Savers may have been relieved when base rate held last week, but with some providers offering easy access rates from as low as 0.05%, many consumers are still missing out on competitive savings rates.
There are currently 25 easy access savings accounts offering rates of 0.15% or below. The lowest rate overall comes from Vernon Building Society, which pays just 0.05% on its Instant Access. Furthermore, 18 accounts offer rates of 0.10%, including Halifax’s Everyday Saver, Lloyds Bank’s Easy Saver, HSBC’s Flexible Saver and Nationwide Building Society’s Instant Access Saver Issue 6. Six accounts offer a rate of 0.15%, which includes first direct’s Savings Account and M&S Bank’s M&S Everyday Savings Account.
Savers with these accounts should consider switching their savings account, especially if they are holding a notable sum of money in the account. For example, those with £500 in an account offering 0.15% will be making just 75p in interest per year, while those with £500 in a 0.10% and a 0.05% will earn just 50p and 25p per year respectively. Alternatively, those with a £1,000 deposit in a 0.15% account will earn a meagre £1.50 a year, while the same deposit in a 0.10% and a 0.05% account will earn just £1 and 50p each year.
With inflation at 1.3%, money in these accounts will not only be offering savers a poor return on investment, but funds held will actually be diminishing in value year-on-year.
Year-on-year the average easy access rate has fallen by 0.09%, dropping from an average rate of 0.65% in February 2019 to 0.56% February 2020. Since October 2019, average easy access rates have continued to fall month-on-month, with the biggest fall of 0.03% happening this year when rates decreased from 0.59% in January 2020 to 0.56% in February 2020.
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Savers are caught up in a perfect storm that has resulted in low easy access savings rates at the moment. Providers are still benefiting from the Government’s Funding For Lending Scheme and Term Funding Scheme, which saw the Government inject money into banks to encourage lending, but also consequently meant that providers did not need to compete for deposits. In addition to this, there has been a stagnation of competition within the savings market over the last year, which has been compounded by the political and economic uncertainty during 2019. All of this combined has resulted in today’s low easy access savings rates.
As Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, explains: “Lack of competition in the market has resulted in it becoming commonplace to see providers adjust their range so that they don’t sit head and shoulders above their peers. And, generally, over a longer term, savings providers have not turned to their deposits as a way to fund their future lending, because of Government lending initiatives.”
Fortunately, for savers looking to deposit money into an easy access savings account there are some competitive rates available in the easy access chart currently offering inflation-beating rates. Ford Money is offering the top rate in the chart at the moment with its Flexible Saver paying 1.35% gross on anniversary (this account is open to existing customers only), while Marcus by Goldman Sachs® pays 1.34% gross monthly on its Online Savings Account. SAGA also offers a monthly gross rate of 1.34%, which includes a 0.20% bonus for 12 months. Post Office Money® is also offering a competitive rate of 1.32% gross, which includes a 0.82% bonus for 12 months, on its Online Saver Issue 44 paying interest yearly. Cynergy Bank also offers an inflation-beating rate of 1.31% gross, which includes a 0.56% bonus for 12 months, paid on anniversary on its Online Easy Access Account – Issue 27.
Commenting on why savers should consider switching to a higher-paying easy access account, Springall, added: “It is vital that savers do not become apathetic with their nest egg, even if they want convenience over interest, they can find much better interest rates with providers who sit in the top rate tables compared to a high street bank. If savers are unfamiliar with the brands, it only takes a few moments to look into the company – and if they have the same protection as a big bank, then there is little reason to discount them. The worst thing savers can do with their cash is nothing, so it’s important they check out the top deals and switch to something better if they are earning a poor rate.”
For a full list of the current easy access accounts available visit our easy access savings chart.
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.