Free £20-ish eye test and more of Martin's quick deals
Warning Santander 123 accounts dropping its interest, free Specsavers Eye test, secret shoe outlet and book your travel insurance ASAB. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Quick Deals.
Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. 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.
Santander 123 account is now a dead duck slashing interest to 1%
This week Santander announced massive changes to its popular 123 and 123 Lite current accounts. And for most that means it will become a dead duck. From 5 May here’s what’s happening…
The interest earned will drop from 1.5% AER to 1% AERon balances up to £20,000, meaning the maximum amount savers can earn from the account will drop by around £100 per year.
Cashback on household bills will be capped,at a maximum of £5 per month for each bills category. Currently the account pays 3% on phone, broadband, mobile and TV bills, 2% on gas and electricity, Santander home insurance and life protection, and 1% on water and council tax. But from May, this will be capped at £5 cap for each tier – so a maximum of £15 cashback per month.
Santander mortgage customers can also currently earn up to an extra £10/month cashback (1% on the first £1,000 of the mortgage payment). After the changes, mortgage cashback will be included in the cap for the '1%' tier.Plus like many other banks Santander has announced that from 6 April its hiking its arranged overdraft fees from charging £1-£3/day depending on how much you’re overdrawn to charging 39.9% APR - which is fast becoming the new normal rate for all banks, on the back of the FCA’s regulation changes. The overdraft hike will affect most of its accounts not just the 123.
For most now Santander 123 is now a dead duck current account. There’s little reason for anyone to stick to it. Instead once the Santander interest rate drops, you can shift your savings to a better-paying account. The top easy access savings account right now pays 1.35% with Marcus Bank, or if you don't need immediate access to your cash you can earn up to 1.65% with Money Box’s notice account or 1.7% for a one-year fix with First Save. Then either grab up to £175 free shifting to a top current account like First Direct or HSBC or move to the Santander 123 Lite account, where you pay just £1/mth for the same cashback.
'Secret' shoe outlets
High street chains Office and Schuh each have a website – separate from their normal online store – where you can pick up some mega-reduced, ex-display shoes that may have suffered some minor wear-and-tear, after people have tried them on in store.
The websites are a bit like an online jumble sale where each pair of shoes is listed individually – a bit like eBay or Facebook Marketplace – along with a clear photo of the exact pair you’ll receive, and any defects will be mentioned in the description. Prices do vary depending on how noticeable the flaw is, but typically you’ll save about 30% on the normal full price, for example you could get a pair of Puma Suede trainers for £21 (full-price if £62), women's Nike Air Force 1 trainers for £67 (norm £100) and men's Vans trainers for £31 (norm £65).
But, as I mentioned it on my weekly email this week and now on TV, stock on these sites might be snapped up, so chances are there won’t be many shoes left to choose from this week, and you may need to pop back at a later date.
Free £20ish eye test at Specsavers
Currently you can get a voucher for a free eye test (norm £15-£25) at participating Specsavers stores until 31 March. First go online to Specsavers booking page and enter your postcode to see a list of local participating stores – once you’ve selected your store you should then see the free eye test voucher (you may need to scroll down). You’ll need to book the test online or by calling your branch. It's worth mentioning the voucher when you book. Some stores will only give a free eye test when you buy a pair of £69+ glasses, so check if the voucher includes this requirement first – if it does, the voucher will clearly state, ‘Free eye test when you buy a complete pair of glasses’.
Remember though some in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can already get free eye tests through the NHS (eg if you’re over 60, under 16 or under 19 and in full-time education, have diabetes or glaucoma) or through employers’ schemes. Everyone in Scotland gets free eye tests.
Booked your holiday? Get your travel insurance ASAB (As Soon As you've Booked)
January is the biggest holiday booking month, and if you’ve just book yours, make sure you’ve sorted your travel insurance out too. You need cover from the moment you go, yet far too many people book a holiday and then leave the cover until later. Sadly too often I hear stories like “I’ve just been diagnosed with cancer, I was due to go on holiday in six weeks, but now need chemo. The airline won’t refund my ticket, what can I do?” The unfortunate answer is not a lot. You're only covered for cancellation if you have insurance BEFORE an illness/injury, job loss, jury service call-up etc. So whether going away soon or later this year, buy ASAB. There are many cheap, decent value policies available online and via comparison sites from as little as £9 for a no-frills year’s European cover for an individual. If you go away two or more times a year then annual policies usually win.