices can hit £40+/day (and that's if there are any cars left). Full help in Cheap Holiday Car Hire, but at speed...

- Find the cheapest via comparisons: Skyscanner*, TravelSupermarket*, Carrentals* & Kayak*. Once booked, double-check details with the car hire firm.
- Check stealth fuel charges. Some make you pay for a full tank & return it empty - adding £80ish if you don't drive far. Skyscanner*, TravelSupermarket* & Carrentals* let you filter by fuel policy. See stealth charges.
13. Don't get fear-sold pricey car hire excess insurance - buy from £2/day BEFORE you go. When you pick up a hire car they often try to sell excess cover for up to £25/day, with warnings of huge bills for just a scratch. Yet you can buy it for just £2/day in advance.

First use the Moneymaxim* comparison site, then compare against our blagged deals:

- Leisure Guard* with 20% off via code MSE20.
- Reduce My Excess* with 20% off via code MSE03.
- Eversure* with 15% off via code EE0117MSE.
- Questor* with 20% off via code MSE2097.
- Direct Car Excess Insurance* with 15% off via code MSE2101.

Even with it, hire firms often say "you still need to pay us". It's true, as they require a deposit of £500-£1,200 on a credit (not debit or prepaid) card, from which they'll take incident costs. Yet with standalone policies you then reclaim that. See more on card deposit issues.
14. Turn your smartphone into a free sat-nav. If it's got GPS, convert it into a free worldwide sat-nav, covering the UK and 195 other countries. It's best to download maps before you go, whether to avoid huge data charges outside Europe, or just to get it sorted.
15. Pack kids' car seats for free. These can cost £5+/day, but many airlines let you take 'em free. See a list of airlines' child seat policies.
16. ALWAYS pay in euros/dollars etc. When paying by card, select local currency, as if you pay in pounds, the overseas merchant/bank does the conversion, usually with awful rates. See Martin's pay in euros explanation. Selected 'euros' but charged in pounds anyway? Let us know. We're investigating a possible rip-off.
17. Take an empty bottle to the airport to avoid rip-off water prices after security. See our free airport water tip. Cindy tweeted: "Thanks for the tip. Saved me £2.15 a bottle at WHSmith."
18. Roam 'free' in the EU - but beware eye-watering charges beyond. You can now use your UK mobile allowance in the EU. But there are catches - see our 10 'free' EU roaming need-to-knows. Going outside the EU (incl Turkey)? Avoid hefty up-to-£6/MB charges. See Cheap Mobile and Data Roaming.
19. Going to Spain or Portugal? Don't shop in Zara before you go. For why, read Martin's Zara's better in Spain blog.
20. Free app to instantly plan your holiday itinerary. Forward your confirmation emails (for flight, hotel, car hire) and a clever free app instantly organises them into an itinerary. See travel planning app.

That's just the tip of the iceberg - there are lots more ways to save on holidays in our 50+ Overseas Travel Tips.

Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.

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Ends Sun: Free £200 if you switch and stay with HSBC

It's the biggest switch bonus available - so go quick if you want to bag it

Many say their bank drives them bananas, yet the solution's simple - don't bitch, just switch. It's easy and takes just seven working days, as the new bank does all the work for you: closing your old account and moving all direct debits, payments and standing orders. Currently four banks offer free cash to draw you in - though the pick of the bunch ends on Sunday. Here's how they stack up...

  • Bank accountsEnds Sun. Free £200. New HSBC Advance* switchers who apply by 11.59pm on Sun get £150 to switch plus another £50 (if still with it) in a year. You also get access to a 5% linked regular saver. You must pay in a min £1,750/mth then, after applying online, call or go in branch within 30 days of acceptance to start the switch. You need to switch 2+ direct debits/standing orders, and register for mobile/online banking within 60 days.

  • Free £125 M&S gift card + £5/mth. M&S Bank* gives new switchers a £125 M&S gift card and a 5% linked regular saver, plus for the first year you can get an extra £5/mth added to the card. To get it all you must pay in a min £1,000/mth and switch & keep 2+ active direct debits. You can also get a £100 0% overdraft.

  • Free £125 + £3/mth. New Halifax switchers get £125. Plus you get £3 each month you pay in £750+, stay in credit and pay out 2+ direct debits.

  • Free £100 + top service. First Direct* gives £100 to new switchers, plus it's won every customer service poll we've ever done, with 90% rating it 'great' in the most recent. You also get access to its 5% fixed regular saver, and for some, a £250 0% overdraft. The account's free if you pay in £1,000/mth; if not, it's £10/mth.

You'll be credit-checked when you apply and you need to use their switching services to get all the perks. For full info and eligibility see Best Bank Accounts.


New. Student loan interest to hit 6.1% - time to panic or pay it off? In a unique, major new guide, MSE's founder analyses why many risk LOSING £1,000s, when to overpay, the real impact on getting a mortgage, who pays if you don't repay and more. Read Martin Lewis's must-read guide to student loans - pls share with anyone impacted.

2 'free' cinema tickets for cleaning your loo. We've flushed out a top deal. Free flicks

'I bagged £60 of shopping for £2.55.' How one MoneySaver took discounts to the max. £2.55 shop

90p Disney kids' beach towels & ponchos (norm £7ish) via code. MSE Blagged. 10% off entire online pound shop. Ltd stock, ends Mon. Deliv £5. 90p Disney

Which? £60 off wills code (£80 off joint). 40% die without a will, causing massive problems for surviving relatives. Which? helps you create your own and one of its experts will review it. Our blagged code gets its premium service for £109 or £179 joint. Full info in Cheap and free wills.

'Free' Nando's chicken with £6ish spend. A fiddly but rare deal. See cheeky Nando's.

Free Sky Sports 1-day streaming pass (norm £7). Apply Thu only. Gives access to all Sky Sports channels for 24 hours any time in the next year. Free Sky Sports. Plus it's overhauled its sports channels and prices this week. See if you can save



- Designer sunnies 25% off code, eg, Ray-Bans £60 Ends Mon

- Two hanging baskets £15 (norm £25) 1,500 available

- 6 books £10 delivered Ends Sun

- 38-piece BBQ meat bundle for £30 delivered Ends Mon 31 Jul


- Flog your junk, £1 coin warning & the rest of the top 17 life hacks of 2017 (so far)

- Tesco Clubcard revamp - what it means for you

- British Gas faces investigation due to MSE exit fees campaign


Car insurance hikes are accelerating - how to slam the brakes on 'em

Price rises have sped up but you can fight back, eg, 'I saved £500 in just 30mins after finally listening to MSE'

Car insurance premium rises are hitting top gear, as we've regularly warned. They're up 11% in a year, according to the Association of British Insurers - its fastest rise on record - and it warns of possible further hikes. To fight back, DON'T auto-renew and DO what Sam did: "Finally listened to you. Tesco sent auto renewal at £906. Compared & found Tesco was quoted way cheaper for new custs, so called. It price matched my existing policy - saving £500. Thanks MSE." Full help in Cheap Car Insurance & Young Drivers' Insurance, in brief...

  • Car insuranceNot at renewal? Lock in a price up to 2mths ahead. Some insurers' quotes are valid for up to 60 days. These include Aviva*, Post Office* and Quotemehappy - see our list of insurers with lock-in quotes. If your cover's up soon, grab a quote now and if prices rise further you're quids in. If you can get a cheaper deal at renewal (see steps below) just ignore the quote.


Urgent. Tax credit renewal deadline Mon 31 Jul - act now or it could be costly. What to do all depends on whether you've been sent a brown or white envelope from HMRC. Full Help: Tax credit deadline.

Designer sunnies 25% off code, eg, Ray-Bans £60 all-in. MSE Blagged. Ltd stock. Sunglasses Shop

STOP PRESS. Govt to ban ALL extra charges for people paying by credit/debit card. Full info in Card charges axed.


Two hanging baskets £15 all-in (norm £25). MSE Blagged. Lucky dip baskets incl petunias, fuchsias & begonias. 1,500 avail. Jersey Plants Direct

New. Santander 123 Lite 5% cashback - worth it? Applies to anything bought using mobile payments. We've done the maths for you. 5% cashback

Next 'at least 50% off' sale NOW ON, eg, £8 sandals (were £20), £12 jeans (were £30). As predicted last week - one of the biggies MoneySavers wait for. Online and in store. Next


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Reclaim £100s of bank charges for busting overdraft limits?

- VICTORY: Lloyds announces it's ending charges for going beyond your authorised overdraft limit
- Yet customers of ALL banks who've had charges should check now to see if they can reclaim them

MartinWe may at last be hearing the death knell of charges for breaching overdraft limits. This week Lloyds (incl Halifax & Bank of Scot) announced overdraft changes including a plan to scrap these charges from Nov. I hope others follow, as bank charges have long been a scourge. They're punitive, designed to be tough to repay, resulting in charges on charges leaving some owing £1,000s. Yet you may be able to get 'em back:

  • You can reclaim bank charges IF they caused financial hardship. A decade ago I was oft called the "big gob-in-chief" of the campaign against unfair bank charges that helped people get £1bn+ back, until the Supreme Court pulled the plug on a technicality. That campaign's legacy has driven charges down ever since. But they still hurt. Reclaiming IS possible - provided the charges contributed to financial hardship (eg, missing basic bills or having payments regularly returned due to lack of cash). Full help and free template letters in Reclaim Bank Charges For Free.

    Some successes to inspire you - Scott emailed: "Initially the bank said I wasn't due anything, despite me being stuck in an overdraft cycle. I then used the MSE info & was offered £576. Thank you." And Sue said: "Thanks. I recently completed an IVA [individual voluntary arrangement]. I used your templates and quickly received £220."

  • One strike and you're generally not out. If you get a first-time one-off charge through taking your eye off the ball, call your bank, politely explain and ask for it to be removed. Often (no promises) the bank'll wipe it.

  • Get paid £100 to shift to a 0% overdraft - then clear it. People often pooh-pooh credit cards but if you're overdrawn, debit cards are debt cards too. Yet some people can be paid to shift to a 0% overdraft - see how to cut your overdraft to 0%.

  • Paid monthly bank account fees? Are you due £1,000s? It's likely 100,000s have been mis-sold packaged bank accounts (where you pay £10-£25/mth for added insurance). If you're one, you may be able to get 'em back. We're swamped with weekly successes in the £1,000s. Full help & free tool in Packaged Bank Account Reclaiming.


6 books £10 delivered. MSE Blagged. Or 10 kids' books £10. Ends Sun. Cheap holiday (or other) reads

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Thanks to you I've improved my credit enough to bag a loan with a low APR, to buy my wife an electric wheelchair. Used the soft search first, after reading your email, of course." See MSE Credit Club and the MSE Loans Eligibility Calculator for more help.

38-piece BBQ meat bundle for £30 delivered - cheaper than supermarkets. MSE Blagged. Incl chicken, steaks, burgers, sausages & chicken wings. Summer sizzlers



How do you rate your broadband provider? We can tell you which the cheapest providers are, but to find out if their customer service is any good, we need your help. Rate your broadband provider

Game of phones. Last week we asked if you had mobile phone insurance. Of those of you with smartphones, 44% don't have insurance of any kind, which rises to 79% for those with 'thick' phones. See mobile phone insurance poll results.



- Top story: New £10 note unveiled this week - here's a sneak peek

- Tesco Bank to close almost 90,000 Clubcard Plus savings accounts

- EE to offer more mobile customers six months' free Apple Music



Should I have refused to pay for my haircut? I just had my hair cut but it's awful. I thought so at the time but didn't say anything as it only cost me £9 and I've had great cuts from the same place before. Should I have refused to pay or should I just not let the same barber cut my hair again? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I have refused to pay for my haircut? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Debt-free determined
- Competitions thread of the week: Toyota car
- Old-Style board thread of the week: What meals have you never tried or cooked?
- Discussion of the week: Bank of mum and dad


- 2 'free' cinema tickets for cleaning your loo

- 'Free' Nando's chicken with £6ish spend



Wed 19 Jul - Facebook Live Q&A #AskMSE, 5pm
Wed 19 Jul - BBC Radio Cumbria, 'Money Talks', from 6pm
Fri 21 Jul
- BBC South West stations, breakfast, travel money tips
Tue 25 Jul - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm



Q: My daughter's struggling with debt and lives with me on and off. I've never had problem debts and have a perfect credit score. Could her debt affect my score? Jackie, via email.

Sam McFaulMSE Sam Mc's A: Assuming you don't have any joint credit products together, her debt will have NO impact on your credit score.

A joint credit product - such as a loan, bank account or mortgage - would mean you're financially linked with the other person so their score would impact yours. But living at the same address isn't enough to trigger the link.

For how to 'financially delink' from someone and lots more tips, see how to boost your credit score. To help her, why not point her to Problem Debt Help?

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



That's it for this week but before we go, forumite DannyBo probably didn't know the cult he'd start in March 2015 when he began the All new 3-word story thread on our forum with the words 'Shivering she exclaimed'. Over the next two-and-a-bit years it's had 6,500ish replies with thousands adding to the yarn with three words apiece. We've had donkeys and bunnies and custard and gnomes and lots, lots more join the tale. Have a read yourself and help keep it going...

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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