New 1.6% easy-access savings, cheap Easyjet seats for next summer, free entry to 800+ hidden properties in London, and possible free Paypal credit. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Tips of the Week.
Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the program. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.
Savings rates are dropping – but a new sharia easy-access account pays 1.6% expected profit.
The mood music for savers isn’t good, with top easy-access payers Marcus and Cynergy both slashing their interest rates from 1.5% AER to 1.45% AER over the last couple of weeks.
But last week Islamic-compliant challenger bank Al Rayan bucked the trend by launching an easy-access Everyday Saver account (min £500) paying an ‘expected profit’ of 1.6% variable.
Al Rayan is a sharia bank, meaning it follows Islamic banking principles – interest is prohibited, so it pays an ‘expected profit rate’ instead. Al Rayan Bank has always paid out on this expected rate in the past, but by definition, it’s not guaranteed.
The account has full UK savings safety protection, meaning your money would be protected up to £85,000 if the bank were to go bust. You can open it online, by phone or in branch, and you don’t have to follow Islam to get it.
Alternatively if you’re willing to lock cash away for a year or two, you can beat this rate, getting 1.86% with Arbuthnot (min £10k) and 1.85% with Metro (min £500) for one year, or 2% interest (min £1k) for two years with First Save. Again though there are sharia options that beat them – see Martin’s top savings guide for full help.
Easyjet cheap seat alert for March – August 2020, including Easter/summer hols
Easyjet operates a fluid pricing model where prices move based on demand for any particular flight. So when they’re usually launched they’re priced cheaply and can quickly change depending on how many are being booked. So if you can pounce when they’re launched, you’re often getting the very cheapest deal.
It releases tickets several times a year and I always tell you about them. Today (Thursday) tickets go on sale via the Easyjet website for travel from 29 March – 30 August 2020, so it covers Easter and next year’s summer hols.
There is no exact release time – in the past, different seats are put on sale at different points throughout the day, so keep checking – and prices can and do change rapidly. So it’s a question of repeated trial and error to see if it looks good. Yet Easyjet have said that all the seats will be released at usually around 6am, so assuming that’s a goer – go quick.
I can’t guarantee that today will have the cheapest tickets, as if there’s no demand, prices might drop later. But when I told you about the tickets release last time I received great feedback – like Lee who tweeted at 7.57am: “Thanks Martin for the Easyjet tip… a couple of times I have done it and saved a fortune. This morning got Xmas flights for £1,149 for four. 1hr later £2,380”.
Of course think of the environment – my aim isn’t to get you to fly more, just to pay less when you do.
Free entry to 800+ hidden properties in London. Last week I told you about the Open House weeks across the country. This weekend (Saturday 21 and Saturday 22 September) it’s the annual Open House London this weekend, where over 800 usually paid-for or closed-to-the-public properties, gardens, attractions and museums are open to the general public.
For most you can just turn up on the day (though expect long queues for the popular places), yet some you’ll need to book in advance, so check participating venues online before visiting.
Places that usually charge include…
- Fenton House, 17th century house with walled garden (usually £9).
- Dr Johnson's House, Grade I listed house and museum (usually £7).
- Brunel museum and engine house, explains Brunel's first project, the Thames tunnel (usually £3).
Places usually closed to the public include…
- The Queen's Chapel, St. James' Palace, The first Palladian style post-Reformation church in England.
- Burlington House: The Geological Society of London, home to the oldest Geological society in the world.
Got a PayPal account? Check if it’s given you £5-£50 free credit. Online payment platform PayPal has added £5, £10 or £50 free credit into random PayPal accounts, up to £1million. Given there are 26 million UK PayPal accounts, the odds you’ve been given credit aren’t great, but it only takes a few minutes to check. To check if you’ve been given the free credit, you just need to log in to your PayPal account online or via its app. If credit has been added, it will be applied automatically to your next PayPal spend, but you’ll need to use it by 11.59pm on Monday 30 September – so you won’t have long. There’s no minimum spend and you don’t have to use it all in one go, so you could use it to make multiple smaller payments – but any unused credit will disappear at the end of the month.
It can be used on any online purchase made through PayPal, except on gift cards, donations, person-to-person payments, eBay seller fees, eBay purchases using the ‘Add to Cart’ button, and Uber payments.