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Rates on six-month bonds creep up

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If you don’t need instant access to your savings but tying your funds up for a year is a stretch, you may want to consider a six-month bond.

This is still a fairly niche part of the market, but rates on these products have risen over the past year, with the top payer BLME, a sharia-compliant bank, offering 1.85%, followed closely by Oaknorth, which pays 1.76%.

Twelve months ago, the top rate was 1.25%, 0.60 percentage points less than today’s best buy, according to Moneyfacts data.

With the best one-year bond from Gatehouse Bank paying 2.15%, Tom Adams, head of research at Savings Champion, said the current six-month rates look competitive “considering the term is effectively halved”.

Both BLME and Oaknorth require a minimum deposit of £1,000. If you have less to save, Masthaven pays a rate of 1.75% with a £500 minimum. Masthaven also has a nifty tool that lets you choose your own term – with the rate adjusted accordingly. It pays 1.78% on a seven-month bond, for example.

If you have less than £500 to save, Atom Bank pays 1.70% with a minimum limit of £50.

While there are relatively few accounts in the six-month space, more demand means the situation could change.

Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts, said: “The expanding choice of short-term fixed rates will hopefully continue, and the challenge for the top spot over a six-month term is clear to see as both BLME and OakNorth increased their rates this month.”

Other short-term savings options

If you don’t want to tie your money up for six months, there are a handful of one-month and three-month bonds on the market, but the best deals both pay substantially less than the top easy access account, which is currently 1.55% from ICICI Bank.

The top three-month deal is from Metro Bank paying 1.0%, while the best one-month account from United Bank UK pays just 0.05%.

Notice accounts are another option. With these, you have to give your bank or building society notice before you make a withdrawal.

Notice periods tend to start from 30 days and can go up to 120 days. Rates on these accounts are variable so can go up or down and there’s usually a limit on the number of withdrawals you can make.

The best notice account rate is on the 95-day account from Charter Savings Bank, which pays 1.90% and requires a minimum deposit of £1,000.

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