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Savings rates are creeping up from their all-time lows, providing a “spark of hope” for those looking for a better return on their cash, say analysts.
At the start of the new tax year in April, the best one-year fixed-rate savings account in the market paid interest of 0.65% but savers can now earn up to 0.85%, says Sarah Coles, a personal finance analyst at the investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown.
“The house-buying frenzy has brought fresh hope for savers. Banks need more cash to back their mortgage lending, so they have been forced to boost savings rates,” she said.
However, these (slightly) better rates are mainly confined to fixed-rate savings accounts, where you typically have to tie up your money for a year or more.
The uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic means many savers want their spare cash sitting in accounts they can access very quickly, and with billions of pounds flowing into these, there is little incentive for banks to offer better returns on them.
This may help to explain why, according to the data provider Moneyfacts, the average easy access account rate remains at a record low of 0.16% – down from 0.4% a year ago and 0.62% in May 2019.
For those willing and able to lock in their money for a year, app-based bank Atom’s Fixed Saver account was this week offering a rate of 0.85%.
The peer-to-peer lending website Zopa now has a banking licence and is offering a range of fixed-term savings accounts paying 0.76% if you fix for a year, 0.9% over two years and 1.01% if you opt for a three-year term.
Meanwhile, Gatehouse Bank, a shariah-compliant UK bank, has the 5 Year Fixed Term Green Saver paying 1.4%. For each account opened, the bank will plant a tree in a UK woodland.
Moneyfacts says average one-year and longer-term fixed-rate savings bond rates have edged up this month for the first time since October 2020, to 0.44% and 0.66% respectively.
However, Coles says the providers at the top of the savings charts are mainly smaller and newer institutions, which have more limited capacity than the high street giants. They may withdraw their products quickly, so those who are interested may need to act fast.
Skipton building society this week launched a hybrid savings account, which it said combines the comfort of fixed-rate interest with access to some of your savings cash.
The Limited Access Bond is a two-year fixed-rate bond paying 0.45% that allows people to access 25% of their funds early. It is available to all customers but can only be opened in a branch, by post or by phone.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: UK savers given hope as interest rates edge up from all-time lows | Savings