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Savings rates: where to put your cash

Banks aren't making it easy for savers to make a return on their money. Here's what you can do about it.

 

by Michelle McGagh on Nov 09, 2012 at 12:05

Savings rates: where to put your cash

Savers looking for even a half-decent return on their money haven’t had it easy recently, and the bad news is it’s only going to get worse as banks are cutting interest rates and withdrawing offers.

The situation has got so bad that no new easy-access accounts currently keep pace with inflation, according to the Savings Champion website, which helps savers track changes in rates and gives recommendations on where to move your money.

The recent high point for easy-access savings accounts was June and July this year, when a rate of 3.25% was being offered against inflation of 2.4% in June and 2.6% in July, based on the consumer prices index (CPI).

Although the good news is that inflation has fallen further, currently sitting at 2.2%, savings account rates have followed suit, with the best easy-access account now paying just 2.5%.

Why have rates dropped so low?

It is in banks' interest to attract savers’ money, as they use this money to lend to others and make more on it than they are paying out.

However, since August the banks have had access to the Funding for Lending scheme. This scheme was set up by the Bank of England and the Treasury, and sees £80 billion of taxpayers' money being made available to banks as long as they lend it to people who are struggling to get mortgages.

Although the scheme has helped some homeowners, it has had a direct correlation with falling savings rates. As banks have less need for savers' money to lend out, there is no rush to entice savers with high interest rates.

Anna Bowes, director of the Savings Champion website, said although the banks deny that the rate cuts are due to the access to £80 billion of taxpayers’ money, rates have been falling since August.

‘We were concerned that [with the introduction of the Funding for Lending scheme] savers were going to get hammered. We had seen a race to top [with rates], but now the opposite has happened,’ she said.

Bowes added that it was new customers who are being affected most; for example, the fifth issue of the Santander eSaver easy access account was paying 3.2%, but the ninth issue is paying just 1.5%.

‘In June and July the highest easy access saving account paid 3.25%, that was from Coventry Building Society. But the best rate you can take out now is with Ulster Bank with 2.65%, although there are restrictions on withdrawals. If you want a normal easy-access account then the highest you can get is 2.5%,’ she said.

Restricted withdrawals

Bowes urged savers to read the terms and conditions of accounts before signing up as many of the higher rates hve restrictions on withdrawals.

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20 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Jolanta Nowak

Nov 09, 2012 at 13:45

Nationwide Loyalty Saver pays 2.60 % to members of 15 years or longer. No penalties etc for withdrawals. Branch account .No upper limit.

Lower rate for 5, 10 years membership.

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Ian Phillips

Nov 09, 2012 at 14:09

Readers who applied for NatWest recent offer of 2.85% and waited for their account to be opened should check the interest they are actually being paid!! It's not easy to find this out but persist because you will find that it is only 1% as the bonus was removed before your application was processed.......a very old bit of deceit that they seem to still get away with!!

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noelprivett

Nov 09, 2012 at 14:10

Try Charity Bank. You get a reasonable rate of interest - not the best - but your money is used to lend to charities and other organisation so that they can improve society. As one depositor said, “why doesn’t everyone save with Charity Bank?”

Charity Bank is the UK’s only FSA regulated bank set up to invest depositors’ money in loans to UK charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises to help them increase their social impact, through the support of ordinary savers and investors who want their money used more responsibly and transparently. It calls itself “a different bank for peple who want a different world.” Or an impact-driven, not profit-driven, bank.

http://www.charitybank.org/interest-rates

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Happy Farmer

Nov 09, 2012 at 14:38

In response to Ian Phillips do watch Natwest, I opened an esaver account with the bonus, as I am already a Natwest customer I opened it online and it said it would take 3-4 days to send further details. I assumed it was opened when I made the request online but in fact I received a statement dated 30/10/12 as the opening date and I had done the online application about 7 days before. It also sent a sheet detailing the interest rate which was 1.82% AER so I had to ring up to check if I was getting the bonus which is the 1.82%, it made no mention of the total rate or the fact that the flat rate of 1% is to be added to the bonus rate to get the total rate of 2.82%. As usual they try to confuse and deceive you. If you applied before they removed the bonus and then just receive the flat rate due to the opening time lag I suggest you ring them up and complain.

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Soozie Campbell

Nov 09, 2012 at 14:55

Does anyone know of a good off shore euro account that gives more than 1.7% interest? And is easy to apply for ie doesn't require a turnover of more than a million?

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Clive B

Nov 09, 2012 at 15:26

@noelprivett

“why doesn’t everyone save with Charity Bank?”

Because it's asking people to mix two unrelated things - trying to make money (savings) and giving money away (charity).

Probably be better off sticking your money in the account paying the highest, then giving some money to charity directly and claiming it on Gift Aid.

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noelprivett

Nov 09, 2012 at 15:49

@Clive B: Not so. Every £1 that you deposit with Charity Bank can unlock a further 50p in borrowing for charities because Charity Bank’s lending often unlocks other sources of funding, which means your savings are doing 1.5 times more good than a simple donation would and the money remains yours.

And, indeed, 70% of the projects funded say that they would not have happened without Charity Bank’s funding and support.

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Alan Tonks

Nov 09, 2012 at 19:17

Savings don’t make me laugh it is a travesty to call it savings. The banks are not interested in savers they want their funny money to hell with the savers.

This is a brilliant idea from the Bank of Scotland, Looking for an easier way to turn your pennies into pounds. The idea is you spend for argument sake with your eligible debit card £10.96 the figure will then be rounded up to £11 and the 4p will then be credited to your savings account, WOW.

It must have cost them millions to come up with that brilliant idea or they pinched it from a brain dead zombie.

There are a plethora of zombie type ideas out there the banks love them, it is called how to fool the fools.

I can remember years ago that banks were true professionals, now it is the absolute opposite.

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helmet

Nov 09, 2012 at 20:24

try William Hill I deposited £100 in an account called "fast and Loose" and got back £1000 unfortunately I invested £1000 in an account at my local lap dance club and found it was anything but loose and I was way too fast.

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ajay

Nov 09, 2012 at 21:28

Typical of the way the government has been shafting savers. First Quantitative Easing (ie debasing the currency) so inflation steals your savings. Low interest rates so you can subsidise your neighbour who over-borrowed on his mortgage. Now the tax you pay, on the little interest you get, is used to encourage even more people to get a saver-subsidised mortgage!

SAVER - Shafted And Very EnRaged.

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paul kaye

Nov 09, 2012 at 21:51

I have saved and worked hard all my life and am sick of supporting lazy benefit collectors who sit on their arses every day!!!!!!!!!!!

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Ian Lewthwaite

Nov 10, 2012 at 08:57

Like all these modernday highwaymen in suits , they have forgotten what gave them a job in the first place, it was honest, trustworthy local gentry who wanted to put something back into their communities and make a SMALL return on that enterprise. The modern day inheritors of that trust have squandered it completely, backed and supported by the BoE and successive Governments. Who have only succeded in kicking the can further down the road, until they have stolen all the UK savers assets and the foreigner won't lend anymore- then you will see the S*** hit the fan bigtime, with unemployment, anarchy and war, once more on that destuctive merry go round- Why because the politicians of all colours haven't got the balls to face the true situation NOW and get the hard part over, rather than keeping things going to enable them to have a nice fat pension at the populus's expense, probably abroad( always assuming that that will continue in some form)

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JohnnyM

Nov 10, 2012 at 09:34

Perhaps we savers should all send an invoice to Mr Osborne for the difference their interference (which mostly does nothing but put money onto the banks' bottom line) for the loss of savings income.

And since CPI doesn't measure real inflation, let's stop quoting it - use RPI as a minimum.

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Keith Cobby

Nov 10, 2012 at 13:59

Where to put your cash? In quality dividend paying companies in the asia-pacific region of course. Not in a savings/deposit account and not in gilts.

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Jolanta Nowak

Nov 10, 2012 at 14:14

Could you name some ASIA -PACIFIC quality dividend paying companies?

Thanks.

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Keith Cobby

Nov 10, 2012 at 17:15

I like :

Aberdeen Asian Income Fund Ltd

Henderson Far East Income Ltd

Schroder Oriental Income Fund

I also like Murray International Trust and Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust.

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BEANOL

Nov 12, 2012 at 18:24

I KNOW VIRTUALLY NOTHING ABOUT, WELL, ANYTHING REALLY, I'VE WORKED HARD ALL MY LIFE FOR VERY LITTLE REWARD AND EVEN LESS THANKS SO I HAVE NO FORTUNE TO INVEST IN THE HOPE OF MAKING A PITTANCE OF PROFIT, BUT MANY YEARS AGO, AFTER BEING SHAFTED YET AGAIN BY BARCLAYS, I DID ONE OF THE VERY FEW SMART THINGS I HAVE DONE IN MY LIFE, I WENT TO NATIONWIDE.

I HAVE ALWAYS FOUND THEM TO BE MOST HELPFUL, CLEAR AND ABOVE ALL, HONEST AND I JUST CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY ALL THE COMPLAINERS DON'T MOVE OVER TO THEM INSTEAD OF MOANING ABOUT HOW THEY'RE BEING ROBBED OF ANOTHER HALF PERCENT.

IT SEEMS TO ME THAT NO-ONE IS GOING TO PAY YOU A FORTUNE FOR USING YOUR MONEY SO FOR CRYING OUT LOUD USE WHAT BIT OF COMMON SENSE YOU HAVE, (AND I AM ASSUMING THAT YOU HAVE SOME) AND LEAVE THE THIEVING BUGGERS KNOWN AS BANKERS, (OR SOMETHING THAT SOUNDS LIKE THAT), WHO ARE NOT IN THE LEAST INTERESTED IN ANYTHING OTHER THAN LINING THEIR OWN POCKETS, BECAUSE THAT IS THE ONLY THING THEY WILL UNDERSTAND.

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ajay

Nov 12, 2012 at 19:43

I think your first sentence said all that was needed.

AND DON'T SHOUT!!!

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BOB 2

Nov 13, 2012 at 21:28

That's not fair ajay,we can't be all ,clever clogs like you.

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ajay

Nov 13, 2012 at 22:14

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

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