Ask Andy #19: Your money questions answered

My regular 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 the latest Q&A

Watch my answers to questions in the weekly Q&A on YouTube, including

  • how to set a spending plan,
  • Avios to Nectar conversions,
  • how to stop impulse spending online,
  • using credit cards for cash
  • and much more.

Why has my credit score dropped?

Hi Andy. I have had the experian basic account app on my phone for around 6 months and my credit score has always been fair. I checked it a few days back and it has gone down 126 points and now shows poor, which has really upset me as I haven’t done anything differently. If I take out the 30 free trial to see why can I cancel it straight after without being charged ‘?. Any idea why this has happened 🤔

 Rossi via YouTube

Have you applied for anything? Or missed a payment? That could impact the score. If not then as it’s a large drop it’s well worth checking your credit reports at all three agencies to see if there have been fraudulent applications on your file.

And yes, the free trial can be cancelled without a charge. I actually did this the other week to test Equifax’s new credit score range for my What is a good credit score? article.

Should I go for the Amex Gold or Platinum Cashback?

I’m trying to decide between the everyday cashback vs Gold . If I go for the Gold, cancel after the first year how would I keep my Membership points accumulated through purchase on the Gold? Which card would I transfer over to?

My thinking would be to cancel after the first year, then sign up for the rewards card to maintain the points. It’s a cashback vs reward conundrum for me. Perhaps getting a Gold for the first year, signing up to the rewards card and then also a non AMEX cashback card.

Vijay, via YouTube

Yes, you’re right. The free rewards card will let you keep your points active after closing the Gold so that’s a good bet. Or you could convert them all to Nectar points!

I think if you’ve not had an Amex reward/cashback card in the last 24 months then the welcome bonus with the Preferred Rewards Gold is the best option (and you can spend £3k in the first three months).

You could also consider the Amex Nectar after the Gold as you’ll get 1% back rather than the lower rate offered on the Amex Platinum cashback cards from this summer.

Should I get a Capital One credit card?

Is Captial One good?

Esther via YouTube

It really depends on why you need a card, what your chances are of getting accepted and whether you’ll clear the card before interest is added.

Let’s start with the last one first. If you are going to pay it off in full then the interest rate on cards isn’t important.

If you want extras like cashback, then Capital One cards aren’t the best there, and if you want a balance transfer there could be longer/cheaper ones. But if you just want one to help build your credit score then it’ll do the job.

But most important is how likely you are to get the card. If another card is preapproved then that’s likely to be a better choice.

Here’s more on first-time credit cards.

Will opening a new bank account hurt my credit score?

Hi Andy,

Love your blog and youtube channel, I’m a big fan.

I want to set up a new Halifax rewards card for bills at a place I’m going to be renting and, also a crisis account. But I’m conscious that it does a hard credit check each time. Will this do any harm to me given that the likes of utility companies and broadband providers also hard check me?

Will, via email

Hi Will, thanks for reading the blog!

So yes you will be checked when you apply for most current accounts, and this can have an impact on your credit file. But I wouldn’t worry too much about it if you don’t have significant credit applications such as a mortgage or important credit card coming up any time soon.

Of course if you have a poor credit rating then there’s a chance you won’t get accepted for the accounts, so it makes sense to take a look at your three different credit files first and check for errors.

It’s worth noting that Starling and Monzo won’t hard search your credit report, so one of these could be a decent backup account for now.

I’ve written more about Does bank switching affect your credit score? here

Can I cancel my business current account?

Just watched your business bank account video. I should’ve watched this before I registered an Ltd. Can I cancel?

Bhargav, via YouTube

Are you asking about cancelling a business current account? If so you can always move your business bank account to another bank and stop paying the fee when you do. You can usually use the switching service too. Here’s more about your other free options.

If it’s the limited company you want to close then yes you can do this, but it’s more complicated. I found this guide which might be helpful.

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 Wednesday (which is 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.

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