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Personal |Finance: Understand ISAs

Still don't know your maxi from your mini? There are plenty of free guides around to help you find your way through the ISA (individual savings account) maze. Midland Bank says less than half the population is aware that PEPs and Tessas are going to be scrapped in April. Its new guide is free from Midland branches or call 0800 180180.

Woolwich also has a useful guide, available from branches or call 0345 626362.

Birmingham Midshires has a range of new equity-linked investments. Its limited issue Fifty/Fifty Bond combines a one-year savings account paying 8.20 per cent gross on half the investment with the chance to earn up to 60 per cent gross on the rest of the money. This will depend on the growth of the FT-SE 100 index over the next five years. The minimum investment is pounds 2,500.

The equity-linked Tax-Exempt Special Savings Account pays a maturity bonus after five years, based on FT-SE 100 growth. The minimum return after five years will be 10 per cent gross and the maximum 50 per cent. Details of both investments are available on 0800 0562299.

Mortgage broker John Charcol is selling a capped mortgage charging 5.89 per cent until March 2001.

After the special offer ends borrowers will be offered another mortgage from the building society lender, without the need to stay on standard rates. There is an arrangement fee of pounds 300. Call 0800 718191 for more details.