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Launching competitive fixed term bonds this week is RCI Bank UK. From a minimum opening deposit of £1,000, 4 Year Fixed Term Savings Account pays 2.40% on its anniversary while 5 Year Fixed Term Savings Account pays 2.60% on its anniversary. As is common within the fixed rate market, no earlier access is permitted before maturity, however further additions can be made for 30 days from account opening. For income seekers, monthly versions of these online-only accounts
paying slightly reduced rates
are also available.

Robin Squirrel

Variable rate increase

Reviewing the rate on its easy access account this week resulting in a rate increase is Cynergy Bank. From a minimum deposit of £1, the Online Easy Access Account - Issue 23 now pays 1.50% on its anniversary, inclusive of a 0.50% bonus for 12 months. Once opened, both further additions and withdrawals (via a nominated account) are allowed. This easy access account must be opened and managed online.

ISA rate up

Reviewing the rate on its three-year fixed rate cash ISA this week resulting in a rate increase is the Darlington Building Society. From a minimum deposit of £1, Fixed Rate Cash ISA 11 pays 1.70% yearly until it matures on 31 July 2022. Once opened further additions, while the issue remains open, and transfers in from cash ISAs as well as stocks and shares ISAs are allowed. Withdrawals are only allowed on account closure with a 120-day loss of interest, with the same penalty applying should you wish to transfer the ISA to another provider. This ISA can be both opened and managed in branch or online. Savers should note that this deal is only available to locals who are resident in postcode areas DL, DH, SR, TS, YO and HG.

New 10-year fixed bond

Launching a new 10-year fixed bond this week is the Leeds Building Society. From a minimum deposit of £10,000, 10 Year No Access Income Bond (Issue 3) pays an annual rate of 2.50% on a monthly basis. This account permits further additions until 31 July 2019, while withdrawals are not allowed. This bond must be opened and managed by post or in branch.

Post office rates rise

Reviewing the rates on its variable rate easy access accounts and fixed rate bonds this week is Post Office Money®. From a deposit of £1, Online Saver Issue 38 pays 1.45% yearly, which includes a bonus of 1.20% for 12 months, while it also offers a version of the account that pays 1.44% monthly with a bonus of 1.19% for 12 months. These online-only accounts allow both further additions and withdrawals.

At the same time Post Office Money® increased the rates on its one-year, two-year and three-year fixed rate bonds. From a deposit of £500 the one-year Online Bond Issue 55 pays 1.78% yearly, while for income seekers, a monthly version of the account paying a reduced rate of 1.76% monthly is also available. The two-year version pays 1.84% yearly or 1.82% monthly while the three-year bond pays 1.90% yearly or 1.88% monthly. All of these accounts do not permit further additions and withdrawals and must be opened and managed online.

Looking for an Easy Access Cash ISA? See Latest Top Rates in left hand column
Savers Friend In Focus

Variable rate bonds

Variable rate bonds offer an alternative for those who are wary about locking funds into a fixed rate product.

The top-paying variable rate bond on the market this week is from the Family Building Society. Its 5 Year Tracker Rate Bond (3) pays a variable rate of 2.07% yearly from a minimum deposit of £5,000, although it should be noted that once open further deposits are not allowed and there is no access to funds prior to maturity. The account, which can be opened in branch, by post or online and then operated by the same channels as well as over the phone, has the added benefit that the gross rate is guaranteed to be fixed at 1.32% above bank base rate for the term. For those looking to supplement their income, a monthly option is available paying a reduced rate.

Post Office Money® has also reviewed the rates on its one-year and two-year fixed ISA. From a minimum deposit of £500, the one-year Online ISA – Fixed Rate Issue 18 pays 1.50% on its anniversary while the two-year fixed ISA version pays 1.60%. No further additions are permitted while early access to funds is only available on closure and subject to a breakage charge of 90 days loss of interest in the case of the one-year ISA and 180 days for the two-year version, with funds transferred to either the holding or nominated accounts – the same penalties will apply if transferring the ISAs to another provider. Savers should be aware that transfers in from cash ISAs, stocks & shares ISAs and Help to Buy ISAs into these online-only accounts are permitted.

Finally, Post Office Money’s® easy access ISA has been reviewed this week, resulting in a rate increase. From a minimum deposit of £100, Online ISA – Easy Access Issue 17 pays 1.40% yearly, with the rate including a bonus of 1.15% for 12 months. Further additions via debit card, ISA transfer or cheque are permitted after opening, while individual withdrawals are subject to a minimum of £10 and must be made via a nominated account or holding account. Transfers in are accepted and transfers out are penalty-free on this ISA, which must be both opened and operated online.

One-year rates increase

Reviewing the rates on its one-year fixed rate cash ISA, and one-year fixed rate account this week is Hodge Bank. From a minimum deposit of £1,000, 1 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA pays 1.50% on maturity or 1.49% monthly, while the 1 Year Fixed Rate Account pays 1.56% on maturity or 1.55% monthly. Both allow further additions within 10 working days for accounts opened online only. Withdrawals are not permitted on either, but early access is allowed only on closure of the account subject to a 90-day loss of interest penalty for the 1 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA, with the same penalty applying if you wish to transfer the ISA to another provider. No early access at all is possible for the 1 year Fixed Rate Account. All of these accounts can be opened by post or online and then managed by telephone or post. Transfers in from cash ISAs and stocks & shares ISAs are permitted for the one-year ISA.

New competitive fixed rate ISAs

Launching two competitive fixed rate ISAs this week is Halifax. From a minimum deposit of £500, 3 year ISA Saver Fixed pays 1.50% yearly or 1.49% monthly, while the 5 Year ISA Saver Fixed pays 2.00% yearly or monthly at 1.98%. Both accounts permit further additions within 60 days of the account opening, as well as transfers in from cash ISAs as well as stocks and shares ISAs. Withdrawals are not permitted, and early access is only possible on account closure, with the loss of 270 days interest on the three-year ISA and 365 days’ loss on the five-year account applied. The same penalties will apply should you wish to transfer the ISAs to another provider. These products can be opened and operated in branch, online, by phone and mobile app.

Fixed term bond rates up

Increasing rates on three of their fixed term bonds this week is PCF Bank. From a minimum initial sum of £1,000, the 5 Year Term Deposit Issue 16 pays 2.65% and 7 year Term Deposit Issue 10 pays 2.75%, again on the anniversary for both. All three accounts sit within the top 10 when compared to other fixed accounts of a similar term. Like most fixed term products, early access and withdrawals are not permitted, however additions can be made for up to 14 days from account opening.

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Rachel Thrussell

Ask Rachel

Working in the financial industry for over 30 years, Rachel Thrussell is the leading independent expert on UK savings products. Her views are constantly in demand from both the industry and the press.

As a grandparent, I am looking at sensible ways of saving for two young grandchildren over at least a 15-year period. During this, regular sums of money would be added on occasions such as birthdays to build up a decent lump sum on maturity. Any suggestions?

The best option in this instance is likely to be a Junior ISA (JISA). Although a parent or guardian must open a JISA on behalf of their child, contributions can then be made by anyone – friend or family – up to the annual limit of £4,368 for this tax year. Lump sum and regular payments are both welcome. Coventry BS currently pays the market-leading cash Junior ISA rate of 3.60% yearly, with interest paid tax-free.

Parents take the management reins of a JISA until the child turns 16. However, it is not until the child’s 18th birthday, when a JISA automatically becomes an adult ISA, that money can be taken from an account.

Get your savings questions answered by Rachel by emailing rachel@saversfriend.co.uk We regret we cannot answer emails personally

This week's
average rates

How do your savings compare?
No Notice 0.63%
Notice 1.15%
Cash ISA 1.27%
1 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.42%
2 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.56%
3 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.76%
4 Year Fixed Rate Bond 2.07%
5 Year Fixed Rate Bond 2.09%
11 June 2019

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Wizard Squirrel

Alternative sources of income

Buy-to-let products rise to 12-year high

The latest data from the Moneyfacts UK Mortgage Trends Treasury Report shows that product competition in the buy-to-let (BTL) market has increased significantly in the past 12 months and as a result, product numbers are at their highest level since the financial crisis in October 2017.

The data reveals that there are currently nearly 2,400 buy-to-let products available – the most since autumn 2007 (when 3,305 products were on offer). In addition, competition has particularly intensified since June 2018, with the number of products increasing over 21% in the last 12 months. Interestingly, the past month alone has seen the total BTL mortgage products rise by 143 from 2,253 to 2,396.

Despite this increase in competition, the average BTL mortgage rates have risen over the past 12 months, with the average two-year BTL fixed rate mortgage increasing by 0.17% from 2.88% in June 2018 to 3.05% this month, while the average five-year BTL fixed rate has risen by 0.11% to 3.54%, compared to 3.43% in June 2018. Saying this, both rates are still significantly lower than in October 2007, when the average two-year BTL fixed rate stood at 6.36% and its five-year counterpart stood at 6.39%.

Darren Cook, finance expert at Moneyfacts, said: “The BTL market has experienced a number of regulatory changes during recent years, however, it seems that product competition within this specialised mortgage area is continuing to grow. A 21% increase in availability to 2,396 products over the past 12 months indicates that providers are keen to offer potential BTL investors plenty of choice within the sector.

“Despite this increasing competition in terms of the total number of products available over the past year, average rates have unfortunately not fallen, and have instead followed suit, with the average two-year fixed rate increasing by 0.17% to 3.05% and the average five-year fixed rate increasing by 0.11% to 3.54% over the same period."

“The largest concentration of BTL product choice can be found at the maximum 75% loan-to-value (LTV) tier, where there are currently 352 (44%) two-year fixed rate products available and 374 (48%) five-year fixed rate products available. Coincidently, the average fixed rates at the 75% LTV tier for the two and five-year sectors are currently 3.05% and 3.55% respectively, equalling or near-equalling the average rates for both terms across all tiers."

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