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Current account holders warned over headline rate

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11/03/2008

Consumers may not necessarily get the headline interest rate on their current account, according to Coventry Building Society.

Current accounts advertising high interest rates often only pay this rate up to a certain limit, after which consumers could earn considerably less interest. Research from Coventry found that banks such as Alliance & Leicester, Abbey, Halifax, Nationwide and Lloyds TSB, all offer their headline rates up to limits of £2,500 with Nationwide offering a limit of £3,000.

In the case of all but Abbey, however, customers who exceed the limit only earn 0.10% interest on their savings, according to Coventry. This results in customers earning an average rate of far less than the headline rate, with customers of Alliance & Leicester’s Premier Direct account earning an average of 3.92% interest per year, as opposed to the 8.50% headline rate.

Rachel Haworth, head of marketing at the Coventry, said: “A customer switching to a top-rated account, and keeping a steady balance of £2,500 deposited throughout the year, will indeed earn a good rate of interest.

“However, this is not how many people operate current accounts. Customers who have their salaries paid into their current account will have a significant balance at the start of the month (even more so in the case of joint accounts) and therefore find a sizeable proportion of their money earning almost no interest at all.”

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