LOOSE CHANGE

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The Independent Online
Bank accounts paying interest linked to rates in the London money market are currently paying better interest than conventional building society accounts, according to Cater Allen Bank. It is currently paying 5.18 per cent gross on a three-month deposit of pounds 10,000, compared with an average 4.09 per cent on 90-day building society accounts.

General Accident Insurance is offering travel insurance for single trips at a flat rate of pounds 1 a day for adults and 50p for children for travel in Europe. The minimum charge is pounds 10, but a family of four can cover up to pounds 3,500 in cancellation fees, pounds 1,500 for lost baggage, pounds 100 for a lost passport, and up to pounds 2m in medical expenses and pounds 1m worth of personal liability cover for a two-week European holiday for pounds 43. Rates for travel outside Europe start at pounds 2.56 a day.

Towry Law is launching a whole-year travel insurance plan covering unlimited business trips and holidays world-wide including skiing for pounds 105, plus optional cover for a second person at pounds 35.

Visa UK is offering readers a free copy of its "1996 Holiday Money Guide", which lists the top 10 holiday destinations, bank opening hours, local cash machines which take Visa cards, a holiday checklist, emergency telephone numbers, practical advice on the best way to buy foreign currency and - new this year - a guide to speciality foods and drinks.

Thomas Cook and MoneyGram have combined to offer an instant worldwide money transfer service for holiday-makers, migrant workers and expats. Money can be sent from any of Thomas Cook's 400 UK shops to 20,000 MoneyGram outlets in banks and shops in 80 countries. Transactions are expressed in US dollars, converted at the travellers' cheque rate and distance is no object. Minimum fee is $20 to send up to $400

Cheshire Building Society is launching a new fixed-rate bond paying 6.75 per cent gross annual interest or 6.50 per cent paid monthly on amounts from pounds 5,000 to pounds 20,000. Rates rise 0.25 per cent on higher sums and the rate is guaranteed until the end of 1998.

Norwich & Peterborough Building Society is introducing a Coverguard personal accident and sickness plan which pays benefit for up to 12 months and can be used to protect overall income, not just mortgage payments and basic bills. It is available to non-customers and premiums start at pounds 2 a month depending on age, sex, occupation, lifestyle and level of cover.

TSB is offering a range of fixed-rate mortgages, at 6.74 per cent for three years, 7.74 per cent for five years and 8.74 per cent for 10 years. Loans are up to 95 per cent of valuation. A 100 per cent mortgage is available at 8.74 per cent fixed for five years. Valuations are free up to pounds 300 but early redemption penalties apply and arrangement fees of up to pounds 250 will be charged (pounds 50 for first-time buyers and 100 per cent loans).

The top performing personal equity plan over the last five years is Hill Samuel's UK Emerging Market Trust, with a 270 per cent gain over the period, according to brokers Chase de Vere. Other top providers include Morgan Grenfell and Jupiter. The best investment trust PEP is still Murray Enterprise Trust at 479 per cent.

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