Can’t use the internet? It shouldn’t cost you: We sniff out the best deals on the High Street or over the phone
Savers who can’t go online for the best rates do not have to put up with the duff deals offered by big banks.
Much better options are available in the High Street, at local building societies and small banks. Failing that, accounts can be run by post or over the phone.
Millions of savers are missing out because they do not use the internet, where, typically, the best rates on easy-access and fixed-rate savings accounts are to be found.
Millions of savers are missing out because they do not use the internet, where, typically, the best rates on easy-access and fixed-rate savings accounts are to be found
For example, the best online rate on popular easy-access accounts is currently 1.5 per cent from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, which includes a 0.15 percentage point bonus for the first 12 months.
On £10,000, this gives you £150 interest a year, including the bonus.
But Halifax, once the stalwart of savings banks, pays just 0.2 per cent in the High Street on its Everyday Saver — or just £20 interest.
Wily savers can close this gap by switching to a top-paying provider. Even if you don’t live near a branch of one paying a top rate, you can still pick up competitive rates by running your account by phone or post.
Easy-access accounts are the most popular with savers, who hold more than £740 billion in them. Some of these accounts, available by post or in the High Street, pay 1 pc or more.
Here’s a High Street bargain
Leeds Building Society’s new fixed-rate cash Isa is one of the best deals on the High Street, paying 1.75 per cent until November 1 next year.
It is available online, through its branches and by post. You can add to your account until April 1, 2019.
You may take out money during the term, but you’ll pay a charge equivalent to 100 days’ interest — or £48 on a £10,000 withdrawal.
Other deals include Coventry BS at 1.7 per cent fixed until May 1 next year.
You have 14 days to put cash in the account. You can’t make withdrawals, but you can close the account before the end of the term and lose 120 days’ interest (£55 on £10,000).
Both accounts let you transfer cash Isas from other providers.
Among the best deals in the High Street is Kent Reliance, which operates through nine branches in the South East and pays 1.4 per cent on its Easy Access account.
Coventry BS, which has around 70 branches, pays 1.15 per cent on its Easy Access account.
Virgin Money Easy Access Saver, on offer at its 73 branches around the country, pays 1.16 per cent. Newcastle BS Community Saver pays 1 per cent, which is available at its 27 branches, and Scottish BS, with six branches, pays 1 per cent on its Instant Access account.
Family BS offers a higher 1.21 per cent on its Branch Saver, but it only has one branch in Epsom, Surrey.
Kent Reliance and Scottish BS also let you open and run their accounts by post, while Coventry BS and Virgin Money let you operate them over the phone as well as by post.
Fixed-rate bonds from smaller providers also beat the big banks hands down. On one-year fixed-rate bonds, the top High Street rates include Kent Reliance at 1.7 per cent, Cambridge BS at 1.65 per cent and Yorkshire BS at 1.55 per cent.
In contrast, NatWest pays just 0.8 per cent for one year and Lloyds 0.65 per cent for two years.
You can also find good fixed-rate bonds on offer through the post. Among the top short-term bonds are those from Charter Savings Bank, which, unusually for a new bank, offers its accounts online and through the post.
It pays 1.9 per cent for one year or 2 per cent for 18 months. You can also take monthly income, at 1.88 per cent and 1.98 per cent respectively.
Your cash is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in the same way as for big banks and building societies. This gives you up to £85,000 of cover — or £170,000 on joint accounts — if your provider goes bust.