You are here: Home - Saving & Banking - Understanding -

‘Should I entrust foreign banks with my savings?’

Written by:
A number of savings products from overseas banks have started to appear at the top of best buy tables. Should you be put off that these banks aren’t British?

As savings rates have diminished over the last few years, challenger banks have risen to the top of the best buy tables. These are smaller, newer names to the market trying to take on the big, established players.

These institutions need to raise their profile and importantly, still need to raise funds from savers, unlike major British high street banks, which received access to cheap funding from the government in 2012 so no longer need to rely on customer deposits to fund lending.

Some challengers are British such as Metro, Virgin Money and Aldermore. Others are foreign like French-owned RCI Bank and Swedish Ikano Bank, which was founded by the family behind Ikea.

Andrew Hagger of Moneycomms says: “Just because you’ve never heard of a bank it doesn’t mean you should immediately dismiss it out of hand.”

However, he says safety of funds is vitally important to most savers “so check if the provider in question is covered by the [UK] FSCS – Financial Services Compensation Scheme”.

The FSCS guarantees to repay up to £75,000 per person within seven days if a bank, building society or credit union goes bust.

According to Anna Bowes of independent savings adviser, the majority of the foreign banks have made a commitment to the UK market and as a result are part of the UK FSCS.  Deposits with the Bank of Cyprus UK, for example, are covered.

However, some, such as RCI Bank and Ikano, are part of their own country’s compensation scheme.

“These providers protect their savers on up to €100,000 and will pay any compensation out in euros – therefore the sterling equivalent protected will be determined by the prevailing exchange rate and any fees for transferring funds back into sterling,” she says.

Bowes believes the key to feeling secure when placing funds with a bank or building society, especially one you have never heard of, is that the funds are fully protected should the provider fail.

“As a result, especially with regard to those providers who are protected by the UK FSCS, there is no reason not to at least consider using them, as long as you keep your deposit within the limits,” she says.

Hagger, however, says he’d be “wary of putting my money” with overseas institutions covered by their own country’s scheme because of the time it may take to get your money back.

“For the sake of an extra 0.1% or 0.2% I’d plump for a UK FSCS backed provider every time,” he says.

“As a yardstick I always ask myself, would I be comfortable letting my parents put their nest egg with a particular unfamiliar savings provider. If the answer is no, then I won’t put my cash with it either.”

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

The savings accounts paying the most interest

It’s time to get your finances in shape, and moving your cash savings to a higher paying deal is a good plac...

Everything you need to know about being furloughed

Few people had heard of ‘furlough’ before March 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic thrust the idea of bein...

The experts’ guide to sorting out your personal finances in 2021

From opting to ‘low spend’ months to imposing your own ‘cooling-off period’, industry experts reveal t...

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

Having a baby and your finances: seven top tips

We’re guessing the Duchess of Cambridge won’t be fretting about maternity pay or whether she’ll still be...

Protecting family wealth: 10 tips for cutting inheritance tax

Inheritance tax - sometimes known as 'death tax' - can cause even more heartache for bereaved families. But th...

Travel insurance: Five tips to ensure a successful claim

Ahead of your summer holiday, it’s important to make sure you have the right level of travel cover or you co...

Money Tips of the Week