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Money Masterclass

Money Masterclass

Category: Money

Updated: 14/12/2012
First Published: 06/01/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Welcome to the first Money Masterclass of the New Year, your one-stop-shop for the best new personal finance products on the market.

This week we start with a couple of cracking savings accounts, so if your New Year's resolution is to start building up a rainy day fund, we could have the product for you.

You'll also find a competitive new mortgage from Bank of China and a personal loan rate to savour from Marks & Spencer Money.

As usual, products are broken up into technical details and impartial product analysis, so you can be sure the information is 100% reliable.


Santander - Product details

Santander has re-launched its one and two year fixed rate bonds with rates increased by up to 0.20%. The new one year bond pays 2.75% to savers with deposits between £1 and £24,999 and 3.00% for deposits between £25,000 and £2m. For savers willing to lock their money away for two years, a rate of 3.30% is paid for deposits between £1 and £24,999 and 3.55% for between £25,000 and £2m. Further additions and early access are not allowed. Savers of all ages can operate these accounts; in branch, by telephone or online. analysis

This latest review from Santander sees its two year bond rate increase by 0.10% to 3.30% for deposits between £1 and £25K, with the £25K tier remaining unchanged at 3.55%. The one year bond now pays a competitive 3.00% for investments between £25K and £2m. As with most fixed rate bonds, investors must be willing to commit their funds for the full term as no earlier access or additions are permitted.

West Brom Building Society - Product details

New issues of the Branch Easy Access Saver and No Notice Saver Direct accounts have been launched with rates increased by 0.10%. Both accounts pay a rate of 2.40% to savers with deposits between £1,000 and £99,999 and 0.10% to those investing between £100,000 and £1m. The No Notice Saver Direct also offers a monthly interest option of 2.37%, for deposits between £1,000 and £99,999 and 0.10% for between £100,000 and £1m.

No notice is required to withdraw funds, although savers need to be aware that penalty free withdrawals are limited each year; two per annum for the Branch Easy Access Saver and three for the No Notice Saver Direct deal. Savers who exceed the withdrawal limits will incur a 60 days' loss of interest penalty. The accounts are available to savers of all ages. The No Notice Saver Direct account can be operated by post and telephone, while the Branch Easy Access Saver, as the name suggests, can only be operated in branch. analysis

West Brom Building Society has increased the rates on two of its easy access accounts to 2.40%. The deals continue to be market leaders in the easy access market and should prove popular with investors; however, it is important to remember that there are restrictions on the number of withdrawals allowed each year. The No Notice Saver Direct monthly option should also appeal to those looking for extra monthly income.

Find the best savings rates for you - Compare savings accounts


Bank of China - Product details

Bank of China has extended its mortgage product range to all customers in Great Britain and has also launched a range of intermediary-only products. Its variable tracker rate now offers a reduced rate of 2.30% for term (BBR + 1.80%) with a maximum loan-to-value of 80%. An arrangement fee is payable, depending on the borrowing amount, as follows: For up to £500,000 of the mortgage advance the arrangement fee is £1,295, between £500,000 and £1m it is £2,495 and between £1m and £2m the fee is 0.50% of the advance. Free legal fees are offered to remortgage borrowers in England and Wales. There is also the option to make overpayments. analysis

Bank of China has broadened its lending area criteria and now offers deals to customers across Great Britain. A reduction of 0.50% means its tracker for term product now offers a competitive rate of 2.30%. A maximum loan-to-value of 80% boosts this deal's appeal, although customers must be aware that the arrangement fee will differ depending on how much they borrow. A range of intermediary only products has also been launched.

Find the best mortgage rate - Compare best selling mortgages


Marks & Spencer Money - Product details

Marks & Spencer Money has reduced its unsecured personal loan rate for loans between £7,500 and £15,000 by 2.4% to 7.5% APR. Loans are available to new customers aged 30 or over or homeowners. Previously customers had to be an existing Marks & Spencer Money Credit Card or Chargecard holder for at least six months. analysis

Marks & Spencer Money has opened up its loan product range to a wider customer base. This latest rate reduction makes the loan a more viable option for consumers in what has become a very competitive market in the last few weeks, at this tier. Consumers must be aged 30 or over or a homeowner to qualify for the product.

Find the best loan for you - compare loans

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.