Rates Rundown: best buy activity ramps up as 2019 begins in earnest

Author: Tom Adams
11th January 2019

The first full working week of 2019 saw a definite increase in best buy activity, with a number of competitive new accounts introduced into the savings market

After a few weeks with little activity, the key area of the market for many – easy access accounts – saw a returning provider join what is becoming the 1.50% club at the top of our best buy table.

Cynergy Bank joins three others at the top of our table, paying 1.50% gross/AER*.

>> Find out more about the top easy access accounts

There was also plenty of activity amongst best buy fixed rate cash ISAs – particularly for the shorter one year term – with Cynergy Bank (again), Charter Savings Bank and Aldermore all making waves this week.

>> Latest fixed rate cash ISA best buys

While outdone slightly by fixed rate cash ISAs in terms of volume, nonetheless there were some interesting changes this week amongst fixed rate bonds – with ICICI Bank UK*, Paragon and Charter Savings Bank all making improvements.

>>  Fixed rate bond best buy tables

Also, don’t forget about Sharia fixed term accounts, where still going strong is the market-leading rate for one year from Gatehouse Bank*.

>> Sharia fixed term account best buy table

And capping off a busy week for Charter Savings Bank is a new market-leading 95 day notice account for those looking for an account that sits between easy access and fixed term accounts, as part of a balanced savings portfolio.

>> More information on top-paying notice accounts

For an overview of the whole savings market and to look at the top options in all categories, make sure you consult our independent best buy tables and if you want to keep up to date with best buy rates as they hit the market, sign up to our Rate Alert emails.


Easy Access Accounts

Our easy access account best buy table has been fairly static over the last few weeks, with the trio of West Brom Building Society, Virgin Money and Marcus from Goldman Sachs sharing the spoils.

However, this week Cynergy Bank (formerly Bank of Cyprus UK) gatecrashed the party with a new version of its easy access account paying 1.50% AER, which matches the rate available on each of the three accounts above

>> Apply for Cynergy Bank’s new account*

While the returns on offer on each of the four accounts mentioned above are high in today’s easy access market, each has features to be aware of – both West Brom and Virgin restrict you to just two withdrawals per year and the accounts from Cynergy Bank and Marcus include an introductory bonus for the first year.

If these features render these four top accounts unsuitable for your own particular circumstances, there are more straightforward options that are paying competitive rates currently.

Ford Money’s Flexible Saver* pays 1.42% gross/AER and doesn’t feature an introductory bonus or restriction on the number of withdrawals you can make.

Also available at the same rate is the Freedom Savings Account* from RCI Bank – a provider that has been consistently competitive over the last 12 months.

Further information on the leading accounts can be found in our easy access best buy table.


Fixed Rate Cash ISAs

This week saw the previously dominant Shawbrook Bank take a step back, allowing others to steal the limelight in this area of the market.

A number of providers grasped the opportunity, including Cynergy Bank, which led the one year table briefly with an ISA which pays 1.68% tax free/AER*.

Next up was Charter Savings Bank, which took second place behind Cynergy Bank, with a new version of its one year fixed rate cash ISA which pays 1.67% tax free/AER.

Even better news was the launch of its new two year fixed rate cash ISA, which pays a market-leading 1.87% tax free/AER.

Then late in the week, Aldermore swooped in with its own market-leading one year ISA, which pays 1.70% tax free/AER.

Also new was its three year option, which pays 2.05% tax free/AER – taking the lead by some margin.

To view our top five accounts across the full range of terms, please refer to our full fixed rate cash ISA best buy tables.

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Fixed Rate Bonds

While somewhat overshadowed by the activity in the fixed rate ISA arena, there were still some interesting changes this week among fixed rate bonds.

Paragon upped the rate on offer on its one year fixed rate bond and is now paying 2.01% gross/AER – taking third position in our top five.

Also upping its game this week was Charter Savings Bank, securing second position in our table with an improved offering of 2.03% gross/AER for one year.

Staying ahead of the pack is Atom Bank, paying 2.05% gross/AER.

There was no change in the two year table, where Investec still leads the way, paying 2.35% gross/AER.

In the three year table, ICICI Bank UK* joined the three existing incumbents - Investec, Atom Bank and Tandem - all paying 2.40% gross/AER.

The new account from ICICI Bank is exclusively available through Raisin UK, where a welcome bonus of up to £100 is available to new customers.

>> Find out more about Raisin UK 

Another new account from Charter Savings Bank came in just behind the leaders this week, paying 2.38% gross/AER

Meanwhile, for those looking for a longer term, Vanquis Bank is still top of our four year table, paying 2.50% gross/AER* and the lead in the five year table is shared by Vanquis Bank* and Atom Bank – both providers paying 2.70% gross/AER.

For full information on each of these accounts and for a range of other options, please refer to our full fixed rate bond best buy tables.


Sharia Fixed Term Accounts

For those looking at alternative fixed term accounts, Sharia accounts continue to offer competitive rates.

Still offering the very best one year return on the market is Gatehouse Bank, with its one year fixed term account paying 2.10% gross/AER*.

In addition, this account is also available through the Raisin UK savings platform, where a welcome bonus of up to £100 is available for new customers.

>> Find out more about Raisin UK

BLME continues to pay a joint-leading return on its five year Premier Deposit Account, paying 2.70% gross/AER.

Please refer to our sharia fixed term accounts best buy table for more information on the accounts above and other options.

>> How do Sharia compliant accounts work?


Notice Accounts

Last but not least are notice accounts, which offer something a little different for those looking for a higher return without tying themselves in for too long a term.

This week, there was a new leader in this area of the market, in the form of Charter Savings Bank, which had a busy week overall.

Its new 95 day notice account pays a market-leading rate of 1.90% gross/AER.

Elsewhere, for those looking for an account with a shorter notice period, Investec offers an interesting option, paying 1.40% AER on a 35 day notice account.

Investec offers a range of notice options and potentially easy access to a portion of the funds held in the account – so could be worth a further look.

>> Find out more about Investec’s innovative account

For further information on the accounts above and the rest of our top five, please refer to our notice account best buy table.


If you would like any help with your savings, why not give one of our Bath-based experts a call on 0800 011 9705, we’d love to hear from you.

*We are occasionally paid by some providers if you click through from our Best Buy Tables and open a savings or current account with them. We will never accept a payment that compromises in any way our independent, whole of market approach to providing information on savings products. For clarity we will indicate those companies who remunerate us with an asterisk (*).

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