This year so far has seen a whole host of providers lowering the rates on offer and the last few weeks have been no exception, with lower rates from the Post Office, Skipton Building Society, Shawbrook Bank, Yorkshire Building Society and Punjab National Bank, to name but a few.
Perhaps one of the most disappointing trends in the last few weeks has been the disappearance of the top-paying Help to Buy ISAs, with this category suffering in a similar way to the rest of the market, despite the fact that this type of ISA has only been around for six months.
In spite of this doom and gloom, there are still positive movements to be found amongst some providers, Virgin Money has re-entered the Easy Access Best Buy Table and the Bank of London & the Middle East (BLME) has re-entered the savings market after a six month absence.
Whilst many best buy fixed rate bonds are being withdrawn and replaced with lower paying versions, one of the UK’s newer banks, OakNorth Bank has bucked the trend and increased its fixed rate offerings and entered our Fixed Rate Bond Best Buy Tables as a result.
Finally, hot off the press, Charter Savings Bank launched a new market leading 1 year fixed rate bond on Thursday evening, leaping from third place to top of our best buy table.
As we approached the end of May, we saw the last 4% Help to Buy ISAs drop out of the wider market. Santander removed its 4% Help to Buy ISA from sale – replacing it with a new version paying 2% tax free/AER for all customers or 2.50% tax free/AER for 123 World and Santander Select customers.
On the same day, Penrith Building Society restricted its own 4% Help to Buy ISA to customers with a Cumbria postcode only. There are now only two Help to Buy ISAs available that pay 4% and these are only available to local customers of Penrith Building Society and Cumberland Building Society.
So, following these changes, the top rate available to everyone is 3% tax free/AER, available from both Virgin Money and Buckinghamshire Building Society.
However, Help to Buy ISAs remain a good option to consider for first time buyers, as there is the prospect of a 25% bonus from the government, so for more information, take a look at our Help to Buy ISA Best Buy Table and free Factsheet.
Virgin Money has re-launched its Defined Access Saver, which pays 1.26% gross/AER and now features in our Easy Access Best Buy Table. Accounts can be opened online, in branch or by post with a minimum of £1. Up to three withdrawals can be made each calendar year, if you make four or more withdrawals, the rate will drop to 0.50% gross/AER for the remainder of that year.
It is good to see Virgin Money back in the best buy tables and whilst better rates are available from the likes of RCI Bank and West Bromwich Building Society, this is the highest rate available to everyone, that is not restricted to online applications only.
Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME) has launched new fixed term deposit accounts, having been absent from the savings market since December 2015. The accounts are Sharia compliant, so pay an expected profit rate, rather than a standard interest rate and can be opened online with a minimum of £25,000.
A selection of the expected profit rates available are as follows;
1.50% gross/AER for 1 year, 1.75% gross/AER for 18 months, 2.00% gross/AER for 2 years, 2.25% gross/AER for 3 years and 2.75% gross/AER for 5 years.
To compare the profit rates to other alternatives, take a look at our Sharia Accounts and Fixed Rate Bonds Best Buy Tables and if you need more information on Sharia Compliant savings, please call us on 0800 321 3581 to talk to one of our expert savings advisers.
Whilst many providers have been lowering rates, OakNorth Bank has increased the rates on offer on its Fixed Rate Bonds, with both the 1 year and 2 year bonds now appearing in our Fixed Rate Bond Best Buy Tables.
The rates on offer have increased significantly, with the 12 month bond now paying 1.61% gross/AER (the previous version was 1.40%), the 15 month bond paying 1.65% gross/AER (the previous version was 1.45%), the 24 month bond paying 1.86% gross/AER (the previous version was 1.75%) and the 30 month bond paying 1.90% gross/AER (previously 1.80%). Accounts can be opened online with a minimum of £1,000.
OakNorth Bank is one of the UK’s newer banks, having launched in September 2015. For more information on the provider, please take a look at our recent Provider Focus article.
Charter Savings Bank has launched a new version of its 1 Year Fixed Rate Bond paying 1.66% gross/AER (the previous version was 1.60%). The account can be opened online, with a minimum of £1,000 and you cannot access funds within the term.
Charter Savings Bank has jumped from third place to top with this move and it is encouraging to see that some providers are keeping competition alive in the savings market by pushing rates back in the right direction.