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Are banks closing accounts fairly?

bank cards and padlock
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 26th November 2011 at 1204 GMT On Radio 4 and Online

The way in which banks forcibly close customer accounts without telling them, if there's been even the slightest suspicion of fraud, is coming under increasing scrutiny.

Last week the programme reported how a six month old baby girl's account was closed in error. The story got a huge response with dozens of listeners complaining that other banks had taken similar action against them.

Some of them have told us that they cannot even open a basic bank account as their applications are being turned down.

Bob Howard reports.The programme also hears from Stephen Timms MP who's challenging the banks to come up with some answers as to why people are locked out of bank accounts.

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Stamp Duty

The Government is losing a billion pounds a year due to widespread avoidance of stamp duty on expensive homes. That's the claim in The Times this morning which says no stamp duty is being paid on one in three homes that sell for more than a million pounds. Money Box talks to Angela Beech, a partner at accountants Blick Rothenberg.


New homes

The government are hoping that a new scheme launched this week will help 100,000 people buy their own homes.

Ever since the credit crunch big deposits of fifteen and twenty percent have been a major obstacle to getting on the housing ladder.

To try and tackle this the government will soon be encouraging lenders to offer more 95% mortgages on new build properties.

They're doing it by joining with the building industry and guaranteeing part of the loan.

But does increasing the availability of high loan-to-value mortgages tackle the problem of affordability?

The programme hears from Housing Minister, Grant Shapps and David Hollingworth, Associate Director of London&Country joins Paul Lewis in the studio.

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Saving rate checker

If you have savings that you manage online you can see your balance and any transactions but most sites do not show you what rate of interest your money is earning.

With some you have to phone up to find out. A new website savingschampion.co.uk will do that job for you - type in the name of your account and when you opened it and it will tell you what rate you're getting - and where you can get better.

The site is non-commercial so its best buy lists really do show the best accounts at the top. The site will also warn you when your interest rate is about to go down.

Paul Lewis talks to one of its founders Anna Bowes

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Chargeback

Good news for five million customers in the UK who have debit cards bearing the maestro brand. They are run by MasterCard and that name will soon be on them all.

But since October these debit cards join their rivals Visa in offering customers a full refund if the goods they buy with them end are not delivered or are faulty.

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



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