Money: Cashpoints - Gas cuts cover

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The Independent Online
British Gas is in effect offering a third off any existing home insurance premium. The discount comes in the form of vouchers off your gas bill. You have to switch your home insurance to British Gas' preferred supplier, Privilege Insurance, which then charges whatever you would pay your existing insurer. At the end of the first year, Privilege will then reassess your premium, and also offer a further pounds 20 of vouchers as an incentive to renew with the company. There is no requirement to stick with Privilege after year one. Call 0870 900 0110.

Half of all credit cards in issue - 19 million - now have "loyalty points" programmes, but 85 per cent of people are said never to have redeemed any of their points. Most holders of loyalty plastic cards would prefer to save their points towards a more significant item rather than redeem them regularly, according to an NOP survey commissioned by the GM Card, which offers points that can be exchanged for discounts on new cars from Vauxhall.

Birmingham Midshires building society, which is being taken over by Royal Bank of Scotland, says it is putting together a windfall distribution plan that will include many of its disabled and elderly members even if their savings or mortgage accounts are held in someone else's name. Full details of the windfall payouts will be known by April. They are expected to average around pounds 600, and will be handed out in the summer. Motor insurance premiums rose by an average of 5 per cent last year but motorists should brace themselves for bigger rises this year to cover insurers' rising costs, according to Touchline Insurance, part of GAN group.

We still spend an average of 32 hours a year sorting, checking and paying bills, according to research by organisations encouraging the use of direct debits. Two-thirds of mortgages, 40 per cent of water bills and television licences, and more than a third of gas and electricity bills are now paid by direct debit. Some organisations offer discounts for people prepared to pay by this method.

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