Chase share issues online

THE not-so-noble art of building society carpet bagging - shifting cash around in the hope of getting windfall shares - is thriving on the web. The Members For Conversion (www. site is well established. Its directory lists all the remaining mutual societies, and "cheapest bags": the minimum amount savers need to join a society, along with details of any restrictions on membership. There is also a mailing list service for visitors who want to keep up to date on conversions, and a discussion area.

The pro-mutual opposition has its own site at Save our Building Societies (http:// kevshere/sobs/index.html). SOBS, an unofficial lobby group, has information about its campaigns, including its opposition to the Halifax takeover of Birmingham Midshires. There's also an interest rate check service which lists the best savings rates at mutual societies.

The official building society line is represented by the Building Societies Association (

Rail tickets

VIRGIN RAIL'S new site ( lets travellers book tickets on any UK mainland route, whether or not it is a Virgin service. The few exceptions include sleepers and Eurostar.

The system will make it easier to pre-book those elusive cheap off-peak fares. Virgin undertakes to deliver tickets in two whole working days or they can be collected at any Virgin station. Virgin isn't ruling out running web-based special offers or even ticket auctions; a marketing ploy it already uses with its Express airline.