Provider Focus – Ford Money

13th April 2017

We are often asked for more information on various savings providers that are of interest to savers. 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 a brand-new entrant to the UK savings market, Ford Money, who launched into the UK savings market just this week. As the newest addition to the market, this is an ideal time to give you some background information on the provider and a good opportunity to get your feedback from any initial dealings you have with them.
 
Background Information

Ford Money is a new name to the UK savings market, but it is actually a trading name of an established bank, FCE Bank plc, which has been running for around 20 years in the UK. The new bank combines the well-known brand of Ford, with a long-established financial background in the form of Ford Credit Europe (licenced as FCE Bank plc).

Ford has a long history of providing financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company, founded in the USA in 1959 and in the UK four years later, in 1963.

Ford Money is based in Wallsend, in the North-East, with a UK-based call centre. Unusually for a newer bank, the provider allows you to open accounts via the telephone, as well as online, setting the provider apart from many of its challenger peers.

Ford Money is a trading name of FCE Bank plc, which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). FCE Bank plc is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so funds placed with Ford Money 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

Ford Money entered the UK savings with a wide range of savings accounts covering easy access accounts, fixed rate bonds and cash ISAs. It is also worth noting that Ford Money has its ‘Our Best Rate Guarantee’, which means that all customers will benefit from provider’s best available rates, even after applying for an account.

Whilst not market leaders, some of the rates on offer are fairly competitive, sitting just outside of our top five best buy tables. For more information on the accounts, click on the links below.

Flexible Saver (easy access) – 0.85% gross/AER
Fixed Saver 1 Year – 1.31% gross/AER
Fixed Saver 2 Year – 1.50% gross/AER
Flexible Cash ISA(easy access) – 0.80% tax free/AER
Fixed Cash ISA 1 Year – 0.95% tax free/AER
Fixed Cash ISA 2 Year – 1.10% tax free/AER

The Flexible Saver and the Flexible Cash ISA can be opened with £1, whereas the fixed rate bonds and ISAs can be opened with a minimum of £500. All accounts can be opened online or by telephone. The cash ISAs accept transfers in from existing ISAs and the Flexible Cash ISA is a flexible ISA, allowing you to replace any withdrawn cash within the same tax year, without it affecting your annual ISA allowance. As many providers do not have this flexibility, it is good to see a provider offering this feature.

For alternatives and to compare the accounts to the rest of the market, please take a look at our Best Buy Tables.
 
Application Process and Customer Service

You can apply for the accounts above online or by telephone and the highest minimum opening balance requirement is £500, which is fairly low compared to a number of alternatives on the market. Online only applications are common amongst many of the top savings rates at the moment, so the option to open accounts by telephone may be attractive to those who do not have access to the internet or prefer not to use it for financial transactions.

The application process appears to be straightforward and whilst it is early days, we have not been made aware of any 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, particularly about providers that are new to us or to the savings market, 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 Ford Money are aiming 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.

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.

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