Ask Andy #31: 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 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!

Should I shorten my mortgage lenght?

We overpay out mortgage to the maximum allowable (10%) per year. Our 3 year fixed term is coming to an end soon, and we’re planning on staying 12 more months (getting a 12 month fixed deal).

With regards to the term of the mortgage, should I optimise the term, thus, optimise the monthly repayment, or take out the mortgage term in line with the current overpayment? (Currently paying £1000 per month – £623 overpayment)

For example; if the 12 month fixed @ 20 years is £500 p/m, overpay £500 

Or,

If the 12 month fixed @ 10 years is £1000 p/m, overpay zero. 

Harry, via YouTube

Hey Harry. Great question. It’s usually going to be much better to have the flexibility to overpay if you can afford it, rather than be tied into it every month. So go for the 20 years at £500 and overpay £500. It’s the same end result but you can stop overpayments if you need to. Here’s more on overpayments.

Can I switch bank again once I’ve got my bonus?

I have just bagged £125 from Nationwide to switch my Club Lloyds to them. Can I now switch this account to Santander to bag another incentive or will Nationwide take the £125 from me if I don’t keep the account open for a certain period?

Maximum, via the blog

Hey Maximum. You’ll be fine to switch again on this account. If it doesn’t say in the terms and conditions that you have to keep the account after payment then you won’t be penalised. But always just check the details provided by the bank!

What’s a good account to switch from?

I don’t want to switch my main current account at the moment and I have never switched before to receive a bonus. Could you advise me if there is an account which I could open fresh and receive a bonus then use that account to go about switching to another account to receive more bonuses etc.

Hawk, via YouTube

Hi. So most banks are part of the Current Account Switch Service. Those that are will be easy to switch for a bonus, so you can open up any current account at one of those banks. Then switch that one away.

However bear in mind if you later want to open a new account with that same bank there could be a restriction on when you can do that.

Sadly there aren’t any with sizeable bonuses upfront without a switch. 

You could look at the Club Lloyds account which offers 12 free movie rentals or 6 cinema tickets that *should* remain active once you close the account and switch away.  Lloyds also often allows ex-customers to get future switching bonuses as long as they’ve not had one before, so you could still get the cash from them (unless they change the rules of course!)

How do I get my Halifax Reward if I’m using Chase?

Dear Andy

I have Chase debit card and I like it. But I also have an American Express credit card and Halifax Reward account. Normally I use my Halifax card to pay off my American Express card. So I’m not sure how I will get back the £5 on the Halifax rewards as I’m using the chase card. Not sure what to do 

Steve, via YouTube

So the workaround here is to get a Revolut or Monese account and send that card £500 every month via your Halifax debit card. Then send that money back to your Halifax account. You’ll get the £5 from Halifax and can switch to Chase!

I’ve spoken more about this on episode 227 of my podcast. Here’s more on the Halifax Reward account and the best ways to claim the £5 monthly reward.

What do I need to spend for the Amex welcome bonuses?

On the Amex cards, if I spend £3k or £6k in one month, is that still eligible? Or do I need to keep it for the 3 or 6 months respectively?

Sally, via YouTube

Hi Sally. So the spending threshold to get the welcome bonus depends on the credit card. Some require £3k, others £6k. Others let you spend less. Here’s more details on these welcome bonuses here.

Will I lose my debit card if I switch?

Since finding your YouTube videos and blog… I’m now becoming much more aware of the possibilities of using my banking service to much greater benefit. But one thing that confuses me, and which I can’t find an answer to, is the practicality of switching banks. ( I hasten to add that I’m 71 years old, so not exactly a whizz with new technology and innovations ). 

If I switch banks to take advantage of the offers which banks make to attract customers….what happens with regard to my bank card/cards?

I have a debit card, ( and a credit card ) from my current bank, and if I switch…I assume that I would have to await the production and receipt of new debit and credit cards, before really being able to do very much. Is that the case? 

For example, you said in your latest excellent Youtube video…that somebody could switch banks several times….to take advantage of these offers. But if I have to wait for new bank cards to be received, before I could use them…wouldn’t this make switching just more time-consuming, and protracted?

Peter, via email

You’re absolutely right. You’ll need a new bank card (and sort code and account number) before you can use the new account.

These will hopefully be sent out quite fast and since you can set the switch date (it’s at least 7 working days after you start it, but can be longer), that should mean you’ll receive the new card in plenty of time.

You could also choose to open up an additional current account at a different bank, and then use that to switch for the offers (and switch again etc), so keeping hold of your main current account.

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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