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Page last updated at 08:35 GMT, Saturday, 20 March 2010

New credit card protection agreed

Credit cards
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 20 March 2010 at 1204 GMT On Radio 4 and Online

Credit card holders will be offered greater protection from spiralling debts, although the changes are watered down from original proposals.

Consumers will be given 60 days to reject changes in the interest rates charged on their existing debts.

They will also be able to opt out of any increases in their credit limit. By the end of January 2011 providers must also ensure that the highest cost debt on a credit card is paid off first

Money Box hears from's Peter Harrison.

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When is low risk actually high risk?

When it's 'geared'.

Geared traded endowment policies are not familiar to many people, but some people did invest huge sums in the plans marketed as a low to medium risk investment.

In fact the products involved borrowing money to investment, a high risk activity.

Now some face losing their home.

Money Box hears from a solicitor acting for people who say they were mis-sold the products, Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal.

Chief Executive of the company behind the products, UK Integrity Group, gives his perspective to Paul Lewis.

Cartel shut down

Cartel Client Review has effectively been shut down by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

As previously revealed by Money Box, the MoJ has been investigating Cartel since February after complaints from customers.

The solicitors used by Cartel, Consumer Credit Litigation Solicitors, was shut down by the Solicitors Regulation Authority last month for 'suspected dishonesty'.

Customers were complaining they had paid hundreds - often thousands - of pounds to have these firms bring claims against their lenders, and seen nothing for that money.

The MoJ has confirmed to Money Box that it is now also investigating Grass Roots, which according to its authorisation is working out of the same offices as Cartel.

Karen Kiernan reports on what the latest developments could mean for customers.

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Nationwide - Cash Card Plus or Minus?

Nationwide used to sit firmly in the number one position of the best buy tables for the use of its cards for foreign transactions.

For precisely that reason, many people took out accounts with the mutual society.

However, it is now replacing the Flexaccount Cash card and replacing it with the Cash Card Plus - which will no longer allow you to withdraw money from ATMs when abroad.

Gillian Lacey-Solymar explains the reasons for the change and the alternative options.

Want to be a non-dom?

For tax purposes every person inherits their domicile from their father.

But it has emerged that Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft, born in Chichester with Lancastrian parents (father from Bolton, mother from Burnley), isn't actually domiciled in the UK.

He is a 'non-dom'

John Whiting, Tax Policy director at the Chartered Institute of Taxation, explains the rules on tax domiciles.

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Energy Rebate

About 250,000 people aged 70 or more who get pension credit will get a rebate of £80 off their electricity bill in the next three months.

The rebate will be paid automatically by the electricity supply company and does not have to be claimed.

To qualify the householder, or their spouse or partner, must be born on 26 March 1940 or earlier and get only the guarantee credit part of pension credit.

That means their income apart from pension credit is no more than £98.40 a week (single) or £132.60 (couple).

The rebate will only apply to customers of the big six energy suppliers - British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, RWE npower, ScottishPower, and Scottish and Southern Energy.

Smaller suppliers are excluded this year though may be able to join in future years. Anyone who already gets a reduced tariff on grounds of low income - so-called 'social tariffs' - will also probably be excluded from the scheme.

The rebate will be paid in Scotland, Wales and England but does not extend to Northern Ireland.

People who have a pre-payment meter will also be eligible though the mechanism for delivering the rebate will be different.

Customers will be contacted by DWP if the scheme applies to them. Full details about all the qualifying criteria are expected to be available by the end of March.

An enquiry line has been set up, which can provide more details on the Scheme: 0845 600 0033.

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

Money Box



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