Top savings rates deals can last just days
Savers need to act swiftly to pick up top rate bonds offered by building societies - they can be on sale for just a few days.
The top two-year bond at 2.4% before tax (1.92% after tax) from National Counties Building Society was on sale for just five days before it was withdrawn.
The top one-year fixed rate deal comes from BM Savings, part of Halifax, at 2% (1.6%), while you can earn 2.05% (1.64%) for eighteen months with Tesco and GE Capital Direct.
The best two-year rates come from Close Brothers at 2.3% (1.84%), or 2.25% (1.8%) with AA Savings, where the deposit taker is also Halifax, Tesco and Investec Bank. Shawbrook offers 2.65% (2.12%) if you are willing to tie your money up for three years.
On easy access accounts BM Savings pays 1.7% (1.36%) including an initial bonus but limits you to four withdrawals a year. Coventry Building Society pays a slightly lower 1.6% (1.28%) where the rate is not boosted by an initial bonus, but you are still limited to a maximum of four withdrawals a year.
The top rates on easy access accounts with no bonus and no withdrawal restrictions come from Sainsbury's Bank eSaver Special at 1.55% (1.24%) and Virgin Money Easy Access Saver (available through branches, post or online) at 1.51% (1.21%).
On tax-free cash Isas, the best one-year fixed rate deals come from Virgin Money at 1.91% along with 1.9% from Post Office, where the deposit taker is Bank of Ireland, and Bath Building Society. Britannia, where the deposit taker is Co-op Bank, pays 2.05% for two years while Coventry tops the three-year deals at 2.75%. However, you can't transfer your existing cash Isas into the Coventry account. The top rate for transfers over three years is 2.25% from Halifax and Aldermore Bank.
On easy access cash Isas, Virgin Money, Britannia and National Savings & Investments all pay 1.75%. But the latter won't accept transfers. Post Office pays the top rate of 1.8% but the rate is boosted by a 12-month bonus.
Last week Nationwide and its offshoots Derbyshire, Cheshire and Dunfermline cut rates on their Easy Isa Account for new savers to 1.6% from 1.75%.
This article was written for our sister website Money Observer
Invidivual Savings Accounts were introduced on 6 April 1999 to replace personal equity plans (PEPs) and tax-exempt special savings accounts (TESSAs) with one plan that covered both stockmarket and savings products, the returns from which are tax-exempt. The ISA is not in itself an investment product. Rather, it’s a tax-free “wrapper” in which you place investments and savings up to a specified annual allowance where the returns (capital growth, dividends, interest) are tax-exempt (you don’t have to declare ISAs and their contents on your tax return). However, any dividends are taxed within the investment, and that can’t be reclaimed.
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.