Loose Change

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The cost of borrowing is still falling. The Prudential yesterday cut its personal loan rates to 11.7 per cent APR on amounts over pounds 10,000, and 12.7 per cent on amounts from pounds 5,000 to pounds 10,000. Loan offers go as low as pounds 1,000 where the interest rate is 17.9 per cent. The Pru claimed its rates undercut the traditional lenders such as Barclays and NatWest by between 1 and 3 per cent. Loans can be repaid over one to five years, and there are no penalties for paying loans off early.

Tesco Personal Finance has launched its first personal loans, available over the phone and in 120 stores throughout the UK. Rates start at 10.9 per cent on amounts between pounds 7,500 and pounds 10,000, rising to 13.3 per cent on sums between pounds 3,000 and pounds 7,500, 13.7 per cent between pounds 2,000 and pounds 3,000 and 14.7 per cent APR on sums of pounds 1,000 to pounds 2,000. Loans can be arranged for any purpose including consolidating existing loans and credit-card borrowing, optional payment protection cover is available to maintain payments in the event of illness, injury or unemployment and there are no early repayment fees.

Fixed-rate mortgages are still coming down in cost. In the past few days Abbey National has replaced its existing range of fixed-rate mortgages with new offers charging up to 0.2 points less than the existing series. New rates include 4.95 per cent fixed for two years, 5.7 per cent for three years up to 90 per cent of the property value and with no penalties for redemption after the fixed-rate term.

Nationwide has cut rates by up to 0.3 per cent on its new two, three- , five- and 10-year fixed-rate mortgages, which now cost 5.19 per cent, 5.69 per cent, 5.89 per cent and 6.49 per cent respectively for customers moving home (remortgagers pay a touch over 7 per cent.) Nationwide, like most of its rivals, now charges redemption penalties for loans paid off early, eg within five years on a two-year fix, within six years on a three- year fix and within seven years on a five-year fix. A pounds 295 fee and Nationwide's insurance are also needed to get the lowest rates.