Search Google for a new mortgage

If you are looking for a new mortgage, you can now use a new mortgage comparison tool from Google. Tim Bennett explains how, and rounds up the rest of the week’s personal finance news.

A round-up of the week's personal finance news, by Tim Bennett.

If you are looking for a new mortgage, you can now use Google's new mortgage comparison tool to search around 5,000 products. It's asked mortgage firms to follow a code of conduct that caps total fees at 1% of the value of the loan. Go to

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Become a smarter, better informed investor with MoneyWeek.

Phoning relatives in far-flung corners of the world this Christmas? Kara Gammell in The Daily Telegraph has tips on keeping your costs down. Check whether the calls can be included in your landline or mobile package you can often bolt them on temporarily. If you want to keep tabs on exactly what you, or your children, are spending, use an international call card. Pre-loaded with credit, these are available in most supermarkets and allow you to call international numbers for as little a 1p-2p a minute. For example, Tesco's card lets you phone Israel for 1p a minute to a landline and 3p to a mobile phone.

More than four million mortgage holders are currently paying their lender's standard variable rate (SVR), reckons HSBC. Yet with the average SVR at 4.86%, many could probably get better deals, especially as the bank reckons 3.6 million are on loan-to-value ratios of under 85%. If you're one of them, make carrying out a New Year review a priority.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The annual individual savings account (Isa) allowance is set to increase to £11,520 from April, but savers shouldn't cheer too loudly, says Capital Economics' Vicky Redwood. Unfortunately, interest rates are falling as banks take advantage of the government's Funding for Lending scheme. Currently the best deal is Coventry Building Society's 60-day notice account, paying 3.1% (variable rate includes a 0.6% bonus after 12 months).

Be alert for carbon credit scams. As's Tony Hetherington reports, the police are cracking down on these scams, which involve slick sales techniques being used to shift certificates that are supposedly linked to environmental projects. The certificates are usually worthless. Yet savers are persuaded to hand over money under the "misguided belief that environmental investments cannot fail", as one Detective Inspector puts it.



Personal finance

Act now to beat the spring remortgage rush

Many homeowners will see their bills jump in April as competitive mortgage deals expire. Find a new one now.
28 Jan 2020

Should you invest in a holiday let?

There is money to be made in the rapidly expanding holiday let market. But do your sums carefully before you buy.
4 Dec 2019
Equity release

Tread carefully if you're thinking about equity release

The equity release market is getting its act together. But the cost means tapping your property for cash should be a last resort for most people. 
25 Nov 2019
Personal finance

Time to remortgage? Make sure you shop around

Forget being loyal to your lender when you remortgage – the best deals are often only offered to new customers.
5 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Silver and other precious metals

You should all own some silver. Just don’t expect it to make you rich

Silver is cool, beautiful and immensely useful. But for investors it's the most frustrating of metals. Dominic Frisby explains why you should own some…
12 Feb 2020
UK Economy

Britain has a new chancellor – get ready for a major spending splurge

The departure of Sajid Javid as chancellor and the appointment of Rishi Sunak marks a change in the style of our politics. John Stepek explains what's…
14 Feb 2020

Money Minute Friday 14 February: The latest from RBS, Britain's state-owned bank

Today's Money Minute previews results from RBS – Britain’s state-owned bank – and from pharma giant AstraZeneca.
14 Feb 2020

Is 2020 the year for European small-cap stocks?

SPONSORED CONTENT - Ollie Beckett, manager of the TR European Growth Trust, on why he believes European small-cap stocks are performing well.
12 Feb 2019