Switch To A Superior Savings Account Today
Savers were dealt yet another blow last week after the base rate was cut by 0.5% to an all-time low of 1.5%. But if you hurry, you can still grab yourself a super savings rate....
The new year hasn't got off to a good start for savers. Thanks to the Bank of England's decision to cut the base rate to 1.5% last Thursday, the days of finding a savings account paying an interest rate of more than 5% are now behind us.
In response to the falling base rate, banks and building societies have been slashing the interest on their savings accounts without a second thought. And with many savings accounts now paying less than 1%, it begs the question whether there's any point saving at all.
After all, by the time both tax and inflation are deducted, many savers will be getting a tiny return on their savings. What's more, if rates fall even further, savers could end up paying negative savings rates, effectively paying the bank to look after their money. It doesn't bear thinking about.
But don't start stashing your cash under the mattress just yet. If you're quick and know where to look, you can still bag yourself a decent savings rate.
While there's still a good chance the base rate will fall further, locking into a fixed rate bond is a great way to protect your savings.
Although you'll have to be disciplined and tie up your funds for a set period, you won't have to worry if the base rate falls further. You'll still be guaranteed your set rate.
Unfortunately, the rates available now are not as impressive as they were a couple of months ago. So if you didn't lock in then, you'll have missed out on the top rates. That said, you can still grab yourself an account paying 4% AER or more.
Here are five of the top paying fixed rate accounts available at the moment:
|Account and Provider||Interest Rate (AER)||Minimum Deposit||Bond Term|
|ICICI HiSAVE Fixed Rate Account||4.65%||£1,000||1 year|
|Anglo Irish Fixed Rate Bond||4.6%||£500||1 year|
|Bank of Cyprus Bond 39||4.3%||£1||2 years|
|Birmingham Midshires Internet Fixed Rate Bond||4.2%||£1||1 year|
|Nationwide Fixed Rate Bond||4.05%||£1||4 years|
Given that the base rate stands at just 1.5%, ICICI's HiSAVE fixed rate account is highly attractive at 4.65% AER. The only catch is that you will need £1,000 to open the account.
A close second is Anglo Irish's fixed rate bond which pays 4.6% AER. This time you'll only need £500 to qualify.
It's worth bearing in mind that if you are planning to take advantage of one of these deals, do it NOW as these rates may not be around for long.
If the idea of locking away your money for a year or more doesn't appeal, it's still possible to grab a super savings rate on an easy access variable rate account.
In the chart below, I've outlined five of the top accounts currently on offer. I've ignored any accounts that come with complicated catches, such as those that request you to invest in another product at the same time, or have a withdrawal limit.
|Account and Provider||Interest Rate (AER)||Minimum Deposit||Bonus included?|
|ING Direct Savings Account||5%||£1||Rate includes a 2.17% bonus, payable for 12 months|
|Egg Savings Account||4%||£1||Rate includes a 2% bonus, payable for 12 months|
|Yorkshire Building Society Internet Saver||3.75%||£1||No|
|Tesco Internet Saver||3.6%||£1||No|
|ICICI HiSAVE Savings||3.55%||£1||No|
ING Direct's savings account is clearly head and shoulders above the rest, paying an impressive 5% AER for new customers. Be warned though that this includes a bonus rate of 2.17% for one year, so after that time, you'll only be getting 2.83%. As a result, you'll need to be prepared to search for a better paying account once the year is up. (That said, the way things are going, 2.83% could even be an attractive rate in 12 months' time!)
Although some savers may think reviewing an account is unnecessary hassle, with rates likely to continue falling, it's worth regularly reviewing your savings rate anyway to check you're getting the best deal.
But if you want to steer clear of bonus rates altogether, Yorkshire's rate of 3.75% may be a more attractive offer.
Remember if you do decide to open a variable rate account, the interest paid on the account could change at any time. And as with fixed rate bonds, you should get in quick if you want to take advantage of these rates. It's highly likely that banks/building societies will withdraw these accounts over coming weeks, or prevent new customers from opening them.
So don't delay -- grab a great savings rate today before it's too late! Happy saving!
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