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Nearly half of ‘easy access’ savings deals come with a catch

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

Analysis of the 100 top easy access savings accounts reveals nearly half come with at least one restriction which could catch customers out.

Looking at the top paying 20 easy or instant access savings accounts, just six come without restrictions such as a short-term bonus, penalty or limits on accessing cash.

But analysis of the 100 best buy easy access accounts revealed that 58 come without any strings attached, meaning 42 – nearly half – have some kind of quirk.

The research by Investec and personal finance site MoneyComms revealed that of the 42 accounts, 16 had at least one restriction, penalty or used a short-term bonus to give it the competitive edge, 21 products came with two restrictions and five had three.

A breakdown of the terms showed that nine included a short-term bonus, 31 limited the number of withdrawals and 14 reduced the interest rate if savers accessed their cash more than permitted.

Four of the top 100 accounts cut the interest paid after 12 months.

Investec also found that 6% of people with savings in the year to October 2019 were penalised for withdrawing money from their accounts with a reduction on the interest rate received.

Worryingly, a fifth said they weren’t aware of these conditions at the time of opening the account.

‘Disappointing best buys’

Linda Brown, head of savings at Investec, said: “The phrase easy or instant access suggests savers can get hold of their money easily, but our research shows this is not the case for a number of best-buy accounts.

“People should not only look at the interest rate being offered by a savings account, but also the terms and conditions for accessing their money. There are plenty of easy access savings accounts offering market-leading rates with no short-term bonuses artificially inflating their interest rates, and no restrictions or penalties for taking money out.”

Andrew Hagger, savings expert from Moneycomms, said: “It’s disappointing to see how many ‘best buy’ savings deals come with ‘strings’ attached, with savings providers seemingly looking for new ways to play the best buy tables.”