Number of inflation-beating savings accounts on the up
CPI inflation fell to 0.3% during November from 0.7% in October. According to Moneyfacts, there are 496 savings accounts that currently beat this rate, compared to 227 accounts that beat 0.7%.
Standard savings accounts that beat 0.3% AER include 38 easy access accounts, 40 notice accounts, 40 variable rate ISA, 118 fixed rate ISAs, and 260 fixed rate bonds.
Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, said: “Savers will be losing money in real terms if they have their cash stashed in an easy access account with a high street bank due to the current level of inflation. Those savers looking to beat inflation today will find a brief respite as inflation fell to 0.3% but, as savings rates continue to fall across the market, speed is key to secure a top rate deal.
“Market-leading longer-term fixed rate bonds or ISAs have been choices for savers over many years to beat the government’s inflation target of 2%, but interest rates have been falling at such a pace that now the top five-year fixed bond pays almost half that of the top deal seen a year ago.”
In December 2019 the top five-year fixed bond paid 2.50% gross on maturity from UBL UK, but the top rate today pays just 1.28% gross on maturity from the same provider.
Savers coming off a one-year fixed rate bond will also be disappointed by the current returns on offer today. A year ago the top rate was 1.80% gross from Bank of London and The Middle East (BLME). But today the top one-year bond pays just 0.80% gross from Tandem Bank.
Things are not much better in the easy access savings market. Excluding NS&I rates, at the end of September, you could get 1.1% on easy access savings, but the best on offer now is 0.6% from Aldermore Bank.
Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said savers can’t afford to get complacent.
She said: “Inflation is set to bounce back, and the Office for Budget Responsibility expects it to be back near pre-pandemic levels next year – at around 1.2%. If there’s no deal agreed on Brexit, this rise is likely to be faster and sharper. The OBR estimates that potential falls in the pound and tariffs on exports could push inflation to more than 2.5% by the end of next year.
“We can’t afford to sit back enjoy the odd month where we beat inflation, we need to do what we can to consistently stay ahead of price rises. This means shopping around for a better rate, and once you have three to six months’ worth of expenses in an easy access account, consider fixing the rest of your savings in order to lock in a better rate. If you’re planning to fix some of your savings, you need to act fast, before rates have a chance to fall any further.”