Official figures show that inflation remained unchanged at 2.4% in October, going against many economists' expectations. A slight rise had been widely predicted, so the lack of movement is certainly good news for those who may have been concerned about the impact on their wallets ahead of the peak shopping season – and it's even better news for savers, as 27 accounts can counteract it!
Data from Moneyfacts.co.uk shows that 27 fixed rate bonds (based on a £10,000 deposit) are able to match or beat inflation, and within that, 20 pay more than 2.40%. This is still a small share of the standard savings market, but it's certainly an improvement compared to recent times – last month, only 15 bonds paid more than inflation, and a year ago there were no accounts at all that could beat or even match it, so the latest rate rises have certainly made things slightly better for hard-pressed savers.
Here's a quick run-through of some of the fixed rate bonds that can give a measurable return on your savings:
Want more inflation-beating accounts? Check out our fixed rate Best Buys
There are certainly plenty of options for those seeking an inflation-beating account, and after all, you only need one! However, it remains the case that "only longer-term fixed rate bonds will be able to beat the eroding power of inflation," said Moneyfacts.co.uk finance expert Rachel Springall, with anyone hoping to invest over the short term still facing its pressure. "Therefore, savers will need to be savvier than ever to take advantage of alternatives, such as high interest current accounts."
When we talk about the number of accounts that beat inflation, we're referring to the standard savings market – but there are other options that you can look to if you want to secure a truly inflation-beating return.
One of these, as Rachel mentioned, is high interest current accounts. It's possible to get in-credit interest rates of up to 5%, such as with this deal from Nationwide, though there are usually a few hoops you'll have to jump through – you'll typically have to transfer direct debits from your previous account and may have to close it altogether, and will often have to sign up for online banking and paperless statements. You'll probably have to meet minimum monthly funding requirements, too, and will only be able to earn interest up to a set (usually small) balance, so you can't squirrel away thousands upon thousands and get the same 5% rate.
That said, these accounts could be ideal for those with a small savings pot who want to be certain they can get a real return, and in a similar vein, regular savings accounts could also be worth considering. Restriction-free accounts pay up to 3.50%, and if you can get a linked or loyalty product through your current account, they can be even higher. Again, there are restrictions – you'll typically only be able to save up to a certain amount each month – but for those looking to get into the savings habit, the inflation-beating returns are hard to beat.
Or, for those who don't mind a bit of extra risk, stocks & shares ISAs could be next on the list. These accounts offer tax-free benefits and the chance to earn returns well above what could be achieved with cash saving, but there's no guarantee – returns are based on stock market performance and you may end up with less than you put in. However, for those comfortable with that kind of risk, they could be suitable; just make sure to get advice if you're unsure.
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