Easy access accounts 'disappearing'

Easy access savings accounts which pay an introductory bonus rate are on the "verge of disappearing", a financial information website has warned.

The number of these accounts offering savers a bonus has fallen back sharply since the Government launched a scheme to help borrowers last August, Moneyfacts found.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
At the start of August 2012, 73 easy access accounts paid a bonus and the highest rate on offer was 2.7%.

Since then, the choice of bonus-paying accounts has plummeted to 32, with the highest bonus rate on offer almost half of what it was nine months ago, at 1.45%.

The Government's Funding for Lending Scheme was launched last August to give lenders access to cheap finance, but analysts have said that this has made them less reliant on attracting borrowers' deposits.

Savers were already struggling to find any deals to give them decent returns on their cash pots, with the bank rate being held at a record 0.5% low.

There has been recent debate about the benefits to consumers of introductory "teaser" rates, which are used to tempt new customers but often drop sharply when the introductory bonus period comes to an end.

Savers using them need to make sure they keep switching accounts when the bonus period comes to an end, if they want to get the best deal.

Sylvia Waycot, editor of Moneyfacts.co.uk, said the number of easy access accounts offering an introductory bonus is "on the verge of disappearing".

She said: "Bonuses have received mixed reviews, some people love them, others loathe them because of their temporary nature. However, anything that gives you more interest, even if only for a short time is better than nothing at all."

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Forbes rich list: the world's top ten billionaires
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Easy access accounts 'disappearing'

The Mexican self-made telecoms mogul tops the rich list with a wealth that, as Forbes reports, if it were a country would be the eighth richest in Latin America.

Dubbed the world's most generous person, Bill Gates made his fortune as the brains behind Microsoft and has reportedly already donated $28 billion of his wealth to charity so far.

Spanish billionaire Ortega is the man behind the clothes brand Zara and is this year's biggest rich list gainer, making $19.5 billion last year and moving him into third position.

Buffett made his billions as CEO, primary shareholder and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, A diversified company with interest in GEICO, life insurance, annuity sales and sales of jewellery. He recently signed a lucrative deal to acquire Heinz Ketchup.

Ellison founded Oracle Corporation, a leading enterprise software company. He's America's third richest man and Forbes has reported that he recently bought 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai from David Murdock for a reported sum of $500 million.

Koch built his fortune on chemicals and refining and shares the sixth position on the rich list with his billionaire brother, David Koch.

Tied sixth in the rich list with his elder brother Charles, David runs the chemical equipment side of Koch Industries from his New York home.

This self-made billionaire is Asia's richest man and currently supplies a quarter of British people with gas after acquiring British gas supplier Wales & West Utilities for $1 billion last October.

The only woman in the top ten, Bettencourt's father founded L'Oreal and now she and her family own 30% of the French cosmetics super brand.

Branded by Forbes as the 'World's most influential tastemaker' Arnault owns the luxury goods powerhouse LVHM, Moet Hennessy - Luis Vuitton.

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