Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

22 February 2017

Over 50 ways to save incl... New: FREE credit report, flog your loo roll, Lifetime ISA countdown, b'day freebies, Easyjet alert, urgent £125, £35 M&S, 'I won £40k', 20%off Kate Spade

This info may be out of date. Read this week's emails
New. Totally FREE credit report - your financial CV
Last chance. Free £125 + 3% + £5/mth bank switch
Home insurance deals, eg, £75 Amzn
'I won £40k bundle, incl Sweden hol'
Flog rubbish for cash, eg, 35p loo roll
Cheapest-EVER loan
How to bag freebies on your birthday
New Lifetime ISA - up to £32k free
Easyjet's axing refund trick - can you still use it?
Kurt Geiger shoes from £8ish
Ending. Free £35 M&S vchs
Laura Ashley 40% off
Last chance. Hot BT fibre & line
11 totally FREE photo prints
Kate Spade extra 20% off sale code
Energy hikes - can you save £350/yr?

New. Totally FREE credit report

'It's your financial CV. You need to see what it says about you - if it's wrong it can kill cheap mortgages, debt, mobiles, car insurance & more'

MartinNo spiel. Every UK person over 18 who cares about their financial future should join my totally free Credit Club to see how the money world views them. Today we add the biggest piece of the jigsaw, the full Experian Credit Report, so you can now interrogate point by point what lenders know about you.

Your credit report (also called credit file) is your financial CV, used whenever you apply for anything even remotely resembling credit. We use Experian's as it's the UK's biggest credit reference agency.

Your credit report impacts your acceptance chances & rates for...

CREDIT CARDS | LOANS | MORTGAGES | BANK ACCOUNTS (as they've overdrafts) | MOBILE PHONE CONTRACTS | ENERGY BILLS (direct debit is credit) | CAR INSURANCE (paid monthly)

Plus even renting is being gradually brought into this system. Yet errors happen, and as your credit record is the cornerstone of so many applications, you should check it at least once a year and before any big application. Often you still have to pay for this, but we've worked hard to bring it to you for free.

The credit report joins the other big 5 Credit Club tools...

The aim of the free MSE Credit Club is to give you a full suite of tools to demystify the often secretive world of credit scoring. We help you analyse where you are now, and give tips to help you improve things. We're working on lots more to add to this - here's what you also get so far...

1. Credit Club Experian Credit Score - are you a good risk? A score, from 0-999, based on your report, indicating if a typical lender will see you as a good or bad risk. Yet it's art not science, it doesn't include income & each lender is different.
2. Credit ClubTHE BIGGIE: MSE Credit Hit Rate. I invented the Hit Rate, so may be a bit biased. The idea's to measure what really counts - will you get best-buy cards and loans? It shows what percentage of a basket of top credit card & loan deals you're likely to be accepted for. It shows even perfect credit scorers aren't certain of acceptance.
3. creditclubMSE Affordability Score. It's not just about risk; if you've no income and can't afford to borrow, you'll be rejected. Our Affordability Score uniquely mimics how lenders assess this.
4. Credit ClubCredit Card & Loan Eligibility Calc. This shows which specific best-buy credit cards & loans you're most likely to be accepted for. And whenever you want to check this, just log in again to do it.
5. Credit Club Boost acceptance tips. We analyse your credit profile and show the main ways you can improve it.

Take 5 minutes to have a play with all of this...
Check out the free MSE CREDIT CLUB

Credit report and Credit Club FAQs

Q. What info does my credit report actually show? It's a very detailed document so we show a front page summary, then page by page you can go through every little thing. The main ones to check are...

- Credit accounts. Shows all accounts that report to Experian active in the last six years, your payment history, and if a lender thinks you've missed payments. Problems here can kibosh you.

- Search history. This is a record of who has looked at your report. Applications count as 'hard searches', staying on your file for up to a year. Too many close together can mean rejection, as it looks like you're desperate for credit.

'Soft searches' are those you can see but LENDERS CAN'T, so they don't impact your creditworthiness. We use these to find your Credit Club info and for things such as our eligibility calculators.

- Public record & electoral information. County Court Judgments, bankruptcies and more. Obviously these can have a big negative impact. Being on the electoral roll however makes ID checking much easier.

- Financial associations. If you've ever had a joint product with someone, you'll be financially linked, and their credit history can affect you. Apply to delink (ie, separate) if it's no longer relevant.

- Linked addresses. Address errors can kill applications. I found a wrong one on my report (due to attempted ID fraud), so do check.

- CIFAS: Have you been a victim of fraud? If you have (or it was attempted) it won't affect your credit score, but will slow future applications as lenders will do more checks to ensure it's you.
Q. What do I do if I think something is wrong on my credit report? Errors on credit reports can cause big problems - such as mortgage rejection. Where appropriate within the report there are links to 'Need some help?' and within this, if needed, you can report issues to Experian. It'll then contact lenders and liaise on your behalf.
Q. I asked Experian to change my file but it won't - what now? If there is a dispute, Experian can't change the info on your credit report, only lenders can, so...

1. Write a notice of correction: This adds a note to your credit report, letting you briefly explain the problem, eg, "I didn't pay that catalogue bill because they didn't deliver the goods". It slows applications down but can help.

2. Make a formal complaint to the lender. Explain the problem - if it won't listen you can escalate your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman and it can adjudicate and order your credit report be amended if it thinks the info's wrong.

For more info, see Remove unfair defaults help, and even if it's fair, see how to mitigate the damage from defaults.
Q. Do I need to check other credit reference agency files too? Experian is the UK's largest credit reference agency so it's crucial to check its report.

And while the info should be similar on all three major agencies, some lenders don't use Experian, so it's a good idea to check the two others, Equifax and Callcredit, too. See how to check my credit reports for info.
Q. I can't get verified for Credit Club, or I'm in but can't see my report. This happens to a minority of people, usually as Experian can't match the Credit Club info you've given us to your info held with it. We're focused on working to improve this. For full help, see our Credit Club FAQs page, but for speed, ensure...

- You've put in correct details on the application form for every section.
- You've entered your full name as used on any existing accounts (eg, Thomas instead of Tom).
- You've put in at least six years' worth of address history.
- Your addresses are correct on your credit accounts.
- You're on the electoral roll at your address.
Q. My credit score's lower than I thought, but my report's correct. How can I improve it? Within the Club itself there's a bespoke analysis of your credit profile, but then there are also general things everyone can do to improve their scenario. For that read our 27 credit boosting tips.
Q. How can MSE do this for free? Currently, frankly, it's costing us a substantial amount of cash. But it's something we believe in. In the long run, the hope is when people want to apply for a credit product (if it's right for them) they'll use Credit Club to see their chances of acceptance and click through via us, which means we may be paid by the provider.
Q. Is my information secure? We're using security systems far beyond any of our other tools and working with Experian, which has been doing this for years. We share your details with Experian so it can match you with your credit report, and provide you with your Experian Credit Score, and with HD Decisions, which helps us provide your affordability & eligibility results and Credit Hit Rate.

Check out the free MSE CREDIT CLUB

Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.

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Last chance. Mega triple bank-switch bonus: FREE £125 + 3% + £5/mth

TSB's 3-in-1 offer is ending, and as you say it has decent service too, it's one of the hottest switch deals

Thousands have taken advantage of TSB's tasty switch incentive. Yet it ends on Monday so we want to alert those who haven't. Switching's easy - it takes just seven working days, and the new bank moves all payments for you. In fact, 76% of you tell us it's hassle-free. So if you're unhappy with your bank, or looking for a quick win, take action - and get PAID to do it.

  • Bank switchEnds Mon. Blockbuster 3-in-1 bonus - free £125, 3% interest + £5/mth cashback. Most switch deals come with one or two bonuses but TSB offers a hat-trick. Switchers who apply via this TSB Classic Plus* link (not direct) by 5pm on Mon get:

    - £125 free. You need to complete the switch before the end of March (it takes at least seven working days from application date) using its official switching service, pay in £500 within 28 days, and transfer 2+ active direct debits.
    - 3% AER variable interest on balances up to £1,500. You must pay in £500+/mth and register for internet banking + paperless statements/correspondence.
    - 5% cashback on contactless debit card spends (max £5/mth cashback). But only till Sep.
    - Decent service. 63% rated TSB 'great' in our bank customer service poll last week.

  • And now for the alternatives - more free cash plus top customer service. As with TSB, you're credit-checked when you apply and you need to be a new customer using official switching services to get the perks.

    - Free £125, top service, 5% regular saver. Apply via this First Direct* link and you get £125 (£100 if you apply direct). The bank's won every service poll we've done - in our latest, 90% rated it 'great' - and you get a £250 0% overdraft plus access to its 5% fixed regular saver. The account's free if you pay in £1,000/mth; if not, it's £10/mth.
    - Free £200 (£150 upfront, £50 if you stay), 5% regular saver. Switch to the HSBC Advance* account and you get £150, and another £50 if you're still with it in a year. It also gives access to a 5% fixed regular saver. For the lot, you need to pay in a min £1,750/mth, switch 2+ direct debits/standing orders and register for online or mobile banking within 60 days.
    - Best of the rest. There are loads more, so in brief... Co-op Bank offers a free £110 and up to £5.50/mth, Halifax gives a free £100 (£75 from Wed 1 Mar) and a possible £3/mth, or switch to M&S Bank for a free £50 M&S gift card + an extra £5/mth for 2yrs. Full info and eligibility for all above in Best Bank Accounts.


Flog your rubbish for CASH, incl loo roll tubes, jars and corks. Eg, make £1.35 per jam jar, 35p per loo roll, £8 per perfume bottle. Sell your junk

New. Cheapest-ever loan for £5k-£7.5k - now 3.6%. If you've planned and budgeted borrowing it's super-cheap. For £5k-£7,499: TSB* is down to a record 3.6% rep APR; next lowest is Admiral* at 3.7% rep APR (on £5k-£6,999 - it's 3.6% rep APR on £7k-£7,499). Need more? TSB* and Sainsbury's* (over 1-3yrs & if you've a free Nectar card) are 2.9% rep APR for £7.5-£15k, only a smidgeon off the cheapest ever. What's YOUR cheapest? All credit-check you, so use our free Loans Eligibility Calc to find which you've the best chance of getting. Full help & more best buys in Cheap Loans.

How to grab freebies for YOUR birthday, eg, free £5 at Body Shop, cake, brow wax & more. Full info and watch MSE's Coupon Kid Jordon getting his eyebrows waxed free at Benefit. Birthday freebies

New Lifetime ISA: £32,000 free cash. The Lifetime ISA (LISA) launches in 6 weeks - watch Martin's ITV show from Monday on it (the last in the series) and read our full LISA guide. He also compares the LISA with top Help to Buy ISAs.

Easyjet's axing its free refund trick - check NOW if you can still use it. MoneySavers loved this trick and some can still benefit. Easyjet refund overhaul

2,000+ Kurt Geiger shoe styles from £8ish via code. MSE Blagged. Ltd stock, £5 del. Ends Sun



- Various home ins deals incl £75 Amazon vch End dates vary

- 11 totally free photo prints Ends Tue 7 Mar

- Kate Spade extra 20% off sale code Ends 1pm Tue 28 Feb

- Kurt Geiger outlet 20% off code Ends Sun

- Tesco Wine £10 off £75 Ends Sun or when 5,000 codes go


- A warning to EVERYONE with a piggybank or coin jar

- Sim-ply the best. 4GB data, unltd mins & texts £10/mth Sim

- Premium Bond prizes to be slashed in May

- 26 Dam good Amsterdam MoneySaving tips

- Airport parking warning - check if unknowingly charged for insurance


Get hot home insurance deals comparisons miss, eg, £75 Amazon vch

Prices are UP - and expected to jump further - so beat them back using our cost-cutting system

Keeping your home and its contents covered is getting pricier. The AA says costs are up 4.4% on a year ago and others warn they'll keep climbing. But with our top Cheap Home Insurance tips you can still save big, as Dennis did: "Got renewal for £1,000+, nearly double last year, but eventually paid £370." Here's our 3-step system, pick the best from...

  • Home insuranceStep 1. NEVER simply auto-renew. Combine comparison sites to get 100s of quotes in mins. They zip your details off to dozens of insurers but don't search 'em all and don't give identical prices - so use a mix. Our current order's Confused.com*, Gocompare*, MoneySup*, CompareTheMarket (see full order & why).

  • Step 2. Check insurers NOT on comparison sites. Direct Line* and Aviva* don't appear and can be competitive.

  • Step 3. Check if HOT deals beat the above, eg, £75 Amazon vch. We list promos not on comparisons and these corkers for combined buildings & contents cover are our top picks (we've blagged all below bar the Co-op voucher). Rob used one of our previous blagged deals: "Paid £120 for cover, and got an £80 M&S voucher, so it was equivalent to £40. Bargain."

    - £75 Amazon vch: Via Insure4Retirement*.
    - £50 Amazon, House of Fraser, Debenhams or Ticketmaster vch: From Direct Line*.
    - £50 cashback: Via Leisure Guard*.
    - £50 Love2Shop voucher code: From Together Mutual*.
    - £50 Co-op food voucher: With Co-op* cover.
    Note: vouchers can take 4mths from policy start to arrive.

  • Be savvy - don't over- or under-cover.
    - BUILDINGS insurance: Usually only needed by freeholders as it covers the building structure. Many wrongly insure their home's market value. Instead use a rebuild calc to see the rebuild cost.
    - CONTENTS insurance: Don't under-insure - if you cover £10k, have £20k of stuff & your £1k TV smashes, you may only get £500. Use a contents calc to check you're properly covered.


Ending. Free £35 in M&S vouchers & access to 25mth 0% spending card. Find out how in free £35 M&S.

Heads up - Laura Ashley 40% off almost everything. From Thu-Sun. Strongest discount we've seen. Laura Ashley

Ends Thu. YEAR'S fast BT fibre broadband and line rent '£264'. For BT broadband newbies, it can cut standard fibre costs in half. Full info: Cheap Broadband. Already got BT? Haggle

11 totally FREE photo prints. MSE Blagged. Via Android & iOS apps. Snap 'em up

Kate Spade extra 20% off sale code. MSE Blagged. Not MoneySaving, but if you'll buy anyway, cut the cost. Eg, £340 handbag for £107. Kate Spade

Warning. Energy hikes mean you could be burning £350/yr on energy. Do a Cheap Energy Club comparison before they hit - you could save £100s/yr. In Scotland, Wales or parts of NW England, we've negotiated a cheap deal with EDF in our Big Switch Event 6.


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'I won £40k bundle, incl hol to Sweden' - BIGGEST comping win we've seen

Turn entering competitions into a cash-boosting hobby - how to make your winning ways automatic

MoneySavers in our forum have won amazing prizes, but Pieboyjr recently topped the lot: "I won a £40k bundle, incl an iPhone 7, 3D printer and holiday to Sweden." While many wins are small, we've also seen an Orlando holiday, a £500 digital camera and a £100 Selfridges gift card. The key is to systematically enter as many as possible to boost your chances. Full info in 42 Comping Tips (which includes Pieboyjr's story); here are five to get you started...

  1. CompingEnter loads quickly. Use an auto form-filler & tie-breaker generator.

  2. Speedily enter on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest etc. It can just take a 'like'. Social media tricks

  3. Bag a TV game-show windfall. MSE Jordon went home with £1,000 - see his tips to find shows you've the best chance of getting on.

  4. Dodge the inevitable spam. Companies set up competitions to get your email, number etc. See how to avoid overloading your inbox/phone.

  5. Join the MSE comping team. On the Competitions board our forumites help each other spot contests, offer tips & cheer when fellow compers win.


Corking wine code: £10 off £75 spend. MSE Blagged. Valid on all Tesco.com wine and champers - 5,000 codes avail till Sun (or when they run out, if sooner). Full info: Wine Deals. Pls be Drinkaware.

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"I joined the MSE Forum because I was in such debt I didn't know what to do. Thanks to all the help, I've been debt-free for 4 years." If you're struggling with finances, see our Debt Help guide and the forum's Debt-Free Wannabe board.

Free £7ish Benefit mascara with £4ish mag. A mini from its 'They're Real' range. Beauty freebies

Last chance: Want an MSE Charity grant? It's awarding not-for-profit organisations up to £5k to get their financial/consumer education or empowerment idea - focused on children, young people and families - off the ground. The round's open till 3 Mar but closes early if 40 applications are received - and the charity's now close to that number, so go quick. MSE Charity


Help ease pressure on those trapped in debt hell. A worrying 2.6m people in the UK struggle with severe debt, which can put them and their families under extreme pressure. MSE is campaigning with a group of MPs and debt charities to call for regulated debt agencies, such as StepChange and National Debtline, to be able to force lenders to freeze interest and charges where they can prove people need help getting out of serious debt. The scheme is to be called 'Breathing Space'. Martin's even spoken about it in Parliament, but it's not yet law, so call on your MP to add their support and tell them your story if you've been affected.


What should be means-tested? Free bus passes, the NHS, student loans? Many allowances and entitlements are means-tested (dependent on your income or wealth), but some are given to everyone.

Click here to tell us what you think should be means-tested

All I want for Christmas is... to start my shopping early. No, we've not been on the mulled wine - in last week's poll we asked how many of you had started your Christmas shopping and a whopping 57% of you had bought something. But those aged 50-64 were most prepped, with 85% having started. See our full early Xmas poll results.



- Top story: Barclays bottom of MSE customer service league, as First Direct retains top spot

- Shoppers short-changed by 'shrinkflation' as packets get smaller - how to beat it and keep costs low

- Catalogue brands to refund 300,000 shoppers for near-worthless insurance

- Martin Lewis slams 'con' linking him to binary trading - don't be tempted by risky investment

- 'I was charged £11,000 for data on my dongle' - if your usage isn't capped, watch out



Should I spend someone else's Clubcard vouchers? Since I moved into my house I've been receiving the previous owner's post. Despite my best efforts to track her down, six years later I'm still getting mountains. Recently, Tesco Clubcard vouchers have started coming through and I'm tempted to open and spend them. Should I? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I spend someone else's Clubcard vouchers? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: I'm back - and better. Final push to go...
- Competitions thread of the week: Win £500 to spend at Oliver Sweeney
- Old-style board thread of the week: Shocked at how much I spend on food
- Discussion of the week: House is freezing, no idea how to warm it up


- Do you STILL have leftover francs, pesetas or lire stashed away? Here's how to change them back



Thu 23 Feb - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. View previous
Fri 24 Feb - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. View previous
Mon 27 Feb - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 27 Feb - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Subscribe to podcast


Wed 22 Feb - Share Radio, 11.20am
Wed 22 Feb - BBC Radio Cumbria, 'Money Talks', from 6pm
Thu 23 Feb - BBC Radio Tees, 10.35am
Fri 24 Feb
- BBC South West stations, breakfast
Tue 28 Feb - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm



Q: Our mortgage deal has ended and we want to take up a cheap fix while they're still out there. However, we're not ready to remortgage. Can we agree a new deal now but only activate it and remortgage a few months later? Chelle, by email.

Sam McFaulMSE Sam Mc's A: With most mortgages, you can apply now and take the money up to three or sometimes even seven months later - see long lock-in mortgage help.

Be warned though - lenders assess whether you can afford a new mortgage when you apply, even if you take the money months later. If you think you may not be eligible now, eg, you don't have a regular income, it's probably worth holding off applying until your circumstances change.

Whatever the case, it's worth getting tips from a broker to help you make the right decision and find the right deal.

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


The revolutionary way to get power from your pee

That's it for this week, but before we go, bright sparks at the Bristol BioEnergy Centre have come up with a way of generating electricity from urine. Yes, really. You simply 'go', and a clever system immediately converts it to power. The system's been tested at Glastonbury for the last two years, and lit up the loos. The inventors say it could work anywhere without mains electricity, including refugee camps. See how it works, and let us know what you think about power to the 'peeple'.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team