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20th Jun 2018
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 This info may be out of date.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."

20 June 2018


Used right, the cards you hold can be your best friend. They can pay you cash, get you cheap travel, free drinks and even help to cut debt. But use them wrongly and they're a nightmare. For instance, 55% with a credit card balance pay interest - needlessly throwing thousands of pounds away when there are 0% deals galore. 

So it's time to put your wallet or purse through its paces. Open it up, put your cards on the table and let's get a sweat on...

  1. MSE's free & quick Wallet Workout tool to find YOUR best credit card. While a full workout is about much more, if you need specific credit card help, our chatbot-style tool analyses the best for you from the many variations. We explain the big ones below but for a quick check, join or log in to our free Credit Club to try our Wallet Workout.

  2. Pull out your photocard driving licence - is it valid? They only last 10 years. A whopping 2.3m are out of date - check yours or risk a £1,000 fine. What to check & do if it's invalid.

  3. Got credit or store cards you pay interest on? STOP. A 0% balance transfer pays off debt on old cards for you, so you owe the new card instead, but at 0%. Plus you're debt-free quicker as more of your payments cover the debt, not interest.

    Yet the difficulty is getting accepted, as you're credit-scored, so use our Balance Transfer Eligibility Calculator to check your chances first. Then go for the card with the lowest fee and the 0% period in which you're sure you can repay. If unsure, go long for safety. Here are the top deals:

    - Longest 0%: MBNA (eligibility calc / apply*) is 0% for up to 36mths with a 1.99% fee (21.9% rep APR after).
    - Long 0% + £25 cashback: HSBC (eligibility calc / apply*offers 32mths 0% with a lowish 1.4% fee (min £5). Plus, apply by Mon 16 Jul and transfer at least £300 within 60 days to get £25 cashback - cancelling out the fee if shifting up to £1,785 (19.9% rep APR). 
    - Longest no-fee 0%: Santander (eligibility calc / apply*) is 27mths 0% (18.9% rep APR).

    Always follow the Balance Transfer Golden Rules - with full help in Best Balance Transfers (see APR Examples):

    a) Clear the card or transfer before the 0% ends or pay the high APR.
    b) Never miss the min monthly repayment or you can lose the 0%.
    c) Don't spend/withdraw cash. It usually isn't at the cheap rate.
    d) You must usually transfer within 60 days of opening to get the 0%.

  4. Got a London Oyster card or use contactless to travel in the capital? Check if you're due cash back. If you failed to touch your card out at the end of a journey or were delayed 15min+ by tube, you can claim (some have got £70+ back just for not touching out). Plus if you've an old Oyster, you can claim a share of £300m+ in old credit sloshing about. See Oyster & contactless card reclaiming.

  5. Got a credit card and always repay in full? Make it PAY you. Some pay you to spend, either in cash via an account credit, in shopping vouchers or airline miles. But only use these for everyday spending, avoid taking cash and repay IN FULL each month or interest dwarfs the gain. And don't just apply in hope - first use our eligibility calculator to find the cards you've best odds of getting. These are the top deals for new cardholders:

    - Get paid up to 5% cashback. The fee-free Amex Platinum Everyday (eligibility calc / apply*) cashback credit card gives 5% back for the first 3mths (max £100), up to 1% after. But you need to spend £3k+/yr to get anything (22.9% rep APR). The best non-Amex is the Mastercard from Tandem (apply*which pays 0.5% (18.9% rep APR). Full info and more options in Cashback Credit Cards.  

    - Get £100 shopping vouchers + airport lounge passes. The Amex Rewards Gold (eligibility calc / apply*) gives 20k bonus 'Membership Rewards' points if you spend £2k+ in the first 3mths. You can  swap 'em for a £100 vch for many big stores, eg, Amazon/M&S, or for 20k Avios pts and other perks. You also get two free airport lounge passes and ongoing spending points. It's fee-free in year 1, £140/yr after so cancel if you don't want it then (57.6% rep APR, incl the fee).

    Full info and other options in Credit Card Rewards (APR Examples). Plus see Top Airline Cards to earn miles or companion tickets.

  6. Sign up for a myWaitrose card for 'free' daily tea and coffee. You can get a free hot drink every day if you buy something - even a 10p banana. See free Waitrose coffee for how.

  7. Whip out your debit card - got a winner? It shows where you bank, and if yours has hideous fees or service (ahem, TSB), switching's easy and you can earn big cash. Here are the top deals - some give 0% overdrafts and 5% interest, with full info and eligibility help in the links.

    Free £150 cash and £50 if you stay for a year. HSBC's Advance Account pays new switchers £150 within 50 days, and £50 more if with it after a year.

    - Free £100 AND ongoing 2% cashback - sometimes beats HSBC. RBS pays a £100 bonus to switchers on most of its current accounts. For a £2/mth fee, its Reward Account gives 2% cashback on council tax, energy etc bills paid by direct debit. Avg bill-payers can make £66/yr after the fee, £135/yr for big bills. With the £100 it wins for some in year 1, and pays ongoing rewards.

    - Top service + freebie incl £170 Bose headphones or £150 Expedia vch. With First Direct it's all about service. It's topped every banking customer service poll we've done, and new switchers can choose one from a set of tech products, travel vouchers or online courses.

    -  Free £185 M&S vchs and good service. New switchers to M&S Bank get a £125 M&S gift card, plus £5/mth added to it for a year. 

    Free £132 for switchers over first year, £48/yr after. New switchers to Barclays get £14/mth in year 1. There's a £3/mth fee, but it still leaves you up £11/mth. From year 2, you're £4+/mth up.

  8. Max loyalty points. Never choose where you shop based on a loyalty card, but always have one for where you go regularly. See our points-boosting tricks for Tesco | Nectar | Boots | Morrisons. Fed up of multiple cards? Apps such as Stocard replace them all.

  9. Get protection... just for spending on a credit card. Under 'Section 75 law', buy something costing £100 to £30,000 and pay for any of it (even 1p) on a credit card, and the card firm's jointly liable with the retailer for the ENTIRE amount. This get-out-of-jail-free card is hugely powerful if the retailer goes bust or won't play fair. See our Section 75 guide for full help.

  10. Got a big purchase? Don't automatically use existing cards. If you NEED to borrow for a planned, affordable purchase (eg, replacing a broken fridge), 0% credit cards are cheapest, if used right. This compares to 20%-ish standard rates which can cost £200/yr assuming a constant £1k balance. But NEVER borrow just to fill income gaps.

    The longest 0% is from MBNA (eligibility calc / apply*) which offers up to 30mths 0%, though only on purchases within 60 days (19.9% rep APR). More deals in 0% spending cards (APR Examples).

    Always follow the 0% Spending Golden Rules:

    a) Never miss paying at least the monthly min or you can lose the 0% - and stick within your credit limit.
    b) Plan to clear the cards or balance-transfer before the 0% ends or the interest rates jump.
    c) These cards are usually ONLY cheap for spending. Avoid for balance transfers/cash withdrawals. 

    d) Almost EVERY card's 0% - if you repay IN FULL each month.

  11. Get 10-15% off Family, Couples' or 16-25 Railcards. They cost up to £30/yr and get a third off most train travel but our railcard codes get 'em for less. That link also includes other railcard info, eg, Seniors' and Disabled Person's, but sadly there aren't codes for them.

  12. Got an overseas wallet? STOP paying 3% for every overseas spend. Savvy travellers have separate overseas cards to avoid the horrid fees on many types of plastic. There are a host of cheap cards we covered in last week's email so check that, as it all still stands. And if going to Europe, don't forget the free EHIC card  

  13. Do you have a donor card? If not, it's worth a thought. It's a big decision, but joining the Organ Donor Register could mean you save or improve lives. If it's for you, sign up online or call 0300 123 23 23.     

DON'T believe the fake ads on Facebook
Lots of scam ads that litter social media lie that we or Martin promote Bitcoin, binary trading etc. See Fake ads warning.



Only 9,000 avail. BEAT energy price hikes with new cheapest Big 6 fix - save £260+/yr with top deal from a name you know

Despite the huge savings possible, the biggest reason you tell us you don't switch your energy is that all the cheapest tariffs are from names you've never heard of. Well, this SSE tariff helps as not only is it from one of the Big 6, but of those it has the best service. And with all those biggies hiking or about to increase standard tariff rates - E.on was the last to announce a rise just yesterday - this lets you beat the increases while sticking with a big player. All the top deals are in our Cheap Energy Club, which Mike saved with: "Your comparison was a doddle to navigate, saved £276/yr." 

  • New. Save £260+/yr vs Big 6 standard tariffs via SSE - with decent service. Based on typical use, this deal costs an avg £928/yr after £25 (£12.50/fuel) Cheap Energy Club cashback. The rate is fixed for 1yr and after all the hikes is £260+/yr cheaper than the avg Big 6 standard tariff of £1,194/yr. And SSE wins on service among the Big 6, with 53% rating it 'great' in our recent poll.

    To find it, use our Big Name Supplier filter within Cheap Energy ClubThis checks if it wins for you among the biggies - it should for most but may be beaten in some regions. It'll appear as one of SWALEC, Southern Electric, Scottish Hydro or just SSE, as the firm is split into regional brands. Also...

    - It's available for dual fuel (gas & elec) or single fuel, incl Economy 7, but not on prepay.
    - It ends when 18,000 single-fuel switches have gone (9,000 dual fuel) or 11.59pm on Fri 20 Jul, whichever's first.
    - The tariff has £30/fuel exit fees if you leave early (not charged if moving home, though you can't take it with you).
    - Existing SSE custs won't pay exit fees for switching to the deal

  • Just want the cheapest across the whole market? While this deal wins among the Big 6, SSE doesn't come close to being the overall cheapest. You could pay £100+/yr less than SSE with smaller firms you may not have heard of. To help home in on your preferred option, use these Cheap Energy Club links...

    - Just want the cheapest? Do a full market comparison.
    - Want a supplier with good customer service feedback (incl small firms)? Check our 'Good' or 'Superb' service filters.
    - Won't switch firm? At least find the best deal from your current supplier

35% extra off SUMMER bedding, eg, £5ish for thin double duvet or 2 pillows. MSE Blagged. The popular Boston Duvet deal's back. Outlet code gets 35% off stock already 'up to 75% cheaper' than in shops. Del from £4. Cheap bedding

Martin: 'Is there any point being married?' Financially, of course. Read Martin's Does marriage pay? blog.

Ending. Mega-fast 100Mb Virgin Media fibre b'band, TV box & line '£24.84/mth'. Get this triple bonanza on a 1yr contract till 11.59pm Thu if you've not been a Virgin Media customer in the last year. Only available to 50% of the UK, but our Virgin Media checker shows if you're eligible - if not you can still check the deals you CAN get.

2 planted hanging baskets £20 delivered. MSE Blagged. Lucky dip of plants incl fuchsia & geranium. Jersey Plants

500 avail. Get £100 cashback on £1,000+ investment - only 500 avail. If you plan to 'robo-invest' in a stocks & shares ISA, this Evestor deal gives a 9.5%-ish head start after fees. Full explanation, incl pros and cons, in Robo-investing cashback

Ryanair's shorter free check-in window has kicked in. Get it wrong and you're charged £55/seat. Ryanair help


Go wild in the aisles with these cheeky supermarket hacks

Save £100+ in a coupon frenzy, why you should pick your row right & high prices that really take the biscuit

It's many households' biggest weekly expense, and the chief way to save on your supermarket shop is downshifting a brand level lower than you're used to (eg, from Kellogg's cornflakes to supermarket own). But there's more to saving a packet if you get clever, and a bit cheeky. So we thought we'd bring you a host of hacks we've cooked up over the years, so next time you hear that beep, think of the savings you'll have made with this supermarket sweep...

  • Why pay full price? Save £100s with 100+ coupons you can print at home - don't head out without them. Eg, FREE £1.40 milk. Check the list of June's supermarket coupons to see if you can save big. As well as free milk there's   £1 off Flora, John West, Fairy and more. 
  • Well, aisle never. Many products cheaper in a DIFFERENT area of the SAME shop.  These nifty tricks can help:
    - Herbs & sauces up to 70% cheaper in a different aisle, eg, £1.68 ginger for 50p.
    - Crouching shopper, hidden bargain. Eg, 58% cheaper Yorkshire Tea on bottom shelves.
    - Soap, hand gel & more up to 75% less. See other savings in the baby aisle.
    - Meats, cheeses & fish are sometimes 40% cheaper from the fresh deli counter.
    Free-from food is costly, but avoiding the free-from aisle can win, eg, 20% off gluten-free porridge elsewhere.

  • Know the best times for big 'yellow sticker' savings.  We've craftily gathered insider info from staff and shoppers on when stores want to offload stock, to help you time your trip right. Nicola said: "I got £75 of M&S food for £16." 

  • Check you aren't paying MORE for LESS biscuit. For a bit of fun, we looked at whether you pay extra for the new trend of biscuit 'Thins'. Are you shedding the wrong kind of pounds? See our new thin biscuits, thinner wallets blog.

20% off eBay outlets, eg, Vax, KitchenAid. Code works on 23 brands, but limited stock. eBay outlets code

Naked Wines £35 for 7 bottles (norm £80) and 2 glasses. MSE Blagged. Incl prosecco. 1,500 cases available for newbies. Cheap plonk. Pls be Drinkaware.

New. Cheap Sim with HUGE data... EE unltd mins, texts & 20GB '£12/mth', 40GB '£17/mth'. Only for big data gobblers, as you can pay £8/mth for 4GB, but it's a rare offer from the giant. Over the 12mth contract you pay £20/mth for 20GB* or £25/mth for 40GB* - but claim a £100 Amazon vch with either, and if you'd have spent that anyway it brings equiv monthly prices down to £11.67 or £16.67. Full info and help in Cheap Sims.

Revealed: Hotel-booking sites fail to show the REAL cost upfront. We found one room was £275 more over six days than advertised. See our Hotels investigation and booking tips. 

Razor, shave cream & moisturiser £3 delivered. Or £7 with face scrub, aftershave and bamboo toothbrush. Sterling Shave Club

New. Are smart thermostats worth it? They let you control your heating via your phone, tablet or computer when you're away from home - but do the savings add up? Full help in our new Smart Thermostats guide.  


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Longest 0%: MBNA* up to 36mths 0%, 1.99% fee (19.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: Santander* 27mths 0%, no fee (18.9% rep APR) 

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  3. Gocompare*
  4. Compare The Market*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Zopa* 3.4% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.7% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-3 yrs)  

Standard b'band & line rent: Sky equiv £13.42/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
TalkTalk equiv £18.34/mth

£150 to switch + £50 if you stay a year: HSBC
5% interest fixed for a year:
Nationwide FlexDirect


Booked your holiday? Beware a slap... from Martin

One in three have booked their holiday but NOT yet booked travel insurance - a huge RISK & waste of cash 

Yes m'lord, he smacked 'im but it was deserved. On Martin's live ITV special last week, Alistair got more than he bargained for when he asked about the best travel insurance. 

After telling our boss he'd booked his trip abroad months ago but not got travel insurance yet, a crack sounded as a wrist was slapped (look closely and Martin actually slapped his own hand, but ignore that for drama). 

As our poll shows roughly a third are in the same boat, we asked Martin what the problem is. "Half of the point and cost of travel insurance is cover BEFORE a holiday, in case something stops you going. Every year someone contacts me, in distress, say after a cancer diagnosis, as their chemo means they can't holiday in a couple of months, but the airline won't refund tickets. THAT'S WHAT INSURANCE IS FOR, to cover this, and a host of other risks before you go. If you've delayed getting it, you're unprotected." Full help in Cheap Travel Insurance, here's the key info...

  • Cheapest under-65s' travel insurance. If you plan to go away 2+ times a year, get an annual policy, if not stick with single trip. Either way Holidaysafe Lite*, Coverwise Bronze* and Leisure Guard Lite* tend to win for no-frills cover (your winner depends on age). Expect to pay from £5 for single trip and from £9 for an annual policy for an individual (from £37/yr for family worldwide). Full help in cheap annual policies and cheapest single-trip cover, incl high-end policies.

  • Over-65s' cover. Many insurers take the mick and charge exorbitant prices. Yet not all. With no pre-existing conditions Holidaysafe Lite* and Leisure Guard* can still be cheap up to age 80, with prices for individuals at £17 (Europe) to £60 (worldwide). Or check out the Nationwide FlexPlus bank account which gives other insurances too. Full help in 65+ Travel Insurance.

  • Pre-existing conditions. You must declare past medical conditions, and they can make things tricky. The rule here is trial and error. If there's a charity for your condition then see if it has help. Also try medical comparison sites such as Staysure*, Medical Travel Compared and AllClear Travel. For full help and more options see Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Travel Insurance.

  • Is your EHIC still valid? The European Health Insurance Card gives you access to state-run hospitals and GPs in the EU and a few other countries at the same cost as a local. Over 5m expire this year, so many need to be renewed. See our Free EHIC guide for how to get one for free (NEVER PAY for one).

New 'one-time' death notification service - help for those grieving. Calling round banks and building societies is a horrible thing to do when someone's died, which is why this is a really important new service to limit distress. Death notification

"Following Martin's remortgaging tips I moved from a standard variable rate to a fix and by keeping my monthly payments the same knocked nine years off my mortgage, saving £54,000. Thanks." 
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

£30 BBQ meat hamper, incl T-bone, flat iron & gammon steaks, pork chops, burgers. MSE Blagged. All outdoor-bred and outdoor-reared UK-farmed meat. Would cost £47ish elsewhere. See what's cooking.



If you've been scammed, report it to help stop it happening again. This Scams Awareness Month, the charity Citizens Advice wants to remove the stigma around scams by encouraging victims to report them. Even the most financially savvy can fall prey - it shouldn't make anyone feel embarrassed. If you've been conned, report it to help the authorities take down the offenders. 



Would you admit to being scammed? Scams are getting more professional. Nearly 1 in 5 are now complex, polished and involve legal and financial elements. However, some people are embarrassed that they've been scammed and don't admit it. So would you admit to being scammed?

Over HALF of you want the railways renationalised. In last week's poll, we asked if the railways should be renationalised. Over 11,500 voted and the majority of respondents were for renationalising the railways, with the 50-64 age group the most keen. Interestingly, those aged under 25 were the most reluctant to support state control. See full railway renationalisation poll results.



Should we pay to repair our neighbours' car? Our van caught fire and damaged it. Our insurer won't do anything about their car as the fire wasn't caused by negligence, and our neighbours don't want to lose their no-claims bonus going through their own insurance. Should we offer to take their car for repairs, even though the fire wasn't our fault? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should we pay to repair our neighbours' car? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs 


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Why am I experiencing parent guilt?
- Competitions thread of the week: PS4 Pro and Pro Evolution Soccer 18 
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Preserving - it has started
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: How do nice ordinary singles meet other singles once out of 20s?
- Discussion of the week: World Cup party - on the cheap


Selfridges - up to 60% off sale boost
Pandora - up to 50% off sale, eg, £5 charms
Ren - free body wash when you beach clean
Brewdog - £20 beer & cheese tasting experience for two
NCS - £50 summer activity programme for 16-17-year-olds

Prezzo - 30% off food
Domino's - 25% off £20 spend
Bella Italia - 40% off mains
KFC - free side via app
Café Rouge - 25% off food

Football shirts - official replica England shirts £49
Showcase cinemas - watch matches FREE on the big screen
Iceland - £5 frozen pizza meal deal incl Ristorante
Co-op - £5 two pizzas and four beers meal deal
Beer deals - incl £12 kegs of ale (norm £16)

Quick Forum Tips

£5.75 Iceland champagne - Corking deals
Free downloadable World Cup chart - Score
Up to 50% Swarovski sale - Hidden gems



Thu 21 Jun - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 22 Jun 
- This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am
Mon 25 Jun 
- This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am. See previous
Mon 25 Jun 
- BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again


Wed 20 Jun - BBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 22 Jun 
- BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 25 Jun - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Tue 26 Jun - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: I'm 31 and hoping to return to studying to get my first university degree. If I take out a student loan, will this affect my chances of getting a good mortgage rate? Laura, via email. 

MSE Sarah G's AStudent loans aren't the same as normal debt as they don't show in your credit history. And so having one shouldn't affect you getting a mortgage, loan or credit card when a credit check is made.

That said, mortgage lenders may still ask whether you have a student loan. This is because how much you repay each month could affect whether or not you'll be able to meet your mortgage payments, which could impact whether you'll be given one. For lots more help, see our Student Loans and First-Time Buyers' guides.

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



That's all for this week, but before we go... World Cup 2018 has well and truly kicked off, with goals galore, video-assistant referees and a victory for England. But not everyone is a football fan. So we asked MoneySavers what they like to do instead of watching the World Cup. Responses included moving to the garden to get your tan on, reading MSE (of course), washing your hair, or to put it bluntly, just not watching it. Share your World Cup alternatives on our footballing Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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