Ask Andy #44: 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!

Watch the latest live Q&A

Most Tuesday evenings you’ll find me live on YouTube and Instagram answering your questions. It’s probably the best place to ask!

Here’s the latest video:

This week’s extra questions

If you’ve asked me a question elsewhere, you might find the answer below!

Should I close some of my accounts?

What is the right number of bank accounts and credit cards? In terms of bank accounts, I have the following:

a. Nationwide FlexPlus: to receive my salary and pay my bills out of (the insurance cover has proven useful a few times)

b. Starling: spare account linked to my PayPal account and for Euro transfers (only used this feature twice in the last three years)

c. Barclays: joint account with my wife to pay the mortgage etc.

In terms of credit cards, I have the following:
a. Amex Rewards Credit Card: for all spending

b. Nationwide Select Visa: for all non-Amex spending and commission-free purchases abroad

c. Halifax Clarity: used for travel (withdrawal and commission-free purchases)

I travel a fair bit for work, so the cards that work well abroad come in handy a lot. I opted for the Amex Rewards card after getting to the end of the free period with Amex Gold.

For some time, I’ve been wondering whether I can get by with one fewer current account and one fewer credit card. I’ve been trying to make the decision based on which account or card offers similar features to another, allowing me to choose between the two. But this is not straightforward, so thought I’d get your opinion.

Rishi via email

I’ve written about why you need more than one bank account here

So, it’s certainly worth having backs ups, which would mean you have a decent number right now. You could even have more (for rewards and cashback) if you’re willing to jump a few (low) hurdles.

In terms of reducing to just two… yes you could do that easily. In terms of ethics, maybe ditch Barclays? And you could close the Clarity card as you’ve covered with Starling for a back up if needed.

However, I don’t think there’s any harm having the cards stay open and not used.

Can I close my Virgin Money Direct Debits?

Do you need to keep £1000 in the linked savings account and two direct debits active for the full 12 months in order to receive the bonus interest?

Andrew, via a blog comment

No, I’ve checked with Virgin and the direct debits are only required until you get the £100 experience voucher, so they can be cancelled and you’ll still get the bonus.

When should I move my auto savings?

Hi with The Plum App how long do you suggest I save money in the pocket before transferring it back to my current account? I want to save as much money as I can each time in the pocket 

Conna via Instagram

I’d do it as frequently as you can. But move it instead to a higher paying interest account, like the ones here. Then only put it in your current account when you need to spend it. Here’s more on auto saving apps.

Can I use Plum as an extra Direct Debit?

Will a Plum Direct Debit count as one of the 2 active DDs Nationwide requires to give the switching bonus?

NAOS, via YouTube

Yes you can! And I’ve done it myself. Here are a few more quick and easy Direct Debits you can set up.

Our podcast

Listen to Cash Chats, our award-winning podcast, presented by Editor-in-chief Andy Webb.

Episodes every Tuesday.

When should I cancel my Amex Gold?

Just watched your video about being a new Amex customer (which I am) so going to apply for a Gold card. Do I phone them at 11 months to cancel or how much notice do they need so I’m not charged £140?
Thanks so much

Melanie via Instagram

Yes you’ll need to call up to cancel so doing it around 11 months is a good time to do this. However, if it’s later and you get charged you will get a pro-rate refund from the date you cancel, so it won’t be the full £140. Here’s more on the new boosted welcome offers for this and other Amex cards.

Can I use Amex to send money via PayPal?

Using the card to make payments to somebody via PayPal… Will this count into the £3000 spending?

Maqsoudi, via YouTube

It’ll be treated as a “cash advance” which comes with huge fees, higher interest and can impact your credit score, so it’s not a good idea to do this!

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 fortnightly Q&A every other Tuesday (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. I tend to look once a week at all the messages, but it can take longer – so you might have to bear with me for a reply.


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