While we’ve all been making the most of investment opportunities to fight inflation, our cash savings have had little joy. But, with the base rate now at 5%, is it time for banks to start playing fair?
This week, the city watchdog stepped in asking banks to explain the disparity between savings and mortgage rates – but we’ve yet to see real action from the high street giants.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
If you have savings, no such text will appear.
And while some banks are upping their savings rates, you may have to dig around for the best ones, as the ones giving you the best rates are not your traditional high street players.
Unfortunately, most people do not look beyond the traditional banks – and why would you? Most of us have banked with them from around age 18 and we expect them to serve us well.
But, the reality is, they are not serving savers – and if you still hold cash with them, then you could be missing out on hundreds of pounds in interest.
HOW MUCH INTEREST IS MY BANK PAYING?
Here’s what the big players are paying on basic savings accounts:
- Santander Everyday Saver - 0.85% AER
- Barclays Everyday Saver 1.00% AER
- Lloyds Easy Saver - 1.5% AER
- Natwest Flexible Saver 1.11% AER
- HSBC Online Bonus saver- 1.75% AER
- Virgin Money - 2.02%
Rates are higher if you're willing to tie yourself to some terms and conditions – for example, if you agree to fix your cash for 12 months, limit how much you can save each month or make limited withdrawals.
For example, First Direct will give you a handsome 7% on a regular savings account, but it will only allow you to save up to £300 a month and this rate is only available for cash up to £3,000 – not massively rewarding if you have a large sum to save.
WHERE CAN I FIND THE BEST SAVING RATES?
To take advantage of the best rates, you will have to do your homework.
The best rates are most likely to be with banks you may have never heard of – for example:
- Easy Access: Shawbrook offers you 4.35% AER on cash.
- Best one year fixed: Al Rayan Bank – 6.01%.
- Best regular saver: First Direct – 7% AER
Now the simple solution is just move your money – far too many people still have cash in account with poor rates, suffering savings inertia.
But, there is a bigger question – why are banks still getting away with rates well below the base rate?
Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride acknowledged there are “questions to be asked” after months of the Bank of England steadily increasing interest rates in a bid to tackle inflation. While mortgage holders and borrowers suffer pretty much instantly, savers do not benefit with rate rises as banks have done little to pass on increases. And while they are under no such obligation to, can 0.85% (Santander) be justified?
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has also been in conversation with banks to do better.
But until changes happen, move your money. While we may not be looking at inflation busting rates, you can make your cash work harder for short term savings and emergency holdings.
It really is time to make a stand, and stop the savings rip-off by shifting your cash where it can make you something back.
Kalpana is an award-winning journalist with extensive experience in financial journalism. She is also the author of Invest Now: The Simple Guide to Boosting Your Finances (Heligo) and children's money book Get to Know Money (DK Books).
Her work includes writing for a number of media outlets, from national papers, magazines to books.
She has written for national papers and well-known women’s lifestyle and luxury titles. She was finance editor for Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Red and Prima.
She started her career at the Financial Times group, covering pensions and investments.
As a money expert, Kalpana is a regular guest on TV and radio – appearances include BBC One’s Morning Live, ITV’s Eat Well, Save Well, Sky News and more. She was also the resident money expert for the BBC Money 101 podcast .
Kalpana writes a monthly money column for Ideal Home and a weekly one for Woman magazine, alongside a monthly 'Ask Kalpana' column for Woman magazine.
Kalpana also often speaks at events. She is passionate about helping people be better with their money; her particular passion is to educate more people about getting started with investing the right way and promoting financial education.
MBNA unveils first ever savings product offering 5% return on cash - is it any good?
Credit card provider MBNA has entered the savings market with a one-year fixed account. How does the rate compare to other deals on the market?
By Vaishali Varu Published
NatWest brings back £200 bank switching deal - is it the best on the market?
NatWest has returned with a £200 bank switching offer. How do you get it and should you switch your current account to NatWest?
By Vaishali Varu Published