We are often asked for more information on various providers that are of interest to savers. In this regular series of articles, we aim to turn the spotlight on these banks and building societies 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 PCF Bank, the winner of Best New Provider in the 2018 Savings Champion Awards.
As one of the newer entrants into the savings market, this is an ideal time to find out more about the provider, particularly given its regular appearances in our best buy tables in comparison to some of the other newer banks.
PCF Bank is a relatively new name to the UK savings market - having launched in July 2017 - but it was actually established in 1994, providing vehicle and plant & equipment financing. According to its website, PCF bank has helped over 70,000 consumers over its lifetime and is able to apply this experience to the way in which it helps savings customers.
The early signs were certainly good, with competitive savings products launched and hopefully the bank’s experience in providing finance products will mean that savers will benefit from a good level of customer service.
PCF Bank is based in London, near Liverpool Street train station and has a call centre that is based in its London office. Unusually for a newer bank, the provider allows you to open accounts via the post, as well as online, setting the provider apart from many of its peers.
PCF Bank Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). PCF Bank Limited is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so funds placed with the provider would be covered up to £85,000 per person, should the provider go out of business.
For more information on the FSCS, please take a look at our handy guide or call us on 0800 321 3581 to speak to one of our expert savings advisers.
Today’s Savings Market
PCF Bank entered the UK savings market with fixed rate bonds over a range of different terms and a 100 day notice account. As with the vast majority of providers today, the competitiveness of the individual rates on offer has varied over time, but PCF Bank has featured regularly in our best buy tables since its launch.
In the last few weeks, PCF Bank has made a number of improvements to its fixed rate bond range and now sits in the top five in our one, two, three, four and five year tables. Then, just a week after improving its one, two and five year fixed rate bonds, it upped the rates again, moving up the respective tables - an unusual but very welcome move.
The key point to note for those wary of using online applications, is that accounts can also be opened by post, which is rare in today’s market, particularly amongst the newer banks.
The Term Deposits and Notice Account can all be opened with a minimum of £1,000, up to a maximum of £250,000. You cannot access funds deposited in a Term Deposit until the end of the term, whereas withdrawals from the 100 Day Notice Account, as the name suggests, are subject to 100 days’ notice, there is no option to access funds early by paying a penalty.
A summary of the current rates on offer are as follows;
1 Year Term Deposit Issue 9 – 1.88% gross/AER.
2 Year Term Deposit Issue 8 – 2.09% gross/AER.
3 Year Term Deposit Issue 7 – 2.20% gross/AER.
4 Year Term Deposit Issue 6 – 2.25% gross/AER.
5 Year Term Deposit Issue 10 – 2.47% gross/AER.
100 Day Notice Issue 4 – 1.45% gross/AER.
For alternatives and to compare the accounts to the rest of the market, please take a look at our Best Buy Tables.
Application Process and Customer Service
As mentioned earlier, you can apply for the accounts above online or by post and the minimum opening balance requirement is £1,000, which is a fairly standard amount. Online-only applications are common amongst many of the top savings rates at the moment, so the option to open accounts by post could be attractive to those who do not have access to the internet or prefer not to use it for financial transactions.
The application process is straightforward and we have certainly not been made aware of any negative experiences so far from any of our clients or from our own dealings with the provider.
Of course, as mentioned earlier, your thoughts and experiences about providers’ customer service are invaluable for us, particularly for those that are new to us or to the savings market, 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 PCF Bank 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.