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10 ways to get free money in 2011

Easy ways to get £100s in free cash

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Maximise your Isa savings by choosing the right type of account for you

As the Christmas credit card bills start to hit the doormat, there are plenty of ways to boost your income with free money. We round up ten of the best ways to get your hands on free cash.

1. Switch bank account and earn a £100 bonus

Santander will give you £100 cashback when you switch your main current account to it using its dedicated switching service. You need to pay in at least £1,000 a month, but in return you’ll earn 5% interest on balances up to £2,500 for the first year, as well as the £100 welcome bonus.

First Direct also offers £100 to switch your current account, so long as you pay in £1,500 a month. First Direct is a Which? Recommended Provider for bank accounts and has the highest customer satisfaction score on the market, 88%. In fact, the bank is so confident you’ll be impressed with its service that it will give you a further £100 if you decide to leave it within a year of opening the account, as long as you’ve tried it for at least six months.

2. Recommend a friend deals

It’s worth talking to your friends if you’re thinking about switching provider, whether it’s for a current account, breakdown cover, mobile phone or almost any other contract.

For example, T Mobile currently offers you and a friend a free £25 voucher each if you recommend its service and your friend takes out a contract, while Three offers £30 credit each on your bill.

The AA will give you a £10 Boots voucher if a friend joins, while First Direct will give you £50 and the American Express Cashback Credit Card will credit you with £20 each.

Of course, you should check that the service is suitable and competitively priced before signing up – you may also be able to get a higher cashback rate by going through a cashback website (see below).

3. Cashback and reward credit cards

If you pay off your credit card bill in full every month, get a cashback or a reward credit card. The best cashback credit card will pay you up to 1.25% cashback on your spending, while the best reward credit cards will pay you up to 5% reward on in-store shopping and 1% elsewhere.

4. Cash back sites

There are over 120 cashback sites offering you cash just for shopping at your favourite online retailers by clicking through the cashback website. Retailers pay the cashback site commission when a customer clicks through and buys their goods or services. The cashback site then rebates most of this commission to the consumer. Read our guide to cashback sites for more information and reviews of the most popular sites, including Quidco, Topcashback and Greasypalm.

5. Fill in consumer surveys

There are many companies that will pay you to give your opinions on anything from politics to consumer goods. YouGov, for example, pays at least 50p per survey you complete.

6. Become a TV and film extra

Listen to the Which? Money podcast every week to find easy ways to earn extra cash, whether it’s working as a TV and film extra, renting out your driveway or working as a mystery shopper.

7. Pick a cashback mortgage

Some mortgage providers give you cash back when you take out a new mortgage. This can come in handy for paying for moving or renovation costs, but it’s vital to check you’re not paying over the odds for the mortgage itself as this will soon cancel out the benefits of the cash. The free Which? mortgage finder includes cashback deals and allows you to compare the true cost of different mortgage deals, including fees, charges and cash back.

8. Sony VAT back

If you bought any Sony items in the two months up to Christmas Eve, it’s worth digging out the receipts as you may be able to reclaim the VAT on your purchase under the company’s Get the VAT back promotion.

For example, if you bought a Sony 46-inch Full HD 1080p Digital LED LCD TV costing £1,400 from Argos, you could get cash back of over £200 if you get your claim in to Sony by the end of January.

9. Switch savings account

OK, this one isn’t technically ‘free money’, but if you’re one of the millions of UK savers who are currently earning as little as 0.1% interest on their savings, it’s time to switch. Use the free Which? Savings Rate Booster to find out how much extra you could be earning in a different account, and to start the switching process today.

10. Get a 0% purchases credit card and a savings account at the same time

If you’re really organised and usually pay off your credit card bill in full, you can make money with a credit card / savings account combo. The best 0%-on-purchases credit card offers 13 months interest-free on new shopping, so long as you make the minimum payment each month and keep within your credit limit. Rather than paying the balance off in full every month, just make the minimum repayment and put the rest into a Best Rate savings account. Towards the end of the 0% credit card period, withdraw the money from your savings account and pay off your credit card bill in full. You won’t have paid any interest on the credit card for a year, and you’ll have been earning interest on the savings account.

Ten extra ways to get free stuff

Earlier this year we also suggested ways to get your hands on free furniture, free samples, experiences that won’t cost you a penny – read our news story to find out 10 top ways to get free stuff.

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