Ensuring you always receive the best returns on your savings can be a slog.
Not only do you need to keep an eye on whether you’re benefiting from a temporary bonus, it’s then a case of trawling through the best buy tables, looking through account summary boxes to find out exactly to open one and sending over shed-loads of paperwork to get an account set up.
All told, it’s hardly a surprise that huge numbers of savers leave money languishing in easy-access accounts from high street banks paying paltry rates.
Could all that become a thing of the past? A new savings platform, Kepe, has launched pledging to do for the savings market what the likes of Flipper have done for your energy bills.
Kepe is aiming to replicate platforms that automatically switch your energy supplier and find users competitive rates, but that of course is dependent on which providers sign up
It says savers will no longer need to manually search for and switch to new accounts once your bonus rates has expired, as Kepe will do that for you automatically.
The Savings Guru’s James Blower, who is involved with the start-up, said the process worked through a combination of technology and a bit of work from those who sign up.
He said: ‘Each saver is encouraged to set specific saving preferences, which can be altered as needed, and this means saving will be a personalised experience requiring their input as well as the use of algorithms.
‘The key part is that savers won’t need to do anything, other than set their preferences, so it will all be sorted for them.
‘They just need to view their dashboard to see what’s happening.’
Kepe’s service isn’t launching until later in 2019, but those interested by the prospect can be reassured by the fact it is FCA authorised and deposits are protected by the FSCS
Savers will only have to fill in one set of forms when they first open an account with the platform, as Kepe will handle any anti-money laundering and authentication processes when accounts are first opened.
Kepe is hosted on financial platform Crowdstacker, which is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.
It is also important to note that Kepe is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, meaning savers’ deposits up to the value of £85,000 are protected.
The full service is due to launch later this year, and while there is no confirmation of exactly how many accounts will be available on day one, Kepe say ‘an initial panel of partner banks will be offering highly competitive rates across a range of easy-access, notice, fixed term and cash Isa products.’
Highly competitive does not automatically mean the best rate on the market will always be available to you through Kepe, but James said he was ‘very positive’ the platform will offer a good selection.
Users will be notified whenever their savings are switched to a different provider, with Crowdstacker chief executive Karteek Patel saying the process ensures ‘money is never left in an account paying a lower rate of return than is otherwise available to each particular saver’.
Unlike Monzo or platforms which slice a bit off of the rate paid on savers’ deposits in return for making it more convenient for them to open savings accounts, Kepe will charge customers ‘a small fee’ each time money is moved, which they say ‘will be competitive with the rest of the cash savings market’.
The name is pronounced ‘keep’, which according to the platform comes from the original spelling of a castle’s keep. The keep was always considered the safest and most heavily fortified part of the castle, so Kepe will be banking on keeping your savings just as secure in order to lure customers.
People aren’t accustomed to the idea of switching savings account like they are in the energy sector
Jon Ostler, chief executive of comparison site Finder, broadly welcomed the idea behind the new platform.
He said: ‘Innovation is generally good news for consumers, so it’s exciting to see Kepe trying to shake up a stagnant savings market.
‘Auto-switching has been around for a few years in energy and continues to grow, so it will be interesting to see if Kepe can bring about similar innovation in savings.’
However, he added that the platform might have a challenge in persuading savers to embrace auto-switching.
‘It’s always hard to predict how new technology will fare in a relatively static market and, along with getting a full market view, Kepe’s biggest challenge is likely to be raising awareness of their offering’, he said.
‘People aren’t accustomed to the idea of switching savings account like they are in the energy sector, so Kepe will have a tough job getting this message across.’
Moneyfacts’ Rachel Springall said that the platform ‘may appeal to customers who just don’t want the hassle of switching’, but noted that it would not necessarily guarantee them the best rate available, ‘as it will depend on whether that provider is listed.’
She added: ‘It’s important that the apathy among savers to switch is beaten, but it will take time.
‘Savers will no doubt have a preference to keep their cash close during economic uncertainties and that may well mean leaving it with a poor paying account tied to their current account.
‘In terms of introductory rates, it’s simple to make a diary note a few weeks before any bonus is due to expire. Forgetting this could lead to a big fall in interest earned.’