National Counties Building Society increased the interest rate on its easy access 3rd Issue Online Saver and 2nd Issue Branch Saver from 1.17% to 1.41%, affecting both new and existing account holders. The 3rd Issue Online Saver is now top of the Easy Access Best Buy table. An important point to note with the Online Saver is that you can withdraw a maximum of £25,000 from the account per day, so if you want to withdraw more or close the account, you will have to do so over a number of days.
This provider has gone against two trends that are prevalent at the moment among savings accounts. Firstly by adding an account to the best buy tables, when many providers are removing their top accounts. Secondly by increasing interest rates, when many providers are cutting theirs. This is obviously a positive move and one that we could do with other providers making as well.
Secure Trust Bank has launched two new bonds, a 5 Year Fixed Rate Bond (Series 15) paying 3.03% and 7 Year Fixed Rate Bond (Series 14) paying 3.11%.
So, both of these bonds pay market leading rates for their respective terms, despite the fact that the 7 year bond is paying a lower rate than the previous version. A word of caution is that neither bond allows for compounding interest, therefore the next best alternative from Vanquis Bank (3.02% for 5 years) or FirstSave (3.10% for 7 years) would provide a higher overall return over the term.
Hampshire Trust Bank has withdrawn its best buy 120 Day and 90 Day Notice Accounts. The new version of the 120 Day Notice Account is paying 1.65% and so the provider retained top spot on our best buy table, although as a result of the change, the 90 day notice account no longer appears in the table. With little competition around it would not be a surprise to see further changes from this provider in the near future.
Earl Shilton Building Society will be reducing the rate on its Progress Account for both new and existing customers from 1.40% to 1.20% from 1st April 2015. This account was previously in our easy access best buy table, but it has now been removed. Any savers who may have opened this account recently will no doubt be sorely disappointed by this move.
Tesco Bank has withdrawn its Internet Saver paying 1.35%, which included a 0.60% introductory bonus for the first 12 months. The replacement version pays just 0.75% and does not include a bonus.
So, whilst it is disappointing to see these providers no longer offering competitive rates, there are still far better options out there, check out our Easy Access Best Buy Table for higher paying alternatives.
Meanwhile, we have seen various providers replacing fixed rate accounts with lower paying versions, including a whole range of accounts from the State Bank of India and Tesco Bank. Investec has lowered its 2 and 3 year fixed rate bonds, whilst Virgin Money replaced its 3 and 5 year fixed rate bonds and fixed rate ISAs.
Added to this, many big names are also lowering their fixed rates, as Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and Halifax have demonstrated this week. The previous rates were uncompetitive to start with and are now even lower. With rates ranging from 1.05% for 1 year to 1.80% for 5 years, much higher rates are available right across the board.
So whilst on the face of it all of these changes are bad news for savers, there are still plenty of better options available on the market, so you don’t have to put up with the lower paying offerings. For example, Punjab National Bank and Vanquis Bank still have top rates available to open. For more information, take a look at our Fixed Rate Bond and Fixed Rate ISA best buy tables.
Our best buy tables are a great place to start and you can also give us a call on 0800 321 3581 for more information from one of our savings advisers.