People without web 'missing out' on finance deals

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The Independent Online

People who do not have access to the internet are missing out on the best rates for financial products, a consumer group said today.

A typical online saver could be up to 37% a year better off than someone who was restricted to using branch-based products, according to Which?

The group said the average rate for an instant access account that was available in a bank or building society branch was just 0.56%, compared with 1.14% for online accounts.

People who were taking out a one-year fixed rate bond could get an average rate of 2.58% over the internet, compared with one of just 2.34% in a branch.

Online Isas also paid more than branch ones, with interest rates averaging 1.84% compared with 1.53% for a branch-based account.

The group also found that the best online travel insurance deal for someone aged 65 was around four times cheaper than the best deal available in a branch.

The Government estimates that around four million people do not have access to the internet.

Peter Vicary-Smith, chief executive of Which?, said: "Not everyone is comfortable or able to manage their finances online and these people are missing out on the best deals as a result.

"Banks should be more inclusive by offering terminals in branches where customers could access online deals, with some help from staff."

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