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PS1 sun cream, Post Office 1.33% savings, BT hike, PS200 bank bribe ends, Amzn 'free' PS10, ridiculous loans, cheap sunnies, Martin's equity release help

Hi - here are your latest deals, freebies, tricks and messages to help you save.
                                                           
27 June 2018 Email not looking great? View online
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Urgent. THREE bank switch bribes of up to £200 are ending. And little's replacing 'em, so carpe dealem (ie, get your skates on)


Banks are willing to pay serious money to switch to them, and if they'll give you a (legal) bung, why not take it, especially as it often means improved service? Yet these things are cyclical. Early this year there were lots of offers, then it went barren, now it's back on, but not for much longer. 

So if you want to get paid to switch, do it now. This is even more pressing if your bank's been a bad'un (ahem, TSB). So stop whinging, start switching. It's easy and takes just seven working days. Here are your options...

First check the big bribes ending soon...

  • Ends Fri. Barclays - free £132 in year 1, £48/yr after.  New switchers to Barclays* who sign up to its Blue Rewards scheme get £14/mth for the first year. There's a £3/mth fee, but it still leaves you up £11/mth (£132/yr) in year 1. From year 2, you're £4/mth (£ 48/yr) up after the fee.

    How do I get it? Apply, sign up to Blue Rewards & start the switch by Fri, plus sign up for online or mobile banking. Then, each month pay in £800+ (equiv £9,800/yr salary) and pay out 2+ direct debits.

    You can get more rewards if you've certain Barclays products, eg, a mortgage or loan. 


  • Ends Sat. HSBC - free £200 (£150 upfront + £50 in a year). Anyone who's not had an HSBC bank account since 2015 can get £150 within 50 days of switching to HSBC's Advance account + £50 if still with it in a year. You also get access to a linked 5% regular saver and so me get a 6mth 0% overdraft.

    How do I get it all? Apply by 11.59pm Sat, switch incl 2+ direct debits or standing orders within 30 days of opening and register for mobile or online banking within 60 days. Yet beware as this account requires a hefty £1,750 pay-in every month (equiv £25,900/yr salary).

  • Ends 9 July. RBS - free £100 AND ongoing 2% cashback, so it wins overall for some. It pays £100 to switchers (incl some existing customers) on most of its current accounts. The standout is RBS Reward* which, for a £2/mth fee, gives 2% cashback on council tax, energy, broadband, etc bills paid by direct debit.

    For those with average bills, cashback is worth about £66/yr after the fee. For bigger bills, it's about £135/yr. Add that to the free cash and this can be the highest payer for some in year one, plus you get ongoing cash.

    How do I get it all? You must apply to switch by 9 July, pay in £1,500+ and log in to online or mobile banking by 24 Aug. Then pay in £1,500/mth (equiv £21,500/yr salary) to get cashback.
Yet there are other hot deals still on (for now) 
  • First Direct - top service + freebie incl £170 headphones or £150 Expedia vch. Service king First Direct* has topped every bank service poll we've done, and new switchers can also choose one freebie from tech products (incl £170 Bose wireless headphones, a £140 Fitbit), a £150 Expedia vch or an online course (eg, yoga, balloon modelling). It also offers 5% regular saver, while some get a £250 0% overdraft.

    How do I get it all? You must pay in £1k+ within 3mths of opening, and you're emailed a link with instructions on how to get the freebie within two weeks. To avoid a £10/mth fee, pay in £1k/mth+ (equiv £12,675/yr salary) or have an avg £1k+ balance.

  • M&S Bank - free £185 M&S vchs (£125 upfront + £5/mth for a year). New switchers to M&S Bank* can get a £125 M&S gift card, plus £5/mth added to it for a year. You also get access to its 5% regular saver, and many get a £100 0% overdraft. M&S Bank has also done consistently well in our customer service polls over the years.

    How do I get it all? For the £125, you must fully switch, incl 2+ active direct debits, within 3mths of opening. For the £5/mth, pay in £1k+/mth (equiv £12,675/yr salary) and keep the direct debits active.

    Bank switching FAQs
    Lots more help and info in Best Bank Accounts

    Q. How difficult is switching? It's easy. In fact, in our last Twitter poll, 85% said it was hassle-free. Under banks' switching services, your account is switched and your old one closed, all within seven working days. And the banks do the hard work of moving money and payments across.

    Q. What if money is paid into the old account or something goes wrong? The bots behind the scenes sort it, so for at least 3yrs any money paid into the old account or wrongly earmarked to come out of it is transferred to the new one. If hit with charges due to a switch error that leads to a missed payment, this should be refunded by the new bank.

    Q. I don't qualify for one of these accounts, what can I do? Sadly, 1m+ don't have a bank account. Yet as long as you've ID, you should be able to get what's called a basic bank account where there's no overdraft. See Basic Bank Accounts for help.

 
 

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.

 

 
 

Ridiculously low loan rates – some 2/3rds cheaper than 5yrs ago

New. For £5,000-£7,499 loans you can now borrow at just 3.3%, but only do it if you NEED to

At every borrowing bracket, personal loan rates are either the cheapest-ever or close to it. Our table below shows they've dived in the past five years. On a £4,000 5yr loan, you'd now pay £720 in interest on the cheapest rate but five years ago, it would have been £1,420. Yet getting accepted is the issue, so ALWAYS use our Loans Eligibility Calculator first, which shows which loans you've the best chance of getting before applying, without hitting your creditworthiness. 

  • Should you get a loan? We're not saying get a loan as it's cheap. Only get one if you NEED it, you've budgeted and can afford repayments. If in doubt, don't. Also see our golden rules below the table for more help. 

  • Cheapest personal loans (but beware representative rates). All loans are 'rep APR', so that rate ONLY needs to be given to 51% of those accepted, others can be charged more. All below are for 1-5yrs, unless stated.

TOP Loans TODAY Vs 2013
AMOUNT
TODAY'S CHEAPEST (ALL RATES REP APR) 2013
£7.5k-£15k     
Sainsbury's Bank* - 2.7%-2.8% (needs Nectar card), Cahoot* - 2.8%
4.8%
£5k-£7,499      
New. Hitachi* (2-5 yrs) - 3.3%, Zopa* - 3.4%
6.3%
£3k-£4,999        
Zopa* - 5%-6.9%, Admiral* - 6.7%
12.6%
£2k-£2,999 
Ratesetter* - 6.7%. But usually beaten by credit card loans.
14.9%
£1k-£1,999  
Ratesetter* - 6.7%. But usually beaten by credit card loans.
18.6%


 

New. Best easy-access savings since Feb, 1.33% - and it's the Post Office. This cracking Post Office Online Saver* pays 1.33% AER variable from £1+ deposits and allows unlimited withdrawals. It includes a 1.08% bonus for 1yr, so diarise to switch then as the rate will dive. Full details and more options in Top Savings Accounts.

16 heatwave helpers: £1 sun cream, £8 fans, tap water rights & freeze your bedding (yes, really). Stay cool and safe as the mercury soars. Heatwave MoneySavers< /span>

BREAKING: Beat BT's price hike - sadly, it's done it again. As we first revealed on Tue evening... it's the 2nd rise in 2018 and the 3rd in 15mths. Full info and how to beat it in BT hike help.

Ends Sat. Amazon 'free' £10 and 'free' £6. Find out which you can get in Amazon double deal.

Warning: 34,000 fined up to £80 last year for NOT taxing their tax-free carsHow to avoid a car tax sting.

TWO pairs of prescription sunnies for £36, or two specs £16 delivered via code. MSE Blagged. Good for the summer, ends Sat. Spec-tacular

 
 

Cash poor, asset rich? Martin's NEW 5-min equity release guide

If your cash's locked up in your home, what's the best & cheapest way to get it out so you can spend it?

The UK population is ageing, and more assets are locked up in bricks and mortar. Millions have worked hard to gain a home of their own. That's great for security, the problem is as people get older, it leaves many asset rich and cash poor. The solution, according to the ads at least, is equity release. Yet, as always, things aren't straight forward. To help, Martin's written a new 5-min equity release guide and here's a 1-min summary.

  • Check downsizing first. If possible, often the most efficient thing is sell up and move to a smaller home, living off the excess cash from the sale. But if you plan to do it, don't leave it too late - you may put it off so long that in the end you never move. More help in the selling your property guide.

  • Equity release products can be very costly. If you have people to pass assets to, equity release generally means there will be less for them to inherit. Then again, it is your money, so prioritise your own living standard first.

    Equity release rates are a little higher than normal mortgage rates - 5% is typical - but that isn't the big issue. With a mortgage you usually pay some off each year, yet with equity release you don't repay until you die, so the interest compounds rapidly, meaning what you owe can double every decade. See equity release costs.

    If you don't do it right, it can be very costly, as Chris tweeted: "@martinslewis my folks did this, then my dad died. Mum had to move - £100,000 to pay for a £25,000 release." 

  • There are two types: lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans. The most common equity release products, available from age 55, are lifetime mortgages, where you borrow some of your home's value and repay when you die (though some modern products let you make repayments if you want).  

    The alternative, available from age 60+, is a home reversion plan. Here the provider buys a portion of your home from you for a tax-free lump sum at way below market value, then gets a share of your home's value when it's eventually sold. Click the links for the pros and cons of each.

For more on equity release, including how to ensure you do it the safest way, read Martin's equity release guide.

 
 
 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS

Longest 0%: MBNA* up to 36mths 0%, 1.99% fee (19.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: Santander* 27mths 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*
Aviva*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Hitachi* 3.3% rep APR (2-5 yrs)
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.7% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-3 yrs)

Standard b'band & line rent: EE equiv £16.78/mth 
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
TalkTalk equiv £18.89/mth

Ends Sat. £150 to switch + £50 if you stay a year: HSBC
5% interest fixed for a year: 
Nationwide FlexDirect

 

7 tricks to MAX the summer sales - incl Asos & John Lewis

Plus Tesco Direct clearance, Ted Baker, House of Fraser & Topman - some up to 70% off. Here's how to play it

The temperature's rising and so are the discounts in high street shops and at online checkouts, as stores push big summer sales. We've the full lowdown in our top summer sales round-up, with analysis on sales from all the names above & more. But bagging rock-bottom prices is also about clever tactics. So whether sorting your summer wardrobe, getting holiday essentials or planning ahead for Xmas, here's how to max it. 

  • Before you buy, remember the Money Mantras. DON'T get into unnecessary debt. Ask yourself: "Do I need it and can I afford it?" If the answer's no, then don't do it.

  • Codes to cut prices further, eg, 35% off Hot Diamonds sale. Always check if there's a discount code, whether there's a sale or not. Examples this week incl 35% off Hot Diamonds' sale, 20% off Adidas and 10% off already-reduced stuff on the eBay outlet for Argos and Evans Cycles. See ALL codes.

  • Get price drop email alerts. A nifty free service gives you a virtual yell when stores incl Amazon & Asos cut prices.
     
  • Decipher hidden discount codes on price tags. Staff use 'em when prices will soon drop - see what to watch for.

  • Abandon your online shopping basket. If you do, shops will often email discounts to tempt you back.

  • Be a haggling hero. Sales can be an invitation to haggle - see how to haggle in stores and online via help chats.

  • Bag a free longer warranty with John Lewis. It lasts 2-5yrs on electricals - combine with its sale or price promise.

See lots more nifty savers in tricks to uncover hidden shopping bargains.

 
£7,000 COUNCIL TAX REFUND - SUCCESS OF THE WEEK:
"Thanks for highlighting how people living alone with severe mental impairment shouldn't pay council tax. I got my mum more than £7,000 refunded."
(Send us yours on this or any topic)

FREE Toby Carvery meal for military personnel on Armed Forces Day. Plus see our round-up of other discounts available, incl 20% off Yo SushiArmed Forces discounts

 

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK

Teachers: grab your seat at a free financial education conference. Education charity Young Money (part of Young Enterprise) is running a conference in Birmingham on 14 November, free for any interested teacher or practitioner of financial education. Expect workshops and sharing best practices. Register to attend or check out these free resources.

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

How good is your mobile network's service and coverage? We want to find out how each provider rates both for service (how they treat you) and coverage (how strong the signal is when you need it). How good is your mobile network's service and coverage? 

Older groups are more willing to admit being scammed. It's scams awareness month, so in last week's poll we asked if you'd admit to being a victim. Over 2,500 responded and, thankfully, the vast majority hadn't had the misfortune. Interestingly, younger groups would be more reluctant to admit being conned. See full poll results.

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

My friend won't buy travel insurance - what should I do? My travelling companion has not taken out travel insurance, despite our trip having been booked and paid for. He says he will nearer the date. I have stressed the importance of doing it now, so he's covered for cancellation, but he is unfazed. What should I do? Enter the Money Moral Maze: My friend won't buy travel insurance | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: What small DFW things will you do this week?
- Competitions thread of the week: An awesome tech bundle
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Lunches and snacks over the school holidays
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Bizarre behaviour from neighbours, at wits' end
- Discussion of the week: Cooling MoneySaving tips #HeatWave

 

Odeon - £25 for five cinema tickets
M&S - 20% off selected school uniforms
Heartier - £30 free-range BBQ meat hamper
Naked Wines - £35 for 7 bottles and two glasses
2for1 theme parks - incl Legoland with £1ish chocs

Domino's - 35% off £30 spend
Toby Carvery - two mains for £10
Nando's - free quarter chicken with £6.50ish spend
Prezzo - 30% off mains
Just Eat - 20%-30% off selected takeaways

Pay £1, get up to 50p off hot drinks - via reusable cup
Free make-up & skincare when you recycle - eg, free MAC lipstick
Yellow sticker food reductions - get it cheap & save from landfill
FREE £22ish Ren body wash - beach clean in N'castle & L'pool
Net a £10 Deliveroo discount - beach clean in Torquay

Quick Forum Tips

Free treat with a hot drink at Waitrose Cafés. Worth the wait
Lidl weekend offers, incl 99p gammon steaks. Lots at steak
Free gardening workshops for kids. Watch them bloom

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 27 JUN ONWARD)

Thu 28 Jun - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 29 Jun - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am
Mon 2 Jul - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 2 Jul - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 27 Jun - BBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Steven Bell, from 6pm
Fri 29 Jun 
- BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 2 Jul - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Tue 3 Jul - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: I never use my landline, but always end up paying for line rental as part of my broadband deal. Is there a way to ditch the line rental and still get decent broadband? Maja, via email

MSE Weleid's A: You can, though it's not often worth it. Virgin is the only major provider that allows you to have broadband with no phone lin e, but it's usually cheaper to take a deal for broadband AND line rental from it or another firm. Almost all providers bar Virgin compel you to pay line rental (with them or another firm), if you take their broadband. See our Cheap Broadband & Phone guide for full help and the top deals.

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

 

'I SOLD MY VINTAGE MICKEY MOUSE JACKET FOR £300'

That's all for this week, but before we go... some old clothes or fashion items are worth hanging on to, as they go up in price. Via social media we recently saw a 10-year-old Hermes bag that originally cost £7,000 but sold for a whopping £162,000. At a more realistic level we spotted a £50 Mickey Mouse jacket that went for £300. If you've any similar stories, share them on our fashion 'investment' Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

 

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