U.K Economy

Hallelujah! Saving rates on easy-access accounts creep up to 1.5%

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Savings rates on easy-access accounts with no catches are finally creeping up.

Savers happy to run their account online can now earn 1.5 per cent with Beehive Money, a trading name of Nottingham Building Society.

It’s not the first bank or building society to push up rates to this level — but Beehive is different, because it will not just pay the better rate to new customers, but will raise rates for savers already in the account as well.

Top rate: Savers happy to run their account online can now earn 1.5 per cent with Beehive Money, a trading name of Nottingham Building Society

Top rate: Savers happy to run their account online can now earn 1.5 per cent with Beehive Money, a trading name of Nottingham Building Society

This is also the first easy-access deal paying this rate where the account does not come with a host of catches, such as restricting the number of times you can make withdrawals.

There is no short-term bonus, either, which means your rate will not suddenly drop after the first year.

Passing a rate rise on to all savers was once commonplace among savings providers on variable-rate accounts.

But today, most banks and building societies only offer higher rates to new customers.

Loyal savers, on the other hand, continue to earn the lower rate, which, in the worst cases, can be as paltry as 0.25 per cent.

Banks and building societies do this by closing the lower-paying account and launching a new account with the better rate.

The only difference is a new issue number of the account with the same name.

Experts say firms hope that loyal savers won’t notice the new offer or will think that they are earning the higher rate.

Cynergy Bank last week raised the rate on its Online Easy Access account to 1.5 per cent. But this is only for new savers opening Issue 23. Some older issues, on the other hand, pay a third less, at 1 per cent.

Virgin Money Double Take E-Saver pays 1.5 per cent. However, you earn this rate only if you opened an account on or after November 28 last year, when the current issue — number 10 — went on sale.

In the previous issues, you earn one of seven rates — all lower than the 1.5 per cent now advertised as the current issue on sale.

The lowest rate is 1.2 per cent on Issue 5, on sale from March 27 until May 22 last year. Other issues pay 1.21 per cent, 1.25 per cent, 1.3 per cent, 1.36 per cent, 1.42 per cent and 1.45 per cent.

You are also limited to making just two withdrawals a year from your account, whichever issue you are in.

Meanwhile, the Post Office’s Online Saver rate rose to a whisker under 1.5 per cent last week.

But the 1.45 per cent rate applies only to those who opened Issue 38 of the account, which went on sale on June 6. Older issues pay less: for example, Issue 32 pays 1.15 per cent, while Issue 29 pays 1.05 per cent.

And, regardless of what issue you are in, once you have been in your account for 12 months, your rate tumbles to a derisory 0.25 per cent.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs has paid 1.5 per cent since its launch last September.

Whether both new and existing savers will receive any rate rise has yet to be revealed. The rate includes a 0.15 percentage point bonus, payable for the first year you are in the account.

Other top online rates that come with no bonus or withdrawal restrictions, on accounts on sale now, include Paragon Easy Access at 1.45 per cent, Shawbrook Bank at 1.43 per cent and RCI Bank Freedom account at 1.42 per cent.

Members of the AA motoring organisation can earn 1.44 per cent with the latest issue (number 4) of the AA Member Saver.

Those in previous issues earn slightly less, with the lowest rate, at 1.26 per cent, paid to loyal savers in Issue 1, on sale from October 4 last year until March 6.

In the High Street, rates are generally lower, but they are still edging up.

Newcastle BS has launched Issue 9 of its Community Saver, paying 1.16 per cent. Older issues pay 1 per cent or 1.05 per cent.

The new 1.16 per cent rate puts it among the best payers and it now matches Virgin Money’s current offer on its Easy Access Saver Issue 32. 

But Virgin Money pays a lot less to loyal savers, with a pitiful 0.25 per cent on most old versions of this account.

Other good deals among smaller players include Kent Reliance at 1.3 per cent and Family BS Branch Saver at 1.21 per cent.

Britannia, part of Co-op Bank, pays a higher 1.4 per cent with its Select Access Saver Issue 10, but you are restricted to making no more than four withdrawals a year from your account.

If you make any more, your rate drops to just 0.3 per cent.

As a loyal saver in an older issue, you are also penalised with a lower rate.

The worst deal is 0.6 per cent, paid on Issue 8, followed by Issues 1 to 6, at 0.7 per cent.

Money Mail does not include accounts with short-term bonuses or withdrawal restrictions in our Star Buys tables.

But we keep you informed of what is on offer.


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