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Atom Bank launches market-leading nine-month savings account

Written by: Rebecca Goodman
Atom Bank has launched a new nine-month fixed-rate savings account paying 3.95% interest.

The ‘Fixed Saver’ account pays the highest rate of interest for an account of this length. The bank also has a six-month fixed-rate account paying 3.55%.

It comes as a raft of providers have increased their rates following the decision by the Bank of England to hike the base rate to 3%.

It’s predicted rates will rise further as the Bank attempts to lower the level of inflation, which was 10.1% in September.

An account for short-term savers

Atom says the nine-month account has been launched to offer savers more flexibility. It says it understands people may not want to lock money away for long periods during the cost-of-living crisis and with interest rates expected to rise further.

To open the account from the app-based bank, savers need to deposit at least £50. Savers can apply via mobile app (App store or Google Play) but they can’t access the money within the the term.

In October, Atom Bank was the first provider to offer rates of over 5%, the highest interest rate seen in a decade.

It currently offers the following fixed-rate savings accounts:

  • 6-month: 3.55%
  • 9-month: 3.95%
  • 1-year: 4.35%
  • 2-year: 4.50%
  • 3-year: 4.65%
  • 5-year: 4.65%

Mark Mullen, chief executive officer at Atom, said: “We understand that not everyone wants to lock their cash away for years, so we’ve launched the nine-month product to help those who may have more short-term goals. We’re not here to catch people out either, so like all of our products this is easy to open, with no hidden requirements.

“While many high street banks are refusing to pass on rising rates to savers, we continue to be the bank that does. Now more than ever, loyalty to your bank can be bad for your financial health, and we think it’s important that people understand that their bank may be taking advantage of them.”

Atom’s account vs the rest

Most of the top-rated accounts come from challenger banks such as Atom, Tandem, Close Brothers and ICICI Bank. Although these banks are not high street names, they still come under the same protection of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This protects up to £85,000 per financial institution.

Atom’s nine-month account is a market leader because there are very few accounts around that are fixed for this period. It’s more common for providers to offer fixed-rate accounts that start at 12 months.

The only other account of this length comes from ICICI Bank UK, offered through Raisin, paying 3.75%.

The best one-year account at the moment comes from Union Bank of India (UK) Ltd and pays 4.75%, followed by an account from United Trust Bank paying 4.70%.

The best easy-access account pays 3%, from HSBC, followed by an account from Al Rayan Bank paying 2.81%.

Will interest rates increase further?

Many savers are trying to decide if it’s worth opening an account now or waiting for rates to go up further.

While rates are improving, the pace of rises has slowed for some accounts including fixed-rate cash ISAs.

Rachel Springall, spokesperson for Moneyfacts, said: “It is really hard to tell whether savers should grab a deal right now or wait a little longer, but savers need to consciously decide how long they are prepared to lock away their funds as top rates don’t always stay on the shelf for long.

“If savers are prepared to wait, we could stand to see one-year fixed bonds reach 5%, and it’s worth remembering just a month ago we had Atom Bank launch a 5% five-year fixed bond and today Vanquis Bank and Union Bank of India (UK) Ltd pay 5% on a two-year bond.”

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