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Easy access accounts are a great place to stash some emergency cash. As such, everyone can use one, no matter how much you make or how much you can afford to save per month. The latest Moneyfacts UK Savings Trends Treasury Report shows that these accounts have recently grown in popularity, with this month seeing the largest rise in demand since June 2017.
Part of this growth could be due to the ongoing speculation of a base rate rise, as Moneyfacts finance expert Charlotte Nelson points out that such talk has reached a "fever pitch". Indeed, we have mentioned it more than once in previous articles, as well as the effect it could have on rates – namely, that if base rate rises, savings rates should hopefully follow - so it's understandable that savers may be reluctant to lock their cash away in a fixed rate bond at the moment.
Other reasons for the increased demand could be reports that the top easy access account rates saw some welcome upward movement last month, or maturing accounts such as the NS&I's pensioner bonds, with savers now needing to decide what to do with those withdrawn funds. "With £9 billion invested in pensioner bonds that are now maturing, a lot of the extra interest could simply be savers looking to keep their cash accessible, opting to wait and see what the future holds," said Charlotte.
However, with Bank of England figures showing that £3.2 billion has gone into easy access accounts recently while £118 million was withdrawn from fixed rate bonds, providers have been reassessing their offerings, as they simply don't want so much cash flooding into their easy access deals. As such, 13 providers have either reduced their no notice rates or withdrawn products altogether, Charlotte reports, causing the average easy access rate to fall by 0.01% this month to 0.47%.
This means that savers who are using easy access accounts as a temporary stash for their cash, until a base rate rise sees fixed rates (hopefully) increase, will need to be savvy when choosing an account. The fact that UK Finance figures show that a lot of customers are leaving high street accounts seems to suggest that savers are "finally fed up with the poor returns on offer and voting with their feet", said Charlotte. Many are perhaps looking to the offerings from challenger banks instead, with these smaller brands leading the way in the Best Buys.
So, if your savings are currently languishing in an easy access account that pays just 0.47% or less, why not look around to see if there's a deal with or without a fixed bonus that appeals? Many pay far more than the average, and as all accounts are covered by a deposit protection scheme, there's no reason to favour big brands over little fish.
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