Rates Rundown 15 February 2017

15th February 2017

Race to the top of the best buys continues!

It could be argued that the biggest news for many savers in the last week has been the announcement from NS&I about rate cuts taking effect from May, which you may have already seen in this newsletter.

However, it’s not all bad news in the savings market, as there have been a number of positive changes in the last few weeks.

We have seen new best buy easy access accounts launched by Leeds Building Society and The West Brom, although they both come up short of RCI Bank, which remains the market leader in that particular category.

Among the fixed rate bonds, we have seen a plethora of providers making improvements across a range of terms, pushing themselves higher up our best buy tables.

Masthaven Bank, Paragon Bank, and Aldermore all made improvements to their 2 year fixed rate bonds, however Atom Bank continued to lead the way. Regardless of this, Atom Bank pushed up the rates on its market-leading 1 and 2 year terms.

Longer term bonds have also seen improvements, with a new market-leading rate from Masthaven Bank and Secure Trust Bank, along with both Vanquis Bank and Paragon Bank launching new best buys.

Further to this, Masthaven Bank launched a range of other new best buys, with its 3 year fixed rate bond paying a market-leading rate, and its 48 month term moving higher in our best buys.

Bank of London & The Middle East (BLME) launched a new 5 year Sharia compliant fixed term deposit, which is head and shoulders above the rest of the market, provided you are comfortable with how Sharia compliant accounts work and how they differ from standard savings accounts.

Elsewhere, we have also seen improvements in the Notice Account and Variable Rate Cash ISA Best Buy Tables, with Paragon Bank again making the headlines, alongside new best buys from Secure Trust Bank and Teachers Building Society.

So, things may be starting to look up for savers and long may the improvements continue.

Among easy access accounts, no provider has yet dislodged RCI Bank’s Freedom Savings Account from top spot, still paying 1.10% gross/AER and available to open online with a minimum of £100. However, we have seen two building societies enter the best buy tables.

The Limited Issue Online Access Account from Leeds Building Society pays 1.05% gross/AER and can be opened online, with a minimum of £1,000. The account matures on the 28 February 2018, after which the funds are transferred to an instant access maturity account.

The WeBSave Bonus Saver 2 from The West Brom also pays 1.05% gross/AER and can be opened online, with a minimum of £1,000. It is worth noting that the interest rate includes a 0.35% bonus until 31 May 2018, so you may need to look for an alternative after that time.

So, RCI Bank’s Freedom Savings Account remains the one to beat and is also free from bonus and withdrawal restrictions, unlike a number of alternatives on the market.

Atom Bank improved the rates on offer on its 1, 2 and 3 year fixed rate bonds, which now pay 1.50% gross/AER, 1.65% gross/AER and 1.75% gross/AER respectively. Accounts can be opened with a minimum of £50, through the provider’s app, via a mobile device.

The application process may not suit everyone, so for alternatives, check out our Fixed Rate Bond Best Buy Tables. If you are looking for a 2 year fixed rate bond, another new account, this time from Masthaven Bank is the next best at 1.58% gross/AER. Accounts can be opened online with a minimum of £500.

Masthaven Bank also launched new rates across a range of other terms. Most noteworthy, the new version of its 3 and 5 year fixed rate bonds paying a market-leading rate of 1.76% gross/AER and 2.06% gross/AER respectively. Accounts can be opened online, with a minimum of £500. You can choose to have interest paid on an annual or monthly basis.

In addition, the provider gives the option to choose your own term. For the exact interest rate for your preferred term, please visit Masthaven Bank’s website

Secure Trust Bank launched a new 5 year fixed rate bond, again at a market-leading rate of 2.06% gross/AER. Accounts can be opened online, with a minimum of £1,000 and the account is available to personal customers, businesses, and charities. Interest must be paid annually to a nominated account, it cannot be added to the bond.

Masthaven Bank and Secure Trust Bank both now on top of the table by the smallest of margins, with the next highest paying accounts at 2.05% gross/AER. This includes the newly launched bonds from Vanquis Bank and Paragon Bank, which are both available to open online, with a minimum of £1,000.

Bank of London & The Middle East (BLME) launched a new version of its Sharia compliant 5 year Premier Deposit Account, paying an expected profit rate of 2.25% gross/AER. Accounts can be opened with a minimum of £25,000.

Sharia compliant fixed term deposits comply with Islamic law but are available to any saver, regardless of religion or culture. Sharia law states that money had no intrinsic value, so neither party can profit from an exchange of money, therefore the payment and receipt of interest is forbidden. Instead, Sharia compliant accounts pay an 'Expected Profit Rate' as an alternative to interest, which is the level of profit paid by the provider to the saver.

The provider invests the money deposited by savers to generate a profit, so there is an inherent risk to the return involved, as the return received depends on the performance of the investments made by the provider. Having said that, providers are keen to state that Expected Profit Rates are usually achieved and most providers allow you to take funds away early if the Expected Profit Rate is not likely to be achieved. For more information, please click here for our Sharia Accounts Best Buy Table.

Our Notice Account Best Buy Table has also seen two new leaders in the last few weeks. Firstly, Paragon Bank launched a new 120 Day Notice (Issue 5) paying 1.15% gross/AER, which can be opened online with a minimum of £500.

The account was then overtaken by Secure Trust Bank’s 120 Day Notice Account (Issue 22), paying 1.19% gross/1.20% AER. Accounts can be opened online, with a minimum of £1,000, however, you are restricted to a maximum of 4 interest withdrawals and 3 capital withdrawals per calendar year, each subject to 120 days’ notice, so you will need to plan withdrawals carefully.

Finally, there have been two new best buy variable rate cash ISAs launched. Firstly, Teachers Building Society re-launched its Cash ISA Notice 90 (Issue 6), paying 1.05% tax free/AER. Accounts can be opened by post, with a minimum of £100 and withdrawals are subject to 90 days’ notice or loss of interest.

Paragon Bank then joined Teachers Building Society at the top of the Variable Rate Cash ISA Best Buy Table. Also paying 1.05% tax free/AER, the Limited Edition Easy Access ISA can be opened online, with a minimum of £1.

If you would like to discuss further options or would like any help with your savings, please get in touch. Our Bath-based savings experts would love to hear from you, so call us on 0800 321 3581. 

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