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loose change

What they mean when they say...

Share buy-back

When Barclays Bank announced last week that it planned to use surplus capital to buy back some shares instead of paying a special dividend, shareholders could have been forgiven for thinking that, especially as all shareholders are invited to stump up extra cash for more shares when the company wants to increase its capital, they would all be given an equal chance to sell a slice of shares.

Not so, of course. Barclays sent its brokers out into the market metaphorically at least and bought back 25 million shares from big institutions on a first-come first-served basis at 719p each. The buy-back was much smaller than anyone expected but the bank paid out enough to have given all shareholders a special dividend of 8p a share net of tax, which many might have preferred. Barclays shares ended the week at 704p.

Same-day cards

TSB has answered a long-felt want among credit card holders who want to pay off their balance in full each month in order to guarantee avoiding the irritation of either paying in full ridiculously early or cutting it fine, missing the clearing deadline by a day and paying interest on their own money at the exorbitant rate credit cards charge.

From August 15 TSB will introduce a same-day settlement for its Trustcard bills. Holders who pay their bill at any TSB branch before 4pm using either cash or a cheque will be guaranteed an immediate credit rather than the normal four-working-day clearance time.

Direct dealings

City Deal Services (CDS) says it now has 100,000 individual clients, who pay just pounds 9 commission for a deal up to pounds 1,000, pounds 15 up to pounds 2,000 and a maximum of pounds 35 on deals over pounds 20,000 on its City deal-direct service which, for an annual subscription of pounds 18, puts private investors in direct contact with authorised dealers to ensure best prices and immediate dealing. Commissions on postal and telephone dealing services go as low as pounds 5 per trade.