There hasn't been much savings news recently, positive or negative, which is why savers may be delighted to hear that notice accounts are improving. After recording record lows in 2017, they are now back on track, with this month seeing the highest average rate since May 2013.
It's not just averages that are heading in the right direction, as our research shows that 83% of notice accounts currently pay more than base rate (which still stands at 0.50%). This is up from only 53% who paid a base-rate-beating return last year.
"Last year, the notice account market felt a bit abandoned, but over the past 12 months, providers have been competing fiercely in this area to bring it back from the brink," commented Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk. As a result, the best deal now pays 1.77% gross (from Secure Trust Bank), 0.32% higher than the top rate seen a year ago, as the table below illustrates.
"Although notice accounts may not be the first port of call for every saver, they are worth taking seriously thanks to the challenger banks breathing life back into the market," Rachel said. One prominent example, as you can see in the charts, is OakNorth, which according to Rachel "increased its notice account rates by up to 0.37% last week, which in turn propelled the bank's position in the market so it now offers the best accounts with a 120- and 90-day notice period."
Rachel went on to explain that "some providers have entered the market anew, perhaps due to the saturated easy access market, as this area has also improved over the last year." And if they needed any more reasons, providers could be looking for new funds, with notice accounts giving them a better handle on their books than easy access deals.
"At a time when most of the savings rate rises in the market are being made on fixed rates, it's refreshing to see that the notice account market hasn't been forgotten," said Rachel. These accounts could be perfect for savers who want a higher rate than those available on easy access accounts, but still want the peace of mind that they will be able to access their cash within a year, although Rachel added that "it's worth noting there are notice accounts that do not allow earlier access."
Rachel ended on a happy thought: "We could see even more improvements in the notice account market as we enter the second half of 2018, particularly with the challenger banks fighting it out to grab savers' attention in what's considered to be a much more unique arena, but there is plenty of potential to grab the spotlight."
Have a look at our notice account chart if you want to see the improvements that have been made for yourself, or take a look at the savings search if you want a wider view of the state of the savings market at the moment.
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.