Amid the continuing doom and gloom of accounts being withdrawn and replaced with lower paying versions or simply disappearing from the market, there have been a few small rays of light. We have seen improved best buy easy access and notice accounts and some upward movement among 1 year fixed rate bonds.
Tesco Bank has launched a new version of its Internet Saver account paying 1.40%, with a 0.65% introductory bonus for the first 12 months. The account now features in the easy access best buy table.
Interestingly, this account seems to have been yo-yoing in and out of the best buy tables in the last few months. In mid-September a version was launched paying 1.40% (replacing one paying 1.35%) which was subsequently replaced with a lower paying version in mid-October (again paying 1.35%).
ICICI Bank re-launched its HiSave SuperSaver Savings Account paying 1.39% monthly gross. This is now the top paying account with no withdrawal restrictions or introductory bonus on the market at the moment.
This account has not been available to open for over a year now, so it will be interesting to see whether this will become a trend, with other providers following suit, or if it simply a case of an individual provider encouraging savers back in.
It is worth noting that since being withdrawn from sale, existing account holders have seen the rate reduce and whilst this does not necessarily mean that it will happen again, it is something to watch out for.
Secure Trust Bank has launched a new 120 Day Notice Account (Issue 11) paying 1.80% gross/1.81% AER. This is now top of the Notice Account best buy table. Withdrawals are subject to 120 days’ notice only, no earlier access allowed. A maximum of 4 interest withdrawals and 3 capital withdrawals are allowed per year, all subject to notice.
The withdrawal restrictions need to be considered as they may not be suitable for everyone, although the account may suit you if you are not looking for regular access to their money.
It is good to see a provider challenging Shawbrook Bank’s recent monopoly at the top of the Notice Account table. Hopefully, this small spark of competition will ignite and others will follow suit, we may even see a reaction from Shawbrook, if they are keen to retake that top spot.
There have also been a couple of increases among 1 year fixed rate bonds recently.
Shawbrook Bank has replaced its 1 Year Fixed Rate Bond Issue 19 paying 1.60% with Issue 22 paying 1.75%.
An upward change is always welcome, despite the fact that there are better paying alternatives available. The 1 year bond is now on a par with some of the provider’s direct competitors, Aldermore and Paragon Bank. But Punjab National Bank continues to hold onto the top spot with 2%, closely followed by Kent Reliance at 1.90%.
Tesco Bank has also launched new versions of a selection of its fixed rate bonds. The 1 year version has gone up to 1.70% (previously 1.60%), whilst the 4 and 5 year bonds have both gone down, now paying 2.55% (previously 2.65%) and 2.80% (previously 3%) respectively.
It is good to see upward movement for the 1 year version, although better rates are still available.
Also reducing the rate on offer for its 5 year fixed rate bond is First Save, who has replaced a bond paying 3.08%, with a new version at 2.95%. Along with Secure Trust that withdrew its table topping 5 year fixed rate bond paying 3.11%.
Seemingly, longer term fixed rate ISAs are also coming down as Coventry Building Society has replaced the Fixed Rate ISA (23) paying 2.60% with a new version at 2.40%.
What makes this change particularly interesting is that despite the reduction, the account is still the top 4 year fixed rate ISA on the market, allowing the provider to maintain its competitive edge, without having to pay over the odds.
Finally in a category that is often overlooked by providers, Skipton Building Society has launched new regular savings accounts. The new branch exclusive account is paying 3%, whilst a loyalty version is 4%, only available for customers who were members before 26th January 2014.
Whilst being competitive, Skipton has, in keeping with many regular savings accounts, restricted access to them to those that can make either make it to a branch or are existing customers.