Infra bonds open



If you are yet to make investments to save taxes, here's another opportunity. L&T Infrastructure Finance and IDFC have launched tax-free infrastructure bonds. L&T's bonds, carrying a coupon rate of 9 per cent have a face value of Rs 1,000 with a maturity of 10 years.

There is a lock-in period of five years, with a buyback option after the fifth year and the seventh year from the date of issue. The bonds will be listed on the BSE and you can exit the bonds in the secondary market after the lock-in period.

The issue closes on December 24. IDFC's bonds also carry coupon rates of 9 per cent. These bonds have a face value of Rs 5,000 with a ten-year maturity period. Buyback option starts after the fifth year. The issue closes on December 16. Investments in these bonds up to a maximum of Rs 20,000 qualify for deduction under sec 80CCF over and above the 80C limit of Rs 1, 00,000.

Insurance app

Comparing insurance products and premium rates has just become a lot easier. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has just launched a mobile phone application which allows you to compare insurance products.

The premium and benefits of Unit-Linked Insurance Plans introduced from September 1, 2010 onwards can be compared. The app works on Android, iPhone, Nokia and Blackberry platforms. However, users can still access the information on any Internet-enabled mobile and can access the Web site www.irda.gov.in directly. At a time, a user can select three options to compare. Searching can be done in three ways — search by company, by policy type and by keywords. The launch screen of the app displays the options.

Get your credit score online

You can now get your credit score online! Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd (Cibil) has launched an online facility for consumers and business entities which wish to avail credit scores. All you have to do is log on to the Web site >www.cibil.com and fill in an online request form.

You will need to make a payment of Rs 450, either through net banking, debit, credit or cash card and finally authenticate identity by answering at least three out of five randomly asked questions based on your credit history. On successful authentication and payment processing, the Cibil TransUnion score and CIR will be emailed to you. The paperless process requires no identity proof or other documents that are typically required under know your customer rules. But make sure get at least three of the five questions correct.

New rates on post-office savings schemes

Public Provident Fund (PPF) accounts and post office schemes will get a higher rate of return from December 1, 2011. Interest rates on PPF have risen to 8.6 per cent from the earlier 8 per cent. Further, the ceiling on annual contributions to the fund has also been raised from Rs 70,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

However, loans from PPFs would carry an annual interest rate of two per cent from December 1. Savings accounts held in post offices will now earn an interest of 4 per cent from the previous 3.5 per cent. The maturity period of Monthly Investment Schemes (MIS) and National Savings Certificates (NSC) will be reduced to five years. MIS will earn an interest of 8.2 per cent; accounts opened from December 1 onwards will not be entitled for bonus. Every Rs 100 invested in NSCs will fetch Rs 150.90 at the end of five years. Kisan Vikas Patras will be discontinued from November 30 onwards.

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