Our round-up of the latest news in finance
Fed up with trying coin after coin in slot machines and parking meters? New 5p and 10p coins come into circulation this year, but these are made of steel rather than cupronickel, as the current coins are. The steel coins are 0.2mm thicker so many coin slot machines may reject them. The new coins will not be common until the end of 2012, and the full change-over is expected to take up to ten years. Until then, be prepared with alternative coins – or carry a magnet to detect the steel ones.
Products aimed at the over-50s don’t always offer better value. Research by Governor Money showed that the top 20 over-50s savings accounts offered an AER of 2.23 per cent in mid-April, compared with the top 20 accounts in the wider market which offered an average of 3.75 per cent. Of course, rates change all the time but the message is the same: “Treat such products with a high degree of caution and do not limit your options,” says Miles Bingham of Governor Money. Restricting your choice to over-50s accounts means you will be ignoring 93 per cent of the market.
Track down your long-forgotten pensions at www.thepensionservice.gov.uk. See also www.unclaimedassets.co.uk to find out about those savings accounts you’ve overlooked. And check up on that neglected premium bond at www.nsadi.com. Other “hidden” resources could include state benefits you may not realise you are entitled to. Check up on whether you’re eligible at www.direct.gov.uk