NatWest's missing Link

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The Independent Online
A cashpoint-sharing deal covering the NatWest, Halifax, Abbey National, Co-operative Bank, Woolwich and many other building societies was announced last week. But whereas most of the other organisations will give their customers free access to NatWest machines, NatWest itself will charge its own customers 60p a time for using the Link network machines that the other institutions have. The facility should be available from the spring. The deal will give NatWest customers access to 7,000 more machines on top of the 7,000 they can already use for free. Customers of the Link banks and societies will be gaining access to 2,300 NatWest machines. NatWest justified its 60p charge by saying the Link machines were an "added convenience".

Interest rates on savings accounts are at their lowest for a generation, making the search for decent deposit-based returns ever more desperate. Those with small sums are probably being paid a pittance - less than 1 per cent - especially in instant access accounts.

But there are a handful of accounts that target those prepared to save small amounts regularly - and that pay quite reasonable interest rates.

Bradford & Bingley building society claims to be top of the pack with its Monthly Saver account, which pays 6.5 per cent on savings of pounds 10 a month. You must save every month for three years. Scarborough

building society offers 6.5 per cent on its Keepsafe Bond that requires you to save at least pounds 15 a month for two years.

Skiers are being offered a free copy of the Good Ski Guide and other winter sports offers if they take out a new credit card. The Good Ski Guide visa card, issued by Beneficial Bank, has no annual fee and an introductory interest rate of 14.9 per cent APR.

Barclays Bank has produced a free guide aimed at alerting parents to the cost of putting children through higher education. It gives details of grants, loans, and what students can earn to help pay for their study.It includes a ready reckoner to help parents work out how much a student will need and how much could be provided by parents. To get a copy of Give Them The Chance To Succeed, call 0800 374 373.

NatWest has published a free guide to insurance that protects against the financial consequences of disability or death. The guide explains what is covered by serious illness, permanent health, long-term care and life insurances, with examples of benefits. Call 0800 255 200.