How to manage multiple accounts, double switching bonuses, finding lost accounts and claiming Amex cashback.
I love hearing from you, whether it’s on the blog, social media, YouTube or on email. Often you’re asking me questions about your finances, and I’m always glad to help.
But I realised that my answers could also be useful to other followers. So I’ll be putting my responses to the best questions into regular articles here on the blog.
How to ask me questions
The best ways to get in touch is in the Andy Clever Cash Facebook community
Just post your question any time, or ask me live in my weekly Q&A each Thursday (which is also on Instagram).
You can also comment on individual blogposts and videos or ask me questions via these channels:
- Twitter @AndyCleverCash
- Instagram @AndyCleverCash
- Email Andy[at]BeCleverWithYourCash.com
I can’t promise I’ll be able to answer all questions but I’ll do my best.
Right over to the latest questions…
Managing multiple accounts
John, via Twitter
@AndyCleverCash Hi Andy: 1. If you have several bank accounts, e.g. hub, bills, expenses, how much buffer (positive balance) do you suggest keeping in each one?— John Holder (@JohnHolder21) February 4, 2021
2. Is it a good idea to have an overdrafts on these, even if you never use them? If so, how much?
@AndyCleverCash Also, where is the best place for an emergency fund? And how much should you have for this, even if you're retired? Thanks ?— John Holder (@JohnHolder21) February 4, 2021
Thanks for this John. Yes, the danger of having multiple current accounts is accidentally going overdrawn or not having enough to fulfil a payment.
You can have a buffer to mitigate this, or overdrafts, but personally I’d rather keep them as lean as possible. I have some accounts were the balance is zero – money comes in to meet the minimum requirements for the freebies etc, and then goes straight out again.
A few things you can often set up will help. Most banks will send you text alerts when the balance is low (often you can set the level) or if you don’t have enough to make a payment. This gives you time to sort things that day.
You can also use aggregator apps such as Yolt and Money Dashboard to see all your accounts in one place -it’s easier to check this single app than all your bank accounts!
Your second question now. The best place for an emergency fund is somewhere you can access it when you need it – which means not locking it away in a fixed account. I’d also be looking for the account which pays you the most interest. I’ve covered this here, hopefully it’ll help!
The golden rule for amount you want to have available is generally three to six months of expenses so you can pay the rent/mortgage and the bills if you lose your income.
Claiming Amex cashback
Darren S via Twitter
@AndyCleverCash Hi mate, I'm build up a nice pot of cashback with my Amex Platinum cashback card. When/how do I claim this back?— Darren S (@Hull_EV_Guy) February 8, 2021
Thanks Darren. So with this particular card (here’s my review) it’ll get paid to your account on your 12 month anniversary of opening the account.
Other cards pay you quicker, such as the Gold Rewards and Nectar cards, though you get your earnings in points rather than cash.
Non-Amex cards vary, but tend to payout in vouchers when you reach a certain number of points.
Double bank switching bonuses
Ashray via YouTube
Hi can you switch two separate bank accounts and still get 2 x cash rewards? Or is it 1 per customer only?
Sadly all the switching bonuses offering free cash are per person not per account. You can of course get other family members to also switch if they’re eligible.
But look out in a few years for switching bonuses from banks you’ve already had a bonus from – often you can get it again by switching in a new account. I’ve done this with Halifax, Lloyds and HSBC.
Finding bank accounts for a deceased parent
Kim via YouTube
In the UK, how many years can all bank statements, building society accounts, post office accounts, trust funds, debit cards, credit cards go back from a deceased person? My father was self-employed.
Really sorry to hear about your loss Kim. I assume you’re the executor of the will? In which case you can use the free My Lost Account service to trace any bank, building society and NS&I accounts he had in his name. You’ll need to prove you are acting for the estate.
You can use this service to look for your own forgotten accounts too.
You should be able to request old statements direct from banks too – though they might charge a fee and only go have to go back 5 years.