loose change

what's new in the world of investments

Co-op promises base rate for life on Visa card

Which is the most widely held gold credit card in the UK, indeed in Europe? No, not them, or them either. Give up? It is the Co-Operative Bank's, issued in 1991 and now used by 300,000 people. Customers split into 70 per cent who pay off outstanding balances every month and 30 per cent who borrow.

The bank is now planning to target them separately. Those who pay off balances regularly will stick with the existing card, which has no annual fee but charges 21.7 per cent on unpaid balances. Those who want to borrow can apply for a Base Rate for Life card. It levies an annual fee of pounds 120 but guarantees to charge no more than base rate on outstanding balances each month.

Even with the fee it works out at an APR of just 11.4 per cent on an average balance of pounds 2,000, less than many personal loans and roughly half the charge on typical credit cards. To qualify individuals need to earn at least pounds 20,000 a year and pass a credit test.

Bank of Scotland is launching its own Gold Visa card charging an annual fee of pounds 35 and interest at 14.5 per cent until next June, rising to17.9 per cent APR. Applicants must earn pounds 20,000 a year but anyone spending more than pounds 4,000 a year with the card pays no fee.

Users also get a free second year of extended warranty on most household electric appliances bought with the card, savings on five-year warranties,and access to emergency medical and legal services.

Premium rate company rings up cheap telephone calls

B roadsystem, the company that brought you premium-rate telephone calls that encourage you to dial specialised services from sexy chatlines to football fanclub information lines, is now promising to save telephone subscribers up to 20 per cent off UK national and regional (but not local) calls, and up to 30 per cent off international calls. "We pioneered expensive phone calls so now we are helping subscribers to save money", says chief executive Stephen Kirk.

For a one-off joining fee of pounds 1, members can channel their calls through Broadsystem by dialling 1602 before the number they want. Broadsystem buys the telephone time in bulk from BT and Mercury and bills its subscribers monthly in the middle of the following month.

The service is not yet universally available but call 0345 160200 to sign up.

Mortgage deals from GA, Barclays and Chelsea

General Accident Direct has cut the premiums on its standard mortgage protection policies by 10 per cent to an average of pounds 4.50 a month for every pounds 100 of mortgage interest payments covered. Premiums vary according to the borrower's age, sex and occupation, but the majority are within 20-30 per cent either side of the average.

Payments start 60 days after policy-holders lose their jobs through illness, accident or redundancy, and continue for 12 months. GA Direct has also introduced five new options with different starting times, from immediate to 60 days' and up to 18 months' cover.

General Accident Life has extended its Flexi-Mortgage offering six options from a 5 per cent cashback up to pounds 12,500 and no discount to a 5 per cent discount on the interest rate until end November next year and no cashback. Redemption charges apply until November 2000. A new fixed rate of 4.49 per cent is available until October 1997, with up to 95 per cent loan to value. The reservation fee of pounds 250 is refundable if the application is refused. A six-month redemption penalty applies to redemptions within the first five years.

Barclays Bank is offering new capped and fixed-rate mortgages at 3.99 per cent for a year or 5.99 per cent until the end of January 1998. Redemption charges are applied for redemptions before end January 2000.

Chelsea Building Society has launched two new fixed-rate mortgages, 4.74 per cent for up to 80 per cent loan to value and 5.09 per cent up to 90 per cent loan to value, both fixed until February 1998.

Both feature free redundancy insurance until the end of next year (this is not available to the self-employed). A 5 per cent redemption fee is charged within the first five years, and an arrangement fee of pounds 195 is payable, of which pounds 50 is upfront

Investment news at Hambros, Redland, and NatWest

Redland has launched a corporate bond personal equity plan invested in a new loan stock issued by the company for the purpose. It will initially offer a tax-free yield of 7 per cent.

Hambros Global Investment Fund is launching a new open-ended investment company . It will be listed in Dublin and invest in Asia, with the emphasis on South Korea.

The minimum subscription is $2,000 with a 5 per cent charge and an annual fee of 1.25 per cent.

NatWest has launched a guaranteed growth plus bond, guaranteeing standard rate taxpayers a 25 per cent return on their investment over 5 1/2 years. The maximum return is 75 per cent if the FT-SE 100 share index performs well.

Save & Prosper has launched a similar bond with a minimum pounds 2,500 investment.

Cheltenham & Gloucester has unveiled a new 90-day notice account paying 5.75 per cent gross on amounts from the minimum pounds 10,000 up to pounds 25,000, rising to 6.5 per cent and then 6.75 per cent gross on amounts over pounds 100,000.

Free advice for the asking at Commerical Union

Commercial Union has produced a guide "Investing for Income" that is available free to readers. Call 0800 100155.

Hill Samuel is offering small investors a free 12-page guide to investing abroad. Call Freephone 0800 336600

Help The Aged has launched a new free advice leaflet, "Thinking About Money" with practical tips and information on where to go for advice.

Send a sae to Information Department (money) Help The Aged, St James Walk, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0BE or from all the society's shops.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Hard labour: a woman bears the load in a factory. But equal treatment is causing pension problems

Women to lose benefits from contracted-out pension scheme

Workers were promised that the state would pay inflation increases on parts of their pensions. But now the DWP disagrees
The Budget, says one critic, should have done more to encourage construction of affordable homes

Help for buyers but where are the homes?

A vote-winning Budget promised less tax, greater savings flexibility, and government handouts for first-time housebuyers
'It will be no wonder if people lack the enthusiasm to save taxfree,' says one expert. But there are ways to beat low rates on cash Isas

How to make the most of Isas: You can save more money now, the returns are tax-free and the rules are flexible

Rob Griffin sees how you can surmount the one big obstacle

Growing number of women under the age of 35 are turning to online gambling

Online gaming is changing the profile of victims, who see it as an answer to difficult relationships but sink deeper into trouble

Ethical investments: Lack of awareness means investors are supporting industries they oppose

Many of us have good intentions now but either we don't switch accounts or we back 'nasty' activities without realising
Payday lenders fail to recognise customers in financial difficulty, the FCA said

Payday lenders accused of unfair practices by watchdog

The Financial Conduct Authority found non-compliance in all reviewed firms

Hooray, you're going to live longer! But what should you do to celebrate?

Pension expert John Lawson talks on why improved longevity is something to plan for carefully

Pension freedom: Steve Webb answers your questions on the big shake-up

The new freedoms arrive in April but many of you have told us that you see problems as well as opportunities. The pensions minister Steve Webb responds
Pension Minister Steve Webb

There are 'dark corners' of the investment and pensions industry, says Pensions Minister

The DWP and the FCA have joined forces to investigate transaction charges in occupational pension schemes

Scottish Power was found to have unacceptably long call waiting times

Scottish Power hit with sales ban by regulator

The company was found to have unacceptably long call waiting times

This phoenix rose from the stage at the London Olympics. The insurer grew out of zombie life insurance funds

Phoenix Life: Chance of a refund for overcharged policyholders has risen

A retired adviser got his money back from the insurer after claiming he had been overcharged. Thousands of others may have a strong case
Expect a new wave of fishing expeditions by fraudsters now we can invest our life savings

Cold callers and your pension: watch out for dangerous boiler room scams

Sean O'Grady received a cold call last week that was much more sinister than normal. Yes, someone wants to get their hands on his pension...

Fuel poverty could claim 100,000 lives over next 15 years, warns energy charity

The NHS is currently bearing a yearly burden of approximately £1.5bn treating cold-related illnesses every winter

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

    Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

    Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

    £18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

    Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

    £35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss