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Savings rate war: Top one-year fix pays 1.6% despite record low interest rate

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

The base rate has plunged to a record low of 0.1% but surprisingly, a number of banks have increased the rates on savings products.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs today launched a one-year fixed rate saver paying 1.45% AER (minimum £1). This is now its second product, after its massively popular easy access account (currently paying 1.3%) was launched in September 2018.

While this seems a good rate for savers able to lock up their money for a year, it actually lags the best buy offerings.

Vanquis Bank today upped its offering on its one-year fixed rate bond which now pays 1.6% on a minimum £1,000 deposit.

The account can be opened online and by phone and post, though given the current coronavirus situation, it may be best to open it online to free up resources to help existing customers.

However, savers will not be able to access their cash during the term.

In second place is Secure Trust Bank offering savers 1.58% on a minimum £1,000. Again the account can be opened online and savers won’t be able to access their cash.

Hampshire Trust Bank (min. £1,000), United Trust Bank (min. £5,000) and Investec (min. £25,000) are placed third with their one-year bonds paying 1.55%.

According to data site Savings Champion, the average rate offered on a one-year fixed deal stood at 1.32% in January but it has been steadily falling to 1.12% as of 26 March.

But, it is interesting to see some players increasing their rates despite the Bank of England cutting the base rate twice to 0.1% from the 0.75% just a couple of weeks ago.

Anna Bowes, co-founder of Savings Champion, said: “At the beginning of March the top paying one-year fixed rate deal was offered from BLME, with an expected profit rate of 1.65%, followed by Atom Bank of 1.6%.

“So today’s rates are slightly lower than before. Marcus’ 1.45% isn’t market-leading but you can close your account early for a fee so this ‘access’ impacts the rate offered.

“Importantly, the penalty/early closure fee means you won’t get back less than you put in which is a nice, honest feature.

“Despite the base rate cut, we haven’t seen cuts to existing rates though we will see them start to drop heavily from the beginning of the next month. This may trigger a fall in competition on the live accounts which have dropped more than the existing back book.

“Savers need to act fast as you never know when you will miss the top. If you can fix some of your money for that term, you will get a guaranteed rate. However, you still need to shop around for the best rate as there are a lot of awful interest-paying accounts out there.

“But if you see products offering more than the typical rates, it’s unlikely to have the same FSCS protection.”