We are often asked for more information on various savings providers that are less well-known or new to the savings market. In this regular series of articles, we aim to turn the spotlight on these providers to give you more information about their background and history and why they are of particular interest in today’s savings market.
We hope that you find this information useful and as always, if you have any feedback or suggestions as to who should appear in a future article, please let us know.
The provider chosen this time is one of the lesser known banks, but one that is prominent in our fixed rate bond best buys at the moment – The Access Bank UK.
We have had a number of requests for more information about the provider sent in recently, so thought it was a good time to feature it in an article.
The Access Bank UK Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Access Bank Plc, a Nigerian bank which commenced operations in May 1989 and is now one of the five largest banks in Nigeria. Access Bank opened its UK subsidiary in October 2008, with its Head Office in London and its operations centre in Cheshire.
The Access Bank UK is also sometimes known by its brand name ‘Sensible Savings’, under which its range of Fixed Rate Bonds are marketed, so the two names should not be confused as two separate institutions.
The Access Bank UK Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). In addition, The Access Bank UK Limited is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so funds placed with the provider would be covered up to £85,000 per person, should the provider go out of business.
For more information on the FSCS, please take a look at our handy guide or call us on 0800 321 3581 to speak to one of our expert savings advisers.
Today’s Savings Market
Particularly prominent in today’s savings market are the provider’s fixed rate bonds. Marketed under the bank’s brand name ‘Sensible Savings’, there are currently one, two and three year bonds available, with the two and three year accounts currently appearing in our best buy tables.
The Two Year Fixed Rate Bond pays 2.02% gross/AER and is currently in third position in our table – sitting behind Atom Bank and Axis Bank UK.
But, even better than that is the Three Year Fixed Rate Bond, paying 2.20% gross/AER – a joint market-leading rate.
One of the key points to note for those who prefer not to use online applications, is that accounts can also be opened by post, which is rare in today’s market, particularly amongst the newer banks.
To compare these accounts to the rest of the market and for more information on alternatives, take a look at our Fixed Rate Bond Best Buy Tables.
Application Process and Customer Service
As mentioned, you can apply for the fixed rate bonds offered by Access Bank UK online or by post, with a minimum deposit of £5,000. As with many fixed rate bonds, you cannot access funds within the term and the provider will write to account holders prior to maturity with the options available, including information on the new bonds that may be available at the time.
The application process appears to be straightforward and several of our clients have been in touch with positive feedback on their experience in opening bonds.
We certainly have not been made aware of many negative experiences so far from any of our clients or from our own dealings with the provider. Of course, as mentioned earlier, your thoughts and experiences about providers’ customer service are invaluable for us, so please get in touch to share any feedback you have.
A final word…
It is tempting to stick to the well-known brands when it comes to savings accounts, but in doing so, you may be missing out on some of the best rates on the market. Whilst there are some exceptions, for example High Interest Current Accounts, you can no longer rely on the larger brands and high street names to offer the best interest rates.
Providers like The Access Bank UK and other, less well-known providers continue to drive competition in the savings market and offer some of the best rates available at the moment.
The best strategy is to look at all options and take each provider on its own merits, considering alternative providers to get the best returns for your money. As long as you do your research (or ask us for more information!) and are comfortable with the provider, there is no reason not to consider them in future.
As mentioned earlier, if there is a provider that you would like to see featured in a future article, please let us know. We are also keen to hear from you if you have any feedback about any provider’s customer service, good or bad! Please contact us at [email protected] to share your experiences.