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Banks increase savings bonuses to attract deposits


New research3 from Investec Private Bank reveals that many banks and building societies are increasingly using bonuses to inflate their headline rates. Its latest Savings Index3 shows that the average bonus paid on a savings account for balances of £25,000 is 0.97% (during the period 1 February to 1 May 2009), up from 0.84% three months ago (1 November 2008 to 1 February 2009).

Although there has been a slight decrease in the number of accounts for balances of £25,000 or more using bonuses, the average size of these bonuses is now at the highest level since October 2007, according to Investec.

Linda McBain, head of Banking, Investec Private Bank, said: “With increasing competition in the savings market, a higher proportion of banks and buildings societies are using bonuses to inflate their headline rates. However, savers need to be aware of the size, longevity and conditions of such offers and be prepared to switch to another account if they are not being paid a consistently attractive rate of interest.”

Investec does not rely on bonuses to offer attractive returns and aims to provide its clients with some of the most consistently competitive and transparent rates in the savings market.

McBain continues, “Through our High 5 Account, we have committed to track the best accounts in the market and our clients can be confident that they will consistently receive one of the best rates available and will therefore not need to keep moving their money around.”

The Investec High 5 Account, which requires a minimum investment of £25,000, pays a market leading rate because each week Moneyfacts take the five highest savings rates in the market4, finds their mid-point and sets this as the rate for the High 5. This means that savers have the added assurance that the rate is set independently. Unlike other accounts, it does not rely on bonuses to inflate the rate. Its current rate is 3.06%1 gross AER2.

1 The rate is correct as at 10 June 2009 and subject to variation.

2 AER stands for the Annual Equivalent Rate and illustrates what the interest rate would be if interest was paid and compounded once a year. Gross is the interest rate paid before the deduction of tax.

3 Based on data provided by Moneyfacts Group Plc for Investec Private Bank’s Savings Index which tracks on a six monthly basis interest rates on savings accounts for balances of £25,000.

4 The rate is based on the average of the top 5 savings rates published on the Moneyfacts website www.moneyfacts.co.uk across the categories of no notice accounts, notice accounts, internet accounts, monthly interest accounts, accounts for the over 50’s and accounts with an introductory bonus.