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WALES: Computer Comparison Sites Attacked ; Your MONEY

Jun 24, 2007


THE internet is transforming so many personal finance transactions - by making it so much easier to compare online the relative attractions of mortgages, bank accounts, personal loans, home or car insurance, credit cards and other financial products.

Consumers clearly like to shop around: about 90% of income earned by comes, directly or indirectly, from commission earned by sales.

But comparison sites are under attack in a campaign by insurer Direct Line which claims they are providing "inaccurate", and "misleading" information.

Direct Line says 41% of consumers mistakenly believe that price comparison websites quote all major insurers, and 35% believe all insurers, both big and small, are quoted.

Barely a quarter of consumers realise that some comparison websites are affiliated to a particular financial group. Many consumers, says Direct Line, think websites are funded entirely by advertising, and completely impartial.

Says Direct Line spokeswoman Emma Holyer: "We cut out the middle man 20 years ago and made a decision then to deal direct with consumers. The fact is that most comparison sites are guided entirely by price, when we need to explain important policy benefits like courtesy cars, named driver benefits and discounts.

"The one-size-fits-all approach might work for loans but it doesn't for insurance."

Others are questioning the internet-driven market developing in the financial sector.

Stuart Glendenning at calls Direct Line's campaign "completely misleading".

"We only earn money from companies which request an Apply icon, and when customers use it to enquire into or buy a product: on a mortgage, we might get pounds 250, on insurance cover perhaps pounds 40."

"I can only guess that Direct Line does not want us to list its products because they might not compare well with others."

POUNDNOTES is giving the thumbs up to two new credit card deals by Capital One: The Platinum Card offers a competitive all- round 0% package, while the Platinum Cashback Card offers a market- leading introductory cashback return.

National Savings & Investments (NS&I) is bumping up interest rates on various fixed rate savings products by up to 0.35%. Enquiries: at local post offices or 0845 964 5000 or

Over 17 million Britons don't know if their car insurance will cover them abroad, says the price comparison site

Many providers offer only third party cover south of Calais, which protects only the damage caused to another vehicle and its driver - the minimum under EU law.

(c) 2007 Daily Post; Liverpool. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

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