Personal finance: Cashpoints - On a Promise

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The Independent Online
Promise is the latest entrant in the direct mortgage market. The company is owned by the financial services giant Winterthur and will operate a range of mortgage offers provided by high street lenders. None of the deals will have legal or arrangement fees and there will not be a lock-in after the offer period ends. Promise aims to make mortgage offers over the phone and will lend to self-employed and contract workers.

Call 0800 358 8081 for details of the current mortgage offers.

The Alliance & Leicester has a new account for the under- 16s, paying 3.9 per cent gross interest on a minimum of pounds 1 and 4.70 per cent on pounds 5,000 upwards. These aren't the best rates on the market - Nationwide pays 6.8 per cent on its Smart2Save account - but the A&L account may be useful for children who want to operate a real bank account for short-term savings and withdrawals. The A&L will issue cashcards to children of 11 and upwards.

Details in branches or call 0800 412214.

The Leopold Joseph private bank has a three-year fixed-term savings account which promises to beat falling interest rates. The gross rate starts at 3 per cent on 1 February, and if interest rates drop, the amount paid on the account goes up by double the interest rate fall. So a drop of 0.5 per cent in rates would add 1 per cent interest to the Double Up Account. The minimum investment is pounds 5,000.

Call Leopold Joseph this week on 0171-505 1301 for details as the closing date for deposits is 1 February.