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Alliance and Leicester
Joining the stampede of banks moving toward genuine Internet banking, rather than the first wave of dial-up accounts, is former building society the Alliance and Leicester, which went online in January 2000. Services available include balance information, transaction details, statement requests and stationery orders. There's a limited capacity to move your money around, allowing you to pay bills and transfer funds to previously mandated accounts. Uses three-tier encryption which should allay any security fears.
It must be a bit of a blow when you get knocked for being too successful. Prudential's online banking arm suffered bad publicity when demand for its credit card became so enormous late last year that new customers were having to wait weeks for their accounts to be opened. But now the hysteria had died down you have to admit it, it's a great product. Egg has been moving towards an Internet-only existence, and the fact that egg makes you the customer do all the work means it can offer top rates.
First Direct
Appropriately named, HSBC's offshoot was the UK's first direct banking service, with years of experience of telephone banking behind it. A new twist is that First Direct has not only made the move to Internet banking, rather than the dial-up kind where you had to download its own software, but it's also become a free Internet service provider. And that means your account is even cheaper to access and run.
First e-com
Billing itself as Europe's first internet-only bank, First e-com is the brainchild of a consortium of companies who've decided to take on the banks at their own game, cut out the branch network and offer business and personal customers preferential rates of interest. Interesting to note that one of the consortium is Intel - there's a better than even chance that it made the processor that powers your home computer - a company with every reason to get as much business online as possible.
As well as checking balances,paying bills, viewing recent tranactions, and more, natwest.com gives you useful information on things like going on holiday, buying a car, moving home or starting and running a business. As we update it and make it more interactive natwest.com is sure to have lots to interest you.
Net Banker
What do you do to switch to online banking? That's right, stick with the bank you've been with for the last 15 years and blithely sign up for their account. But the beauty of the internet is that you can shop around, and not just in your local high street. Want a bank in Bahrain, Bali or Boston? This is the place to look.
Charles Schwab
Charles Schwab has over 25 years of brokerage experience in the US and over 12 years in the UK, and there is some justification for its boast to be 'Europe's leading online brokerage firm'. Schwab Europe aims to provide a complete execution-only service for the private investor. In other words, whether you click onto its 'UK Market' or 'US Market' service, you pay a low, flat fee for your trade, rather than a big commission for expert advice.
If the first generation of Internet banking was the bank's piecemeal and clumsy attempts to hook up their existing accounts to the net, then smile is part of the second wave - joining egg as a bank that exists in cyberspace alone. It's part of the Co-op Bank, a selling point in itself with the Co-op's ethical investment policy and, not having to pay for branches, it joins egg in offering excellent interest rates on current accounts, student accounts and credit cards.
Norwich and Peterborough Building Society
The mutual movement may be under threat in Britain, as building societies trip over themselves to become banks, but there are big advantages for savers and borrowers who stick with a building society - higher rates for savers and cheaper mortgages. And just because the Norwich and Peterborough have stuck with tradition doesn't mean there's anything old-fashioned about their set up. This site offers true Internet banking, and you can manage your accounts online.


AXA Direct
Aberdeen Asset Management
Bradford and Bingley
Bristol and West
Cater Allen Bank
Chesham Building Society
Hamilton Direct Bank
National Counties Building Society
Barclays B2
Office of the Banking Ombudsman
Portman Building Society
Proform Offshore
Skipton Building Society
Triodos Bank
Ulster Bank
Virgin Direct
World Bank and the IMF
Yorkshire Building Society
Weighty and authorative US site that digs beyond stock market listings and prices to examine the economic background to the markets. Rather similar in flavour to our own Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal, reading Bridge gives you a frontiers-free view of world news. The breaking news on the day we surfed included BT's move for a Norwegian telecoms company; the merger of Germany's HypoVeirens and Dresdner banks; and the People's Bank of China selling off its silver reserves.
Bank of England
Since Gordon Brown handed over the reins  five years back these are the chaps running UK plc, so if you want to sort your macroeconomics from your microeconomics, this is the place to start. Every press release, every forecast, every bill about to wend its way through Parliament, plus everything you need to know about the euro, the price of gold, and details on how to visit the Bank's museum in Threadneedle Street.
The Internet Stock Report
If anything, its name actually sells it rather short. Rather than just focusing on the happening stock market sector of the 21st Century, the Report looks at the whole basis of the global economy as it shifts from physical space to hyperspace. Fascinating views of up-and-coming businesses, but also how our world is going to change as labour disappears and information takes over.
Seems like if there's a pie, there's Ted Turner with his finger in it, courtesy of CNN. The CNN financial news site is as globally sussed as you would expect from a news network that is always on the scene for world news regardless of where it breaks. It shares the bright, breezy and unstuffy style of CNN television, and its unrivalled network of correspondents means that this site is often first with economic news whatever the country.
The euro
The euro's credibility may have been damaged a tad as it's plunged ever downwards toward parity with the Albanian lek, but good or bad, the currency of federal Europe is here to stay. And even if Britain is not putting its pocket money where its mouth is just yet by signing up, it's a currency we're all going to have to deal with whether we're holidaymakers or business trading in Europe.
HM Treasury
Surprisingly accessible and easy to navigate, the website of Her Majesty's Treasury covers everything you are ever likely to need to know about taxation and fiscal matters in the United Kingdom plus, we would hazard, a whole lot more. You'll find texts of all laws, decrees, announcements on taxation, the euro, alterations in excise duty, reports on the latest budget, as well as reports on the UK's current economic position.
International Financial Encyclopedia
Encyclopaedia is the right name for this extraordinarily informative, yet easy to follow site. We went straight to the dictionary, which alone would make the site worth a visit, with its facility to cut through the jargon of the financial advisers and tell you what 'APR' and 'pound-cost averaging' really mean. There's a handy bibliography of articles, magazines and market research published on the web, and a 22-part guide to financial matters confronting managers in the information age.
Finance Wise
There are a host of online financial newspapers delivering you a digest of the news. Of course, that's always predigested by someone else. Finance Wise bills itself as the first search engine to focus specifically on purely financial content, which means you can ask it to trawl the entire Web for news stories on Ford Motors say, or diamond prices. Every topic, from risk management to syndicated finance and equities is indexed in depth.
Daily Telegraph
The Telegraph boasts some of the most weighty and respected business pages outside the Financial Times. And while the Pink Un may be a bit too much of a heavy read for us finance amateurs, the Telegraph wraps them in excellent news and sport pages too. Finance pieces within the context of top-rate coverage of the UK political scene, the daily Alex cartoon and the crossword should you need some heavy relief.
The Informed Investor 
Perhaps the most compleat financial internet site.Established in 1972 it incorporates the most beneficial plans for tax mitigation as well as different investment opportunities. Its city watchdog column shames rogue financial institutions. News on money making, retirement, day trading, e-commerce, banking, credit cards and much more.
The Economist
The Economist is the International journal of news, ideas, opinions and analysis and its website is equally prestigious. There's plenty of content pulled from recent issues along with a fabulous archive of articles from the past few years. The detailed reports on specific areas of the world are must reads for business people and don't miss out on the online version of the definitive Economist Style Guide - a guide to good magazine and news writing.
UK Invest
Very good UK site that manages to straddle the personal finance and serious business ends of the market. A mix of up-to-date financial news (the news briefs are headed by a bar giving the date and time of last update), share prices, news briefings and clippings from the week's financial press. A special section on Internet News will be of special interest to those of us investing our hard-earned cash in those fast-climbing IT and new media stocks.
Financial Times
You have a bit of a head start when you're the world's most famous financial organ, but the FT's site doesn't disappoint. Clad in trademark pink, the website has the advantage not just of the newspaper's kudos but of access to a huge database of information. From the FT share indices themselves, to a wealth of archive features from the paper, plus reports on individual companies - it's a tremendous one-stop resource for researching firms whose shares you're thinking of adding to your portfolio.
The Motley Fool
One of the true stars of the personal finance online world. The Motley Fool takes 'to educate, amuse and enrich' as its brief. Suffice to say it does all three, breaking through the arcane terminology of the professional dealer to give the message to all of us who are scared of taking control of their own finances - 'you can do better than the professionals.' Read this and you'll be disturbed just how badly the guys handling your pension actually perform.
News Review
With so much financial news coming from so many sources, you're never going to read more than a tiny fraction of it, so what do you do? Simple. Get someone to read it for you. A comprehensive summary, compiled by financial journalists, of the business news from the quality UK weekend newspapers. The Review is available from Sunday evening by email. Get it tailored to your needs by registering the list of companies you follow and receive only articles which relate to those companies.
Online Investment Week
Excellent online newspaper tailored to the stock markets both here (click Investment Week), and abroad (click International Investment Week). Very good digest of moves by governments worldwide, up and coming legislation, and investment programmes. All viewed, of course, through the filter of the markets and what the effect is likely to be on prices. Simple site to navigate - every headlined story has a brief synopsis so you can dig deeper or skip on.
This Is Money

The pages are clad in friendly and non-intimidating primrose yellows and blues, and though there are a multitude of buttons and links on the Home Page to Savings Rates, Your Portfolio, Company Contacts and many more, the site never appears cluttered or hard to navigate. Drawing on the expertise of the financial writers at the Mail, Mail on Sunday and Standard, the content is predictably impressive, pitching heavily for the average punter who wants to prepare for the future while managing the present a little bit better. There are constant updates to a good news section, plus some excellent features - unlocking the value of your home, all you need to know about loans - all with real-life case studies. The very good Money Savers section compares prices on credit cards, overdrafts, life cover and loans, in fact if you're looking for a site that will save you money before you start making it, look no further.
Car Insurance Centre
Britain may not have too many growth industries, but car theft seems to be the ignoble exception. Year-on-year premiums are rocketing as thieves take a ride at our expense. Shopping around is the key to bucking this trend of course: the Car Insurance Centre reckons the average driver could save £150 by doing just that. And it's easy - on this site a number of brokers have got together to let you get multiple competitive quotes with one request.
Moneyworld has long been one of our favourite personal finance sites - it's been around for a good while, it's well organised and professionally written. The insurance section of the site is no exception. More than just a bland listing of insurance brokers and their contact numbers, Moneyworld actually provides guidance and help on finding the right motor, home and personal insurance cover for you. And of course you can get an online quote.
They revolutionised the insurance market with telephone cover in the eighties (loads of operators working from call centres? That'll never catch on) and now they're doing the same with the internet. The little red phone with the annoying tune now wants to get hooked up to your modem. Home, travel and motor insurance, and Direct Line is now in the high-interest savings business too.
Directory of UK Insurance Companies
The Directory takes a slightly different approach to many of the online brokers and listings companies we've looked at here, finding you a broker by geographical location. Click on the South West and you'll be given brokers in Plymouth and Truro, say. While it may seem that the Internet makes geographical location irrelevant there are still advantages in dealing with a local firm - finding a marine insurance specialist who knows your locale may get you a more competitive quote.
In case there's any confusion about what this site does, it finds online insurance companies for you. A very slick site that does the simple stuff very well. There's a mix of brokers (who'll offer you insurance products from a number of companies), and insurance companies themselves, selling their own products. All listed A to Z with a brief description of what services they specialise in, and a hotlink to the sites.
The days of the high-street insurance brokers are numbered. For years most of us have gone back to the same insurers again and again, not realising most of us could save money by going elsewhere. But in addition to offering a list of links allowing you to get the most competitive quotes, Moneyshop aims to up the standard further, getting readers to vote for their favourite online insurer and why. Offers to find a quote for you if you've had no luck.
Reduce premiums on the spot, then buy online or by phone" invites the website. An irresistible offer. Screentrade isn't an insurance company but a broker, so it is able to offer the best deal to fit your circumstances from the thousands of policies on the market. Brightly attractive site, simple and quick to navigate and you can buy a policy by tapping in your Visa, Mastercard or Switch number. What could be easier?
Top Insurance Sites in the UK
Nothing flashy about this one - but then if you're buying insurance you don't want flash, you want information and you want to save money. Detailed list of just about every UK insurance broker you can think of, each one followed by a 20 word description of its specialist area - no point clicking on the BUPA site if you're looking to insure your boat after all.


Citibank isn't for everyone - you'll need a household income of £30,000 or more and a deposit of £2,000 before they'll consider your application, but this American bank has a slick Internet operation with a number of unusual selling points. Current accounts pay a variable but generally generous rate of interest; banking is completely free. You also have access to up-to-date account information and can view and print a balance summary, account details and account activity.
Armchair Millionaire
'The five steps to financial freedom', 'Get rich slowly but surely', 'Common sense saving and investing' - you can't accuse the Armchair Millionaire of being short of a snappy slogan. This site sets out to make sorting out your money fun, and it succeeds in spades. Zippy cartoon-style graphics meet real-life case studies and tutorials on 'ditching your debt for good', 'fund-amentals' (ho ho) and 'savvy investing'.
Bonehead Finance
That's the thing about people who've got their financial affairs sussed, they just can't help evangelising about the virtues of debt reduction, compound interest and the importance of budgeting. Providing you don't object to being referred to as a bonehead, you'll find loads here to educate, entertain and set you on the right financial road. Budget basics, investment basics, share dealing basics, and if that isn't basic enough, a glossary of financial language.
Financial Scandals
Barings is still the cover story, but there are articles on the mafia, insider trading, insurance fraud, and money laundering. plus how to do your own financial investigations of politicians, judges, and the police, amongst others.
Personal Finance 101
While most of these sites are chockful of the thousands of financial products jostling for attention in our overcrowded markets, and many offer useful features on sound financial management, Personal Finance 101 is almost unique - a school-type series of lessons on gaining control of every aspect of your financial life. Planning covers bank statements, getting organised and taxes. You then move through Assets and Debt, Investing and so on to Retirement.
Microsoft Money
Of course, if you've opted for Microsoft's 50 per cent of the personal finance pie, you'll be wanting to click to the Money site. And even the most virulent hater of all things Gates would be hard pressed to knock this one. Basically, Money is a brilliant package that is only improved by live information, and Moneyextra provides it on a plate. Share prices delivered with a 15-minute time lag (fine for all but the day traders), excellent articles on insurance, family finance, investments and so on.
Rating : 4/5
Moneynet pushes itself as the first UK website to publish a comprehensive and independent overview of the products available in the personal finance sector. This Is Money and the rest might quibble with that, but Moneynet is unarguably one of the most comprehensive and easily searchable. Details of mortgage and savings products from more than 100 providers, plus details of many more credit cards and personal loans. Interest rates are updated daily, plus details of the other terms that apply to each product.
Refreshingly balanced site, Moneywise. As well as heavyweight articles on investment trusts, pension, mortgages and the like, many drawn from Readers Digest's popular Moneywise magazine, the site places itself firmly in the home by featuring pages on gardening, DIY and food and health. And, surprise surprise, there's a Prize Draw!
There are two real players in personal finance software these days. One is Money from the all-conquering Microsoft, but Quicken from Intuit is preferred by many, and its online arm doesn't disappoint either, complementing the friendliness and simplicity of the finance software with an astonishingly comprehensive site. It has all the news, info and updates you'll require to make your financial moves - mortgage and savings rates, personal finance news, frequently updated share prices and access to Financial Times reports.
Yahoo UK Finance
In their bid to build brand loyalty among us notoriously promiscuous net surfers, search engines such as Yahoo are cementing ever more content into their site. And long may it continue, if it means we get sites like UK Finance, bristling with top-notch features, superbly organised and ordered links to a zillion finance websites, and up-to-the-minute stock exchange prices ticking along the top of our browser windows.
Gay Financial Network
Okay, we here you ask, what's the point of a 'gay' financial page? Surely borrowing and saving are blind to your sexual orientation? First off, let's say that this is an excellent personal finance site whether you're gay, straight or would rather have a nice cup of tea, but pensions, life assurance and personal insurance raise a number of issues for gay couples that the nuclear family never has to deal with.
Cassandra's Revenge
So who is Cassandra? And why does she want revenge? She doesn't really. What she wants is for women to begin thinking about wealth, money and investing in new, more powerful ways. Why? 'Wealth is an important tool to a happy, safe and productive life. When it comes to financial literacy and wealth, women are sadly behind the curve, but it's never too late to improve your financial well being.'
Ethical Investment Co-operative
So you want to save but don't want your money lent to people who are despoiling the environment? Or you want to borrow, but you don't want to borrow from a bank which finances arms dealers? You can follow your conscience and still get a good deal on your money; your first port of call should be the Ethical Investment Co-op, a network of independent financial advisers who are worried about more than their commission.
Lycos guide to loans
Search engine Lycos does the hard work for you here, editing out the zillions of financial institutions from all round the world who, let's fact it, you're never going to be dealing with, and instead giving you a definitive list of UK financial institutions, plus a brief run down of their products and specialisations. If you want to borrow or lend money in the UK take a look at this well-maintained and thorough index.
UK financial information, stock and share tips, investing ideas and advice, personal finance, articles, stockmarket analysis, financial links and investment books. Moneybags offers an independent online resource for UK investors with attitude. 'Our sole aim is to help you get the most out of your money', and the site does a good job of hunting down the best current savings and loans deals in the UK.
This online Investment Guide is aimed at expert and beginner alike. Unbiased information on over 100 different types of savings and investments, equating to more than 200 pages of information in the original paper version. Banks and building societies, co-operative societies, friendly societies, gold, investment trusts, local authorities, national savings, offshore banks, pensions, property , OEICs... is that enough for you? They claim they have 101 ways to invest.
Yahoo Loan
If all your investments, foreign currency and futures deals, auction bids and e-shopping have left you short of funds, click onto the personal loans site of one of the world's largest search engines, for a selection of finance options. Each section - car loans, home loans, personal and so on, has an introductory essay on the pros and cons of the loan process. Still interested. Then you simply click at the bottom of the page for an online quote.


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