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 awards – particularly in the easy access category, an area of the market in which it was a consistent performer throughout 2017.
This is an ideal opportunity to find out more about a provider that is often competing at the top of the savings market and keep an eye out for features on other award winners throughout the 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 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.
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. As it is difficult to know how robust the protection scheme of another country is, anyone looking to open one of the provider’s accounts will need to look into the details of the scheme carefully before proceeding.
Today’s Savings Market
When it launched in June 2015, RCI Bank offered a highly competitive easy access account, the Freedom Savings account, which has remained in our best buy table ever since and by doing so has now scooped up our award for Best Easy Access Provider for two years in a row.
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 rare but welcome occurrence in today’s savings market, especially if we continue to see a rising market.
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. The current rates are 1.66% gross/AER for one year, 1.91% gross/AER for two years and 2.06% gross/AER for three years. So, whilst better rates are currently available elsewhere, watch out for changes in 2018, which could well see the provider moving higher up the 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, so there’s no reason not to consider taking the plunge.
Considering that RCI Bank has been an almost permanent fixture 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.