Interest rate cut: how can you protect your savings?

Sarah Coles
Concept of troubled finances piggy bank with hole being sawed from under neath
Concept of troubled finances piggy bank with hole being sawed from under neath



You could be forgiven for thinking that the interest rate you're getting on your savings couldn't go any lower - but you'd be wrong. There's every chance that the Bank of England will keep cutting rates - and keep them lower - to deal with the economic turmoil brought on by Brexit. Fortunately, this doesn't mean you have to put up with rock-bottom savings rates.

Independent Savings Adviser Savingschampion.co.uk has pointed out that some accounts already deliver derisory returns - before any further Bank of England cuts. Their least favourite accounts are currently the HSBC Flexible Saver and the First Direct Saving Account - which both pay just 0.05% in interest.

However, there are several more paying just 0.1%: including the Barclays Prime Account, Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank's Instant Savings, Halifax's Liquid Gold and Bonus Gold, HSBC's Flexible Saver – Preferential Rates, the Post Office Online Easy Saver Issue 1 and Santander's Instant Saver.

Susan Hannums of Savingschampion.co.uk, said: "When these accounts have names like 'Liquid Gold' or 'Preferential rates' it really is a case of misleading marketing, when the rates being paid are so small." She adds: "If savers are already stuck in these dead duck accounts, they should be looking to move now."

What can you do?

Fortunately there are plenty of better deals out there. Hannums's says: "Savers need to keep a close eye on the marketplace and move when a better rate comes along, otherwise it is easy for the banks to continue taking them for granted. There is no need to be earning so little on your money, even in this low interest rate environment."

Her website offers a Rate Tracker, which sends you an alert and suggests where you should consider moving to, if your bank cuts its rate. It's a useful tool if you would otherwise struggle to keep an eye on what interest you are receiving - and make the time to shop around.

If you are worried about rates dropping across the market, she suggests considering a fixed term rate. She points out: "Some of the top-paying accounts have more than 40 times the interest available on the worst payers out there. For example, Al Rayan Bank has a fixed-term account for 36 months, which is currently paying 2.30% for three years – this is 46 times the interest paid on a 0.05% savings account. If you do not want to tie your money up for as long, Charter Savings Bank is offering 1.91% for two years on deposits of £1,000."

Alternatively, it's worth checking out what's available in the current account market, because if you don't have much in the way of savings you can get significantly higher rates. For example, you can get 4.89% gross from Nationwide's FlexDirect Current Account on deposits up to £2,500 and on the TSB Bank Classic Plus Account, up to £2,000. This is 100 times more than you are paid in the HSBC and First Direct accounts paying 0.05%.

If you have more to deposit, you can get 2.96% gross with Santander's 123 Current Account on deposits between £3,000 and £20,000 - although the account comes with a fee of £5 per month to be aware of.



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