The savings market has been rife with activity in the first few months of 2019, and although average rates haven't measurably improved as yet, the top rates available certainly have. Providers appear increasingly keen to compete as we head further into the year, so just what are the best savings accounts of 2019 so far?
As may be expected given the time of year, cash ISAs have seen the most activity in recent weeks, with providers clamouring to attract the attention of savers as the new tax year begins. Here are the best cash ISA rates currently available:
- Buckinghamshire Building Society recently relaunched its 180-day notice account to see it pay 1.50%, the joint market-leading rate among variable cash ISAs, with this branch and postal-operated account allowing unlimited further additions and even earlier access to funds, albeit on the loss of 180 days' interest.
- Earlier this week, Kent Reliance upped the rate on both its 60-day notice and easy access cash ISA, seeing them pay the joint-top rates for their sectors of 1.50% and 1.46% respectively. Indeed, the notice account pays the same rate as Buckinghamshire but with a much-reduced notice period, though it should be noted that the easy access rate of 1.46% is only available on balances of £1,000 and above.
- Yorkshire Building Society matches Kent Reliance's easy access rate of 1.46% – it requires a lower investment of £100, but only permits one withdrawal day per year – though Leeds Building Society has just relaunched its Limited Issue Online Access ISA (Issue 11) paying the same rate, having increased it by 0.05%.
- Competition has been heightened in the one-year ISA sector, too, with Kent Reliance again increasing rates to see its one-year account pay a market-leading 1.80% on maturity. Meanwhile, Charter Savings Bank relaunched its one-year deal paying 1.75%, the second-best rate in the sector, though Dudley Building Society isn't far behind with its One Year Fixed Rate ISA Issue 3 paying an enhanced rate of 1.71% yearly.
- It's a similar story for those looking to squirrel their money away for the longer term, with all fixed rate sectors seeing plenty of action in recent weeks, so much so that the market leaders have been usurped on a regular basis. Currently, Charter Savings Bank boasts the best two-year ISA with a rate of 1.95%, while Dudley Building Society and Aldermore both offer competitive three-year deals paying 1.91% and 1.90% respectively – Dudley having boosted the rate and Aldermore launching a new deal – and Shawbrook Bank sits at the top of the long-term ISA chart with a five-year deal paying 2.30%.
EASY ACCESS ACCOUNTS
Competition was particularly fierce in the easy access market towards the beginning of the year, and although it's slowed down a bit of late, there are still several deals out there that give the 1.50% rate of Marcus by Goldman Sachs® a run for its money. Here's a quick overview of what they entail:
- Virgin Money has not one but two bonus-free easy access accounts paying 1.50% at present, one of which is specifically designed for football fans. The internet-operated Double Take E-Saver Issue 10 pays a variable rate of 1.50% yearly from a minimum investment of just £1, and allows further additions at will. However, it should be noted that funds can be accessed without notice, only two withdrawals are permitted per calendar year (including closure), so careful planning is a must. Alternatively, the Man Utd Double Take E-Saver Issue 5 has the same features but offers saver the chance to earn entries into a regular prize draw to win perks such as signed shirts and matchday tickets, as well as two entries a year into the Man Utd Mega Draw.
- Kent Reliance launched a new easy access account onto the market a few weeks ago that pays a variable rate of 1.50% yearly (or 1.49% on a monthly basis), though it requires a minimum investment of £1,000 to open. Online Easy Access Savings – Issue 33, which must be opened online but can then be operated by phone as well, allows further additions at will as well as unlimited withdrawals, offering a true easy access deal.
FIXED RATE BONDS
The fixed rate bond sector has seen plenty of action so far this year as well, particularly in the case of one-year bonds, with providers continually looking to leapfrog each other to get to the top of the Best Buys. Let's take a look at some of the best options available:
- As it stands, the best one-year savings account come from Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME), with the 12-month version of Premier Deposit Account paying an increased expected profit rate of 2.20% on maturity from a minimum investment of £1,000.
- In the two-year bond sector, the top rate comes from Al Rayan Bank with an expected profit rate of 2.42%, paid quarterly, while in the three-year sector the top rate available from a bank with FSCS protection comes from Gatehouse Bank. Having increased the rate on its three-year deal just a few days ago, Raisin UK – 3 Year Fixed Term Deposit (available through the Raisin UK platform) pays an enhanced expected profit rate of 2.55%, and as an added incentive, a bonus of up to £100 is on offer depending on the amount invested.
- Gatehouse Bank leads the way in the long-term sector among accounts with FSCS protection, having increased the expected profit rate on its five-year bond (again available through the Raisin UK platform with a bonus of up to £100 on offer) to 2.75%, while BLME offers the same rate on its seven-year deal .
As you can see, competition has been ramping up across the savings market in recent weeks, and hopefully, the pattern will continue. If you're looking for the best savings accounts available, make sure to keep an eye on our Best Buys for any new entrants, and see if you can get more from your money this year.
Rates and details are correct at the time of publication (11.04.2019)