Societies offer the best deals for savers
Building societies have been named as the most consistent savings providers, and at the current time they also dominate the best-buy tables.
According to data provider Moneyfacts, an impressive 83% of the most consistent savings deals offered over the past two years are from building societies. Indeed, only one bank – NatWest – made it into the consistency charts.
Moneyfacts names the Beverley Building Society as the most consistent provider of instant access accounts, while the minnow, the Teachers Building Society, is the most consistent provider overall.
Louis Kaszczak, head of Moneyfacts, says: “While past performance doesn’t necessarily predict the future, our consistency survey does give savers an idea of the providers and accounts where rates are maintained.
"Building societies continue to increase their dominance of the savings market, with mutuals continuing to play fair with their members, offering the most consistent rates of return.”
In terms of getting the best rate today, building societies also offer a great deal.
Barnsley Building Society recently launched a range of online account paying a fixed rate of up to 5.4% AER. You can choose to fix for two years (at 3.85%), three years (5%), four years (5.15%), and five years (5.4%). You need to have at least £100 to save to open one of these deals.
Yorkshire Building Society also pays up to 5.4% on its five-year account, but you could choose to fix for a shorter period; it pays 5.15% over four years or 5% over three.
Elsewhere, Principality Building Society offers a range of fixed-rate bonds paying up to 5.1% AER. You can choose from a six-month account (2.52%), a one-year deal (3.50%), a two-year account (4.00%), and a five-year deal (5.10%).
All of these deals require a £500 upfront deposit, other than the five-year fix, which can only be opened with a deposit of £5,000.
Skipton Building Society has also launched an online five-year account paying 5%, this time on deposits from £500.
Next up is Nationwide, which has just improved its fixed-rate offering. It now pays 5% AER on its five-year e-bond. However, this bond requires a deposit of at least £50,000 and you must already have a Nationwide FlexAccount before you can open it. Balances up to £9,999 get 4.75% interest though.
Alternatively, it also pays 5% on its fixed-rate account - again, you need £50,000 to qualify but you won't need another Nationwide account before you can open it.
Getting a rate of 5% is great, but you need to be prepared to fix for five years to qualify. If a shorter term is more what you're after, then you will earn a slightly lower rate.
Derbyshire Building Society pays 3.75% AER for one year on deposits from £100.
Coventry Building Society currently offers a postal instant access account paying 3.3% AER on balances between £1,000 and £250,000. This rate includes a 1.3% bonus for the first year, so after this time your rate will drop. In addition, you can only make four penalty-free withdrawals a year, and these must be at least £1,000.
Newcastle Building Society offers an online account paying 2.5% AER on deposits from just £1. Withdrawals are permitted without any loss of interest. You can opt for this account to pay your interest on a monthly basis; however, you will need to have a minimum balance of £1,000.
Barnsley Building Society also offers an online saver account paying 2.5% on deposits from £1. Again, you can make unlimited withdrawals, but these are subject to daily limits. This deal can be managed online, so you don't need to have a Barnsley branch in your area.
Or Saffron Building Society has an online saver paying 2.3% AER on deposits from £10. While unlimited withdrawals are permitted, you must take out at least £10 at a time.
Finally, Yorkshire Building Society pays 2.1% on deposits from £1, and there are no limits on the number of withdrawals you can make.
This is a mutual organisation owned by its members and not by shareholders. These societies offer a range of financial services but have historically concentrated on taking deposits from savers and lending the money to borrowers as mortgages, hence the name. In the mid-1990s many societies “demutualised” and became banks. One academic study (Heffernan, 2003) found demutualised societies’ pricing on deposits and mortgages was more favourable to shareholders than to customers, with the remaining mutual building societies offering consistently better rates. In 1900, there were 2,286 building societies in the UK; in 2011, there are just 51.
Where APR is the rate charged for money borrowed, Annual equivalent rate is how interest is calculated on money saved. The AER takes into account the frequency the product pays interest and how that interest compounds. So, if two savings products pay the same rate of interest but one pays interest more frequently, that account compounds the interest more frequently and will have a higher AER.
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