The Bank of England base rate is now 10 times higher than it was six months ago – leaping from 0.1% then to 1% now, after four rises.

And the momentum is likely to continue as at the last meeting the committee was split - with some wanting even bigger rises.

While 20 years ago, folk would've been shocked at how low rates are even today, the direction of travel means anyone with debt needs to get on top of it sooner, to make it safer, before things get more expensive.

So let me take you through the big categories to see if you can save £100s or £1,000s.

1. MORTGAGES: The cheapest rates have disappeared

The latest 0.25% point base rate increase adds roughly £12/mth per £100,000 of mortgage for those on standard variable rates or tracker mortgages.

Those on fixes won't see a change until their deal ends, but then many will be in for a shock. Back in October, there were over 50 fixed-rate mortgage deals below 1%. Now the lowest fix is 2.1%.

With further rate rises predicted, if you’re not locked into a fix or your fix is nearly ending, checking if you can save now is a must-do.

• Look at your existing lender's deals. This is called a 'product transfer'. It used to be a crap option, but these days, as existing lenders can forgo affordability checks if you're not borrowing more and there's likely to be less paperwork and fewer fees, it's a good benchmark.

• Speedily check if other deals out there can beat that. Use a whole of market comparison site that covers all deals, including ‘direct only’ (ie, those that aren’t offered by a broker) such as my comparison.

• If it looks like switching's a winner, focus on acceptance. Lenders do both credit and affordability checks which can kibosh applications. It's tough to know who'll accept you but find a good mortgage broker and they have information on this that's very difficult for consumers to get themselves. Sites such as can help you find a face-to-face broker near you.

2. CREDIT AND STORE CARD DEBT: Shift to up to 34mths 0%

A 0% balance transfer is where you get a new card to repay debt on old cards for you, so you owe it instead but at 0%. As more of your repayments then clear the debt itself rather than cover the interest, you get debt-free much quicker (as long as you don't borrow more).

• Check what cards will accept you before you apply using an eligibility calculator. Some firms offer this for their own cards, or you can use my which shows your chances for most top cards, all in one place.

• Aim for the lowest fee within the time you need to repay. Most cards charge a one-off balance transfer fee, as a set percentage of the debt transferred. You want to minimise this, but if you’re unsure go for a longer 0% length.

• Up to 34 months 0% is available. Lenders including and offer deals over 30 months, for a roughly 3% fee (at the time of writing). Though if you can repay quicker offers the longest no-fee card on the open market, at 21 months – so if you can repay in that time, there’s no cost.

Do watch out though: some cards are ‘up tos’, meaning some accepted won’t get the full 0% length. Check for this in the summary box before applying.

• Always follow the balance transfer Golden Rules: - Clear the debt or transfer again before the 0% ends or you'll pay the 20% ish representative APR in interest.

- Never miss the minimum monthly repayment or you can lose the 0%.

- Don’t spend/withdraw cash on the card. It usually isn’t at the cheap rate.

3. OVERDRAFTS: Hideous 40% rates are standard

Overdrafts are an even bigger danger than card and loan debt. Almost all major banks charge about 40% EAR for overdrafts, double the interest of many high street credit cards.

That means most people with credit cards and overdrafts should pay the minimum on the card and focus on reducing the overdraft, not vice versa.

• Can you switch to a 0% overdraft? At the time of writing, two banks offer 0% overdrafts for many newbies and even pay you to switch to them (check their eligibility criteria first to see if you can get the bonus). Full updated info in

• First Direct: An ongoing £250 0% overdraft & free £150. Switchers to get the free cash and usually the 0% overdraft (40% EAR above that). So if your borrowing's under £400ish, the £150 will clear some debt and the rest is interest-free - a huge saving.

• Nationwide FlexDirect: A year's 0% overdraft & free £100. Here, switchers can get £100 in cash and a credit-assessed overdraft, which for some can be larger than First Direct's - use the pre-application eligibility tool at to get an indication. Yet the cheap rate only lasts a year, so plan to clear it within that time or it rockets to the 40% EAR.

• Consider a 0% ‘money transfer’ credit card. For larger overdrafts, a few specialist cards allow 0% money transfers for up to 18mths - where for a small fee the card pays cash directly into your bank account, clearing your overdraft, so you owe it at 0% instead.

With an overdraft, do try to repay a set amount each month, eg, £50 (so you should start the next month with a £50 smaller overdraft than the month before).

IN SERIOUS DEBT? Seek free help instead

I’ve three questions for you.

A) Do you struggle to make the minimum monthly payments?

B) Is your total debt (excluding mortgage and student loan) over a year's salary?

C) Do you have sleepless nights or depression/anxiety over debt?

If you've said yes to any of these, forget the solutions above and instead get free, one-to-one debt counselling from, or They're there to help, not judge.

Martin Lewis is the Founder and Chair of

To join the 7.5 million people who get his free Money Tips weekly email, go to