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Weekly Email
This email was sent
22nd Aug 2012
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 This info may be out of date.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."

22 August 2012
Martin's Quick Briefing

Take the 'can I get 0% credit?' test
Apply for 0% cards & loans without fingerprints on your file

Our recent Boost Your Credit Score tips led many to report annoyance at not getting advertised APRs and then being stuck. Here are 10 tips to beat that...

1. Beware the vicious circle of applications. Almost every card & loan is now 'representative APR', meaning only 51% of accepted applicants must get the advertised rate. The rest get much costlier deals. How do you find out? You must apply, but each application hits your credit score - a vicious circle.
2. credit scoreNew 'can I get 0% credit?' no-fingerprints tests. A few lenders now do 'quotation' or 'soft' searches which indicate likely acceptance without marking your file (you may see it, lenders won't).

This lets you test if you can get credit with no consequence. We applaud this, and more lenders should follow suit, so let's celebrate them...
3. Check if you can shift debts to 15mths 0% low-fee (no fingerprints). The Fluid* credit card lets accepted customers shift existing card debts to it at 15mths 0% for a market-low 1.5% fee. Do try to clear the debt before the 0% ends or the rate jumps to 18.9% representative APR.

Uniquely, this card lets you pre-apply, so you'll know your likely chance of being accepted (or not) for the 0% without marking your credit file.

Longer 0%s are available. Barclaycard* is 22mth 0%, for a 2.9% fee and 17.9% rep APR after, but its apps hit your file. Full best buys: Top Balance Transfers (Official APRs).
4. Lock-in debts at 5.9% for life if you're accepted. Here, applications will go on your file, but if you're accepted for MBNA Rate for Life*, all debts shifted to it within 60 days are at a guaranteed 5.9% APR (1.5% fee) until repaid, ie, NOT representative rates. Don't miss your monthly min repayments though, or you'll lose the deal, and beware spending as it's at a much higher rate.
5. Check you can get a cheap loan (no fingerprints). For loans over £7,500, Nationwide* is 6.8% representative APR or 6.3% for existing customers (it gets costlier for very large amounts) and it does a soft search, so you'll get a strong indication of the rate without it hitting your credit file (it could still reject you after). To compare it to the very best buys, see Cheap Loans.
6. Compare cards and find which will accept you (no fingerprints). We're not a fan of credit card comparisons, as it's just as much about how you use cards as the rate. Yet MoneySup's Smartsearch* can predict likely acceptance from the 30 providers it compares. Then follow our 0% purchases, balance transfer & cashback card guides to ensure you use it correctly.
7. What lenders really know about you... What's on your credit file? Addresses, CCJs/bankruptcies, 6 years' credit history, credit applications, some utility history. What's not on it? Criminal records, parking or speeding fines, your race/religion, savings, salary, CSA info, student loans, credit rejections, PPI or bank charge reclaims.
8. Earn £100 cashback and (re)build your credit score. A key to (re)building credit worthiness is proving you can behave well, by getting a credit card and never missing a repayment. Of course, the difficulty is getting the card.

Aqua Reward* is aimed at poor credit scorers, even some with CCJs/defaults over a year old pass its credit score (applications go on your file). It uniquely pays a big 3% cashback on all spending (max £100/yr). However, it's a horrid 34.9% rep APR, so ALWAYS fully repay each month to avoid interest (& never withdraw cash). More options in Bad-Credit Credit Cards help.
9. Checking your credit files doesn't go on your credit file. It's important to regularly check (see how to Check Your Files For Free) to spot any errors. When you do, you'll often see how many times you've checked in the past. Many worry this hurts them, but ONLY YOU see this, lenders don't.
10. Don't worry, insurance comparisons are no fingerprints. Our Slash Car Insurance Costs and Home Insurance guides are big advocates of combining comparison sites. These often involve quotes for credit (if you want to pay monthly), but Experian confirms comparisons only use soft searches, so while they may appear on your file, lenders won't see them.

Do us a favour?

If this site or email has ever helped you, please forward this email to friends and suggest they get it themselves via


The Ones Not To Miss

Wed 22 Aug 2012
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint, ask - do I need it, can I afford it If you aren't, ask Will I use it, Is it worth it?
Savings rates crashing - check yours now
The average savings account now pays just 1.1%, but push hard and you can earn over 4%

Increasing economic gloom's depressed long-term interest rates & savers are suffering, with rates slashed across the board. Last month's easy access best buy was 3.2%, now it's 3.06%. Check yours ASAP. All below have £85K UK Savings Protection.

  • rate dropsEnsure you're getting at least 3% variable AER. If not, you're losing out as there are savings accounts that pay more AND allow you to put money in and take it out whenever you want. Derbyshire Building Society* (part of Nationwide) is 3.06% AER, though if you've over £20,000 you can get 3.07% AER with AA Savings. These interest rates include year-long bonuses, so plummet after. Diarise to ditch & switch. Full info & options in Top Savings.
  • Earn up to 4.06% AER if you can lock cash away. Fixed savings pay higher guaranteed rates, but you can't withdraw cash. Even here, rates have plummeted recently. Full best buys in Top Fixed Savings, but the highest are: 5yrs Vanquis Bank* 4.06%; 4yrs Halifax* 3.9%; 3yrs AA Savings 4%; 2yrs Shawbrook Bank (min £5k) 3.8%; 1yr Cahoot* (min £25k) 3.6%.
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MSE Blagged

FREE £30 M&S voucher with FREE £150 home insulation. If your home's suitable, M&S Energy pays you to get totally free wall/loft insulation installed, cutting bills. Free Insulation

Free £10 code to use on any train tix (in £2 paper). So you're £8 up. See Cheap Train Fares

New Travelodge £12 room sale. Starts today (Wed) 6am. 150,000 Jan-Mar stays. See Travelodge Sale

New cheap iPhone tool
Find one to suit your budget | 'Free' iPhone for £26/mth | Flog old iPhone NOW for max cash

Rumours are rife Apple may release the iPhone 5 in Sept. To stay ahead of the game once it's out, we've launched our new Cheap iPhone Tool with all current models and iPhones. Of course iPhones aren't money-saving, you'd be better off with our Cheap Mobiles guide. But if you're going to get one, at least do it cheapest. Coming soon: Cheap Samsung Galaxy tool.

  • Cheapest iPhonesNew Cheap iPhone tool. Lets you find cheap iPhone tariffs with the right mins, texts & data. Or set what you can pay upfront & monthly and click show me what I can afford.
  • Current top iPhone 4S deals. No upfront cost: Vodafone* is £26/month with 100mins, 500texts and 250MB data, but on a two-year deal. Short contract: If you can pay £335 upfront, Tesco's* £25/mth with 250mins, 5,000texts and 1GB on a year contract, so you can unlock & switch to a cheap Sim-only tariff sooner. See all iPhone Best Buys.
  • Sell old iPhones now to get max value. You usually get top price for flogging old models in the months around a new iPhone launch. The MobileValuer finds top prices for working and faulty handsets, eg, iPhone 4 16GB best £228 for mint phones, worst £88.
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10% off Asos code (incl 50% off sale items). Extra discount at online fashion shop. Asos Codes

MSE Blagged

Free (£10) 7-day Brit Military Fitness pass. Tone those abs, burn those buns, eat those donuts (OK, maybe not the last one). Get a £10 outdoor workout pass for nowt. See Free Gym Passes

FitFlops 50% off sale. Means £30 Walkstar III, Pietra and Electra Pewter toning sandals. FitFlop Sale

Free £100 to get the KING of bank accounts
Revealed - is your account a dud or delight? The UK's best and worst current accounts

Even corking rates can't make up for crap service. Almost 10,000 voters in our latest poll show there's massive variance. If yours is poor, ditch & switch (you'll need to pass its credit score). Full info, including high payers with poorer service, in Best Bank Accounts. Here are the winners...

Is your bank a dud or delight?
  Great Poor
First Direct 91% 1%
Co-op 79% 4%
Nationwide 61% 7%
HSBC 42% 15%
Lloyds 39% 16%
Barclays 37% 16%
NatWest/RBS 34% 21%
Bank of Scotland 34% 23%
Halifax 33% 18%
Santander 32% 26%
Ulster 15% 61%
Six-monthly customer service poll. 9,403 votes. Bank Service News
  • GOLD (91% great) and free £100. Min salary: £23,000. First Direct's* fee-free account's won EVERY poll we've ever done, crowning it King. Right now, it pays switchers £100 and offers a 0% overdraft up to £250 (15.9% above). There's no in-credit interest, but the account gives access to its 8% regular savings.
  • SILVER (79% great) and top ethical account. Min salary: £10,400. The Co-Op* fee-free account is Ethical Consumer's top pick. Its fee-charging accounts are also worth a look, providing you'll use all the features. For £9.50/mth* it gives family worldwide travel insurance and insurance for mobile phones, for £13/mth* you get breakdown too.
  • BRONZE (61% great) and free travel insurance. Min salary: £9,600. Also high on the ethical scale, Nationwide* gives free Europe travel insurance (up to age 75) on its fee-free account. Plus lets you to open its 6% regular saver. Do also check if your local Credit Union offers daily banking.
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MSE Blagged

£75 GHDs via 10% off beauty brands code. Ends Fri. We've blagged a 10% off Beauty Expert code (sells brands incl Elemis, Liz Arden), resulting in £75 GHD straighteners. Cheap Beauty

Forum Hottie

25% off ALL Sainsbury's Tu clothing sale. Until Mon 27 Aug. Great bargains reported in the forum, incl cheap school uniform, £2.25 kids' trainers and womens' trousers for £4.50. See Sainsbury's Deals

Fix energy prices cheaply for TWO winters. A reminder of EDF's new Blue Price Promise*. It's one of the market's cheapest, plus the rate is fixed until April 2014, with no early exit penalties and it'll alert you if any provider launches a £50/yr cheaper tariff. To see if it stacks up for you, use Top Comparison: Energyhelpline* £15 cashback per switch. Dual Fuel: MoneySup* £30 cashback or uSwitch* a crate of wine. Full info: Cheap Gas & Electricity

Click titles for full info & all top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
22 mths 0%, 2.9% fee

(17.9% rep APR)

Low fee 0%: Fluid*
15 mths 0%, 1.5% fee

(18.9% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

M&S* (£5k - £7.5k)
7.3% rep APR
(Must be 30+ or a homeowner)

Sainsbury's* (£7.5k - £15k)
5.8% rep APR

(Need Nectar card)

Manchester BS 3.06% AER
Min £1,000. Incl bonus.
Postal only. Transfers allowed.

Santander* 3% AER
Min £500. Incl bonus.
Transfers allowed

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Tesco Wine £10 off £50 & free del code. Free delivery (norm £5) for everyone until Mon, £10 off just for newbies. See Wine Deals. Related: Tesco Wine Discount Finder (beta). Please be Drinkaware.

MSE Blagged

Last chance £25 off cheap hol car hire. Use Car Rentals* and Kayak* comparisons to search for the cheapest. Then see if using the code MSEAUG25 at Holiday Autos*, which cuts £25 off worldwide 7-day car hire, can beat it - but only hires till 31 Aug. See Cheap Car Hire

Team up for £5 free Cafe Rouge & Strada gift cards. New firm that lets you send free gift cards to pals (in the hope you'll buy others) has added restaurant vouchers. While stocks last. Full info: Wrapp Deals

Tell friends about us. They can get this free every week.

Car insurance warning (women especially)
Check if your renewal's due | Millions overpaying £100s, others risk being fined

If your renewal's due (after all, Sept's new car reg month), find the cheapest before your insurer's last-minute 'we'll renew you' notice means there's no time. Remember you need insurance, even if you're not driving, unless you've a valid Sorn. Four quick tips...

  1. car insuranceWarning for women. From Dec, EU laws mean gender can't be a part of insurance pricing. Younger women often get cheaper prices than same age men, so their costs may rise - getting it soon may help.
  2. Never just auto-renew - compare! Insurers love auto-renew, it's like a fine for apathy. They'll hoick charges knowing you'll pay. Always check for cheaper. Combine comparisons (they don't cover identical insurers) to max quotes in min time. Our assessed order is: a) MoneySupermarket* b)* c) Tesco Compare d) Gocompare*.

    "I'm 25, my renewal was £1,400. So far the cheapest I've found is £670, I'm not finished yet."
    - tweet received yesterday

  3. Tricks they miss. Check Aviva* and Direct Line* as comparisons don't. Plus if you've more than one car in the household, try Admiral MultiCar*. Full tricks & cashback in Cheap Car Insurance | Van Insurance | Bike Insurance
  4. Young drivers. Follow the tricks above (especially multi-car) but try adding an older, clean driver as 2nd driver, it may lower costs. Plus check out telematics - black boxes to monitor driving. Time of day: Coverbox*, iKube*; How far you drive: Insurethebox; Driving style: Co-op*, the AA. See full Under-25 Car Insurance Tricks
Back to top ^
Forum Hottie

68p Lenor fabric softener (usually £3.37). Spotted by forumites. 1.4L bottles half price at Tesco till 4 Sept, then print £1 off coupon. Throw in the towel (sorry): Supermarket Coupons

Bank holiday restaurant 2for1s & vouchers inc...
All Bank Holiday: Pizza Hut Del £10 off £25 | Azzurro 2for1 | Yates's 'free' bacon sarnie | PizzaExpress 3 courses £13
Some Bank Hol: Prezzo 2for1 for £2 (Fri & Sun) | Bella Italia 2for1 for £2 (Fri & Sun) | Cafe Rouge 2for1 for £2.50 (Sun)
Many, many more in Cheap Restaurant Deals

Not just Notting Hill carnival - free festivals UK wide. London's big FREE Carnival is Sun-Mon, plus others in L'pool, Leeds, Worcester & Monmouth this weekend - more soon. See Free UK Festivals Near You

20 cures for prescription & medicine costs
From NHS season tickets to cheap asthma inhalers & 80% cheaper painkillers

Pills and prescriptions can leave your wallet woozy. Our panacea is a new 20 Medicine Savings guide. Here's a quick dose...

  • cheap prescriptionsNHS prescription 'season tickets'. Paid-for prescriptions in England cost £7.65. Get more than one a month, and a pre-pay season ticket will slash costs. It's £29 for 3mths, £104/yr.
  • 2 blue asthma inhalers £7. Over the counter, cheaper than a prescription. See Cheap Inhalers.
  • Save 80% on medicines. Forget costly brands. Check the 'active ingredient', it's the same stuff, eg, Boots 40p ibuprofen does the same as £1.90 Nurofen. See buy cheap medicines safely.
  • Cheapest private prescriptions. Never assume costs are fixed. Whether for certain cancer treatments or 'performance enhancers' such as the famous "V" one (worded carefully or this'd be in your spam box), see Cheap Private Prescriptions.
Back to top ^

Flash sale - West End show & meal £24. From 10am Thu. Incl Wiz of Oz & Ghost. Theatre Deals

This week's BIG discount codes
Body Shop 40% off | BHS 25% off (& VCH) | George £5 off £30 More in Discount Vouchers

Work at a uni or students' union? Student Finance Day's 20 Sept. Want to join in? Pls email for info

Click titles for full info & all top picks
Gas & Electricity Bank Accounts Home Insurance Landlines
Compare, switch & get cashback

£15 per switch

£30 dual fuel

6 bottles of wine

First Direct*
£100 bonus and top cust service

Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

(£2 per month fee)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Get quotes in this order...

Primus Line Rental Saver*

BT Line Rental Saver*
£10.75/mth (pay a yr upfront)
Do a Money Makeover Free Budget Planner Free MSE car sticker £16 Travel Insurance

the moneysaving community

Campaign of the week

Free Met Police Little Book of Big Scams
Go to the Met Police website for fraud alerts, latest news and to download its free Little Book of Big Scams. Every year, UK consumers lose billions of pounds via online, mail, door-to-door and telephone scams. You'll also find info on how to protect yourself in the MSE guide: 25 Tips To Stop Scams.
Suggest a campaign:
This space is for MSE to support the work being done by other charities, community groups and campaigners. Send your Campaign of the Week suggestion.

Free book giveaway. The Little Book of Jokes For Kids Of All Ages. 25 blagged for MoneySavers. Want one?

Money Moral Dilemma

Am I baking up the wrong tree?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
I like to bake cakes for my colleagues' birthdays, however, it now seems an expectation. No one offers to contribute towards the ingredients' costs, and though I enjoy it, it's becoming expensive. Should I only do it for those I'm close to and risk offending the others, or keep baking for everyone to my purse's detriment? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I stop baking for colleagues? Previous MMDs: View All Suggest: A Money Moral Dilemma

spill beans

Spill the beans... on tricks for cheaply growing fruit & veg
Are you a green-fingered guru? Share tips for growing fruit and veg cheaply in gardens, allotments or window boxes with the best products possible. What's best to grow? How much do you save? Spill 'em: Cheapest Grow-Your-Own Past topics: View all

Bulk buying secrets. Spill the beans... revealed
Last week's topic revealed some serious bulk-buyers, with the majority stocking up on toiletries and cleaning products and, of course, loo roll. Many advise making a list of items you use regularly to avoid impulse bulk-buying and most have target savings, such as half price or less to ensure it's worth the cupboard/under-bed space.

Cheap Flight Sales

Aer Lingus Price: From £30 each way Ends: Sun 30 Sept
Our pick this week is Aer Lingus's from £30 each way flights. It's on various routes for travel until Sun 30 Sept 2012, and includes some taxes and charges. Flights include Manchester to Dublin for about £29.99 each way. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £60 return max search. Extra charges warning: Avoid payment and check-in charges - see the Budget Airline Fee Fighting guide. Related: Cheap Flights, Cheap Hotels, Spending Abroad, Cheap Currency, Travel Insurance

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Cheap Travel Money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 126.51 115.54
US Flag $ 156.76 142.68
Turkish Flag TL 275.75 247.42
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Is it time to end 'free' banking?

Some policy wonks are calling for the end of 'free' banking (it's not really free, it's just fee-free for those in credit). They say banks would mis-sell less, as they wouldn't need to flog as many other products to subsidise it.

So, a simple choice: would you change things?

No change: Keep fees-free in-credit banking as it is

Make charges transparent: People should pay for what they get, with no cross-subsidies, even if it means a monthly fee

Poll Results

How do you rate your bank's SERVICE (Aug 2012)?

First Direct triumphed once again, with 91% of its customers receiving great service (up very slightly from 90% from 6 mths ago).

New bottom of the pile is Ulster after its recent IT issues, with a huge 61% voting it poor. See Full Results.

Question Of The Week

Q: I am a single person with a mortgage and have three spare bedrooms. Can I rent out rooms without having to pay any tax? Terence, by email.

MSE Archna's A: Renting a room is income, like any other, so sadly you can't just rent a room out tax-free. However, there are two options to legitimately reduce tax, but you must choose one.

A. The 'rent a room' scheme means you can take in a lodger(s) to live in a furnished room in your home, and won't pay tax on the first £4,250 of income each year - above that, you pay tax at your normal rate.
B. Alternatively, HMRC allows landlords to deduct mortgage interest costs and certain other expenses from any rental income. This can be a bigger saving in some cases. See Directgov's info about allowances on rental income.

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

Board Of The Week

The Up Your Income Board

Share offers and tips on ways to boost your income. Recent discussions include Blogging for a second income, The Swagbucks Challenge and Selling Artwork

Back to top ^
Game Of The Week

Football Jump

007 - The Business of Bond

BondThe makers of the Bond films really take "you only live twice" to heart, spending megabucks (but they make it too). This fun graph shows what each Bond film cost and how much it brought in at the box office: Diamonds are forever

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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