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 the latest brand-new entrant to the UK savings market, PCF Bank, who entered the UK savings market just a few weeks ago. 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.
PCF Bank is a new name to the UK savings market, but was actually established in 1994 and provides vehicle and plant & equipment finance to consumers and businesses. According to its website, PCF Bank has helped over 70,000 customers over its lifetime and is able to apply this experience to the way in which it helps savings customers.
The early signs are good, with competitive savings products launched and hopefully the bank’s experience in providing finance products will mean that savers will benefit from a good level of customer service.
PCF Bank is based in London, near Liverpool Street train station and has a call centre that is based in its London office. Unusually for a newer bank, the provider allows you to open accounts via the post, as well as online, setting the provider apart from many of its peers.
PCF Bank Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). PCF Bank 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
PCF Bank entered the UK savings market with fixed rate bonds over a range of different terms and a 100-day notice account. Whilst not all of these accounts found a way straight into our best buy tables on launch, subsequent improvements have seen the provider competing at or near the top of our respective tables.
The four, five and seven-year fixed rate bonds are all paying market-leading rates, whereas the two year bond sits in fifth place. Meanwhile, the 100 day notice account currently sits in third position in our table. For more information on the accounts, click on the links below.
The Term Deposits and Notice Account can all be opened online or by post, with a minimum of £1,000, up to a maximum of £250,000. You cannot access funds deposited in a Term Deposit until the end of the term, whereas withdrawals from the 100 Day Notice Account, as the name suggests, are subject to 100 days’ notice, there is no option to access funds early by paying a penalty.
For alternatives and to compare the accounts to the rest of the market, please take a look at our Best Buy Tables.
It is an encouraging start by PCF Bank, with the provider prominent in our best buy tables and getting its name more well-known in the market. Hopefully they will build on this start and continue to support savers with competitive rates going forward.
Application Process and Customer Service
As mentioned earlier, you can apply for the accounts above online or by post and the minimum opening balance requirement is £1,000, which is a fairly standard amount. Online only applications are common amongst many of the top savings accounts at the moment, so the option to open accounts by post 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 to 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 PCF Bank 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.