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A month on from the Bank of England's latest base rate increase, savers are likely to be disappointed, as many of the biggest high street banks have yet to pass on the full 0.25% rise to their easy access account customers. As a result, the average easy access rate has gone up by just 0.06% month-on-month.
"As a month has passed since the base rate hike, savers will be disappointed by how little impact it has made, with many denied the full rise," Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, said. "There is still not one high street bank matching the latest Bank of England base rate of 0.75% for new easy access customers and less than a third of the overall market can beat its level."
At the same time, many providers are dragging their heels, with around half of those offering variable rate deals still keeping quiet on what they're planning to do with their rates. Much of this could be explained by the ongoing effects of cheap Government lending initiatives, which have dampened the big banks' need for savers' deposits over the last several years.
That said, providers seem to have been quite willing to pass on the full 0.25% increase on certain accounts, such as children's savers, junior ISAs, Help to Buy ISAs and high-balance-requiring accounts. In contrast, easy access accounts seem rather unloved, especially by the biggest providers on the high street, as the table below illustrates.
|Bank||Account||1 Aug 18 (Gross rate at £10,000)||3 Sep 18 (Gross rate at £10,000)||Difference|
|Bank of Scotland||Access Saver (current account holders)||0.20%||0.45%||0.25%|
|Barclays Bank||Everyday Saver||0.20%||0.25%||0.05%|
|Halifax||Everyday Saver (current account holders)||0.20%||0.45%||0.25%|
|HSBC||Online Bonus Saver (no withdrawals)||0.45%||0.55%||0.10%|
|Lloyds Bank||Easy Saver (new customers)||0.20%||No change yet||None|
|NatWest||Instant Saver Account||0.10%||0.20%||0.10%|
|RBS||Instant Saver Account||0.10%||0.20%||0.10%|
Rachel discovered more bad news when it comes to easy access accounts, as "some brands haven't yet passed on the previous interest rate rise, let alone this one, such as Barclays with a 0.15% rise in December and just 0.05% this month on its Everyday Saver. There are even some brands denying savers a full rise this year because they passed on the previous rate rise."
This has resulted in the average easy access rate rising by just 0.06% since the start of August, to 0.59%. However, that doesn't mean savers should just give up and be content with a low rate. Rachel found some brands have indeed increased the rates on their easy access accounts by 0.25%, "like Sainsbury's Bank, Beverley Building Society and Vernon Building Society."
If you're not with any of these banks, or with the big nine, you might want to be a little patient, as it may take smaller banks a few more months to decide whether they can afford to pass on the base rate rise. Of course, those who've run out of patience can always take a look at the easy access with bonus and without bonus charts to see what else is out there.
"A similar trend can be seen with variable ISAs, which have seen minor improvements," said Rachel. "Only a few providers have passed on the latest 0.25% increase, for example Halifax, with its ISA saver now paying 0.60%, up from 0.35%. Yet some rises may seem like a poor consolation prize to savers, such as with the Barclays ISA, which has increased selected tiers by just 0.05%."
As a result of this little movement, the average easy access ISA is up just 0.06% as well, to 0.88% today. While this is likely disappointing news, Rachel concluded: "Savers may have needed this jolt of bad news to come to the realisation that better returns can be found with the more unfamiliar brands, and as 28% of the easy access market fails to beat 0.75%, they should take time out to study the Best Buy tables and switch if they are getting a raw deal."
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