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 RCI Bank UK, following a strong performance in our 2018, 2019 and 2020 awards.
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 the UK.
RCI Bank was the first bank owned by a car company, to launch in the UK savings market and its UK offices are located in Hertfordshire and Newcastle.
Until March 2019, the key thing to be aware of with savings accounts from RCI Bank was that the provider was not part of the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), savers were protected under the French guarantee scheme, the FGDR, up to the value of €100,000.
However, this has now changed as RCI Bank obtained its UK banking licence in March 2019, meaning that money saved with the provider is now covered by the UK FSCS - good news for both new and existing customers of the bank.
Today’s Savings Market
When it launched in June 2015, RCI Bank offered a highly competitive easy access account, the Freedom Savings account*, which featured in our best buy table regularly between 2015 and 2019 and by doing so scooped up our award for Best Easy Access Provider in both 2018 and 2019.
There have been changes to the rate on offer since its introduction, in keeping with the rest of the savings market, however unlike with many providers, any changes to the account from RCI Bank also affect those who already hold the account, which is a welcome sight in a rising market - though probably not so positive if rates drop.
Also available from the provider is a range of fixed rate bonds, which vary in competitiveness at different times, as is often the case with fixed rate accounts.
If you would like further details on these accounts, please contact us on 0800 011 9705 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, so there’s no reason not to consider taking the plunge.
Considering that RCI Bank has been featuring regularly in our best buy tables since its launch in 2015, it’s encouraging that we 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...
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 UK 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.
*We are occasionally paid by some providers if you click through from our Best Buy Tables and open a savings or current account with them. We will never accept a payment that compromises in any way our independent, whole of market approach to providing information on savings products. For clarity we will indicate those companies who remunerate us with an asterisk (*).