Analysis reveals personal finance ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ of 2019 so far

People searching for a mortgage are the big personal finance “winners” of 2019 so far, with the typical deals on offer having improved since the start of the year, according to analysis.

But savers and those looking to take out an interest-free credit card may find they get a worse deal than they would have done six months ago, analysis of these markets by Moneyfacts.co.uk found.

The website said that, halfway through the year, the mortgage rates on offer have generally improved since January.

Average two, five and 10-year fixed mortgage rates have all tumbled.

In January, the average five-year fixed-rate was 2.94% but as of July it has fallen to 2.85%.

Meanwhile, Moneyfacts said that interest rates on savings products have fallen on average, despite some small improvement seen to the top rates offered on one and five-year fixed bonds.

The average five-year fixed-rate bond on the market in January paid 2.15%, but that has now fallen to 2.08%.

The average easy access account rate has also fallen slightly, from 0.64% in January to 0.63%.

Meanwhile, customers who decide to take out an interest-free credit card may now find they have a shorter timeframe to clear their debt before interest charges start to kick in.

However, the upfront cost of shifting debts onto another card has fallen since January, which could encourage people to switch.

The average length of both zero-interest purchase and balance transfer periods on credit cards has fallen since January.

Borrowers may either need to pay off their card in bigger chunks, or switch deals sooner to avoid interest being charged on their debt.

Someone taking out a credit card in January offering 0% interest on purchases could have typically expected the zero interest period to last for 354 days – but now that has fallen to 331 days.

The average interest-free balance transfer term on a credit card has fallen from 564 days to 539 days since the start of 2019.

Average fees for transferring the balance have fallen from 2.32% to 2.21%.

Rachel Springall, a finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, said: “The lengthy terms offered on interest-free credit cards have continued to diminish in the past six months, carrying on from the falls seen in the last half of 2018.

“On balance transfer cards, borrowers have 25 days less on average to pay back their debt before interest applies than they did in January, while based on the longest term today versus six months ago, there is a difference of four months.

“Indeed, MBNA offers a 29-month interest-free balance transfer card today with a 2.75% fee, but six months ago they topped the market with a 33-month deal with a 1.99% fee.”

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