Aid to the poor

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The Charities Aid Foundation has set up a scheme to make it easy to give to the world's poorest countries. Customers must put at least pounds 100 into their World People Account, and CAF then reclaims 23 per cent tax on the donation and adds it to the investment. You can give directly to charities, or through the World People hotline, or via an online internet service. More details on 0845 077 2000 or www.worldpeople.org.

American Express has improved its "money back" offer on the Blue credit card. Customers will get back 5 per cent of what they spend on the Blue card - but only in November. Normally they get 1p back for every pounds 1 spent. The card has a low interest rate - currently 9.9 per cent - but that will rise to 19.5 per cent after six months. There is also a pounds 12 annual fee, so you have to spend more than pounds 1,200 a year to make money on the card. Call 0800 700 111.

Woolwich has produced a free guide to motor insurance, covering the main terms, so you can understand your policy. It suggests questions you should ask before you accept an insurance quotation. The guide is free by calling 0645 454545.

Chase de Vere offers an exclusive bond from the Newcastle Building Society paying 8.01 per cent gross. The Base Rate Plus Bond is guaranteed to beat Bank of England base rates for the next 21/2 years. Availability is limited, with a minimum pounds 10,000 to be invested, and a maximum pounds 500,000. Details on 0800 526 093.

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