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Cashpoints: Credit card rates remain a mystery

Most people do not know the interest rate on their main credit card, while one in four do not always know how much money they have in a bank or savings account when they make a withdrawal, according to research by Beneficial Bank, an issuer of charity credit cards and a provider of in-store credit facilities. Beneficial says there are now 32 million credit cards in circulation, and three in 10 people say they would be proud to carry a charity credit card or one linked to a club or university. A low interest rate is the most important factor cited in choosing a credit card, although consumers also favour brands they know and trust over absolutely the best rates.

Some home insurers are offering add-ons to policies to cover possessions of students when they are away at college. Eagle Star has an extension costing pounds 25 for holders of its Homestar policy to cover up to pounds 500 of belongings in student accommodation. The policy includes cover where there is no forced entry to the property, often the case with thefts from shared digs. Ring 0800 333800 for details.

Consumers are increasingly aware of the possibility of paying financial advisers a fee for advice rather than than paying commission if they make a sale. Chartwell Investment Management, an independent financial adviser in Bath, has produced a free guide explaining the relative merits of fees and commissions for a number of different types of investment. Call 01225 446556.

NatWest has produced a free four-page guide to guaranteed investments. Call 0800 255 200.

A free guide on home subsidence, offering guidance on how to identify the first signs and how to deal with the problem, is available from Prospero Direct, an insurance firm. Call 0500 500575.