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Furness Building Society has launched a five-year fixed rate bond this week, which offers savers a rate of 1.85% on a £1,000 deposit. Five Year Fixed Rate Bond (Issue 3) pays interest yearly, which can be paid away or compounded. Once opened, further additions and withdrawals are not allowed. The bond can be both opened and managed in branch and by post. There is also a version of the account that pays interest monthly, but interest with this bond must be paid away. As well as this, Furness Building Society also launched an online-only version of the bond. Five Year Fixed Rate eSavings Bond Issue 3, which has the same terms
and conditions as the five-year
bond, pays interest yearly.

Robin Squirrel

Easy access goes top

A highly competitive easy access savings account from Cynergy Bank has increased its rate this week and now pays the top rate for accounts without opening restriction in its respective chart. Online Easy Access Account – Issue 24 is now offering a rate of 1.50% on a £1 deposit, which includes a variable bonus (currently 0.75%) for 12 months. This account allows further additions, as well as withdrawals via a nominated account. It can only be opened and managed online.

Competitive bonds rate rise

A number of fixed-rate bonds from Bank of London and The Middle East (BLME) have seen rate increases this week, resulting in some topping their respective charts. The expected profit rate on its 18-month Premier Deposit Account has risen to 2.35%, while the two-year version now pays an expected profit rate of 2.45% and the three-year version pays an expected profit rate of 2.60%. The bank has also increased rates on its longer-term bonds, with its four-year bond now paying an expected profit rate of 2.65%, its five-year paying an expected profit rate of 2.80% and its seven-year version paying an expected profit rate of 2.85%. All these rates are paid on a £1,000 deposit. Once opened, the bonds do not permit further additions or withdrawals. They must be opened online and then managed by post and a BLME transfer account to hold funds pending investment is required to open these bonds.

New regular savings account

A new variable rate regular savings account has entered the market this week from Loughborough Building Society. Monthly Saver Issue 4 pays a variable rate of 2.00% yearly at £10 and requires a minimum monthly deposit of £10 to a maximum of £250, with 10 deposits required each year and an overall maximum investment of £3,000. Savers are allowed to make two withdrawals per year. The account can be both opened and managed in branch and by post.

Easy access rate increase

Chorley Building Society has increased the rate on its Easy Access Saver Issue 2 (0-2 withdrawals pa) this week and now offers 1.25% on a £500 deposit. This easy access savings account allows further additions while the issue remains open, but withdrawals are restricted to two per account year and a lower rate is paid for the remainder of the year if more than two withdrawals are made. It can be both opened and managed in branch and by post and, when opening the account, the money deposited must be new to the institution.

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

Offshore Savings

For those that don’t mind banking offshore, many providers offer a range of variable and fixed rate accounts that are open to all.

Skipton International offers a highly competitive offshore variable rate account that is open to all. Individual 200 pays 1.45% yearly in return for 200 days’ notice whenever you want to access your funds. It can be both opened and operated in branch, by post or over the phone, provided you have a minimum of £10,000 to invest. No cash transactions are allowed, and there is a minimum transaction amount of £1,000 for additions and withdrawals, with the latter always requiring the notice period to be observed.

New three-year bond

A new three-year fixed term bond has been launched this week by FCMB Bank (UK). Raisin UK – 3 Year Fixed Term Deposit pays 2.30% on a £1,000 deposit. The bond includes the incentives of a £10 bonus for £10,000-£39,999 deposits, an £80 bonus for £40,000-£74,999 deposits and £100 bonus for deposits over £75,000. Once opened, it does not allow further additions or withdrawals. The bond must be opened online, but can then be managed by post and phone as well. In order to apply for the bond, savers are required to set up a Raisin UK account online and accept their terms and conditions.

Fixed rate ISA launched

Hodge Bank has launched a one-year fixed rate ISA this week, which is paying 1.58% on a £1,000 deposit. 1 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA allows further deposits for 10 working days from account opening only on accounts that have been opened online, while earlier access is allowed on closure only subject to 90 days loss of interest. The ISA allows transfers in from cash ISAs and stocks and shares ISAs, while transfers out are permitted but subject to 90 days loss of interest. It can be opened by post or online and then managed by post and phone. For savers looking for an ISA offering monthly interest, there is a version of this ISA that pays interest monthly at a slightly reduced rate of 1.57%.

In addition to this, Hodge Bank also launched a one-year fixed rate bond this week paying 1.95% on a £1,000 deposit. 1 Year Fixed Rate Account allows further additions for 10 working days from account opening on those that have been opened online, while withdrawals are not allowed. The bond can be opened online or by post and then managed by post and phone. There is also a version of this bond that pays interest monthly at a slightly reduced rate of 1.93%.

New fixed-rate bonds enter charts

One-year, two-year and three-year fixed-rate bonds have been launched this week by Arbuthnot Direct. 1 Year Fixed Term Deposit Issue 1 pays 1.86%, 2 Year Fixed Term Deposit Issue 1 pays 2.00% and 3 Year Fixed Term Deposit Issue 2 pays 2.32%, all on a £10,000 deposit. All the bonds allow further additions for 14 working days from account opening, but withdrawals are not allowed. The bonds can only be opened and managed online.

Easy access and ISA rate rise

Shawbrook Bank has increased the rate on its easy access savings account, resulting in it now offering a highly competitive rate of 1.48% on a £1,000 deposit. Once open, Easy Access – Issue 15 allows further additions and withdrawals of a minimum amount of £500 are also permitted via a nominated account. The account can only be opened online, but then managed by phone as well. There is also a version of the account that pays interest monthly at a slightly reduced rate of 1.47%.

At the same time, Shawbrook Bank also increased the rate on its one-year fixed rate ISA, which now pays 1.62% on a £1,000 deposit. 1 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA Bond Issue 33 allows further additions while the issue remains open and earlier access is allowed but subject to 90 days loss of interest. The ISA allows transfers in from cash ISAs and stocks and shares ISAs, while transfers out are also permitted but subject to 90 days loss of interest. It must be opened online but can then be managed by phone as well. For savers wanting monthly interest, there is a version of this account that pays interest monthly at a slightly reduced rate of 1.61%.

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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.

Can I take money from a cash ISA whenever I want? If so, will I be penalised for doing this?

It depends on the type of ISA you have. If you have an easy access ISA, then you should be able to lay your hands on your money straight away, although it is worth remembering that there are sometimes restrictions on the number of withdrawals that can be made.

If you have a fixed rate ISA, however, you have effectively promised to leave your money with the bank or building society for the term specified. In this instance, some accounts strictly prohibit this money from being accessed before the term is up. Others will allow funds to be accessed early, but will penalise you for doing so, usually by docking interest.

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 1.26%
1 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.40%
2 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.53%
3 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.75%
4 Year Fixed Rate Bond 2.07%
5 Year Fixed Rate Bond 2.03%
16 July 2019

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Wizard Squirrel

Alternative sources of income

Equity release mortgage rates at 12-year low

There is good news for those looking to release equity from their home, as the average equity release mortgage rate dropped below 5% last month for the first time in the last 12 years, according to Moneyfacts.co.uk.

Data released in June shows that the equity release mortgage rates that month were at the lowest they have been since Moneyfacts.co.uk digital data began in 2007, with the average rate for fixed and variable rate mortgages at 4.99%. This is down from 5.10% a year ago and 6.11% five years ago. The choice of products on the market also increased and there were 207 lifetime equity release deals available last month, up from 164 in June 2018 and just 48 five years ago.

Commenting on the fall in equity release mortgage rates, Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, said: “The equity release market has evolved considerably over the years, with choice increasing and rates reducing as a result – the market has become much more accommodating to prospective borrowers. The average equity release rate for fixed and variable rate mortgages has dropped to below 5% for the first time on record last month and there were also more than 200 deals available to choose from.

“While rate alone should not be the deciding factor when choosing a lifetime mortgage, it is still a positive indicator that competition is rife in the market. The whole package of an equity release deal must be weighed up, especially any fees included. As 66% of the market charges a product fee, borrowers need to be wary of the upfront cost of any deal.

“Flexibility with drawing funds is also a key point to consider, as shown in the Equity Release Council’s Spring 2019 report, drawdown is more popular with borrowers than taking a lump sum, with two-thirds (64%) of new customers opting for a drawdown lifetime mortgage in the second half of 2018. By choosing a drawdown product, consumers could potentially save interest compared to taking a lump sum.

“The reasons why borrowers choose an equity release deal can vary. Whether it be to fund any gap for later life care costs, to reduce the blow of an Inheritance Tax bill, or just to make retirement more comfortable, it is vital consumers get independent financial advice to ensure it is right for them.”

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