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Weekly Email
This email was sent
28th Jun 2017
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 This info may be out of date.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."

28 June 2017
11 travel money must-knows
Last chance. FREE £125 bank switch
Take our free financial desirability test
'Got £1,550 PPI back despite not knowing my account numbers'
Ryanair sits hen party in 15 different rows as they didn't pay for seats
2for1 trick for London Zoo, Kew etc
The train tip that went viral
Ends. Plusnet b'band & line '£12/mth'
60 garden-ready plants £9.50 all-in
Free food at KFC, Krispy Kreme etc
STOP PRESS: Bank of England warns about levels of borrowing
Samsung S8 incl 8GB data £34/mth, nowt upfront
NatWest cuts Reward cashback - should you ditch it?
New. Your rights if your holiday's hell
£118 beauty box incl Neal's Yard for £29
Free 7-day British Military Fitness pass + more ways to get fit for free
Extra 20% off Birkenstock shoes

11 travel money must-knows for summer

- Monzo card - NO credit check and near-perfect rates
- Get £20 cashback with a top overseas credit card
- Plus should you buy your holiday cash now or later?

Travel moneyLet's make no bones about it, if you're heading abroad on hols this summer it's going to be more expensive. Two years ago £500 bought you €703 and $785, yet now it's closer to €560 and $637, so getting the best rates is vital and it's no wonder we're swamped with your questions about how to do that.

Ann asked: "When I'm abroad and use my debit card it says pay in euros or pounds. What's best?", while Tony wrote: "I'm going away in Sep - when would be the best time to exchange pounds into euros?"

1. Should you buy your holiday currency now? No one can predict the future, and anyone who says they know what currency markets will do is telling porkies. But there's a simple solution if you're worried. Buy half your spending money now at the best rate (see points 5 and 6) and the rest just before you head abroad. This means...

- If the rate gets worse: you've locked in half at the better rate.
- If the rate gets better: you'll still get half your money at the improved rate.

If really nervous ask yourself: "Would I be content with today's rate?" If the answer's yes, and your real fear is further rate falls making your holiday unaffordable, play safe and buy more now.
2. Top overseas credit cards - get near-perfect rates everywhere, every time. When it comes to spending abroad we always start with a specialist credit card. Most debit and credit cards add a 3%-ish 'exchange fee', so £100's worth of euros costs £103. Yet specialist overseas credit cards don't charge that fee, giving you the near-perfect exchange rates the banks get.

You'll need to pass a credit check, then stick one in your pocket, only for use abroad, and pay off IN FULL each month. The cards often take 1-3 weeks to arrive, so use our Overseas Credit Card Eligibility Calc now to see which you've best chances of getting.

- Get £20 cashback on our long-term top pick. The Halifax Clarity (eligibility calc / apply*) card has got better. Newbies who buy anything abroad by 30 Sep 2017 get £20 cashback within 90 days. It's a Mastercard too, which usually beats Visa/Amex on the underlying exchange rate, and it has low cash withdrawal costs. The rep APR's 18.9% on spending and cash withdrawals.

- Top credit card for cash withdrawals. The Barclaycard Platinum travel credit card (eligibility calc / apply*) has no exchange fees on purchases or cash withdrawals till Aug 2022. You'll also pay no interest on overseas (not UK) withdrawals if you pay your bill IN FULL (18.9% rep APR on spending and 27.9% on cash if you don't).

- Top easy-to-get card but bad for cash withdrawals. The Aqua Reward (eligibility calc / apply*) card also has no exchange fees, pays 0.5% cashback and accepts some with a poor credit history. Don't withdraw cash though, as you'll pay a high fee and high interest (rep APR's 34.9% on spending and 44.9% on withdrawals).

See Top Overseas Spending Cards for full help and more options.
3. New hybrid card - acts like a top overseas credit card, but has NO credit check. Monzo* offers a new type of card, and we've been impressed. It acts like the overseas credit cards above, giving near-perfect rates wherever you are, with no fees - and crucially no credit check (though it will ID-check). Plus apply via our link above and you jump the queue.

But it's a prepaid card. So you use its free app to load pounds onto it, which are converted at the near-perfect exchange rate when you spend or withdraw on it. Plus you can spend any leftover money once home.

Martin says: "It's tough to see how Monzo's prepaid card will make 'em money. I suspect it's a loss leader, as part of this new bank's drive to gain customers. Yet even if the super-cheap rates don't last long, it's no problem, as you can always just spend what's on there in pounds."

See our Monzo analysis for more.
4. So which should you go for? You get near-perfect exchange rates on overseas credit cards and the Monzo card, and apart from Aqua, they all can be used cheaply or free for cash withdrawals.

So if you don't want a credit check, don't trust yourself with a credit card, or want to set a budget in advance and track it easily, Monzo may be better.

Overseas credit cards offer more though, including:
- Section 75 protection on purchases over £100. This means if something goes wrong with a purchase, even if bought abroad, the card firm must take responsibility.
- You can use 'em for car hire.
Most car hire firms insist on a deposit on a credit card to cover potential damage.
- You don't need an app.
Monzo is run through its app. It helps keep your spending on track, but isn't for everyone.
5. Top prepaid cards - lock in at the rate on the day you load them. But you'll lose out if rates improve. Unlike credit cards which require you to pass a credit check, anyone over 18 can get a prepaid card. The rates can be very good, but unlike the options above you lock on the day you load. Great if the rate drops, bad if it improves.

- Top pick for euros, dollars and some others: Revolut can be loaded in pounds, euros, dollars, zlotys and Swiss francs. It gives the perfect interbank rate, with no fees on spending or ATM withdrawals (up to £200/mth, 2% above that). £5 standard delivery when you order.

- Get £10 when you load £50+, but fee-free for first year only. Apply via our link and WeSwap gives an extra £10 when you first load £50+ onto it. You load in pounds, and decide when to swap to one of 18 currencies, but it charges up to 2% if you need access in less than 7 days.

Full details and more options in Cheap Prepaid Cards.
6. Need cash? Find the best rates from 30+ bureaux with our TravelMoneyMax site and apps. Speedily compare 30+ bureaux with our TravelMoneyMax (TMM) comparison tool to find the cheapest travel cash near you. The app (iPhone or Android) does the same plus does things like storing details of your plastic to show which is your cheapest way to pay.
7. A trick to buy cash now AND protect against currency swings. While not at the market's best rates, a couple of bureaux's T&Cs can be manipulated to give you protection against currency swings, as you order at today's rate for collection before your holiday. Then if the rate gets worse, you've done well, but if the rate gets better, you cancel and buy at the new rate.

Travelex* and Moneycorp* let you book rates for collection now, up to 14 days ahead, and cancel for free. Sainsbury's* lets you book up to eight days ahead but there's a £10 fee to cancel.
8. When they ask 'Do you want to pay in pounds or euros?', what do I reply? Say you want to pay in euros. That's EUROS. If you pay in pounds, it means the overseas store/bank is doing the conversion, and rates are awful. For a detailed explanation, see Martin's Pay in euros? blog. It's the same for cash withdrawals. We've seen an extra £30 charged for a €200 withdrawal when you ask the machine to convert it to pounds.
9. Save over £100 per €1,000 spend. Whatever the rate of the currency you're using, don't throw more money away by paying the wrong way. To show you the scale of the difference, here's a comparison on Monday's rate.

The cost of €1,000 (5 x €100 at ATMs, rest spent in 20 transactions)

- Top specialist credit card repaid in full: £881
- Cash, via TMM's cheapest bureau (must pick up in London): £888
- Cash from M&S on the high st (non-cardholders): £919
- Using a debit card from hell (Halifax in this case): £942 (see point 11)
- Change at airport (not pre-ordered): £1,000
10. Will withdrawing cash abroad hurt my credit file? On the right card it's cheap, but there's a possible impact on your creditworthiness - see withdrawing abroad.
11. Check if yours is a DEBIT CARD FROM HELL. Not only do they add around 3% to the exchange rate and an ATM fee, they also charge up to £1.50 every time you use them to spend overseas.

Bank of Scotland | Halifax | Lloyds | Santander | TSB
NatWest/RBS & Clydesdale/Yorkshire (hell for small spends)

ANY other card, including a credit card (if repaid IN FULL), is cheaper to spend on than these. See full Beware the debit cards from hell info.

And to find what all your plastic charges, use our How good is your current plastic? checker.

PS: Did you see Martin's holiday special show last week? If not, catch up here - The Martin Lewis Money Show.

Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.

If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via

Ending: First Direct FREE £125. New: Halifax FREE £125

As banks slug it out for your custom, one top switch incentive is reduced while another's boosted

If you're fed up with your bank, don't bitch, just switch. With banks desperate for you to join, it's a buyers' market, choosing between BEST customer service, BEST upfront cash or BEST ongoing bonuses. Switching's easy and takes just seven working days, plus the new bank closes your old account and switches all direct debits, payments and standing orders. You'll be credit-checked when you apply and you need to use their switching services...

  • First directEnding. Free £125 + top service + 5% regular saver. New switchers have until Mon 3 Jul to apply via this First Direct* link to get £125 FREE (£100 after). It's won every customer service poll we've ever done, with 90% rating it 'great'. Plus you get a £250 0% overdraft and access to its 5% fixed regular saver. The account's free if you pay in £1,000/mth - if not, it's £10/mth.

  • New. Free £125 + £3/mth ongoing reward. Halifax has upped its switch offer by £50, now giving £125, paid before the switch completes. Plus you'll get £3 each month you pay in £750, stay in credit and pay out 2+ direct debits. Switchers may also get a 6mth 0% overdraft.

  • Free £150 to switch, £125 M&S vch OR £110 + up to £66/yr in ongoing bonuses. Other household names are offering bigger upfront cash bribes, or incentives to keep you. For full info and eligibility see our Best Bank Accounts guide.

    - New HSBC Advance* switchers get £150 plus another £50 after a year, and access to a 5% linked regular saver. There's a £1,750/mth min pay-in, plus you need to start a full switch by phone or in branch incl 2+ direct debits/standing orders within 30 days of acceptance and register for mobile/online banking within 60 days.
    - M&S Bank* gives new switchers a £125 M&S gift card plus a £100 0% overdraft and 5% linked regular saver (you must switch 2+ active direct debits). For the first year you get an extra £5/mth added to the card when you pay in £1,000/mth and keep 2+ active direct debits.
    - Ends Fri. Co-op Bank pays £110 if you apply by 11.59pm on Fri 30 Jun, then switch - which must incl 4+ active direct debits. You can also earn up to £5.50/mth if you pay in £800/mth, pay out 4+ direct debits and make 30 debit card transactions per month, plus go paperless, use online/mobile banking and stay within your overdraft.

Ryanair sits hen party in FIFTEEN separate rows - because they didn't pay to sit together. One of scores of "random seating" examples from its apparent new policy. Ryanair seat anger

2for1 trick for 150+ UK attractions incl London Zoo, Kidzania, Kew Gardens, Man Utd tours etc. Climb aboard with the 2for1 trick.

The train tip shared 50,000+ times so far... This week our quick tip went viral with 10,800 Twitter retweets and a mammoth 40,123 shares on Facebook...

It's just the tip of the iceberg. See our guide to 20 train ticket tricks and tips.

Ending. Plusnet broadband and line rent equiv '£12/mth'. Till 11.59pm today (Wed), with this Plusnet deal newbies can slash up-to-17Mb broadband costs to less than a third of some out-of-contract prices.

£9.50 for 60 garden-ready plants (norm £37). MSE Blagged. Lucky dip, incl petunia & begonia. 3,000 bundles avail. Jersey Plants Direct

8 grub giveaways incl KFC sides, Krispy Kreme doughnuts & more. Via apps, reward schemes or newsletters. Food & drink freebies

STOP PRESS: The Bank of England's warned about levels of borrowing. We'll have full analysis in next week's email.


- Galaxy S8 + 8GB Sim deal £34/mth Ends Tue 11 Jul

- £29 beauty box, incl Neal's Yard (£118 indiv) 2,500 avail

- Extra 20% off Birkenstock code Ends Sun

- £110 Plain Lazy T-shirt bundle £35 via code Ends Tue


-100+ supermarket coupons worth £100+

- Driving to France? Get an emissions sticker NOW

- 'I won my £10k wedding comping on the MSE Forum'

- 'I had to pay for childcare twice'

How financially desirable are you? Take our free test

This matters as the more desirable you are, the more likely you are to get the best deals - we'll analyse it for you

Financial desirability is about more than just your credit score. It stretches beyond the world of mortgages, cards & loans into energy, insurance & mobile contracts. If you're undesirable but don't know, you may be offered substandard deals. So EVERYONE should check it. Of course if there's a problem, we'll show you how to boost your appeal...

  • credit clubTake the test - how desirable are you? To measure this we focus on what really counts - will you be accepted for the top deals? We analyse it via the free MSE Credit Club, using the Hit Rate metric. This shows what percentage of a basket of top credit card & loan deals you've a good chance of getting. While the data's based on card & loan lenders, others - eg, mobile phone contracts - use similar metrics, so it reflects overall desirability.

    The Hit Rate is a better indicator of desirability than your credit score (which is shown too). It's based on lenders' actual criteria, including affordability (even good risks are rejected if they can't afford to repay).

Take the financial desirability test ...
via the free MSE Credit Club's Hit Rate measure. It takes a few mins to sign up.

  • Credit ClubAre you more desirable than your peers? As you'll see from the images letting you compare by age & region, the Hit Rate is a harsh (but fair) measure. Even 'perfect' credit scorers only average 82%, & those with 'good' scores only average 47%, ie, you've only a good chance of getting about half the top deals.

  • If you're not desirable, don't despair. The Hit Rate's part of the free MSE Credit Club, which'll also indicate from eight factors where you're strong & where to improve. Plus it shows your free Experian Credit Report which you should go through line by line to check for errors that could put firms off. For full info on how it all works, read 37 tips to boost your creditworthiness.

Hot Samsung S8 deal with unltd mins, texts & 8GB of 4G data. MSE Blagged. Until Tue 11 Jul, get a black* or grey* 64GB Samsung S8 from Mobile Phones Direct on Three for £34/mth, with nowt to pay upfront. At £816 for 2yrs all-in, our checks suggest it's cheaper than buying outright & adding a SIM-only tariff for all who want more than around 3GB of data. Remember though, new handsets are never MoneySaving. See Samsung S8 best buys.

NatWest Reward cust? Cashback cut from 3% to 2%. We've crunched the numbers - should you ditch it?

New. Your rights if you have a holiday from hell. Tool up before you go so you know where you stand, with our new Holiday Rights guide.

£29 beauty box, incl Neal's Yard, Nails Inc & Ciaté (norm £118 indiv). MSE Blagged. 25% off code for tailored beauty box. 2,500 avail. Powder

Free 7-day British Military Fitness & 3-day Fitness First passes. Plus lots more ways to get fit for free this summer. Free fitness

Extra 20% off Birkenstock code. Incl £60 sandals for £41. MSE Blagged. Valid on all its footwear at Rubbersole, incl sale items. Step on it

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Not checked your PPI? Read this (unedited) note from Neil

The big problem with PPI is millions were mis-sold by not being told it was added. Yet the banks know. Ask 'em...

PPI"Just wanted to say thanks for pointing me to the Resolver tool on your site. I submitted two claims for old loans from about 17 years ago - it took hardly any time at all to fill in and submit the forms.

"To be honest I didn't have high hopes as I had no idea of my account numbers, just the approximate years that I took out the loans and the bank branches I used.

"[Then] I received £1,546 in compensation from RBS including for three loans that I hadn't recalled taking out a long time ago - and I'm splashing out on three season tickets for Newcastle United's return to the Premier League, much to the delight of my two sons.

"I've been telling everyone I know to get onto your site and use the Resolver tool. Thanks again."

Are you like Neil? Check your PPI for free NOW.

5 'mystery' Plain Lazy T-shirts £35 via code (norm £110). MSE Blagged. Men's or women's lucky-dip bundle. Ends Tue. Plain Lazy

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"I've been with my home insurer for 20+ years with no claims, but this year's home insurance renewal rocketed to over £600. I checked and got it for £400. Thank you MSE. "

MSE is looking for an email communications manager. Based in London. For this and more opportunities, see MSE jobs.


Do you travel with or without travel insurance? We believe it's a necessity, yet in the UK and abroad, do you risk going without? Have your say in our travel insurance poll.

Home away from home. Last week's poll asked which type of holiday accommodation you usually pick. Most common were hotels and self-catering properties, although 2% of you leave the land and holiday on a boat. See full holiday poll results.


- Top story: Nationwide to hike fee on flagship packaged bank account - is it still worth it?

- Doors open to passengers claiming compensation for next month's BA strike

- Hotpoint fridge freezer linked to Grenfell Tower fire - what to do if you own one

- Millions more can now earn up to £500 a year by referring friends to Nationwide

- Virgin Media tells customers to change passwords after hacking risk exposed

- iSupplyEnergy taken over by Swedish energy company - what it means for you


Should I take back my purchase now the sales are on? I recently bought some shorts, but have just spotted the same ones in a new sale. Should I return them, get my money back and re-buy them at the lower price, even though I was happy to pay the higher price initially? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I take back my purchase now the sales are on? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: One debt vs 100 days challenge
- Competitions thread of the week: Trip to Australia
- Old-style board thread of the week: How to clear a shower drain?
- Discussion of the week: Too many holidays?


- A year of fighting to break the link between mental illness and money problems...


- 8 easy-to-claim food & drink 'freebies'

- 2for1 attractions via train ticket trick

- Want to appear on a TV game show?


Thu 29 Jun - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 30 Jun - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, time TBC. View previous
Mon 3 Jul - This Morning, ITV, time TBC. View previous
Mon 3 Jul - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Subscribe to podcast


Wed 28 Jun - Facebook Live Q&A on travel money, 1pm
Wed 28 Jun - BBC Radio Cumbria, 'Money Talks', from 6pm
Thu 29 Jun - BBC Radio Tees, 10.35am
Fri 30 Jun
- BBC South West stations, breakfast, travel money tips
Tue 4 Jul - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm


Q: I have an old bank account I don't use anymore - I've never closed it because my mum told me some banks look more favourably on you if you've held an account for a long time. Is there any truth in this, or should I ditch it for a switching bonus? Ellie, via email.

Karl TalbotMSE Karl's A: There's some truth in it. If you've held a bank account for a long time and have managed it well, it may help your credit score. But it's one of dozens of factors that can affect it, and is unlikely on its own to win or lose you a future credit application.

What's more, if you've not used the account for years, it may not be affecting your score at all - in which case, you may want to ditch and switch and grab the free cash. If you're unsure, it's worth checking your credit file for free with our MSE Credit Club, and see our Credit Scores guide for need-to-knows and how to boost your score.

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

£100 wedding dresses... if you buy from Oxfam

That's it for this week but before we go... It's wedding season, and with her nuptials coming up soon, we sent MSE Sally to check out the donated AND 'new' (end-of-season) dresses at an Oxfam bridal shop. Watch her verdict and tell us whether you'd wear a wedding dress from Oxfam to avoid shelling out a four-figure sum, via our 'Oxfam bridal wear' Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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