My weekly round-up of your personal finance questions.
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 if I have the time.
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.
Keep reading for some of the questions I’ve been asked, plus the video live from last week with even more!
Watch last week’s Q&A
Watch my answers to questions including the pros and cons of Starling bank, packaged bank accounts, cancelling credit cards, working from home tax relief and more.
Where to save £30k
I have £30K I would like to place in a savings account, with the ability to access it if required. I wouldn’t mind “locking it in” an account for 18 months if a decent fixed rate was available. I am not interested in any middle east based bank.
I have no mortgage or debt
Can you suggest anything?
Gordon via the blog
Are you happy to split it up and use app savings? If so (at the time of writing), I’d say at the very least £10k on Chip+1 and £20k in Premium Bonds. Thes former is variable though, and there’s no guarantee of anything with the PBs.
Fixed rates aren’t great really right now, so it’s a case of how worried you are about further drops whether you want to consider those.
Can I trust comparison sites?
My current deal is ending and prices are going up. The issue I have with comparison platforms is that they can be misleading. Maybe I am missing a trick but when I run a quote and look at the tariff details on the deals they suggest the standing charges and unit rates are often higher values than what I currently have while promising to pay less on monthly DD.
Some providers are also omitted from such platforms. You get different results/ranking of deal depending on the platform used for the quote and sometimes very different than if you get the quote from the energy provider directly. Any ideas why please?
Krys, via the Facebook group
I’ve loads on switching energy! This video on YouTube and this article on the blog are good places to start. Re comparison site concerns – this is a very old post (2015) but it explains why some comparison sites are worse than others.
To switch or not to switch…? 1
With the Halifax switching bonus, if I don’t want the associated reward, do I still have to save £5,000 month/spend £500 on a debit card?
Or can I not meet these requirements and just forfeit the rewards?
Alison, via email
No, you can avoid all that if you don’t want the rewards – but you do have to pay in the minimum each month to avoid the fee. More details here.
To switch or not to switch…? 2
Question 1 – Do I HAVE to switch my Current account (I don’t really need wine, etc) or can I just open the Virgin Money M Plus account to take advantage of the 2.02% interest rate for the first £1000 ?
Question 2 – If I had £10,000, can I put £1000 in the ‘M Plus Account’ (which I believe is the Current account) and the remaining £9000 in the ‘M Plus Saver’ to take advantage of the 0.35% interest rate ?
Jay, via the blog
1) No, you don’t have to switch to get the interest. Yes you won’t get the wine or the £50 charity donation, but you’ll get the 2.02% on that grand.
2) Yes you absolutely can do that. You might be better off putting that £9k in Chip+1 or Premium Bonds (though there’s no guarantee of anything with these). But for convenience you can keep them with Virgin.
Plus, I’ve recently discovered you can open more than one of the M Plus accounts and get the interest on the first £1k in each! I’ll update the article soon with more details.
Can I use my debit card to top up elsewhere for the TSB Spend & Save cashback?
In relation to the TSB Spend and Save account where you have to have 30 Debit Card Transactions in a month. I have a Post Office amount which I can pay money into via debit card – would this count as a transaction?
Orla, via email
This is something I’m looking into Orla as I think it probably would be ok – though that’s still 30 times you’ll have to process a payment for a £5 reward – it might not be worth the time it takes.
Can you recommend any ethical savings accounts?
It would have been great to include some more ethical saving accounts. With interest rates so low, there isn’t much difference what you get from traditional banks compare to ethical banks.
This difference is over a year time so the monthly difference will only be few quids. It won’t make much difference to your life and you know your money is used for better purposes.
Angel, via YouTube
Hi Angel, yes will do! Totally agree that when the difference is minimal you may as well go for the ethical option. Check out Tandem which has a Green account paying 0,4% (at the time of writing) or any building society. There’s more in my article on the best savings accounts.
How quickly can you switch?
Slightly off topic but what’s the minimum term you have to stay with a bank before you can do a switch? Also, how often can you do switches?
Kop Kid, via YouTUbe
It can depend on the offer term and conditions. But if this isn’t stipulated then you can move once you get the cash.
How often depends on a few things. But if you have a decent credit score and aren’t planning on getting a mortgage, credit card, loan etc in the coming months you can probably afford to take the short term hit each application has.
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 and YouTube).
You can also comment on individual blogposts and videos or ask me questions via these channels:
I can’t promise I’ll be able to answer all questions but I’ll do my best.