BofA told to raise $34bn of new capital

Bank of America needs to cover a capital hole of $34bn (£23bn), it will be revealed today, as the Obama administration unveils the results of "stress tests" to determine the strength of the country's financial system. But the bank insists it can raise most of the money by selling assets or issuing new shares, and says that converting taxpayer funds into common stock, a move that could make the US government its dominant shareholder, would be a last resort.

How to make your credit cards pay

Britain's credit-card market is one of the most competitive in the world. Most cards have no annual fees, offer attractive interest-free introductory periods, and come with generous loyalty schemes. The downside is that they also charge hefty interest rates – typically between 15 and 20 per cent APR – meaning that they're an inefficient way of borrowing for any period of time.

Meet the credit card that can cut the cost of your Christmas spree

Cashback deals could save you money, if you are smart. Nargis Ahmad and Julian Knight report

America heads towards recession

US consumer spending logs its sharpest downturn since the recession of 1980

Questions of Cash: I want a refund for these unfair overdraft charges

Q. Credit card fraud led to me receiving a £2,000 American Express bill. AmEx told me to cancel my direct debit with my bank, Alliance & Leicester, to avoid this payment being processed. I tried to cancel using A&L's online service and thought I had done this when I entered a "cancel" instruction – but it turned out that this just cancelled the cancellation request. This led to the direct debit being processed. When I realised, I phoned A&L and it approved a new overdraft limit to avoid triggering unauthorised overdraft charges. But A&L imposed charges anyway. It says it will not consider refunding these until the court cases on unfair bank charges are settled, arguing it has a waiver from the Financial Services Authority covering all bank charges regarded by customers as unfair. But my complaint is nothing to do with charges covered by these cases. LC, Cheltenham.

Anti-terror officer jailed for misuse of credit card

A Scotland Yard anti-terrorism officer has been jailed for 10 months after he admitted using his corporate credit card to fund a £73,000 spree.

Bank details sold on eBay

The personal details of more than a million high- street bank customers have been found on the hard drive of a computer sold on eBay for £35.

American Express shares dive after profits warning

American Express, the credit card company, issued a thumping profits warning last night, sending its shares diving and potentially foreshadowing a new leg of the credit crisis.

The bill for ID theft – our biggest fear

Britons are more afraid of identity theft than they are of being mugged or attacked in the street, a survey from American Express has revealed.

Simon Calder: When is a fake banknote not a fake?

The search for a perfect murder is the constant quest for crime writers; but for petty villains in South America, it appears that the quest for the perfect scam for relieving travellers of their excess cash has reached a perfect conclusion. It relies upon the large number of forged bank notes in circulation, but is far more subtle than simply handing over fake bills in change.

Cyberclinic: Why are blind people ignored by websites?

After last week's column about Captchas – the little visual tests that websites deploy alongside password requests to prove that you're human – reader Jo Franks pointed out how maddening they are for blind people. When I raised this issue on the Cyberclinic blog, Thomas Reid mentioned that a Captcha at blogcarnival.com in effect stops blind bloggers from joining in with their project. This obviously isn't a deliberate ploy. But it's far from unique.

Man who culled Egg borrowers resigns

The man responsible for Egg's controversial clear-out of 7 per cent of its credit card customers has resigned after less than a year heading the UK operations of Egg's parent, Citigroup.

Visa to raise up to $18.8bn in record flotation on NYSE

Visa has announced an $18.8bn (£9.5bn) fundraising that will rank as the biggest initial public offering ever seen in the US. It comes as the credit crisis continues to destabilise financial markets, and in the middle of an otherwise arid spell for stock market flotations.

How to stop your credit limit from being slashed

James Daley gives advice on staying in the banks' good books and the best new deals around
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas