Time to switch up the dynamic and make your financial services pay you for a change. Banks and insurers are desperate for your money so use this to your advantage and grab the best offers and cashback deals around. Yes, make money from your financial products. You could even score some free money from the government!
Search for a sleeping beauty in old dormant accounts
You may be able to claim money from dormant accounts for free. It’s estimated that over £850 million is still lying unclaimed in various in banks and building societies so there’s every chance you have some money lying forgotten somewhere, or perhaps an old savings account your Nan set up that you have no idea even exists. Find out more here.
switch your current account and reap the rewards
Surely everyone has seen that oh-so-melodious advert for the Switch Guarantee, but have you considered the implications? Here at MoneyMagpie, we have long supported switching accounts in order to keep banks on their toes, making them promise more and more to try and win you back. For example:
- If you’re a new customer, switching to HSBC Advance can score you £175, plus no monthly account fee and tonnes of other discounts and offers. Hurry, offer ends 2nd September 2019!
- Again for newbies, First Direct offers a free £50 to those who open a 1st Account through the Switch Service.
- Regularly shop at M&S? One year after switching to the M&S bank and maintaining at least four active Direct Debits, you can score up to £180 in gift vouchers!
- One for both new and existing customers is Barclays, who offer a minimum of £120 cashback in the first year when you switch and sign up to their Blue Rewards scheme by 12th November 2019.
How do they work?
Cashback credit cards work by rewarding spending with cash. These aren’t loyalty cards so you’ll still need to pay them off every month or you’ll pay interest on what you owe. Find out more in our full article on reward cards.
Should I get one?
Not if… you’re unable to repay cards in full. If you aren’t confident that you can repay the card in full each month, apply for a credit card with the lowest interest rate instead. Or take a look at a card that offers 0% on purchases for as long as possible. The Tesco Credit Card is the best option, giving 0% on card purchases for a whopping 16 months.
But… if you can cover the costs of any spending on a cashback credit card they’re a great way to earn a little extra cash on your normal spending.
Make sure you do your research, there are always some great cashback deals around. Grab the best buy so that you make as much money as possible. For example:
- The fee-free American Express Platinum Everyday pays new cardholders 5% cashback on up to £2000, so you can earn up to £100 cashback. As the high rate is only on offer for three months, apply for the card around the time you are likely to spend a lot of money on it such as the summer holidays or Christmas. The rate then drops to 0.5%, increasing to 1% if you spend over £5,001. Bear in mind that it takes several weeks to process the application. It’s also important to remember that Amex cards are not accepted everywhere.
- Also fee-free, consider looking at the Tandem cashback credit card. This is a simple but solid option, offering 0.5% return on all purchases whether made at home or abroad.
Any other tips?
- Set up a direct debit so that you know your debt is paid off in full each month.
- Put all of your purchases on the card – this doesn’t mean you should spend more but rather that you should use the card for all your normal spending to maximise the cashback benefits.
- Don’t use these cards to withdraw cash – this will normally incur a hefty fee.
N.B. Get more freebies! You should also check other reward cards for freebies. If you like to shop online, use cashback shopping websites that reward you with cash when you buy your shopping through them.
Start with the sites that give you instant cash just by signing up. Cashback Shopper gives you £5 when you register, and £5 for every friend you refer.
Get a £55 m&s gift card with any age co car insurance policy
N.B. Always shop around for the best deal and try not to be too distracted by offers like this, but if it compares well with other insurance offers it’s a good way to get an extra freebie. You can use our very own comparison service. You may also want to check the comparison sites to be extra careful – try the following:
Home insurance – buy online and save 35%
Most of what we’ve been discussing here is only applicable to new customers, as providers focus on trying to make you switch. Loyalty is a much more common commodity as customers grow too accustomed to what they have, hardly even noticing as the contract is renewed for yet another year. This is where the big bucks lie, and so they’ll fight to keep you – but only if you give them a chance.
As your contract nears its end this year, give them a ring. Do your research first: check out –
A quick chat wherein you threaten to cancel if they don’t drop the price can save you hundreds of pounds. Some Sky customers, having tried to negotiate and failed, went ahead and cancelled… only to receive a phone call a week later offering them 50% off! Even if you can’t get them to offer any savings, you can always try asking for freebies instead.
Free phones with Tesco mobile
There are lots of great mobile phone contract deals around so it’s well worth considering switching when your current one expires.
Contracts from as little as £7.50 a month might be worth considering if you’re looking to cut down on expenses. Best of all, the phones in this deal are FREE!
up to £120 Marks & Spencer Voucher with Sky Broadband
Hopefully you like M&S, because once again we have gift cards galore. Customers who sign up to Sky Broadband Superfast through Broadband Genie will be treated to a £120 M&S voucher. Those who are happy with the Broadband Essential package will also receive a free gift card for M&S, worth £80. Offer ends 1st August, so hurry! Find out more here.
£50 Amazon gift card with Post Office Unlimited Broadband
This 12 month contract with the Post Office, already a great price at £15.90 a month, is sweetened with a £50 Amazon gift card. Remember to give Broadband Genie your email so they can send it over. They promise this will be within 90 days of installation, but don’t be afraid to send them a reminder if the deadline begins to draw near. Make sure you check it out here before 30th September.
Looking for more tips? Read our article How to Save Money on Sky, Virgin and other TV Packages now.
Child Trust Funds
A CTF is tax-free money for every child born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011.
Parents will be sent a voucher (£50 or £250 depending on circumstances) which is used to open the CTF.
Families on child tax credits who earn less than £16,190 for this tax year may receive an extra £250 paid directly into the account.
Parents, family and friends can add up to £3,600 to the account each year and there’s absolutely no tax to pay on any interest earned, so CTFs essentially ISAs for kids. Once the child is 18, the money can be accessed.
How do they work?
Parents can choose to invest the voucher in one of three types of accounts:
- Cash CTF
- Stakeholder CTF
- Shares/Equities CTF
Cash CTFs are the safest option. However, returns are limited and although stakeholder and shares-based CTFs have suffered in recent times due to the stock market crash these are more likely to offer high returns in the long run. Remember that these accounts last for 18 years, which is a long time to ride out the ups and downs of the stock market. Parents are also free to switch their child’s account, both from one provider to another but also importantly to a different type of account. So, you can have a cash CTF now and switch to a stakeholder CTF later or vice versa.
Should I invest the voucher?
Yes! Definitely – there’s absolutely no reason not to invest the voucher. If you don’t, the Government will invest the voucher on your behalf into a stakeholder account. This means you don’t get to choose where it goes as they’re selected on a strict rotation basis.
How much money can I make for my child?
If you were to save a further £25 a month on top of the free money, the CTF would be worth an impressive £5,650 at age 18. Even better, if you manage to top it up to the maximum level of £300 a month, a CTF account could be worth more than £65,000 when their child reaches 18.
Although CTF accounts have been severely affected by Bank of England base rate cuts they still offer better than average returns when compared to normal savings accounts, particularly when you take into account the tax savings.
Other providers worth checking out:
- Engage Mutual Assurance Child Trust Fund
- Family Investments Child Trust Fund