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Paying the market-leading return if you want a short-term bond is Bank of London and the Middle East . From a minimum deposit of £25,000, the 18-month version of Premier Deposit Account (Anticipated Profit Rate) pays an expected profit rate of 1.95% on maturity. Neither additional deposits nor early access to funds are allowed on this bond, which can only be opened if you already have or are happy to open a BLME current account. The bonds must be opened online and then operated by post, while the bank falls under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Leading the way among offshore fixed rate bonds is Skipton International Ltd. From a minimum deposit of £10,000, the two-year version of Fixed Rate Bond pays 1.50% yearly. Neither additional deposits nor early access to funds are allowed on this bond,
which can be opened and
operated in branch, by
post and over the phone.

Robin Squirrel

Best for easy access

Increasing rates and now paying the market-leading return among both easy access accounts and easy access ISAs is AA. From a minimum deposit of £100, Easy Saver Issue 6 pays 1.32% yearly, including a bonus of 1.12% for 12 months, which makes a review of the account’s standing in the market essential once it expires. There are no restrictions on additional deposits or withdrawals, other than that they must be made via a nominated account. The account, which can be opened and managed online and by phone, is operated by Bank of Ireland UK.

At the same time, from a minimum deposit of £100, the online-only AA ISA – Easy Access Issue 14 pays 1.16% yearly, including a bonus of 0.96% for 12 months, which makes a review of the account’s competitiveness a must in a year’s time. Transfers in and additional deposits are welcome, while there are no restrictions on withdrawals other than that they must be made via a nominated account. Transfers out are also allowed penalty-free from this ISA, which is operated by OneFamily.

New regular saver

New this week and paying a near market-leading rate if you want to save regularly is Leeds BS. Paying a variable rate of 2.55% on maturity on 30 December 2018, Regular Saver (Issue 11) requires a minimum initial deposit of £50. Deposits of up to £250 each month are then permitted, although unusually there is no requirement to make a deposit every month. However, it should be noted that only one withdrawal can be made during the term.

At the same time, Leeds BS has increased rates on its medium-term fixed rate ISA , making it highly competitive as a result. From a minimum deposit of £100, 2 Year Fixed Rate ISA (Issue 97) now pays 1.55% yearly. Additional deposits are allowed until the end of February and transfers in are welcome too. It is also possible to access funds early on the loss of 150 days’ interest, the same penalty as applies if transferring out. Both accounts can be opened in branch, by post and online and then managed in the same ways with the exception of online.

Fixed rates near top

Improving rates and nearing the top of their respective fixed rate bond charts is Atom

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

Savers Friend In Focus

Monthly Income

If you are looking to supplement your income through your savings, many banks and building societies offer accounts that pay interest every month.

Leading the way if you want to secure a regular income and are happy to wait a short time before accessing your funds is Aldermore . From a minimum deposit of £1,000, 30 Day Notice Issue 7 pays an annual rate of 1.04% on a monthly basis. Additional deposits are welcome and unlimited withdrawals are allowed, but there is no option to access funds early, with 30 days’ notice always having to be
served. The account must be
opened online but can then be
operated by post and over the phone too.

Bank. From a minimum deposit of £50, 1 Year Fixed Saver now pays 1.80% yearly, while its two-year equivalent rises to 2.00% yearly, the three-year version increases to 2.15% yearly and the five-year now pays 2.30% yearly. Additional deposits are permitted in the first week after opening, but early access to funds is not allowed. The bonds can only be opened and operated by downloading the Atom Bank app onto your mobile phone.

Access this rising ISA

Raising rates and now paying the joint second-best rate if you want an easy access ISA is Sainsbury’s Bank. From a minimum deposit of £1, Cash ISA pays 0.50% yearly, but this rises to 1.15% on balances of £500 and over, all without the added complication of a short-term bonus. Additional deposits and transfers in are welcome, and there are no restrictions on withdrawals or penalties for transferring out. The account can be opened and operated online and over the phone.

At the same time, Sainsbury’s Bank improved the rates paid on its online-only easy access account , making it highly competitive among its peers if you have a significant deposit to put away. From a minimum deposit of £1, eSaver Special pays 0.50% yearly, but rises to 1.21% at £1,000, 1.26% at £15,000, and 1.31% at £30,000. Additional deposits are allowed via cheque, online and with SaveBack in store, plus there are no restrictions on withdrawals.

Bonds still appeal

Reviewing rates and remaining highly competitive if you want a short-term bond is Investec Bank plc. From a minimum deposit of £25,000, 18 Month Fixed Term Deposit now pays 1.85% yearly, while its one-year counterpart offers 1.80% yearly. Additional deposits and early access to funds are not allowed in these bonds, which also require an Investec Easy Access Account to be opened through which transactions will be made. The bonds must be opened online, but can then be operated over the phone as well.

Bonds on the up

Improving rates and now paying highly competitive returns if you are looking for a long-term fixed rate bond is Vanquis Bank. Requiring a minimum deposit of £1,000, the four-year version of Vanquis Bank Savings now pays 2.10% yearly, while its five-year equivalent rises to 2.25% yearly. Neither additional deposits nor early access to funds are allowed on these fixed rate bonds, which must be opened online, but can then be operated by post and over the phone as well. For income-seekers, versions of both bonds are available, which pay slightly reduced annual rates on a monthly basis.

ISAs on the rise

Raising rates and climbing the fixed rate ISA charts as a result is Skipton BS. From a minimum deposit of £500, 2 Year Fixed Rate ISA Issue 52 now pays 1.40% yearly, while its three-year counterpart – also Issue 52 – rises to 1.55% yearly. Transfers in are welcome and additional deposits are allowed within seven days of an ISA being opened, or for as long as the issue remains open, whichever is longer.

It should be noted that the only way to access funds early is by closing an account and forgoing 180 or 240 days’ interest respectively. The same interest penalties apply if transferring away from these ISAs, which can be opened and operated in branch and by post. If you’d prefer to secure a tax-free regular income from your savings, versions of the ISAs that pay slightly lower rates on a monthly basis are available too.

Bank and Building Society Reviews

Visit our Review Pages to read the savings experiences of others and share your own

The reviews are the opinions of our readers and not of Savers Friend.

How safe are your savings?

Our guide to Depositor Protection tells you what guarantees apply if your bank or building society goes bust, while our guide to Who Owns Whom? tells you where your bank or building society is licenced.

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.

Last week’s news about the Government unlocking dormant savings accounts and giving the money to charity made me realise that I have some old accounts that I have lost track of. Is there any way of tracing them?

According to the Money Advice Service, there’s an estimated £850 million lying forgotten in lost bank accounts. If you know which bank(s) you’ve held accounts with, your first step should be to get in touch with them. However, if you have absolutely no idea where your money may be, you can trace lost accounts through this free, official tracing service: www.mylostaccount.org.uk/index.htm

On a similar note, anyone who thinks they have lost track of a pension, either from an old workplace scheme or a personal pension, can use the Pension Tracing Service: www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details

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 0.48%
Notice 0.78%
Cash ISA 1.09%
1 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.17%
2 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.43%
3 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.63%
4 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.85%
5 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.94%
09 January 2018

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Wizard Squirrel

Alternative sources of income

Investors warned against complacency after serene 2017

Investors have been warned to “keep up their guard” after a year of low stock market volatility and “healthy returns”, which saw the FTSE 100 end 2017 at an all-time high. With 2016 having also ended on a record high, the UK’s flagship index continued to go from strength to strength in 2017, with investors shrugging off global political concerns and the ups and downs of the Brexit negotiations, to finish at another new best of 7,687.

According to The Share Centre, 2017 has also seen the market at its least volatile for many years. After the heightened volatility of 2015 and 2016 – driven in part by political events in 2016 such as Brexit and the election of President Trump – there was relative calm in the markets last year. The low for the year was back in January and while the market fluctuated throughout the year, the rises and falls were very modest. From its low to its high, the market moved by just 8.3%, compared with 29% in 2016 and 21% in 2015.

The lack of volatility is also borne out by the fact that there were just 14 days in the year when the market moved by more than 1%, compared to over 70 in each of the last two years and an average over the last five years of 56. A movement of more than 2% was only seen twice, compared to an average of over 11 days per year for the last five years. “For the second year in a row the FTSE 100 has ended the year at an all-time high,” said Richard Stone, chief executive of The Share Centre. “Personal investors will have been relieved this year by a respite from the high volatility seen in the last couple of years.”

Having rather serenely ridden out the initial waves created by the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s move into the White House, it would appear that there is little that could derail the market’s upward momentum. Yet, it is during precisely such times that investors need to avoid complacency, particularly given the unease reiterated from some experts. “Market commentators have expressed concerns about valuation levels for some time indicating a correction may be on the horizon,” adds Richard Stone. “However, the market appears to be shrugging off any such concerns and continuing to go from strength to strength.”

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, has some similar words of caution, pointing to lessons from the past that could well prove relevant today. “Markets are always at their most dangerous when making money seems easiest and healthy returns from global equities in 2017 mean that there is a danger that investors are lulled into a false sense of security, especially as volatility has been remarkably low. It is noticeable that volatility rose sharply from the previous low in 2005, reaching a crescendo three years later, and this suggests that investors need to keep up their guard.”

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