Ask Andy #55: 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

Every couple of weeks (usually on a Tuesday evening at 7pm) 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!

Can I stack points and cashback?

If I click through to a retailer via the BA Executive Club website/app I can earn Avios points as long as the purchase ‘tracks’ through (similar to Quidco/Top Cashback).  If I then make the purchase with a rewards credit card (e.g. AMEX), can I effectively double up on rewards in the same purchase?  So if I wanted to convert AMEX points to Avios, I would effectively be earning from both sources in a single transaction.  Is that possible?

Marc, via email

Yes you absolutely can do this, the same with Quidco and TopCashback and a cashback/reward credit card. In fact I’d check if you can get a better rate from those cashback sites and then pay that cashback out to your Avios account.

How can I receive USD to my current account?

Of the bank accounts available out there, which ones allow you to receive incoming USD payments without charging a fee?

The reason I ask is because I did a piece of work for a client that paid me in USD and couldn’t commission the work through my limited company. Their procurement rules meant that they had to contract me directly and pay into my personal account.

I’d given them my Starling IBAN and BIC details, but the payment bounced back. It turns out that Starling does not accept incoming USD transfers. To overcome this, I gave them my Nationwide IBAN, BIC and intermediary bank details. This worked and the money arrived in my account 24 hours later.

Through my own research, it seems only Santander and Nationwide allow fee-free incoming transfers in USD and currencies other than Euro. I wanted to ask if you might know of any other banks similar to these? All the usual suspects on the high street charge a fee.

Rishi, via email

I also get paid in dollars sometimes (mainly for the advertising on the site), and I use Wise. The payments are free into the account and to use as dollars, though there’s a conversion fee to swap it into pounds. But that rate is better than what you’d get using PayPal or having a Starling USD account.

Andy’s YouTube

Watch new videos every week on the Andy Clever Cash channel, plus a regular live Q&A

How do I get the best interest on savings?

I have £15000.00 that I would like to gain the maximum interest possible for approx. 16 months but adding £500.00 per month to it during that time. Then after the 16 months withdraw the whole accumulated amount. Could you give me some advice the best way to do this for maximum interest gained please?

Kevan, via email

So I’d look at a mix of the best easy access accounts and regular savers. You could also consider a one year fix for some or all of the initial sum, though bear in mind we’re in a period of base rate increases. The best paying accounts can be found at becleverwithyourcash.com/savings

Can I watch normal TV without an aerial, dish or cable?

Hi, just bought a new house and there is no TV socket where we want the TV to go. Absolutely refuse to give Murdoch any cash, so sky glass is out of the question. BB is with Plusnet currently.

What options do we have for streaming live TV without having to go into the individual apps to watch something?

Mark, via the blog

There are a few options now, not just with Sky – though you will need to change your broadband supplier. There’s the Virgin Media Stream box, while BT TV recently launched a digital Freeview option. Sky is also launching a cheaper mini box so you wouldn’t need the full Glass TV. Your only other alternative is to use each app.

Andy’s podcast

Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s twice-weekly podcast. Episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

Do I get cashback on top of the welcome bonus?

I’ve signed up for Top Cashback via your offer and have the £15 cash bonus pending. If I make my first purchase will I get the “standard” cashback as well as the £15 cash bonus? I’m going to order with Glasses Direct and the cashback on that retailer is 21%. So will I get both? Does going the cashback route via a cashback site for an Amex card preclude you from stacking any referral bonuses? Looking to get the Platinum in the next week or so for both me and my partner

Jennifer, via the Facebook community

Yes, you absolutely will. Just make sure the initial purchase is at least £15 for the TopCashback £15 welcome bonus

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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