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.
Alongside these articles, you may also find our Guide to Challenger Banks useful for more information on some of the banks that are seeking to break the monopoly of the big high street names.
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. You can call us on 0800 321 3581 or email [email protected].
The provider chosen this time is RCI Bank, following a number of requests for information from our clients and the fact that the provider has maintained competitively priced savings accounts since it launched in the UK last year.
RCI Bank is the UK arm of RCI Banque and launched in June 2015. RCI Banque was formed in 1974 as the internal bank of Renault, the car manufacturer and is still privately owned by the Renault group today. The RCI Banque group has four online savings banks across Europe; in France, Germany, Austria and now the UK.
RCI Bank is the only bank in the UK savings market owned by a car company and its UK offices are located in Watford and Newcastle.
The key thing to be aware of with savings accounts from RCI Bank is that the provider is not part of the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme, although savers are protected under the French guarantee scheme, the FGDR, up to the value of €100,000. Anyone looking to open one of the provider’s accounts will need to consider this before proceeding
Today’s Savings Market
When launched in June 2015, RCI Bank offered a highly competitive easy access account, the Freedom Savings Account which is still market leading, currently paying 1.55% gross/AER.
Not long after, RCI Bank launched new 1, 2 and 3 year fixed rate bonds to complement its easy access account. Currently paying 1.75% gross/AER for 1 year, 2.15% gross/AER for 2 years and 2.40% gross/AER for 3 years, each bond appears in our Fixed Rate Bond Best Buy Tables.
If you would like further details on these accounts, please contact us on 0800 321 3581 to talk to one of our savings experts.
Application Process and Customer Service
All accounts from RCI Bank must all be applied for online, so this will not suit those who prefer not to use the internet. However, the application process appears to be straightforward.
Since its launch, the provider has regularly featured in our best buy tables and therefore has attracted plenty of interest from savers and we certainly have not been made aware of any negative experiences so far. 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…
As mentioned earlier, it is important to be aware that deposits held with RCI Bank are not covered by the UK Financial Services Scheme (FSCS), but by the French equivalent. Therefore, you need to ensure that you are comfortable with this before placing funds with the provider. Please get in touch if you would like any further information.
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 RCI Bank 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.