Home loan competition heats up as five-year fixed rate mortgage rates fall back to record low levels

Mortgage cuts: Fresh burst of rate cuts means that rates are back near record lows

A fresh burst of mortgage cuts have seen rates for the best borrowers fall back to near record lows, with a new five-year fixed rate launched today at just 2.99%. Borrowers hoping to bag Chelsea's BS' new five-year fix at 2.99% will need a 30% deposits and must pay a £1,495.

Men rush to buy pension annuities to beat 'completely mad' EU rules threatening to devastate retirement plans

Diminishing returns: The value of annuities has been slashed over the years

Some nine in ten of these pensions were sold to men wanting to escape the EU Gender Directive which will outlaw insurers from discriminating between the sexes, the firm said.

Fresh blow for RBS boss Stephen Hester as branch sell-off to Santander fails

Collapsed: The Santander transaction was a key plank of Hester's recovery plan

The planned sale of 316 branches to Santander has been in the pipeline for more than two years and has been subject to long delays.

Another bank bailout 'may spark public fury', warns BoE deputy governor Paul Tucker

Warning: Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker

Tucker, the favourite to succeed Sir Mervyn King as governor next year, urged the industry to accept tough new rules to protect the public from another financial crisis.

Buy Usain Bolt's BMW?: London Olympics Games Makers rewarded with chance to snag cars at £6,000 discount

Driving a bargain: BMW has confirmed that cars used to ferry athletes and officials around will be made available to Games Makers to buy

JP Morgan hikes pay despite woe over 'whale' trading scandal

Scandal: The pay increase comes despite traders in JP Morgan's London office making disastrous bets on complex financial instruments called derivatives

Staff at JP Morgan’s investment bank have received a 15 per cent pay rise, despite racking up more than £4billion in losses in the ‘London Whale’ trading scandal.

Councils vow to kill off Tories' planning free-for-all for home extensions 'because it would create eyesores and disputes'

Building Construction Extension House Improvement

Town hall chiefs said the planning free-for-all dreamt up by David Cameron to inject life into the economy, would simply create building eyesores while having a negligible impact on the construction sector.

Maternity leave 'will be shared by fathers' under new plans designed to make parenting more flexible

Fathers will be able to take time off work and claim state benefits throughout most of the first year of their baby¿s life, under new plans

David Cameron and Nick Clegg will confirm later this month that they have overcome Cabinet opposition to implement their pledge of 'flexible parental leave'.

Third of major online retailers are breaking consumer protection rules

Crackdown: The OFT has told a third of popular website to clean up their acts before the Christmas shopping period

The regulator said that 62 of the 156 websites it checked failed to provide customers with contact details, placing unreasonable refund restrictions and charging unexpected fees at the checkout.

We let down Britain by not reining in the City: Financial regulator's apology over economic crisis

Admission: Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority, described the years before the credit crunch as a 'fool's paradise'

Speaking in the City of London last night, Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority, slammed the 'dangerous' culture that had been allowed to exist at major banks.

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Just count the commission... Estate agent to the rich and famous celebrates sale of property worth £3bn on London billionaires' row

Map of Bishops Ave in North London

U.S. fiscal cliff: Is the world's biggest economy about to crash into recession - and drag the rest of us with it?

Fiscal cliff: Will warring U.S. politicians let economy fall over the edge?

The U.S. faces a 'fiscal cliff' - vast government spending cuts and tax rises due to kick in on January 1 2013 - which could cause a recession unless its warring politicians strike a deficit deal soon

Bank of England's Weale casts doubt on QE as he sounds alarm over inflation

Economy's future: Martin Weale's worry about sanctioning more QE is two-fold

Martin Weale, one of four ‘external’ members of the nine-strong monetary policy committee, admits that pumping £375billion of emergency funds into the economy has proved ‘controversial’.

Mortgage freeze thaws a little as lending jumps and first-time buyer deposits hit three year low

Looking brighter: Buyers have their appetite for debt back as rates have fallen and schemes such as New Buy lower barriers for first time buyers.

Further evidence that schemes to boost the housing market are taking effect was shown today as mortgage lending for homebuyers reached a two-year high.

George Osborne blames Berlin for veto of £31bn BAE-EADS tie-up

Jettisoned: BAE, which makes the Eurofighter Tycoon, was due to merge with Franco-German firm EADS

‘We have been a bit disappointed primarily by Germany’s attitude, which in effect vetoed the deal,’ the Chancellor said at the British Embassy in Tokyo.

Sky to hike line rental by 18% - and call charges go up for the SECOND time this year

Take a hike: Sky is pushing up the cost of its line rental for existing customers by 18 per cent - a rise so substantial that customers can cancel their contracts if they're unhappy.

Sky is pushing up the price of its line rental by 18 per cent for 3.5million customers - a hike so big angry subscribers can leave with no penalty.

Single currency crisis deepens as IMF chief Lagarde admits austerity not always best way forward

Worried: IMF president Christine Lagarde

The eurozone took another drastic turn for the worse yesterday as the outlook darkened in Spain, Greece and Germany.

Savers hammered again as fixed-rates drop and the average best buy five-year bond hits an all-time low

Locked away: Rates on fixed-rate accounts continue to fall as increased demand and the Funding for Lending scheme hits savers hard

The current rate on the average best buy bond - the five accounts that pay the highest interest - has fallen to an all-time low of 3.98 per cent.

Household budgets thrown into turmoil: Consumer groups warn of devastating bills as British Gas hikes prices by £80

Bills bills bills: British Gas is preparing to put up bills by £100 according to a report in the Evening Standard newspaper.

NatWest customers hit by fraudsters who use mobile app to steal thousands of pounds

Gone phishing: Fraudsters have been using part of NatWest's mobile app to withdraw cash from customer's accounts.

The Get Cash service allows customers to generate a code to withdraw cash without a debit card, but it has been shut down after fraudsters struck.

Our savings picks: This is Money's five favourite best buy cash Isas for 2012 and 2013

number 5

We pick our five favourite cash Isas for savers. This is essential Isa reading and is kept up-to-date throughout the year

Recession has turned us into a nation of Rigsbys: Number of homeowners who rent a room to a lodger doubles in a year

Landlord: The report says Britain is turning into a nation of Rigsbys

The boom in renting out a room is turning Britain into a nation of Rigsbys, the landlord played by the late actor Leonard Rossiter in the hit TV series Rising Damp, a report claims.

I need to find my lost work pensions. Can you help me track them down?

Seeking clues: Finding a lost pension involves doing some detective work

People now work for about 11 employers over the course of their working lives - how do you find those you lost touch with and claim your pension?

Direct Line shares soar as float proves to be popular

One Direct-ion: It proved the most popular float among the public since the credit crunch

A small army of 25,000 ordinary investors snapped up a 15pc stake in state-backed insurer Direct Line yesterday

Victim of chip-and-pin fraud? It's all YOUR fault, insist the banks as they refuse payouts

Fighting: Paul Saunders with his wife Kerri has been trying to get Santander to refund him £540 since 2010

Money Mail has found that banks are denying victims refunds because the payment has shown up as a chip-and-pin transaction on their statement. Paul Saunders has been fighting since 2010 for a refund.

Beware bargain second-hand cars that are massive tax traps. High emission 'monsters' that cost 25% of their value just to tax

Tax turmoil: VED on the Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin is high - falling in the Band L category, it is £460 per year, or 17% of the retail price of a six year-old model

Should you pay £299 for catch-up TV? We compare YouView with Sky and Virgin Media

What's on the box? The internet is changing how we watch television

For millions, the idea of catch-up TV — watching shows when you want or those you managed to miss — simply hasn’t caught on. But YouView is about to change that. Money Mail asks if the new service — due to launch in a fortnight — is worth the money and how it compares to rivals Sky and Virgin Media.

Bucks BS launches 'snakes and ladders' cash Isa paying 4% - but the rate slides if you take any money out

Snakes and ladders savings: The Bucks BS cash Isa climbs up to 4 per cent, but it slides back down to 0.5 per cent if you take any money out.

Buckingham BS easy access savings and cash Isa hope to capture the imagination of savers, by offering them the chance to step up the rate they earn each month.

M&S cuts top Isa to 2.75% but still promotes higher 3% rate - telling savers of the drop in welcome letters

M&S Bank cutting its Isa rate to 2.75 per cent from 3 per cent

Savers applying for M&S' top-paying easy access Isa advertised on its website at 3 per cent are in for a shock - they will actually get a lower 2.75 per cent rate.

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Interest rates predictions: Markets price in 'two years of rates at 0.25%', starting in spring

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ASK TONY: My four-year battle with M&S over the faulty TV they sold me

Troubled TV: M&S admitted the customer service the customer received was not up to its usual standards

I purchased a small television for my kitchen from my favourite store, M&S, in 2008. But for four years I have had nothing but trouble with it. I have contacted the helpline dozens of times but been fobbed off. It is still under its five-year guarantee. I just want a replacement television that I can watch! Can you help?

I'm 67 and want to divert my wages into a tax-free pensions lump sum. Can I do this?

Extra pension pot: If eligible, you could have two pots totalling around £4,000

'If you want a bonus, give better service' - Barclays ditches sales bonuses for branch staff

Fair incentives: Barclays will pay bonuses to its branch staff depending solely on customer satisfaction

The scandal-hit lender said the new bonus structure would apply to around 20,000 frontline staff working in branches and call centres from December 1.

Rates hit as banks snub savers' cash after Government's 'Funding For Lending' scheme boost

Reduced: Huge demand for savings accounts means banks can afford to lower the rates on offer

Major banks have reduced their rates as huge demand for savings accounts means they can afford to lower the rates on offer.

Well done Brian and Helen! People with these names have the best credit profiles on average in the UK

Not such a very naughty boy: Men with the name Brian were found to have the best credit profiles on average in the UK (Pictured: Brian from Monty Python's The Life of Brian)

Those with the surname Edwards also came up trumps with the highest average credit profiles, according to Confused.com.

'Wonga is targeting our bankruptcy capital': Blistering attack on payday lender's Newcastle Utd sponsorship

Controversy: Payday lender Wonga has agreed a four-year sponsorship deal with Newcastle Unite

The controversial payday lender is set to become the new shirt sponsor of Newcastle United in a £24 million deal, after the club decided to drop Virgin Money at the end of the season.

'My illness got me 10% more a year on my pension:' Why you should dodge the £1bn annuity rip-off

Case study below: John Benfield, pictured with his wife Jenny, was at first refused an enhanced pension despite having a lung disease

OPINION: Give up work rights for 'shares'? There's good reasons to fear this plan

Proposal: The Chancellor's announcement suggests that a 'reasonable price' will have to be paid for the shares

Chancellor George Osborne’s latest proposal would allow employers to use a new kind of employment contract. Is it worth giving up some of your employment rights for shares in the company you work for?

How the small print in equity release loan cost me £2,500 in fees

Harsh lesson: Edward Mosley and his wife Helen

Retired Mr Mosley and his wife Helen decided that tapping into the equity built up over the years in their home would help ease their retirement. But they didn't read the shocking small print.

Bad news for savers? Experts warn Barclays' buyout of ING Direct could limit choice

Stepping up: Some analysts say Barclays could use the deal to sharpen its existing offering

Analysts say Barclays could use the deal to sharpen its existing offering. However others suggest ING Direct's consistently competitive product range could be absorbed into that offered by Barclays.

'I'm making a digital will': Don't let your online assets die with you

Digital will: Chris Windley with children Claire and David

With more of us spending time online and managing our finances on the web, it has become very important to make sure that passwords to our accounts are recorded in our will. Chris Windley is about to write a digital will.

The cheapest way to invest £10,000 in Britain's most popular fund: A basic comparison for DIY investors

Hammer blow: Enforced upfront costs for IFAs will make it seem even cheaper to be a DIY investor

With a new army of DIY investors in the UK, we look at the cheapest ways to invest £10,000 in one of Britain’s most popular funds, the £9.3billion Invesco Perpetual Income run by Neil Woodford.

The rise of the DIY investor: Millions plan to drop their financial adviser when upfront costs rocket next year

Limited role: More than half of investors who currently use an adviser would only seek their guidance for more complicated decisions

A radical overhaul of the way consumers pay for investment advice, due to kick in at the end of the year, will help create an army of do-it-yourself investors.

Barclaycard's Cashback Card offers record 6% - but beware the small print

Spending: New cashback card from Barclaycard lets customers earn up to 6 per cent for three months - but there are catches to watch out for

Borrowers with the new card will receive 6 per cent cashback on their five most expensive purchases each month, but only for three months.

LEE BOYCE: 'New fashioned banking'? M&S still advertising a 3% cash Isa rate that's been axed is the same old story for savers

Lee Boyce: I find it frustrating that M&S didn't just inform all customers that the rate would change in December

M&S Bank is still advertising a 3% cash Isa despite the rate dropping in December - why couldn't it just be upfront with online savers taking out the rate?

Tax test: Are you a contributor to (or a burden on) the nation's finances?

Class apart: ONS figures show how even those higher up the income chain are dependent on the sate.

New analysis from a political think-tank makes uncomfortable reading for many in the 'squeezed middle' who assume that it is they who have been forced to bear the burden of balancing the nation's finances. Are you a net contributor, or a net burden, to the state?

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Interest rates predictions: Markets price in 'two years of rates at 0.25%', starting in spring

Bank of England in London

We explain the factors that will decide when interest rates rise - and how quickly, including the latest forecasts from markets and economists.

Property market gains on a year ago: What next for house prices?

Houses and bar charts

Eurozone debt crisis, cash-strapped banks and a double-dip recession - yet house prices are still managing to stay either afloat or only just under water. We analyse the latest reports.

What next for mortgage rates and should you fix?

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Mortgage rates are bouncing around near record lows once more after a fresh bout of cuts. So should you take a fixed or tracker deal? Read our latest analysis.

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