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February Savings Roundup

Each month, James writes columns for Around Town and BeauLieu Magazines, which are delivered to 60,000 homes and businesses in Essex. His February column is reproduced here:

 

Last month was a very busy month in the savings market and for the Savings Guru!  We saw new best buys in instant savings, notice and all fixed rate bond categories apart from four and five years.

As a company, we recorded a ‘savings special’ podcast with This Is Money, the Daily Mail’s financial website, which has already been downloaded and listened to by over 10,000 people. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/podcast/article-6623269/Everything-need-know-savings-Money-podcast.html

We were thrilled to be shortlisted as a finalist at the British Bank Awards for ‘Consultancy of the Year’.  The Awards are the ‘Oscars’ of our industry and we are on a shortlist of five - which includes global giants Deloitte and Cap Gemini. 

Voting runs until the 10th February (https://smp.reviews/british-bank-awards-2019-survey) and the winners are announced on 7th March – we will keep you posted on how we fare!

 

Family Building Society knock Marcus off top spot

Epsom based Family Building Society knocked global giant Marcus by Goldman Sachs off the top spot for instant savings.  Marcus have lead the best buys since their launch last September, bar a 48 hour period when they were briefly toppled by Nottingham Building Society.

Family’s ‘Premium Saver 3’ account pays 1.51% and can be opened by internet, phone, post or at their branch in Epsom.  The downsides of the account is the £15,000 minimum balance, which is much higher than most rivals, and the lack of monthly interest options, which will disappoint income seekers.  However, for those that meet the minimum balance requirements, the rate and range of options to open and manage the account will have huge appeal.

Family’s last issue of their premium saver didn’t last long so we’d recommend moving quickly if this one does appeal as we can’t see if lasting beyond the middle of the month.

https://www.thesavings.guru/saving-accounts/easy-access

 

Fixed Rate Bonds on the rise

Last month saw a number of price increases on fixed rate bonds with Gatehouse Bank launching a 2.15% 1 Year Fixed Rate Bond to top the market.  They were then joined by Bank of London & Middle East, who also lowered their minimum balance to £1,000, in line with most rivals.

Al Rayan Bank increased their rates and now lead the way on 18 Months, 2 and 3 Year Fixed Rate Bonds paying 2.32%, 2.42% and 2.52% respectively.  Al Rayan typically hold their rates for a good period of time so we expect these rates to be around for some time and we could see rivals close the gap behind them.

 

Cash incentives to switch bank – £150+ offered!

The New Year has seen the return of some great financial incentives to switch bank.  With many people short of cash following Christmas, banks are offering some great rewards for those looking for some ‘free’ money.

RBS is offering £150 to new and existing customers who switch to their Select, Reward or Reward Silver/Platinum/Black accounts by 8th March and pay in £1,500 and log in online or via their app by 12th April.  The Reward accounts come with monthly fees, starting from £2 per month, but pay 2% cashback on seven different household bills so the average household should make something in the region of £80 - £85 on top of this (before the fees are taken in to account).

https://personal.rbs.co.uk/personal/current_accounts.html

 

NatWest’ Select Account offers the same £150 incentive for switchers who move by 15th February and pay in £1,500 by 22nd March and HSBC’s Advance Account also pays £150 to switchers.

https://personal.natwest.com/personal/current-accounts/switch-your-banking-to-natwest.html

https://www.hsbc.co.uk/current-accounts/products/advance/

 

M&S Bank gives £180 in vouchers over the first year, Halifax’s Reward Accounts pays £135 (in two instalments) and £2 monthly reward to switchers who pay in £750 per month and set up two direct debits.

https://bank.marksandspencer.com/current-accounts/ (offer has changed since going to print)

https://www.halifax.co.uk/bankaccounts/current-accounts/

 

Finally, First Direct pays £100 who have, until recently, topped the customer service charts for years.  That’s all changed though as they’ve been usurped by branchless app based bank Monzo.  If cash incentives don’t do it for you but great service, helpful features, alerts and a hot coral debit card do, Monzo is definitely worth a look!  You may not have heard of them but over 1 million people have an account with them, despite only launching in 2015.

https://www1.firstdirect.com/1/2/banking/current-account

www.monzo.com

 

What are the best rates currently?

The savings market does move quickly, so we always recommend that you check our website for the latest rates.  At time of print, our best personal savings rates are:

 

Term

Interest Rate

Provider

Instant Savings

1.51%

Family Building Society

Notice

1.90%

Charter Savings Bank

1 Year

2.15%

Gatehouse Bank and Bank of London & Middle East

18 Months

2.32%

Al Rayan Bank

2 Year

2.42%

Al Rayan Bank

3 Year

2.52%

Al Rayan Bank

4 Year

2.50%

Vanquis Bank, Union Bank of India and Bank of London & Middle East

5 Year

2.70%

Bank of London & Middle East

 

 

 

About The Savings Guru

We help savers get the best deal for their money by providing unique insight in to the savings market.  We help prospective banks apply for a banking licence and we help build customer services, products and marketing for them.  We also work with existing banks and building societies to improve their savings propositions.  This  insider view of savings means we are uniquely placed to help savers.

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