Banking, loans and cards

Top deals are closed to millions

Savings providers are fighting their way to the top of the savings best-buy tables offering deals that millions of people are prevented from taking advantage of.
The four highest-paying cash Isas all impose restrictions on who can access them, according to analysis by For example, Coventry Building Society’s Branch Instant Isa pays interest of 2% but, as its name suggests, it can be opened only in-branch – little use to someone who lives nowhere near a Coventry branch.
Meanwhile, HSBC restricts its best Isa rate for people who already hold accounts with the bank.
Moneysupermarket found a similar pattern with easy-access savings accounts. The top five accounts all have restrictions, whether based on existing custom, geography or branch access. The highest universal rate on the market is 1.4% – significantly lower than the market-leading rate of 2.1%.
These restrictions will be considered fair game by many people – after all, rewarding customers for their loyalty or giving a helping hand to customers in a building society’s local area are hardly underhand tactics. But they do mean that the best-buy tables should be treated with a little bit of caution.
“It’s a tough environment at the moment for savers, and restrictions on accounts make it even harder for the majority of consumers to benefit from the best rates being advertised,” said Kevin Mountford, of Moneysupermarket.
“Providers are using a range of tactics to make their very best deals hard to access.
“Due to these restrictions, savers should consider it there’s a better deal to be had elsewhere. For many, the return on your money will be much higher in a current account than a standard savings account right now, and it is quicker and easier than ever before to switch to a new current account.”