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Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

Faster payments not fast enough

Faster Payments logo
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 9 January 2010 at 1204 GMT On Radio 4 and Online<

A year and a half after banks signed up to payments instantly, some are still failing to provide the service for all transactions.

The Faster Payments Service allows customers to make faster electronic payments, typically via the phone or internet, enabling them to be processed in hours rather than days.

It can also be used to make quicker standing order payments on bank working days.

The scheme was launched in 2008, with a commitment to roll out faster payments by the end of the year. But Money Box research shows some banks are still dragging their feet.

On the programme Sandra Quinn from UK Payments, defends the progress made by the banks.

Related information:

Are personal pensions worth it for average earners?

It's long been assumed that saving for a pension is essential if we're to enjoy a decent standard of living during our, hopefully, long retirement.

But there's a growing body of financial experts who believe that, for most people, there is currently little to recommend saving into a personal pension - specifically basic rate taxpayers - that's the 25 million people who currently earn less than £37,400 per year.

According to IFA James Brooke, the benefits of putting money into simple savings products that offer similar returns but fewer restrictions than pensions.

The Association of British Insurers explains why it believes why the personal pensions sold by its members are worthwhile investments.

Related information:

Banks slow to adapt to new card fraud rules

Money Box has learnt that customers who lose money after being robbed at cash points are still not being refunded despite new rules obliging banks to do so.

Since the Financial Services Authority took over the regulation of current accounts last November banks are supposed to refund customers who have been defrauded first and then investigate, not the other way round.

Money Box speaks to HSBC customer John Gregg who says his claim has been dismissed by his bank after he lost £1000.

Related information:

The future of banking

Virgin Money has just arrived on the retail banking scene.

Following an unsuccessful attempt to buy a pre nationalised Northern Rock three years ago it's just paid £12.3 million for a small bank called Church House.

It's based in Somerset, has £50 million in deposits, 3,000 customers, no branches and 10 staff.

Money Box hears from Chief Executive of Virgin Money, Jayne Anne Ghadia and talks to expert Ralph Silva about the future of banking.

Related information:

Scrum for boiler scrappage

Check your boiler is G-rated - the age or a permanent pilot light tend to indicate if it is
Ensure it is in working order and is the main boiler to heat the house
Shop around and arrange a quote for a new boiler from a qualified installer
Contact the Energy Saving Trust with details and receive a voucher before the work starts
Pay the installer in full, then send the receipt and the voucher to be refunded £400 - some suppliers will also offer £400 off the price

First it was old bangers, now the government's targeting boilers for its' latest scrappage scheme which launched this week.

The £50 million plan was first unveiled in the pre-budget report last month when the Chancellor announced that up to 125,000 homes in England could benefit.

People can ditch their old G rated boilers in return for a £400 cashback voucher against the cost of a more efficient replacement.

But it's estimated that around three and a half million homes in England would qualify. So this scheme could only ever reach three per cent of that.

How can you tell if your boiler is G-rated?

A good quick test for gas boilers is to see if it has a permanent pilot light -if it has then it is very likely to be a G-rated boiler. If it is gas fired and over fifteen years old it is likely to be eligible. If it is oil fired and over twenty five years old, it is likely to be eligible.

For a better idea, why not see if your boiler make and model is listed as G-rated or worse by going to:

Alternatively, you can ask your nominated installer to assist you in determining whether your boiler is eligible.

Cold fuel payment increased

With the very cold weather there has been talk of cold weather payments.

These are £25 a week and given to some people with low income and savings who get means tested benefits.

There has to be a period of seven consecutive days when the average temperature is zero or below.

Money Box's Bob Howard explains the details of both schemes on the programme.

Related information on boiler scrappage:

Related information on cold weather payments:

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday at 1204 GMT and repeated on Sunday at 2102 GMT.

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