Reasons to be cheerful

"With Lehman Brothers filing for bankruptcy, all we have seen reported are bad news stories. However, there is some glimmer of hope in the personal finance world as in the last few days we have seen some positive moves by providers.


"Chelsea BS, Nottingham BS, Scarborough BS and Bank of Scotland have all launched new accounts in the last few days, all of which are paying extremely competitive rates.

"However, it seems that the providers are keen to hang on to our money as each of these accounts comes with either withdrawal restrictions or a penalty.

"If you can adhere to the restrictions, the Chelsea BS Tracker Bond is paying 6.60% and benefits from a guarantee to pay 1.60% above base rate until 17.3.10. This will bring comfort to those looking for a new account in these turbulent times, particularly those who don't wish to keep switching accounts to find the best deal.


"The number of cuts to mortgage rates has also slowed in the last week. Lenders are likely to be playing a wait and see game at the moment to see how things pan out in the money markets before they make their next moves.

"However in the last two days we have received cuts from Abbey (85% LTV products cut by 0.60%), Lloyds TSB Scotland (fixed rates cut by up to 0.16%) and Cambridge BS (fixed rates cut by up to 0.30% and two-year tracker cut by 0.51%)

Credit Cards

"Halifax and Bank of Scotland increased the length of their introductory purchase deals on their Plus MasterCard to six months from three months. The card also benefits from a 1% reduction in the standard purchase rate, dropping to 15.9%.

"The balance transfer deal has been cut by two months and now offers 0% for 13 months, but this is still a competitive length on balance transfer deal.


"Moneyback Bank has cut rates on unsecured personal loans of between £7.5K and £15K by 0.6%, down to 7.8% APR typical. This rate cut puts Moneyback Bank just below the market leader Tesco Personal Finance for loans of this size.

"By putting some time and effort into shopping around for the best deals, consumers can still make significant savings, which should leave them with a little bit extra in their pockets at the end of the month."