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Nationwide revamps savings range with member-only exclusives

Written by: Emma Lunn
The building society offers competitive rates for the high street – but they can be beaten online.

Nationwide has refreshed and simplified its savings range with new products including a members-only bond.

The Member Exclusive Bond is fixed for 18 months at 1.5 per cent AER. It’s only available to existing Nationwide members and can only be opened in branch. Customers can open an account with just £1 and save up to £5,000 (£10,000 for joint accounts).

Nationwide describes the rate as “highly competitive” but the rate is easily beaten by several challenger providers including Al Rayan Bank and BLME.

Nationwide is also offering a one-year Triple Access Online Saver. The variable rate account, which is available in both ISA and non-ISA variants, pays 1.21 per cent AER for 12 months. The rate then reverts to 0.75 per cent AER.

Savers can only open and manage an account online via Nationwide online banking or its mobile app. Accountholders can make three withdrawals in each 12-month period following account opening. Subsequent withdrawals will lower the interest rate to 0.10 per cent for the remainder of that period.

Customers who want to open an account in a Nationwide branch can opt for the Triple Access Saver (or ISA) – but this pays less at 0.75 per cent AER.

Tom Riley, Nationwide’s director of savings, said: “By refreshing our range, we have not only given members a clear understanding of what is on offer and how it can meet their individual needs, but raised our headline variable rate to 1.21 per cent – increasing our competitiveness.

“We know that there is no such thing as an average saver because not all savers choose to manage their money in the same way. That is why our new range offers competitive rates for those who prefer to manage their savings online as well as those that want to utilise our 650-strong branch network. By offering savers simple choice between rate and access, we hope that choosing the right account is more straightforward than ever.”

Nationwide vs the high street banks

Andrew Hagger of MoneyComms said: “The rates on the instant access accounts and bonds won’t trouble the top end of the best buy tables where mostly niche ‘online only’ players dominate with the likes of 18 months fixed from Al Rayan bank at 2.22 per cent and a 12-month bond with Gatehouse Bank at 1.90 per cent setting the pace – but remember these providers don’t have the cost constraints of a massive branch network eating into their margins.

“The Nationwide 18-month bond at 1.50 per cent is attractive for a major high street provider, it’s just a shame the maximum balance has been set at just £5,000 (£10k for joint accounts).”

In comparison, elsewhere on the high street Barclays’ Everyday Saver pays just 0.25 per cent and the bank’s one-year fixed rate bond pays 0.65 per cent. HSBC pays just 0.15 per cent on its Flexible Saver and 0.7 per cent on its one-year bond.

“When you compare Nationwide’s rates with its peers  –  i.e. major high street banks, the new Nationwide deals look far more appealing than the derisory account deals from its competitors,” said Hagger, “The branch based Triple Access Saver is paying between three and five times as much interest as most of the big banks and is worth a closer look for those currently earning a paltry 0.15 per cent or 0.20 per cent on their balances.”

As part of the revamp, Nationwide withdrew the following accounts from sale at the close of business on 15 October: Loyalty Saver, Loyalty ISA, Flexclusive ISA and Limited Access Saver.

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