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Angry HBOS customers may switch

HBOS logos
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 31 October 2009 at 1204 BST On Radio 4 and Online

Money Box has learnt that Halifax Bank of Scotland has further changed the way it will charge customers who go into the red on their current accounts, after a storm of protest.

Many listeners had contacted the programme to complain about how the bank has decided to no longer charge customers interest but a fee of either £1 or £2 a day for an agreed overdraft.

On Friday, the bank told us it would introduce a £10 buffer zone, where customers will not be charged for temporarily going into the red.

Last week no one from HBOS would speak to the programme, so we set Money Box's Bob Howard the task of getting some answers.

Related information:

National Savings takes on the High Street

NS&I logo
New NS&I rates take on the high street

National Savings is offering a chart-topping one year savings bond. From this week, it will pay 3.95% - compared to just 1% before the rise.

But existing savers will not be entitled to the new rates.

Until these changes NS&I bonds were not that competitive - and £4.5 billion was taken out by savers looking for a better deal.

Dax Harkins of NS&I explained the changes and Andrew Hagger from Moneynet compared the latest deals on other savings products.

Credit cards and 'the anchoring effect'

Selection of credit cards.
Minimum repayments can distort your judgement

The government is proposing a radical overhaul of credit card terms to make them fairer for the customer.

It is considering changing the order of priority for credit card repayments, so that the most expensive debts are paid off first; increasing the minimum amount that must be paid off each month; banning the practice of raising borrowers' credit limits without their consent; restricting or banning increases in interest rates on debts already incurred.

But tucked inside the consultation paper is a reference to the work of a psychologist, who has discovered that when we see the minimum payment on our credit card statement something strange happens.

Neil Stewart, professor of psychology at Warwick University, told Money Box reporter Ruth Alexander why a phenomenon called 'the anchoring effect' could be costing you money.

Related information:

Who will get your estate when you're gone?

Two hands touching
Loved ones do not automatically inherit your estate

Have you made a will? If not who will get your money, property and possessions? Not necessarily your wife, husband or civil partner. And if you're living with someone, not your partner at all.

Though the law is different in Scotland. New proposals from the Law Commission (England and Wales) would change the rules for married couples and civil partners and give unmarried couples similar rights to spouses.

Money Box will be talking to Professor Elizabeth Cooke, the Law Commissioner leading the project.

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 31 October 2009, at 1204 GMT.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 1 November 2009 at 2102 GMT.

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