Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

21 August 2019

Over 50 ways to save incl... PPI 1wk left, Lidl £5 off, £10/mth b’band, free Lego, EDF & Brit Gas price war, school uniform hacks

This info may be out of date.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.


The Great Credit Card Disappearing Act

Top deals vanishing - shift debt to 0% for 29mths or bag 5% cashback while you still can

If you need one, we've the top debt shift, spending, travel etc cards

Credit cards have lost some of their magic this year, with lots of 2018's top picks gone in a puff of smoke. We've told you many times that cards with 0% interest on balance transfers have shrunk in length, but it's the same story with cards that offer 0% on spending. Cashback and reward cards have got worse recently, while the top overseas card offer ends next week.

You can still pull good deals out of the hat, which we're showcasing here. But we don't know how long they'll last, so if you need one, why wait? Before jumping in though, note that credit cards are like fire. Used right, they're a great tool. Used badly, you'll get burnt, so always follow our golden rules.

- As you're credit-checked for cards, find those likely to say yes BEFORE applying. Most below include a link to our Credit Card Eligibility Calc which, after we've waved our MoneySaving wand, shows your acceptance odds without harming your creditworthiness.

Pay credit or store card interest? STOP. Slash debt costs with a 0% BALANCE TRANSFER CARD

These are where you get a new card to pay off other cards, so you owe it instead but at 0%. You're debt-free quicker as more cash clears the debt, rather than servicing interest.

Top balance transfer credit cards - up to 29mths 0%. That's down from 43mths in 2017 and 38mths in 2018, but still decent. Some below are 'up-to' cards, so you could get a shorter 0% deal if accepted, meaning non-'up-to' cards give more certainty.

CARD 0% TIME (1) FEE (2)
Virgin Money (eligibility calc / apply*) - Longest & you get the full length if accepted
Barclaycard (eligibility calc / apply*) - Good combo of long 0% & low-ish fee, but it's an 'up-to'
Up to 28mths (19.9%) 1.75% (3)
NatWest (eligibility calc / apply*) or RBS (apply) - Longest NO FEE, but you must be a customer of the relevant bank to apply (4)
Sainsbury's Bank (eligibility calc / apply*) Long NO FEE, but it's an 'up-to'
Up to 20mths (20.9%) None
(1) % in brackets is rep APR after. (2) % of debt shifted. (3) You pay a 3.5% fee upfront with half refunded in 2 days. (4) Putting £1+ in a cash ISA counts.

Always follow the Balance Transfer Golden Rules. Full help in Best Balance Transfers (see APR Examples):

a) Go for lowest fee in the time you can repay. Unsure? Be safe & go long.
b) Never miss the min monthly repayment, or you may lose the 0% deal.
c) Clear the card or transfer again before the 0% ends, or the rate soars.
d) Don't withdraw cash - it's expensive & hits your creditworthiness.
e) You must usually balance transfer within 60 or 90 days to get the 0%.
f) You usually can't transfer at 0% between cards from the same bank.

Need to borrow for a big purchase? A 0% SPENDING CARD is cheapest

With no interest for the intro period, there's no cheaper way to borrow if the shop takes credit cards. But only borrow if you NEED to for a planned, affordable buy (eg, a broken fridge) - they're not an excuse to overspend.

Top 0% spending credit cards - up to 27mths 0%. That's down from 32mths in 2017 and 31mths in 2018, but still decent. Note, with both deals below, you could be accepted and offered fewer 0% months.

Barclaycard (eligibility calc / apply*) (1)
Up to 27mths 19.9%
MBNA (eligibility calc / apply*) - Only 0% on purchases in the first 60 days
Up to 27mths 20.9%
(1) You can't have had a Barclaycard in the last 6mths. (2) After the 0%.

Always follow the 0% Spending Golden Rules. Full help and more deals in 0% Spending Cards (APR Examples).

a) Always pay the min payment & stick to your limit or you'll lose the 0%.
b) Clear the debt or balance transfer before the 0% ends, or costs soar.
c) They're usually only cheap for spending, not cash/balance transfers.

Other key tips to help you choose...

- Need £5k+? The card limit may be too low, so a loan may win. See below for a new top rate on £7.5k-£15k, or our Cheap Loans guide.
- Can't pay on credit card for sub-£5k? See Top Money Transfers - where you shift cash from a card to your bank at 0% for a 3-4% fee.
- Standard cards give 1-2mths 0% anyway. They're interest-free till the payment date if you pay IN FULL - good if you can't get a new one.

Do you repay in full each month? Make your card pay you with a CASHBACK OR REWARD CARD

Used right, you get free cash, vouchers, airline miles etc for normal spending. Many earn £100s/yr, so if you're debt-free it's worth moving all spending to 'em. But you MUST pay IN FULL each month (preferably by direct debit) or interest dwarfs the gain. Also avoid taking out cash as it's pricey & don't see the reward as an excuse to overspend.

Top cashback credit cards - up to 5%. For simplicity, we're focusing on cash, but you can get other perks - see Credit Card Rewards (APR Examples).

Amex Platinum Everyday (eligibility calc / apply*) - Top if you'll spend sub-£9k/yr 
5% for 3mths (max £100), then up to 1% (3) NONE (22.9%)
Amex Platinum (eligibility calc / apply*) - Top if you'll spend £9k/yr+
5% for 3mths (max £125), then up to 1.25% £25/yr (28.2%)
Tandem (apply) - Best non-Amex (Amex is not accepted everywhere) 0.5% NONE (18.9%)
(1) You only qualify for both 5% Amex bonuses if you've not had an Amex in the last 2yrs. (2) Rep APR in brackets. (3) Min £3k/yr spend to get anything.
Going abroad? Get permanently cheap overseas spending with a SPECIALIST TRAVEL CARD 

They're the cheapest way to spend abroad - you get near-perfect rates as you're not charged the normal 3%-ish exchange fee, plus they don't levy cash withdrawal fees (but you can't stop an ATM charging). PS, we know we've cheated a bit here as we're including a DEBIT card, but there's little between the pair below. Note, cards can take two weeks to come.

- Top overseas credit card - incl £20 cashback. Apply by 29 Aug and Halifax Clarity (eligibility calc / apply*) gives £20 cashback on your first spend in 90 days in any currency. But always repay IN FULL each month to avoid spending interest. It's slightly pricier for cash, as you pay 19.9% rep APR interest even if you clear it in full (can cost 5p-£1.50 per £100/mth), but even that's usually better than a bureau de change.

- Top overseas DEBIT card (and you don't need to change bank). The card from app-only Starling (apply*) has no overseas fees or interest on spending or withdrawals (max £300/day cash). Plus you earn 0.5% AER interest on up to £2k balances, and 0.25% AER interest up to £85k. The credit scoring process is also less harsh if you don't apply for an overdraft. Full info and more deals in Travel Credit Cards (APR Examples).

More credit card tips...

- Think you can't get the cards above due to your credit score? Use our Credit Card Eligibility Calc in case you can - you never know, your score may have improved. If you still can't, some specialist cards help you rebuild your credit history.

- Credit cards give spending protection. On £100-£30,000, the card firm is jointly liable with retailers if something goes wrong. See Section 75 laws.

- Struggling with debt? Avoid borrowing & read our Debt Help guide.


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.



For years we've urged you to reclaim cash for this mis-sold insurance in what was arguably the biggest recent systemic scam. But the end is nigh, as the official PPI reclaim deadline is nearly here. So if you had a loan, credit card, mortgage, overdraft, catalogue debt or car finance in the past 30+ years, check NOW if you're owed via our Free PPI reclaim tool and guide. A mega £36 billion has been paid since 2011 to millions of people - but hundreds of millions of pounds is still to be repaid.

In practice, think of Wed 28 Aug as the deadline you should try to meet, but why wait till then anyway? The official deadline is 29 Aug, but we suggest you work to the day before in case technology fails in the likely stampede. Better still, go NOW while it's in your mind so you don't forget. It's best to actually make a complaint, but every bank or card firm we spoke to says just checking if you had PPI is enough to beat the cut-off. See our bank-by-bank checklist. Here are 5 things to do NOW.

  1. First check if you had PPI by searching old statements. It may have been called 'payment insurance', 'accident or sickness cover' etc. See PPI checking help, incl tips if you've not got the paperwork or can't remember the lender.

  2. It's not just mis-selling - you could claim for overcharging. See the full mis-selling checklist as that's the biggie. But even if you wanted PPI, you were likely mis-sold due to excessive commission taken by sellers. This falls under a rule called Plevin, named after a lady who started the ball rolling. See if you are eligible for a Plevin claim.

  3. Not claimed yet? Do it for FREE. You DON'T need to pay to reclaim - claims handlers typically take nearly a quarter 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 sends your claim to the bank etc that sold you PPI - which should consider you for mis-selling, and if that fails, for Plevin.

  4. If rejected on a new claim, go to the free Financial Ombudsman Service. Sometimes banks etc say "fair cop". But if they wrongly reject you (many do), you've 6mths to take your case to the independent Financial Ombudsman Service. Via our free reclaim tool, you can easily escalate the case to the ombudsman if you're turned down.

  5. Previously rejected? Try againThere are 1.2m people in this boat, who are now eligible under Plevin. You should have been notified by whoever sold you PPI - if not, put in another reclaim. See reclaim PPI again help.

£5 off £25 Lidl voucher. How to bag a nice Lidl saving. (Not in NI, sadly.)

Energy price war. Hot EDF & British Gas deals - save £260/yr. The battle is into a third week. EDF's 1yr fix and Brit Gas's 1yr fix are the cheapest of the Big 6 on typical use and their fight means great deals if you prefer a biggie (as we know many do). They'll save you an avg £260/yr on typical use vs a Big 6 standard rate over the next year. Click the links to compare against other big names or play with the filters for a wider comparison - where you can get cheaper, but from tiddlers.

School uniform hacks, incl a 'free' £15 set & how to make 'em last longer. With most kids going back shortly (though in Scotland many are back already), we've 10 school uniform hacks.

eBay & Facebook selling - how to declutter and make £100s this bank holiday. See our 45+ eBay and 25+ Facebook selling tips. Victoria tweeted us: "Spare bedroom was full of old clothes. Sold everything - made £250+." 

£50ish beauty box for £15 - where you pick the contents, incl £16 Eyeko eyeliner. MSE Blagged. You choose six full-size or mini items incl eyeliners, moisturisers & nail polish from big brands. 2,000 avail. Latest In Beauty

Get 10p/L off fuel at Tesco or Sainsbury's, 5p/L at Morrisons. Drive down petrol & diesel prices.


Millions overpay for broadband and line, but the secret to ditching pricey packages is to pounce on hot, short-lived promos, and there are currently three big names taking centre stage. Energy heavyweight Shell has recently thrown its hat into the broadband ring, and this week it launched some challengers to good deals from Plusnet and Vodafone which came out last week. With lots of belting deals, if you're out of contract, check now if you can save £100s/yr. Seconds out...

  • New. The big broadband and line battle. The table shows which deals win on cost but there's more to it. Shell's deals are simpler, as you get its prices if you pay monthly and rewards are automatic, whereas the other two make you pay upfront and/or claim any extras. Vodafone also lets you claim a 'free' Amazon Echo Dot. A few homes (sub-10%) can't get these deals, so links go via our Broadband Unbundled tool to check. Also use the tool to find more deals.

Standard speed (avg 10-11Mb) usually fine for browsing or light streaming
Ends 27 Aug
B'band is 'free' on this 1yr Plusnet contract, line rent is either £18.99/mth or £197.88 in one go. If you claim a £75 cheque, it's an equiv £10.24/mth with line paid upfront (£12.74/mth paid monthly).
Ends 6 Sep
MSE Blagged. Via our special Shell link, you pay £16.99/mth and automatically receive a £75 bill credit in late Oct, making it an equiv £10.74/mth over the 1yr contract.
Faster fibre speed (avg 35-63Mb) best for heavy streamers, gamers or if many use it at once in your home
Ends 6 Sep
MSE Blagged. Via our special Shell link, you pay £22.99/mth and automatically receive a £75 bill credit in late Oct, making it an equiv £16.74/mth over the 1yr contract.
- Need faster? Get 63Mb from Shell for '£21.74/mth', though it's beaten by Vodafone below.
£17.45/mth + 'free' Echo Dot
Ends Fri
You pay £23/mth for this 18mth Vodafone contract, but you can claim a £100 Amazon, Currys, John Lewis or M&S vch. If you'd have spent it anyway, the price is an equiv £17.45/mth. In addition, you can claim a 'free' Amazon Echo Dot speaker.
(1) You're a 'new customer' if you don't have broadband with the provider now. (2) To compare, we use 'equivalent prices' - adding all fixed costs, deducting vouchers & averaging it over the contract. We exclude 'free' gifts as they're harder to value.

  • Will I get the average speed? The figures quoted are what at least 50% of customers get at peak times. Most big providers will also tell you the min speed you'll get before you sign up - see how to check your speed.

FREE Harry Potter Lego mini toy. At certain toy shops this weekend, but limited stock. Save a few Quid-ditch

New. Cheapest loan for £7.5k- £15k - at 2.8%. Two weeks ago we joked that loans were like buses, as after few standouts in 2019, a flurry arrived. Since then, we've seen a full-on traffic jam. The latest is Zopa's* 2.8% rep APR on £7.5k-£15k, just ahead of the 2.9% rep APR from M&S*, J Lewis*, Tesco* & Sainsbury's (ONLY if you've a Nectar card). Before applying, use our Loans Eligibility Calculator to home in on lenders most likely to accept you. IMPORTANT: Never borrow just because loans are cheap - only do it for something affordable that you NEED. Plus minimise the amount you borrow, never miss a payment and repay ASAP.  Full info in Cheap Loans. (APR Examples.)

Halifax Ultimate Reward customer? It's changing its fees. See if you'll win or lose from Halifax's shake-up.

£45 of No7 beauty products for £10. But stock is limited after we featured it last week. Can you find cheap No7?

How to make old £1 coins spendable again - with 145m still out there. Check sofas & piggybanks. £1 help

Extra 10% off already-discounted food, eg, get 68p Homepride cooking sauce. MSE Blagged. Help fight food waste and save money with cheap groceries past their 'best before'. Remember, while 'use by' is a health warning, 'best before' is only the manufacturer's view of optimum quality. Min £22.50 spend, delivery from £3. Approved Food


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Longest 0%: Virgin Money* 29mths 0%, 3% fee (21.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: NatWest / RBS 23mths 0% - existing custs only but there's a trick for others (19.9% rep APR)

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  1. MoneySupermarket*
  3. Gocompare*
  4. Compare The Market*

Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Yorkshire Bank* / Clydesdale Bank* 3.3% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k:
Zopa* 2.8% rep APR

Standard b'band & line rent: Plusnet equiv £10.24/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Shell Energy equiv £16.74/mth

New. Get £175 to switch: HSBC
Great service + free £50: First Direct


Kids still on holiday? 100+ free or cheap ways to entertain 'em

Take them stargazing, to a free museum, to the cinema from £1, get half price at Alton Towers and lots more

The 'back to school' countdown's begun for many in Eng, Wales and NI - just listen closely to hear the collective sobbing of the nation's kids (though many in Scotland have already gone back or will do this week). If you're running out of steam to keep them entertained for less - or just running out of money - we've 100+ free or cheap things to do with kids this summer. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Updated. 23 FREE (or very cheap) ways to create summer magic for little'uns. MSE Jenny's updated her blog with more creative ideas to wow kids, such as evening walks with a free stargazing app. Plus there are hugely popular 'painted rock' treasure hunts, writing to a royal where you may even get a reply & much more. See summer magic for kids.

  • £1-£2.50 per person cinema tix for family-friendly films, eg, The Secret Life of Pets 2, The Queen's CorgiBoth grown-ups and kids can pay the knock-down price at these special morning screenings, usually on weekends. See cinema savings.

  • Free kids' tickets to West End shows in August with paying grown-ups, eg, Wicked, The Gruffalo. For some of London's top shows, but only this month. Availability is dwindling, so go quick for 'free' kids' theatre tix.

  • 50% off Alton Towers, Sea Life & Warwick Castle. Find a voucher on £1ish hand soap. See theme park deal.

  • Grab a gold bar at the Bank of England museum (sadly, you have to give it back). An educational day out can be worth its weight in gold. See our full guide to 180+ free museums and galleries.

"After reading about swapping Tesco Clubcard vouchers for money off travel on your site, we are going on a cut-price visit to Ireland. I swapped £45 of Clubcard vouchers for £135 off our ferry booking."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

Want an MSE Charity grant of up to £7,500? Our charity's offering this to non-profit organisations that teach people money skills after they've experienced a life event, eg, redundancy or bereavement. Its latest grant-giving round - themed on 'life-changing transitions' - opens for applications on 2 Sep. You can apply via its website and take a quiz to check if your organisation's eligible. The round closes once it accepts 40 applications or on 27 Sep, whichever is first.



How do you rate your bank account's service? Every six months, we ask for your help to track the quality of customer service provided by banks. By comparing your answers with last time, we can see which have got better or worse. How do you rate your bank account's service?



Should I tell the retailer my payment didn't go through? I purchased a £130 pair of running shoes online and paid via PayPal. I received an order confirmation and a separate payment confirmation from PayPal. The payment appeared in my bank account as a pending transaction, and I got the running shoes - but after two weeks the bank has now put the money back into my account. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I tell the retailer my payment didn't go through? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: How do you visually track your debts?
- Competitions thread of the week: Two nights for two in Paris
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Does anyone else wear undershirts?
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: How often do you chat to your grown-up children?
- Discussion of the week: Would you allow your child to skip school for some cheaper summer sunshine?
- PPI chat of the week: Were you convinced you had no PPI - but claimed anyway and found you did?


Lidl - £5 off £25 voucher
School uniform hacks - 10 ways to save, incl 'free' £15 set
Harry Potter Lego - FREE mini toy to collect this weekend
Latest in Beauty - £50ish beauty box for £15
Approved Food - Extra 10% off already-discounted food

Burger King - £3.49 for two meals
Frankie & Benny's - Kids eat for '£1'
Harvester - Kids eat for £1 (norm £5ish)
Iceland - £2 Ben & Jerry's ice cream (norm £4ish)
Naked Wines - 7 bottles of wine for £35 delivered

Boom25 - One in 10 chance of 100% cashback
Glasses Direct - Pair of specs and sunnies for £22 delivered
M&S - 50% off selected items in its 'Sizzling Summer Event'
Northern Rail - Flash '10p sale'
Odeon - Two tickets for £11.75 or five for £23.75 via Groupon

Quick Forum Tips

Sainsbury's homeware sale. Home cheap home
Frizz Ease free sample. A hair-raising deal
£15 Soap & Glory bundle. Clean up



Wed 21 Aug - BBC Radio Humberside, David Burns, 9.15am, Guy Anker on PPI
Wed 21 Aug - BBC Hereford & Worcester, Malcolm Boyden, 11am, Guy Anker on haggling
Fri 23 Aug - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am, Guy Anker
Tue 27 Aug - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: For getting an MOT you talk about council test centres, which don't do repairs - but what happens if your car fails? Jim, via email.

Kelvin's A:
Council test centres are often a good shout because, as you say, they generally don't do repairs and so there's no possible incentive for them to find 'faults' that may not exist.

Yet under new rules which came in last year (in Eng, Scot & Wales - in NI all tests are Govt-run), if your car's found to have a 'dangerous' fault, eg, insufficient tyre tread, you can't drive it away until it's fixed. That means if you've had the MOT done at a council centre which doesn't do repairs, your only option will be to have it towed. So if you think your car's likely to need major repairs, it's best to find a garage you'd be happy to do them and get your MOT done there instead. See full info in our Cheap MOTs guide.

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



That's it for this week, but before we go... with A-level results out and thousands about to head off to uni, we've been asking you for your best student MoneySaving tips. A huge number have spilled the beans on how they managed to save, with ideas such as borrowing rather than buying books, divvying up your student loan into monthly segments and even studying in the library to save on heating. Some tips though, such as eating nothing but Weetabix for a week or 'only do the laundry when you run out of pants', we couldn't possibly endorse... See the full list and add your own in our Student MoneySaving Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team