Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

27 February 2019

Over 50 ways to save incl... Buy €/$ before Brexit?, PPI warning, £50 Ray-Bans, Clubcard pts boost, free wills, Boots 90%off, food freebies, £7 Kurt Geiger, urgent cheap energy

This info may be out of date. Read this week's emails
Hi - here are your latest deals, freebies, tricks and messages to help you save.


Had a loan, credit card, mortgage, overdraft, car finance or catalogue debt in the last 30yrs? Check if you were mis-sold... & reclaim for FREE

Millions have already been paid out billions, and we've told you about PPI countless times (Martin's been shouting about this for 18yrs - you can tell by the greying hair). But now it's the final countdown (do-do-do-doo...) - the deadline to get your claim in is 29 August 2019.

So don't sit and think it's not you, or "I haven't got the paperwork", or "I can't remember my lender". Spend time to get it sorted, and use our Free tool and extensive PPI reclaiming FAQs to get your money back. After all, £34,000,000,000 (that's £34 BILLION) has already been paid out, and this week seven banks alone have told us they've set aside another £8,100,000,000 for payments.

As for why? MoneySaver Donna emailed last Wed: "Used your link to reclaim and have had £10,000 back in total from four old accounts. Thanks - it has allowed me to pay off some high interest debts I've had for years." 

And while not everyone will get as big a payout as Angela did, her success shows what's possible: "I claimed and got about £45,000. For the last one I had to go to the ombudsman which took about 3yrs - but eventually was successful." 

Want more info? Read on... (And if you'd rather watch than read, see Martin's most recent TV show, then use our Reclaim PPI guide for full help). 

What is PPI mis-selling?

Payment protection insurance covers loan, card, overdraft, mortgage and catalogue debt repayments if you can't make 'em. There's nothing wrong with the concept of PPI, but banks and others massively overcharged and systemically mis-sold it - creating the UK's biggest recent financial scam. There are two types of mis-selling:

  • Were you outright mis-sold it? Banks, car salespeople, shop assistants and others may have lied that PPI was compulsory, added it without asking and/or failed to ensure it was suitable - see the full mis-selling checklist. You can claim for PPI as far back as you like, though it gets harder for pre-2005 reclaims.
    If you were mis-sold, you're entitled to the full amount you paid out as a result of having PPI, plus an additional 8% interest.

  • Or are you one of millions who were simply charged too much commission? Even if you wanted PPI, it's now likely you were mis-sold because of the excessive commission taken by banks and building societies. After a landmark 2014 ruling called Plevin (the surname of the successful claimant), if 50%+ of your PPI's cost was made up of undisclosed commission (most wasn't disclosed), you're due the extra above that. And on loans, for example, lenders typically took a HUGE 67%. On a £10k loan over 5yrs, Plevin compensation is typically in the region of £500.
    So just having had PPI means you may well have been mis-sold. Watch Martin's Plevin video to see how outrageous banks' and building societies' commission was. For this to count, the PPI and loan had to be active at some point since Apr 2008, though there can be exceptions.
    - Can I claim under Plevin if I've already had a mis-selling payout? Unfortunately not, even if you didn't get the full amount back.
     - I think I had PPI but I'm not sure I was wrongly flogged it - should I just do a Plevin claim? NO - STOP. It's VITAL to check first if you were originally mis-sold PPI as you'll get a bigger payout. If the bank rejects your mis-selling claim, it should then automatically assess you for Plevin.
How to claim

  • First, check if you had PPI, even if you think you didn't. Check all old credit cards, mortgages, loans, store cards and overdrafts to see if there was PPI. It may have been called 'payment insurance' or 'accident or sickness cover'.

     - Can't remember the lender? All debts active in the last 6yrs are on your credit report(s). Get your Experian report for free via the MSE Credit Club, plus see how to check other reports. It won't show whether you had PPI, just the lenders to check with.
     - Not got the paperwork? Request it from your lender going back 6yrs. But don't worry if your claim is older than that. You can still claim successfully.

    Neale emailed: "I couldn't remember if I'd taken out PPI or not. I used MSE to access my free credit report to establish dates and addresses. Within eight weeks I had a cheque for over £1,700. Now I've had another letter saying I'll receive over £2,900. Thank you - this money is life-changing."

    Once you've sorted your paperwork, follow the steps below...

  • Not claimed before? Do it yourself for FREE. You DON'T need to pay to reclaim - claims handlers typically take a third of your payout, often £1,000s, and do very little you can't do yourself. To do it easily, use our free reclaiming tool. It'll send your claim direct to the bank, building society etc that sold the PPI - it should assess you under traditional mis-selling criteria, and if that fails, under Plevin.  

    For inspiration, here's Sandra's story: "My husband wanted to use a claims company but I said, 'No, Martin says you can do it yourself and save having to pay a large commission.' We've now received a £23,281 cheque from Bank of Scotland. Thanks for making it so easy." 

  • If rejected on a new claim, go to the Financial Ombudsman Service - it's free. Sometimes when you contact banks and building societies, they say "fair cop" and pay out £1,000s in just a few days.
    But if they wrongly reject you (as many scandalously do) and you've exhausted their complaints process, you've 6mths to take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service. It's an independent body that can adjudicate and, if it upholds your claim, force banks to pay you back.  
    Use our free reclaim tool and you can easily escalate the case to the ombudsman if you're turned down. If you're struggling or unsure, call the ombudsman helpline on 0800 121 6222.

  • Even if you've been turned down before, many should claim again. There are 1.2m whose claims were turned down by banks, building societies and other firms (even where the ombudsman agreed with the rejection) who are now eligible to do it again under Plevin. You should have been notified of this by whoever sold you PPI - but if not, claim anyway.

    What's more, after a ruling on commission payments last November, up to 150,000 previously rejected claimants should get letters from lenders by the end of April saying they can reapply.

    If you get (or got) a letter, act on it. If you still have details from your previous claim, use those to help with your new one. However, don't worry if you don't. You can still claim. With our free Plevin reclaim tool, powered by complaints site Resolver, you only need to fill in a few straightforward details.

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.



Martin: 'Should you buy euros, dollars etc now - or wait until after Brexit?'

Many heading away at Easter or beyond are fretting over currency - so here's the boss with his thoughts... 

In theory, in just 30 days - on Fri 29 Mar - the UK will leave the EU... though of course what'll actually happen is more up in the air than the International Space Station. A couple of weeks ago I published my Seven urgent post-Brexit travel need-to-knows, but I continue to be swamped with currency questions, so let me briefly give you my thoughts here... 

  • You need to accept that no one knows what will happen. Sorry to disappoint. Anyone who tells you they can predict the currency future is a liar. Rates fluctuate by the minute, and the only certainty right now is the uncertainty - and that means high volatility. In fact, we currently have two-step uncertainty: 1) Will Brexit happen, in what shape, and when?, and 2) Even if we knew exactly what'll happen, what will its impact be on our economy?  

    Yet if I had to use a crystal ball, previously the currency markets haven't liked Brexit, so the bigger and more rapid the separation from the EU, the more we're likely to see the pound weaken substantially - at least in the short term.

  • Personally, I just ensure I get the best rate on the day I spend. I don't try to second-guess the markets. When paying in foreign currency I simply use a specialist overseas card. With most plastic, the provider gets the near-perfect wholesale exchange rate but then adds a 3%-ish 'non-sterling exchange rate fee' to what it charges. Specialist overseas cards don't add the fee - so we get the same top bureau-beating rate the banks do.

    The top picks are Starling's debit card, or Barclaycard's travel credit card (repaid IN FULL each month) which also gives cashback. Full help in Top Overseas Cards.

  • Worried about currency swings? Here's how to hedge against them. Two tips to hedge your bets...
    - Buy half now, the rest when you spend. Get the first half at today's best rates in cash via our TravelMoneyMax comparison tool or by loading up a top prepaid travel card (so you get the rate on the day you load, not the day you spend). Then you can use a top overseas card to spend the other half while you're away. But if you're worried about what'll happen, ask yourself: "Would I accept today's rate?" If so, and your real fear is rates worsening so your holiday becomes unaffordable, play safe and buy more now (but don't look back with hindsight later in case that ruins your holiday).
    - Trick to lock in a rate now & protect against currency swings. A few bureaux de change let you order for collection at today's rate and, usually for a fee, cancel or sell it back within 3-45 days depending on the firm - useful if you're going away just after Brexit. If the pound weakens, the rate's locked in. If it improves, just cancel the order and buy at the better rate. See currency buy-back trick.


Up to 70% off Ray-Bans (gets 'em from £50). Specs sale also incl Ralph Lauren, Gucci & more£50ish Ray-Bans

FREE solicitor-drafted wills if you're 55+ (norm £150+). There are two big free-wills schemes - one in Nov, and this one in March (& Oct). Starting Fri, Free Wills Month lets you get a free solicitor-drafted will, in the hope you'll donate to charity. Appointments go quickly - see Cheap & Free Wills for more info.

URGENT. Cheaper-than-market's-cheapest energy fix, top service, 100% renewable elec - save £300/yr. MSE Blagged. This Octopus Energy 1yr fix undercuts the market's cheapest on average, saving someone on typical use £295/yr compared with a Big 6 standard tariff, when you factor in the extra £25 MSE dual-fuel cashback. The link goes via our comparison so you can see how it stacks up for you. There are only 7,500 switches left (we persuaded it to add some after this was popular last week - we don't think it'll do it again, but it may do).

Free KFC, coffee, doughnuts, fruit & more - 16 ways to get FREE (or v cheap) food. Our updated guide's jam-packed with clever tricks, coupons, apps etc. Eat for free

Get 25% extra Clubcard points at Tesco. On every £4+ spend, via special 'wallet-free' app. Clubcard pts boost

1,000 only. £200 cashback on £2,000+ Nutmeg investment (incl ISAs). Investing can be risky. But if you're going to put money into a 'robo-investor' (where you answer some questions & it selects your investments), this way you get a 10% head start. Full info in Robo-investing cashback.

Boots 90% off clearance - can you find a bargain? From what we've seen, extremely limited stock. Boots sale

Martin: 'Student loan statements are dangerous & misleading - so check out our redesign.' We've long warned that student loan statements are dangerous, as they focus solely on debt & interest, rather than what counts for most - the repayments. So working with the Russell Group of Unis, we've redesigned the student loan statement & want your feedback. Then, hopefully, we can persuade the Govt to enact it.


Ending. The top debt-shifting deal: 32mths 0%, 1.4% fee, £25 cashback

Paying interest on credit card debt? Shift it to 0% AND get cashback which reduces what you owe

If you pay interest on credit or store cards, a balance transfer is your key weapon. That's where you get a new card to pay off debt on other cards - so you owe it instead, but at 0% interest. Do this and more of your repayments go towards clearing the debt, rather than profiting the lender. Yet hot offers have been ending left, right and centre, and another's going first thing tomorrow (Thu) - so if you need to shift debt, don't hang around. Here's the full info...

Find cards most likely to accept you BEFORE you apply. Many of the cards below include a link to our Balance Transfer Eligibility Calculator. It shows your odds of being accepted before you apply, and doesn't affect your creditworthiness.
- Go for the lowest fee (factor in cashback) in the time you're sure you can repay in. If unsure, play safe and go LONG.
- 'Up-to' cards mean you could get a shorter 0% deal if accepted. That's why we include the top 'non up-to' cards too.

Best 0% New-CardHolder Balance Transfer CArds
Ends 7am Thu. HSBC (eligibility calc / apply*) - Joint-longest 0% & if accepted, you definitely get 32mths 0%. Cashback bigger than fee if shifting £300-£1,750 32mths (21.9%) 1.4% (min £5), £25 cashback if you shift £300+
Post Office (apply) - Joint-longest 0%, but an 'up to' so you could be offered fewer 0% months Up to 32mths (19.9%) 2%
Sainsbury's Bank (eligibility calc / apply*) - Long 0% but bigger fee. If accepted, you definitely get 30mths 0% 30mths (19.9%) 3% (min £3)
Santander (apply) - Longest no-fee 0%. If accepted, you definitely get 27mths 27mths (18.9%) None
Barclaycard (eligibility calc / apply*) - Accepts some poorer credit scorers, but hefty fee & no cashback. If accepted, you definitely get 18mths 0% 18mths (24.9%) 2.99%
(1) % of debt shifted.

  • Always follow the Balance Transfer Golden Rules. Full info in Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

    a) Never miss the min monthly repayment, or you could lose the 0% deal and it'll cost far more.
    b) Clear the card or balance-transfer again before the 0% ends, or the rate rockets to the higher APR.
    c) Don't spend/withdraw cash. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and withdrawals hit your creditworthiness.
    d) You must usually balance-transfer within 60 or 90 days to get the 0% and cashback.

Kurt Geiger shoes from £7ish via code. MSE Blagged. 25% off everything in online outlet, incl Lacoste, Hunter & Ted Baker. £5 delivery. Shoeaholics

£12 for 7 flowering plants (norm £35ish). MSE Blagged. 9cm hydrangea & gardenia, plus five lavender plugs. Thompson & Morgan

'Free' £85 with British Gas Homecare/boiler cover. MSE Blagged. If you're looking for boiler and central heating cover, new British Gas Homecare customers signing up via this BG Homecare* link get a free £85 to spend on a prepaid Mastercard. You pay £18/mth, but factor in the free cash and it becomes one of the cheapest policies around, equivalent to £11/mth over the year. For full info and to see how it compares, go to our Cheapest Boiler Cover guide.

Beat Virgin Mobile hikes of up to £150/yr. Bills are rising for 250,000 in April, some steeply. Beat Virgin hikes

Blockbuster cinema deals, incl £3 IMAX this Sat (eg, Bohemian Rhapsody, Spider-Man). Also a year's 2for1 for £1ish, and two Odeon tickets for £7 if you're a Vodafone customer. Oscar-worthy deals

"Just wanted to say a big thank you. Received £718 back for a  delayed flight  in December. It was so easy. Now I tell everyone about your weekly email ."
( Send us yours  on this or any topic.)

Firefighters wash your car for a charity donation. 'Pay what you like' for a car wash at 100+ fire stations throughout March - about half are doing it this weekend. They may even use their big hose. Charity car wash

£10 Groupon spend gets 'free' £5 M&S/Costa/Primark vch. MSE Blagged. 1k avail. Newbies only. Groupon


Tell your friends about us

They can get this email free every week



Longest 0%: HSBC* 32 months 0%, 1.4% fee (min £5) (21.9% rep APR) plus £25 cashback if you shift £300+
No-fee 0%: Santander 27 months 0%, no fee (18.9% rep APR)

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  1. MoneySupermarket.com*
  2. Confused.com*
  3. Gocompare*
  4. Compare The Market*

Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Admiral* 3.4% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.8% rep APR (Nectar custs)

Standard b'band & line rent: Plusnet equiv £10.24/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
TalkTalk equiv £16.62/mth

£175 to switch (£150 direct): HSBC Advance
Free £150 to switch + 2% bills cashback: RBS Reward


New. Moved house since 1993? Are you owed £100+ back in council tax?

Our investigation reveals over £230 MILLION in council's coffers should have been paid back. Get your money

Many people aren't aware they're paying council tax a month ahead - some do it a year ahead. This means it's common when you move house that you're in credit. If so, you are entitled to this money back, but often don't get it. We've gathered data under the Freedom of Information Act from over 270 councils and found across Britain more than £230 million is sitting there unclaimed. So we've launched our brand-new {Overpaid council tax reclaiming} campaign. Here's more info, plus other ways you may be owed council tax cash...

  • Council taxDifferent councils have different policies for overpaid council tax. Our FOI request revealed huge variation between councils, due to multiple factors, eg, the size of the area and the fact some are more diligent than others. If you find you are owed then the money can come back, as Lawrence told us: "I claimed back £103. There was only credit because I left the borough part way into the month after my direct debit had gone out." For full info and step-by-step help, see Overpaid council tax reclaiming.

  • Are you one of 400,000 in Eng & Scot in the wrong band? You could be owed £1,000s. Swathes of households are overpaying and possibly have been since 1993. This is due to the stop-gap assessment of properties done by officials driving down streets with clipboards. So use our Council Tax Check & Challenge System to see if you're due a refund - and reduced bills. Karen emailed: "Queried our band and got a £6,300 refund backdated to 1993 plus our monthly charge is now approx £45 less. Thank you so much." Here are the basics...

    - Step 1. The Neighbours Check. Simply compare your band online with nearby identical or similar homes. For how, see the Neighbours Check.
    - Step 2. The Valuation Check. Next calculate what your home was worth back in 1991 - our Valuation Calc helps.
    - Step 3. If BOTH checks show your band is too high, challenge it. You can't ask for your band to be lowered, just reviewed. So only do it if both checks indicate yours is too high. If not, you could find your band's increased - or worse, your neighbours' bands are too. See how to challenge your council tax band.
    - Step 4. Told you can't challenge? Your Local Listings Office has a legal duty to ensure all properties' bands are correct. So if pushed, it must investigate - our guide explains how to force it to.

  • Do you live alone, or with a student? The single person's discount is 25% off your bill. Yet this also applies if you live with someone who is 'disregarded' for council tax, such as students (all-student households pay nothing). For full info incl a list of other exemptions see Council tax reductions.

  • Do you live with someone with a 'severe mental impairment', eg, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's? Many with a severe mental impairment are disregarded too, so check if you're missing out, as Jim did: "Thanks for your info - my mother who has dementia received a cheque for £1,401." Full help incl backdated claiming in SMI council tax discounts.



Have you haggled with Sky, BT, the AA and more this year? Did you succeed? Haggling can provide big savings - on anything from digital TV and broadband to credit cards and insurance. Each year we try to gauge the success rates of those who have done it. Which firms have you tried to haggle with in the last year?

Zen triumphs in our broadband customer service poll. In our last week it was small firm Zen that came out top among providers with 75+ votes, with 97% of its customers rating it 'great'. Among the biggies, Plusnet was first with 57% saying it's 'great', while TalkTalk took the wooden spoon with 46% rating it 'poor'. See full broadband poll results



What's the fairest way to split our taxi fare? I often share a taxi home with my friend after we've been out. It's normally £13 direct to my house, and £16 to his house - but when we share, it's £18 in total. How should we split it? Enter the Money Moral Maze: What's the fairest way to split our taxi fare? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: March Bring Your Lunch To Work challenge
- Competitions thread of the week: Ultimate holiday to Miami
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Dead-easy dusting
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: How much financial support do you give your parents?
- Discussion of the week: Commute vs salary


Debenhams - free mini Dior sample bag via Beauty Club
Iceland - £5 Pancake Day bundle, incl pan
Beer52 - 18 craft beers for £20 delivered
Boots - 10% student discount online & in store
Parkrun - free timed weekly 5k running events UK-wide

Frankie & Benny's - 40% off mains (Sun-Fri)
KFC - 9 pieces of Original Recipe chicken for £6 (Tue only)
Prezzo - 40% off mains (Sun-Fri)
Burger King - meal deals, incl £2 burger and fries (ends Thu)
Bella Italia - 40% off mains (Sun-Fri)

Ideal Home Show - £10 for two London tickets
eBay - 20% off selected stores
Aldi - reduced 'special buys' online, eg, £10 trainers
Adidas - 30% extra discount off its outlet
Boots Seventeen - up to 80% off clearance sale

Quick Forum Tips

Free Persil washing device.Good clean fun
'Free' £11 hair cream with £4.50 mag. Hair-way to heaven
Lidl weekend offers, incl £1.29 bacon.Not bacon this up



Wed 27 Feb - Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Two, from 10am, student loans
Thu 28 Feb - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 1 Mar - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am
Mon 4 Mar - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 4 Mar - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen to previous


Wed 27 Feb - BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm, cheap medicines
Fri 1 Mar - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 4 Mar - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Mon 4 Mar - BBC Radio York, Beth McCarthy, from 7pm
Tue 5 Mar - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: I've inherited a bit of cash, and I want to save it but be able to access it within the next year or so. Where's the best place to stash it without any risk? Greg, by email.

MSE Karl's A: For a savings account that lets you withdraw cash whenever you need it, easy access is your best option - for our top picks, see our Top Savings guide.

Don't worry about risking your cash. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) ensures deposits of up to £85,000 per person, per financial institution are protected, should a UK-regulated bank, building society or credit union go bust. (If you've more than this though, it's best to split the cash between different institutions, as some banks/building societies, eg, sister banks Halifax and Bank of Scotland, share FSCS protection.)

For full help and best buys, see Top Savings.

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



That's all for this week, but before we go... it was announced this week that Martin will be appearing on ITV's one-off All Star Musicals show (watch him explain why). He's being tight-lipped about what he's singing (never good for singing, tight lips...) so we thought we'd take on Eurovision and launch our A song for Martin contest, where you suggest what he should sing...

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team