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Raising rates this week and now boasting the top-paying easy access account free from opening restrictions or short-term bonuses is Virgin Money. The internet-operated Double Take E-Saver Issue 8 now pays 1.42% yearly from an opening deposit of just £1, with further additions welcome at any time. While funds are accessible without notice, it should be noted that only two withdrawals (including closure) are permitted per calendar year.

For those looking to supplement their income, a version of the account paying a slightly reduced rate on a monthly basis is also available, while for football fans, a Man Utd version offering the same rate as well
as the chance to win exclusive
prizes through the United
Rewards scheme is on offer

Robin Squirrel

ISA rate rise

Raising rates and improving its position among medium-term ISAs as a result is Leeds Building Society. From a minimum deposit of £100, 3 Year Fixed Rate ISA (Issue 68) pays 1.80% yearly until 30 November 2021, with further deposits allowed until 30 November 2018 and transfers in from other providers also accepted. Unusually for a fixed account, withdrawals are allowed, albeit with 240 days’ loss of interest, with the same penalty applying should you wish to transfer to another provider. The ISA can be opened in branch, by post or online before becoming post or branch-operated.

At the same time, Leeds Building Society increased rates on its easy access ISA to pay the joint-top rate for its sector. From a minimum investment of £1,000, Limited Issue Online Access (Issue 7) now pays 1.38% on maturity (1.12.19), at which point it will become an Instant Access Cash ISA maturity account. This internet-operated deal allows transfers in and additions while the issue remains open, as well as unlimited withdrawals, with transfers out permitted on the same penalty-free basis.

Flexible regular saving

New this week and ideal for those who want to save regularly while retaining flexibility is this account from Royal Bank of Scotland. Savings Builder is an easy access regular savings account that allows unlimited access to funds and pays 1.50% on a monthly basis, provided the balance rises by at least £50 each month. No interest is payable in any month that this is not achieved, and it should be noted that 0.20% is paid on the portion of any balance over £10,000. The account, which can be opened and operated in branch, over the phone, online or by mobile app, is available to new and existing Royal Bank of Scotland current account customers.

Access this ISA

Increasing rates to take a comfortable place among similar easy access cash ISAs is this account from Sainsbury’s Bank. Cash ISA pays tiered rates of interest depending on the amount invested, with the minimum balance of £1 paying 0.75% yearly, rising to 1.26% on balances of £500 and over, making it a competitive choice for those with at least this sum to invest.

Transfers in are accepted and there are no restrictions on further deposits or withdrawals, and transfers away from this phone and internet-operated account are similarly penalty-free.

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

Business bonds

If you run a business and are looking for a home for your spare funds, many providers offer fixed rate bonds that are open to non-personal customers.

The top-paying such bond on the market this week is from Cambridge & Counties Bank. 5 Year Fixed Rate Business, Trust and Charity Bond Issue 4 pays 2.75% yearly from an opening balance of £10,000, although it should be noted that once open no further deposits can be made and there is no access to funds prior to maturity. The account must be opened by post but can then be operated over the phone or online as well.

Fixed rate boost

Raising rates across its range of fixed accounts resulting in all becoming more competitive for their respective terms is Union Bank of India (UK) Ltd. Fixed Rate Deposit pays 2.02% on maturity for the one-year account, which rises to 2.27% yearly for the two-year version and 2.30% yearly for terms of three, four or five years. All bonds can be opened and operated in branch or by post from a minimum deposit of £1,000, however once open no further deposits can be made, and there is no access to funds prior to maturity.

Long-term ISA competes

Reissued this week and sitting just below the top-paying long-term cash ISAs is Coventry Building Society. From an opening deposit of just £1, Fixed Rate ISA (69) 30.11.2023 pays 2.10% yearly, with further deposits and transfers in welcome for 14 days after account opening or while the issue remains open, whichever is longer. Withdrawals are not allowed from this branch, post, phone and internet-operated account, however the ISA can be closed early or transferred out with the loss of 180 days’ interest.

Savings rate rises

Raising rates across its range of easy access and fixed rate accounts this week is Tesco Bank. Internet Saver, which must be opened online but can then be operated by phone and mobile app as well, now pays 1.40% yearly from a minimum deposit of £1. The rate includes a 0.85% bonus for 12 months, making a review of the account advisable at that time. It should be noted that although additions and withdrawals are allowed, there is a maximum daily withdrawal limit of £10,000 to non-Tesco Bank UK accounts and a £100,000 limit to Tesco Bank accounts in the customer’s own name.

Meanwhile, the one-year version of Fixed Rate Saver now pays 1.91% yearly, while the 15-month version pays 1.96% and the two-year pays 2.11%, all from a minimum of £2,000. The bonds can be opened over the phone or online and then operated by phone only, however once opened no further deposits can be made, and there is no access to funds prior to maturity. For those looking to supplement their income, monthly options of all bonds are available paying slightly reduced rates.

ISAs hold their own

Reviewing ISA rates this week resulting in its longer-term deals going top in their respective markets is United Trust Bank. From a minimum deposit of £15,000, ISA 1 Year Bond pays 1.45% yearly, while the three-year version pays 1.75%, the four-year pays a market-leading 2.10% yearly and the five-year pays 2.20% yearly, the joint-top rate for its term. The ISAs, which must be opened by post before becoming branch or postal-operated, accept transfers in, though once open no further deposits can be made. Earlier access and transfers out are permitted subject to an interest penalty.

Restriction-free Help to Buy

The top-paying Help to Buy ISA with no opening restrictions this week is from Barclays Bank. Opened in branch, over the phone or online and then operated by the same channels as well as by mobile app, this instant access ISA pays 2.55% monthly from a minimum investment of just £1.

Up to £1,200 can be deposited in the first month and then up to £200 can be paid in each month thereafter, with the Government topping up the account with a bonus of £50 for every £200 saved. It should be noted that the maximum bonus that can be achieved is £3,000, which can be applied for when savers purchase their first home.

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.

Can I fix my interest rate for less than a year?

Fixed rate bonds continue to be the best way to secure a top return on your savings, but with talk of more base rate rises to come, many people are understandably wary of tying up their cash for too long, in case savings rates rise dramatically and they’re already locked into a rate of interest that could seem paltry a year or two from now.

Luckily, there are several bonds available that have terms of less than a year, allowing you to get a high rate of interest without too much commitment. For example, OakNorth, Bank of London and the Middle East, Masthaven Bank and Wyelands Bank (to name but a few) all have fixed rate bonds with six-month terms, while ICICI Bank UK and Fidor Bank both have options allowing you to fix your rate for nine months. You can find alternative deals by following this link.

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 0.62%
Notice 1.01%
Cash ISA 1.28%
1 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.46%
2 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.63%
3 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.87%
4 Year Fixed Rate Bond 2.13%
5 Year Fixed Rate Bond 2.15%
16 October 2018

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Wizard Squirrel

Alternative sources of income

Banking online could leave you richer

The internet has become central to modern life, but there’s one aspect of the digital sphere that can still send people running for the hills – online banking. Whether it’s fear of fraudulent activity or simply the fear of the unknown, many still prefer to bank with a high street name than head to the online space, yet doing so could leave them hundreds of pounds worse off.

That’s because the interest rates on offer from high street names often pale in comparison to those from online banks, with Hargreaves Lansdown finding that competitive online savings accounts can earn you more than twice as much interest than the best branch-based equivalent. For example, the best high street branch rate for a one-year bond comes in at just 1% (from Nationwide), yet our own data shows that the best online rate clocks in at 2.05% (from Bank of London and the Middle East/BLME), which could leave you with £106 more interest on a £10,000 investment.

The difference becomes even more significant when looking at longer terms: the best online rate for a two-year deal (from Al Rayan Bank) stands at 2.32%, well above Barclays’ 1.21% and equating to £229 in additional interest over the two-year term, while for a five-year bond, it’s possible to get a rate of 2.70% from BLME, Close Brothers Savings and Ikano Bank, compared with 1.75% from Nationwide, equating to £530 extra over the term.

The same applies when it comes to easy access accounts, with our own research showing that some of the best deals are online-exclusive. This includes new bank Marcus by Goldman Sachs, with its Online Savings Account offering the market-leading rate of 1.50% (it can be opened by phone or online, but can only be managed via the internet), while Virgin Money’s internet-operated E-Savers pay the next-best rate of 1.42%. In comparison, Nationwide offers a rate of 1.10%, but this is purely to existing customers of 15 years or more, while for newer customers (of between one and four years) this falls to 0.80%.

Given the potential boost on offer from online banks, it makes sense to consider them, yet there’s still some way to go before all savers are tempted to take the plunge. Indeed, although 90% of households in Great Britain now have internet access and the same proportion regularly use the internet – including 64% of retirees – only 69% of people bank online. This shows that more need to be convinced of the merits of online banking, and Hargreaves is hoping that Get Online Week, which this year runs from 15-21 October, will encourage people to do just that.

“Millions are still missing out,” said Sarah Coles at Hargreaves Lansdown. “Some 4.5m people have never used the internet, and even those who do could be getting so much more out of it … If you try online banking it could help you get to grips with your finances, [and] if you save online with one of the newer internet banks, you could end up hundreds of pounds better off.”

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