What’s in your wallet?

Martin Lewis

Martin Lewis identifies changes you could make to your wallet to make key savings

One of my party tricks is to look at someone’s wallet and save them £100s in minutes. So grab your wallet and let’s get started.

1. Pull out your debit card
Do you pay a monthly fee? Work out the annual cost and ask yourself if the ‘extras’ are worthwhile. If not, cancel it. If you were flogged it or told you had to have it, you may be able to reclaim fees.

Does your bank make you happy? If not, it may be worth switching to FirstDirect.com. It offers a fee-free account (as long as you pay in £1,000 a month), pays switchers £100 and has a linked 6% savings account, with 92% of customers rating it ‘great’. Alternatively, Co-operativeBank.co.uk is giving £150, plus up to £5.50 if you qualify for its Everyday Rewards scheme, and 70% of its customers rate it ‘great’.

Are you overdrawn? Debit cards can be costlier than credit. For small overdrafts, the FirstDirect.com account gives a 0% overdraft up to £250, and the £100 switch bonus will help clear some of it. Alternatively, the Nationwide.co.uk FlexDirect gives a 0% overdraft for the first 12 months.

Do you have savings? If so, your bank account may pay the highest interest rate. The top picks are Santander.co.uk’s 123 (3% up to £20,000), LloydsBank.com’s ClubLloyds (4% on £4,000-£5,000) and Tsb.co.uk’s Classic Plus (5% up to £2,000, plus up to £5-a-month cashback on contactless purchases).


2. Pull out your photo driving licence

Around 2.2 million licences have an out-of-date picture, risking fines of up to £1,000. Check section 4b on your photocard licence and, if necessary, renew it online or at the post office.

3. Pull out your credit cards

You could save £100s or even £1,000s a year by getting a 0% balance transfer credit card. This means your repayments clear more of the actual debt rather than just paying the interest.

Deals are available up to 40 months at 0% with a fee, or up to 24 months fee-free. My balance transfers guide includes a free eligibility calculator.

Every time you use a credit card, the retailer pays the card firm a transaction fee. With a cashback card, this is effectively put back in your pocket. New regulations mean cashback has been cut, yet Amex cards are mostly exempted, so they still pay a good whack.

The fee-free AmericanExpress.com Everyday pays 5% cashback (max £100) for the first three months, then tiered up to 1.25% after. The best non-Amex is money.asda.com’s Mastercard (0.5% cashback or 1% in Asda). Only do this if you can repay in full each month or you’ll pay 22.9% (Amex) or 18.9% (Asda) interest.

4. Sign up for a myWaitrose card for FREE daily tea and coffee

The waitrose.com loyalty card offers a free takeaway hot drink every day from the self-service machine in most Waitrose stores without buying anything.

Martin Lewis is the founder and editor-in-chief of Money Saving Expert. Sign up for his weekly Money Tips here

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