Sunday, 5 December 2010

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

How to find out the SWIFT code of a bank?

The easiest way to find out the SWIFT code of your bank is to look at your bank statement. In most cases there will be the BIC, this is same thing as the SWIFT code.

Alternative ways to find out the SWIFT code are: to contact relevant bank or look for it on their website.

The BIC is a standard identifier for banks. It is issued by SWIFT* and should be used on all international payments. A BIC is either 8 or 11 digits long.

You would use BIC when you are or someone else (e.g. your relative, customer etc.) instructing a foreign bank to make payments to your account.

An IBAN code is always used in conjunction with a Bank Identifier Code (BIC).
IBAN is a standardised way of identifying a bank account – it stands for International Bank Account Number. Using an IBAN cuts down errors and delays.
An IBAN is also a legal requirement when you make or receive payments across country borders in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.


SWIFT is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a member-owned cooperative through which the financial world conducts its business operations with speed, certainty and confidence. More than 9,000 banking organisations, securities institutions and corporate customers in 209 countries trust us every day to exchange millions of standardised financial messages.

SWIFT enables its customers to automate and standardise financial transactions, thereby lowering costs, reducing operational risk and eliminating inefficiencies from their operations. By using SWIFT customers can also create new business opportunities and revenue streams.

SWIFT is solely a carrier of messages. It does not hold funds nor does it manage accounts on behalf of customers, nor does it store financial information on an on-going basis. As a data carrier, SWIFT transports messages between two financial institutions. This activity involves the secure exchange of proprietary data while ensuring its confidentiality and integrity.
Please visit for more information.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

How to check if particular bank account can receive Faster Payments? (United Kingdom)

How to check if the account you are sending a payment to can receive Faster Payments*?
- Well, actually for this you will need to check if the sort code associated with the account can receive Faster Payments.

More of us are using automated payments, whether that means making an internet payment via our online banking or using a Direct Debit to pay a regular bill. It is increasingly important that we are able to make automated payments smoothly and efficiently.
To help achieve this, the Payments Council has created a Sort Code Checker for the UK Payments website – which acts as a one-stop-shop for the payments industry.
The Sort Code Checker is an online resource that lets you check that the sort code you are sending a payment to can receive Faster Payments, Bacs Credits and CHAPS Payments, as well as confirm that you can set up a Direct Debit instruction on your account, and whether you can clear a cheque or pay a paper credit to that account through the cheque & credit clearing.

The Sort Code Checker uses the latest industry data, which is updated weekly, in line with industry practice.

Click here to access the Sort Code Checker

*Faster Payments

The Faster Payments Service allows customers to make faster electronic payments, typically by phone or online banking, to transfer money between accounts or pay bills, or make regular standing order payments.
When Faster Payments was launched in May 2008 it was the first new payments service to be introduced in the UK for more than 20 years.
There are 13 member banks and building societies. In 2009, 295 million payments were processed with a total value of £106,2 billion.
Please visit for more information.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

How to check MOT status and history of a vehicle? (United Kingdom)

You can check if an MOT certificate is legal or if a vehicle has failed an MOT test by doing an MOT check online. This will give you details about past tests.

Check the current MOT status of a vehicle

You can check the current MOT status of any vehicle online. This might be one that you own already or a second hand vehicle that you are thinking of buying.
The online MOT status check gives you information about:
  • the date of the last test
  • mileage on the vehicle at the time of the test
  • the expiry date of the test
You can compare the online information against the paper certificate to make sure it’s genuine.

Check the MOT history of a vehicle

To find out details of previous MOT tests on a vehicle you can do an online MOT history check.
You can only look up information online going back to 2005 when the MOT Scheme was computerised.
The MOT history check will give you the following information:
  • full test details
  • mileage at the time of each test

You can find out more details about the topic from official government portal here.

Friday, 1 October 2010

How to check if a vehicle is insured? (United Kingdom)

Use following website: - the Motor Insurance Database (MID) is the only central record of all insured vehicles in the UK and is updated over 10,000 times an hour.

If your vehicle does not appear on the MID then it can be stopped and seized by the police. You can check if your vehicle is on the database of insured vehicles for FREE*. 

If you have been involved in an accident and need to check the other vehicle is insured, then you can search askMID for a small charge. You will need to have the accident date to hand. Once you have registered some details, you can search to confirm the insurance of the vehicle for your claim to be made with that insurer.

Please note, from personal experience, it does not appear to be that the database shows vehicles which have short term insurance policies (e.g. 24 hour insurance policy), particularly when these are used within 24 hours of their purchase.
* Free check was available on the time of publication, but there is currently a small charge for any car insurance check.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

How to read web pages in foreign language?

The easiest way to translate websites into your language - is by using quick free tool from Google - Google Translate:

Google's online language translation service instantly translates text and web pages.
Google Translate is a free online translation service that provides instant translations between 57 different languages. It can translate words, sentences and web pages between any combination of our supported languages. Google Translate helps to make information universally accessible and useful, regardless of the language in which it’s written.

Google Translate currently supports 57 languages:

Current alpha languages are:
Haitian Creole

Google Translate tests other languages, called "alpha languages", that may have less-reliable translation quality than our supported languages. Google is always working to support other languages and will introduce them as soon as the translation quality meets their standards.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Which bank accounts can be accessed at the Post Office®? (United Kingdom)

Relatively simple question, but I found it difficult to find the answer when I needed it.
This information is really useful if you live long distance from your local bank branch, but your Post Office® is closer or may be you wanted to access you bank account in unfamiliar location and Post Office® appears to be easier to locate.
Whatever your circumstances here is the answer to the above question:

Withdraw money

It’s free and convenient to withdraw cash from your bank account when you’re in the Post Office®, if you have one of the following accounts:
  • Current and basic accounts
    Bank of Ireland, Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Clydesdale Bank, Danske Bank, First Direct, First Trust Bank, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Nationwide Building Society, Natwest, Santander, Smile (current account only), The Co-operative Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, TSB Bank, Ulster Bank, Virgin Money, Yorkshire Bank

    Pay in cash and cheques

    Pay in money if you have one of the following accounts:
    • Current and basic accounts
      Bank of Ireland, Barclays, CAF Bank (cheque only), Cahoot (current account only), Clydesdale Bank, Danske Bank, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Natwest, Santander, Smile (current account only), The Co-operative Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, TSB Bank, Virgin Money (cash only), Yorkshire Bank 

    Check your balance

    Check your balance whenever you’re in the Post Office®.

    Got a bank account? It’s free to pay in and withdraw money and check your balance at the Post Office® with many bank accounts – and the list is growing all the time.

    • quick, simple and safe to pay in and withdraw money
    • take cash out up to your daily card limit (subject to your available funds)
    • withdraw the exact amount you need
    • pop in to check your balance 
    More information about free way to access your bank account at the Post Office® counter:

    Many pre paid credit card issuers can be reloaded via the Post Office. Some card issuers charge a fee for Post Office reloads.

      Friday, 17 September 2010

      How to find cheapest flight tickets?

      Go online - go to Kiwi and search for your flight tickets!

      Kiwi offers some of the best flight deals around.

      Kiwi is a company that changes the travel industry! They are are the pioneers in virtual interlining and with their unique algorithm, they are able to create millions of flight combinations. Moreover, enhanced user-friendly design helps their customers to adjust various parameters and find the flight combination created particularly for them. With an extensive database of low-cost flights and traditional airlines, interactive map, and guaranteed arrival, the user experience skyrockets to another level.

      Currently you can search cheap flights using Kiwi in United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Ireland and user interface is available almost in any language!

      Thursday, 16 September 2010

      How to unblock a drain in minutes?

      There are many ways to unblock drains.
      General recommendation: act before the blockage is total, as a total block makes getting unblocking chemicals to the blockage difficult to impractical.

      The most common drain blocking materials are: fat, hair and matted fibres which can be cleared by caustic soda, rodding, or physical removal with hand or sticks.

      I can strongly recommend caustic soda (Sodium Hydroxide) as fastest and cheap unblocking solution.

      Caustic eats fats, which are the most common blocker of kitchen sinks, but I found it highly effective against all other major blocking materials like hair and matted fibres etc. Hence, it is very useful when it comes to unblocking bathroom sink and bath tube drain pipes.

      Boiling caustic is much faster than cold caustic. I never use direction for use which is given on package of caustic soda - it says to dissolve 500g of caustic in 5 litres of cold water, mix it, pour the solution down drain, leave for 30 minutes then flush with water (preferably hot).
      Instead, I would carefully open the tub, release volume equivalent to about two table spoons of caustic soda pearls straight into the drain and gradually pour entire boiling kettle of water in to the drain hole. Please be aware that it is important to pour no more than about quoter of a cattle at time and move out of reach of possible splashes, as the reaction of caustic and hot water is quite strong and if you put too much water at one time there could be effect of a small volcano. By the time of pouring the remaining water from the kettle the drain should be unblocked, just finish off with flushing hot water (e.g. form the tap) for about 0.5-1 minute to finish the procedure. This method is not best suitable for blocked toilets.
      The whole process of unblocking a drain with caustic soda should not take longer than 3-4 minutes.

      In UK you can buy caustic soda in many local hardware/convenience stores or chain DIY supermarkets like HOMBASE, B&Q. I find caustic soda from HOMEBASE (it is also available on Amazon in bigger volumes) to work best as it represents caustic soda in its pure form, not any caustic soda based "magic drain unblocking solution".

      Caustic is a high risk chemical. It burns skin and can cause serious eye damage. 
      If you get any at all in your eye, it is important to seek treatment urgently. Delay in treatment (it doesn't hurt) generally results in serious irreversible damage.
      Caustic soda is a strong alkali.
      Never mix a strong alkali with an acid.
      Eye protection recommended.

      More information about ways to unblock drains:

      Wednesday, 15 September 2010

      How to make and receive Skype video calls without a computer? (any country)

      You can make and receive Skype video calls without a computer - just get Asus Videophone Touch AiGuru SV1T (the picture above) - touchscreen videophone for Skype. This phone is Skype certified.

      This phone is ideal for someone who does not want or cannot use a computer, so it is invaluable for older generation (mums, dads, grandparents and other relatives).

      The first touchscreen videophone fully integrated with Skype – no computer required. Make free Skype-to-Skype video and voice calls. Call landlines and mobiles at great low rates with Skype Credit or with a monthly subscription.


      • Multiple language interface.
      • Free Skype-to-Skype video calls.
      • Touchscreen.
      • No computer required.
      • Built-in screen, microphone, webcam and speakerphone.
      • Portable, with rechargeable battery.
      • Connect wirelessly or via a network cable.
      • Call forwarding.
      • Voicemail.
      • Conference calls (as a guest only).
      • Internet connection: broadband internet connection with open port on router/modem. (Voice and video quality may vary depending on the connection speed).

      Tuesday, 14 September 2010

      How to make and receive Skype calls without a computer? (any country)

      You can make and receive Skype calls without a computer - just get RTX DUALphone 3088 (the picture above). This phone is Skype certified and along with Skype calls it supports landline calls too!

      This phone is ideal for someone who does not want or cannot use a computer, so it is invaluable for older generation (mums, dads, grandparents and other relatives).

      The RTX Dualphone is an all-in-one solution for Skype and landline calls. This phone is future proof - with built-in Skype software, integral speakerphone, cordless functionality and award-winning design.

      • Skype calls without a computer.
      • Regular landline calls.
      • Cordless phones. 
      • Indoor range 50m; outdoor range 300m from base station.
      • More than 10 hours talk time; up to 100 hours standby time.
      • Color LCD screen.
      • DECT wireless technology - won’t interfere with WiFi networks.
      • Award winning Danish design.
      • Supports Skype features like online numbers, calls to phones, voicemail call history, status and other features.
      • Contact list for both Skype and landline numbers, automatically synchronized with your Skype account.
      • Automatic software updates.
      • High quality speakerphone.
      • Option to use with serial headset.
      • Broadband internet connection with open port on router/modem.
      • Landline service (to make landline calls in addition to Skype calls).
      This phone does not support Skype video calls.

      Monday, 13 September 2010

      How to call toll free numbers for free without a landline? (United Kingdom)

      There are a lot of services in UK which you can contact by dialling toll free telephone numbers (e.g. 0800 ...), but it could be quite expensive if you don't have a landline and decide to use your mobile instead, this can cost you up to 35 p/min.

      Skype allows you to make calls to toll free numbers for free.

      Just a quick reminder that you can use Skype for free (no top up required) on a 3 (mobile operator 'Three') SIM card with compatible 3G mobile phone (to see the original post about Skype on 3 mobile click here).

      Alternatively, you can call toll free numbers for free if you get giffgaff Pay As You Go SIM card.
      You can order your free giffgaff SIM card via Top CashBack website (click here).

      Sunday, 12 September 2010

      How to save money on grocery shopping? (United Kingdom)

      You probably aware that grocery shopping bill is one of the biggest for your household, but you can save significantly by shopping in different supermarkets and buying for the most competitive price.
      To find out the best prices for the things you buy use free convenient comparison website: My Supermarket
      The above website allows to compare supermarket prices & save money while shopping from Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Ocado, Aldi, Poundland, Iceland, Morrison's, Boots or Superdrug.

      While comparing products you can checkout at My Supermarket at the end of their shop and their basket will be transferred to the relevant supermarket’s own website for payment processing.

      Friday, 10 September 2010

      How to beat Ryanair booking fee?

      Please read this post for more information:

      Up-to-date information on Ryanair booking fee: No credit card fee applies when paying with a debit card or SEPA bank transfer (Germany only).
      Bookings paid for by PayPal, American Express, credit card or a Mastercard Prepaid card will incur a fee of 2% of the total transaction value.

      Thursday, 9 September 2010

      How to get Mastercard prepaid card without credit history? (United Kingdom)

      Go to the Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) Prepaid Mastercard website (click here), then click on the "Apply for a Card" link at the very top right.
      It is available in South African RAND, GBP, USD and EURO and can be used across a wide range of sectors which include Payroll, Expense Management, Travel, Money Share, Insurance, Gaming and Online Shopping amongst others, with reduced exposure to fraud in a safe and secure environment. This provides PFS customers with peace of mind, convenience and an altogether better value for money proposition.

      The PFS Prepaid Card also holds the honour of being the first RAND MasterCard prepaid card in the UK and an excellent option for 1000's of sports enthusiasts planning to follow the fortunes of their team to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. Cardholders can use their card to make purchases online, in-store and over the phone at over 28.5 million worldwide merchant locations that accept MasterCard® and that includes all World Cup retail locations and ATM's.

      Some of the benefits of a PFS prepaid card include:

      * Instant online approval
      * No credit checks or bank accounts required to receive a card
      * Card is not linked to your bank account – your bank details are secure. Protect your identity online
      * Share money with friends and family around the world with additional cards
      * You can only spend what is on the card, enabling better management of your money
      * Easy to block the card by SMS if the card is lost or stolen
      * Check your balance online or by SMS
      * Shop securely with Chip and PIN in-store, online and over the phone at 28.5 million merchant locations worldwide that accept MasterCard
      * Top up your card at over 30,000 locations across the UK and online with your debit card
      * Have your wages paid directly to your card by your employer for FREE!
      * Transfer money from any bank account to your card for FREE!
      * Carry cash on a card when you travel abroad
      * Review your account and transactions with 24/7 secure online access
      * You will receive your card within 10 working days from the application

      Wednesday, 8 September 2010

      Is there a one place online where digital radio products for the DAB, DAB+, HD and internet radio platforms can be found?

      Revo Technologies Ltd is a privately owned designer and manufacturer of award-winning digital radio products for the DAB, DAB+, HD and internet radio platforms. Revo places a high degree of importance on the look, feel and ease of use of all Revo radios; using only the best of available materials and components, paying considerable attention to audio quality and using the best of British design talent.

      Revo Technologies goes that extra mile to produce radios that exceed expectations. The aim? To produce a product that crosses over from being a humble piece of electronics... to something that enriches day to day life. At Revo Technologies the mission is very simple; to build the world's most exciting, innovative and stylish digital radios.

      At Revo website (click here) you can buy a range of high tech electronic products including:
      • digital radios with touchscreen interface and docking for iPod and iPhone;
      • multi-format portable radios;
      • World's best self-powered internet radio, with an internal rechargeable battery for cordless, go-anywhere listening freedom;
      • Wi-Fi internet radios
      • Spares and accessories for your Revo.
      All of the above stand as great and stylish gift ideas.

      Tuesday, 7 September 2010

      What is the official website of the Green Card Lottery (ELECTRONIC DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY) for US?

      Here is the link for the official U.S. Department of State's website of the Green Card Lottery (ELECTRONIC DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY):

      The registration period for the Green Card Lottery normally runs from October 2, through November 30.
      DV Entrant Status Check is now available on the above mentioned website - you can check the result if you won Green Card.

      More information about the Green Card Lottery programme:

      Monday, 6 September 2010

      Where to find holiday reviews and hotel reviews online?


      TripAdvisor (click here) is the world’s largest travel site and one of the most trusted sources of holiday reviews on the net!
      It provides a comprehensive travel planning experience. With a loyal userbase and a trusted brand it is the first and last stop for many holiday makers looking at where to go to get some sun.

      It offers over 150 million candid traveller reviews of hotels, restaurants, and attractions worldwide with a focus on the traditional package holiday destinations.
      Also, it powers a robust flights search engine, hotel compare and check rates search, and vacation rental search.

      TripAdvisor is a leading vacation rental website featuring the world’s largest collection of vacation rental guest reviews. TripAdvisor sites currently list more than 630,000 vacation rental properties around the world, which offer travellers great value along with the space, privacy, and amenities of home..

      Saturday, 4 September 2010

      How to find the best deals on magazine subscriptions?

      Among several places following online service offers discounted subscriptions to the UK's biggest magazines. Customers can save up to 90% on the cover price of their favourite titles. There is a huge choice to cater for all tastes, including gardening, home interest, women's interest, business, current affairs, hobbies, health & fitness and travel.

      There are frequent special offers with subscriptions starting from just £1.

      Here you can access service which offers a choice of over 950 magazine subscriptions with FREE delivery (click here).

      Friday, 3 September 2010

      How to grow your own edible mushrooms at home?

      There are two most common ways to produce home-grown gourmet mushrooms in a matter of weeks:
      • Outdoors - on logs, using plug spawn dowells. In this way you can grow such mushrooms: Shiitake (Lentinula edodes), The Conifer Coral Mushroom (Hericium abietis), The Lion's Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus), The Phoenix Fir Oyster (Pleurotus pulmonarius), Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus), Maitake or Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa), Pearl Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus), Reishi or Ling Chi (Ganoderma lucidum)
      • Indoors - with a mushroom kit, usually these are supplied complete with everything you need. You can get easy-to-use kits to grow following types of mushrooms: Button Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus), Chestnut Mushroom, Oysters (Pleurotus species), Shiitake (Lentinula edodes). Mushroom kit normally includes grow box, mushroom culture - pre sown with spawn, and full instructions.
      You can buy above mentioned kits online (click here).

      Thursday, 2 September 2010

      Wednesday, 1 September 2010

      How make absolutely free Skype calls from you mobile? (United Kingdom & US)

      Free Mobile Phone Service provider

      Get yourself a FreedomPop SIM card online and any iOS or Android Devices.

      You can make and receive Skype calls on your mobile as FreedomPop provides 100% Free basic level of Talk, Text, & Data!

      If you need more than basic, you may pay for their bigger plans that are priced well below the market rates.

      Tuesday, 31 August 2010

      How to earn £100s of cashback when you shop online?

      You can make cash when you shop online, this includes, but not limited to groceries, homeware, insurance & financials, utilities, travel, entertainment & leisure, mobiles, computers etc.

      It is possible to get cashback without even needing to spend - order free stuff (e.g. free sim card - get up to £5 !!!), create new accounts with online retailers, subscribe to newsletters or just get paid for searching online.

      Earn cash online by using one of the best UK cashbsck sites (click here to access the site), don't worry - you don't have to pay any annual admin fee, as some other cashback websites charge. As from recently they introduced paid membership as well (£5 per year), but you will also get an increased cashback rate and other benefits.

      Online Cashback

      Monday, 30 August 2010

      How quickly check if you need a visa for particular country?

      Did you ever have a situation when you wanted to find out if you need a visa to particular country or several countries and was limited by time to go to their embassy websites?

      Here is a solution (click here) - the website allows you to carry out a check if you need visa or any other special arrangements before you travel to particular destination, also you will be able to check same for connecting countries.

      The above tool is well trustworthy, since the technology behind it is used by most airlines worldwide to allow them to stop people boarding planes without necessary entry clearance or visa or not qualifying due to other travel arrangements, otherwise an airline may face hefty fine imposed by country where such passengers would be heading.

      Sunday, 29 August 2010

      How to make cheap international calls from any landline? (United Kingdom)

      If you have British Telecom (BT) or Post Office or Primus or Sky or TalkTalk or Virgin landline and need or want to call abroad for reasonable charges (i.e. much cheaper than your landline provider charges) you can use special access numbers for particular destination you going to call.
      These numbers are provided by Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) telephone companies who act as independent override providers and have competitive prices. But please take into account that these numbers do change time to time, so it is important to check them before you call.

      Here is main comparison site I always use to find access numbers for particular country:

      On the above website you can select to see access numbers to call landlines or mobiles, these are shown separately, latter are a bit more expensive.

      Points to bear in mind:
      • Always double check prices on providers website before calling.
      • For companies where no accounts needed - you'll usually be charged your provider's set up fee (also known as call connection fee) too. For example, current BT set up fee is 15.97p (01.01.2015). BT set up fee is charged per every chargeable call you make.

      Saturday, 28 August 2010

      How to get provisional driving licence in the UK?

      If you need extra ID in UK or/and you want learn to drive or just pass your theory and practice tests (i.e. gain full UK licence) after your foreign licence no longer gives you right to drive in UK you will need provisional driving licence.
      You can get it in one of the following ways:
      • Apply online
      • Apply in person or by post
      Normally, your provisional driving licence will be sent to you by Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) within three weeks of receiving your application. It will take longer if your health or personal details have to be checked.

      You can find out more details about the topic here.