Ask Andy #49: 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 stop my energy Direct Debit?

I pay monthly by direct debit for British Gas. Would I pay any more if I just cancelled the DD and paid when the bill comes in?

David, via the Facebook community

Yes, most energy companies will give a discount for paying by DD, so cancelling it will see your bills rise. If you’re worried about the size of the monthly bill then you can ask them to ensure it’s a fair amount.

What’s fair? Well if they base the annual predicted bill on your usage last year, then divide it by 12, that would be fair. If it’s more than this they need to explain why. I’ve spoken more about this in episode 273 of my Cash Chats podcast.

When will I need to declare interest on my fixed bond?

I have money in a long term fixed bond. Do I have to declare the full interest when I get it at the end of the 5 years or do I have to do it every year even though I can’t access it?

James, via my Ask Andy Live

I wasn’t sure about this one in the live Q&A so I’ve looked into it. It all depends on when the interest is paid into the account. If it’s annually you declare it in that year. If it’s at the end of the fix, you declare it then.

The obvious impact of the latter is this could be a sizeable amount, which could mean you go over your Personal Savings Allowance (PSA), and need to pay tax on interest outside the allowance. More on this here.

Can I get a new American Express welcome bonus?

I can never get my head around Amex rewards and offers. I had an Amex Gold Rewards I cancelled in Jan 2020 – pretty sure – so I’m beyond 2 years and can re-apply for enhanced promo. But to preserve the points at THAT time I applied for BA Amex otherwise you lose the Amex Reward Points – FREE ONE – which I have had all along till today I still have the BA Amex – don’t use it at all.

What is the best Amex to go for now to get the maximum reward without headache. I can do the spend (probably) as I have some big ticket spend items coming (hopefully)

Chapanery, via email

The bad news is that if you have had ANY American Express in the last 24 months it rules you out of the welcome bonus on most of their cards. So despite you cancelling the Gold card more than two years ago, the other card you still have rules you out of a new welcome bonus on the likes of Gold, Platinum Cashback and Nectar.

There are a couple of exceptions to this rule where you can get a bonus before 24 months are up, but it depends on which card you have. Sadly one of those is the BA Amex. Take a look at this article, which explains how the welcome bonuses work.

What card is best for cashback?

Hi Andy, I am looking at applying for a cashback credit card . For cashback atm I use TopCashback, Quidco and Airtime rewards. I was considering Amex Platinum Cashback would you recommend this?

Brandon, via email

There are a few factors here. First, Airtime Rewards doesn’t work with Amex. So if you use this a lot, you’ll need a different card for it.

Second, have you already got the Chase Bank debit card? This offers 1% cashback for the first 12 months. That’s the best paying rate so I’d prioritise that, though you won’t get Section 75 protection on purchases over £100 (that’s credit cards only).

And finally, are you eligible for an Amex welcome bonus? These can be sizeable so are worth exploring which of these is highest.

Our podcast

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

Episodes every Tuesday.

How do I buy Premium Bonds?

I’m interested in putting some money into premium bonds and I just wanted to know what app to download to get me started?

Mitch, via Instagram

So you buy Premium Bonds from National Savings & Investments. This can be done online, over the phone or even by post. There’s a minimum purchase of 25 bonds, which since they are £1 each is £25. Though it makes sense to buy many, many more if you want to keep up with the highest paying easy-access savings accounts. Here’s more about how they work.

How to ask me questions

The best way to get in touch is in the Andy Clever Cash Facebook community

Just post your question any time, or ask me in my live fortnightly Q&A every other Tuesday (which is on Instagram and YouTube).

I can’t promise I’ll be able to answer all questions but I’ll do my best.

If you want to contact me via other channels 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.

You can also comment on individual blogposts and videos or ask me questions via these channels:


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