My regular round-up of your personal finance questions.
I love hearing from you, whether it’s on the blog, social media, YouTube or 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 this week with even more!
Watch the latest Q&A
Watch my answers to questions in the weekly Q&A on YouTube, including
- More about Nationwide’s new bank switch offer
- What’s a good credit card for newbies?
- and much more.
Should I get a credit card from my existing bank?
Good morning Andy! I’ve started to follow your videos on YouTube because I’m looking to have a credit card. Never had one in my entire life, I opened an account with Barclays last month and I would like to stay with the same bank because in the future I would like to buy a flat in London, where I live now.
The reason that I’m looking into credit cards is because I would like to improve my credit score, which is decent, but I’ll not using the credit card frequently. I was looking into the Barclays platinum 18 months 0% purchase. Seems good.
Can you help me out and recommend which is the best one to start with? Thanks in advance. Luca
Luca, via Instagram
Hi Luca, so I don’t think there’s any real benefit getting the card with Barclays unless you want to have just one app for both the current account and credit card.
I’d choose a credit card based on the following. First what are the chances of getting accepted? Use a comparison site to see a range of different cards and click on the eligibility test.
Unless something is 10 out of 10, there’s no guarantee you’ll be accepted, but the higher the likely acceptance the better.
If you can get a range of cards, and are confident you can pay it off in full, I’d look at extra features. My favourite is cashback which will earn you money back on your purchases. 0% Purchase cards are useful if there’s something expense you need to spread the cost of, but otherwise not really worth it. Or you could look at cards which are fee-free to use overseas.
Which accounts should I get for university?
I recently discovered your youtube channel and I’ve found your content very interesting. I’m starting university in October and I’m looking for financial advice since I don’t want to make any big mistakes so young. I’ve opened a Santander student account but I’m also looking for a second current account and a savings account.
I was thinking of either getting a Monzo current account and a chip+1 savings or get the virgin media current account that comes with a savings account. If you were in my situation what would you do?
Charlotte, via Instagram
Hi Joanna, I think getting a Monzo is a fantastic idea for everyday spending. So you’d transfer the money you need for the week to the account from the Santander and so on.
For savings I’d open up the Chip+1 account as you’ll get the full 1.25% on up to £2,000 without having to pay a fee (make sure you select ChipLite as the plan, not ChipAI or ChipX).
There’s no credit check for this so you’ll get it no problem. Though the Virgin Money account pays more you will be credit checked so prioritise getting bills sorted when you start uni. You can always open one up in a few months if you fancy.
Oh, there’s no credit check for Monzo as long as you don’t apply for an overdraft.
Should I switch from Natwest Rewards to get the Nationwide bonus?
Don’t know if it is worth switching my Natwest Reward current account to get the £125 Nationwide offer?
Andrew, via Instagram
Hi Andrew, it depends on a few things. First, do you have any connected accounts with Natwest, such as the Digital Regular Saver paying 3.04%? You’d lose this, alongside the £36 in rewards.
However, £125 if you have a Nationwide membership or £100 if not is worth much more! You could always switch over to get the cash, then switch back. Or just open up a new Natwest account. Or perhaps one of the others that pay you every month. Here’s more on the Nationwide offer.
Do I need to spend £3,000 at once to get the Amex bonus?
I wonder if you could help me in regards to the bonus with the Preferred Rewards Gold Amex card. Does the £3000 spent need to show on the statement balance or can you clear it earlier if the your limit isn’t too high?
Miguel, via Instagram
So the £3,000 is cumulative spend in those three months, not the statement size. So I’d absolutely pay it off every month down to zero and then spend again. Once you hit the £3k, the bonus will be applied (as long as it’s before the deadline). Here’s more on the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold card.
Could more than one credit card help me boost my credit score?
What do you think about having two beginners credit card at the same time
Jonathan, via Instagram
Hi, so yes I suppose this could help you, as long as you follow a few rules. First, you need to make sure you can and do pay off the full balance on each card every month. Any missed payments or interest charged will hurt your credit file.
You’d then want to spread the cost between the two cards. This could keep your credit utilisation rate down (ideally below 30%).
You’ll probably also want to space out applications (and check your credit report first) as each application will hurt your score.
Can you turn Amex points into cash back?
Can you turn Amex points into cashback?
Ryan, via Instagram
Yes, you can apply them to your Amex card, but at a rate that’s the equivalent of 0.45p per point. You’re better off swapping them to Avios and then swapping those Avios points into Nectar points. This conversion will mean each Amex point is worth 0.8p.
What are some easy Direct Debits to set up?
Hi Andy, I love the podcast. I have a question about the nationwide switching bonus…
What are some of the cheapest/easiest direct debits to set up to be able to switch accounts? I’m not sure if you’ve answered this on the pod before but I’m going to switch one of my other accounts to Nationwide but don’t have direct debits from that one.
Lance, via Instagram
Hi Lance, Glad you enjoy the show! So a couple of really easy ones that I’ve just set up are Plum (use the Automatic Savings option) and MoneyBox (the lowest DD is £2 a week to an instant access savings account). Here’s more on Plum.
These come out weekly so will be active in the old account pretty quickly, giving you plenty of time to start the switch to Nationwide. And once you’ve got the cash you can just transfer the money back to whichever other account you want to keep the money in and stop the DDs.
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.