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Spend & Save

A&L adds to saving graces with 10 per cent deal

But Alliance & Leicester turned heads last week when it announced it was launching a regular savings account paying more than double this rate - 10 per cent, before tax.

Customers who open the account, due to launch tomorrow, must pay in monthly deposits of between £10 and £250 for a year, and make no withdrawals.

While the headline rate looks good, however, there is a catch: the deal is available only to new customers opening the bank's Premier or Premier Direct current account - and who do so in November. Existing A&L customers who open the regular saver will earn just 4.5 per cent.

Further, the rate - for all savers - will last only one year. At this point, the savings, plus interest accrued, will be moved into the linked current account.

The Premier Direct internet-based account pays 5 per cent on balances of up to £2,500, while Premier offers just 1.5 per cent on balances up to £2,500.

If a customer saved the full £3,000, he or she would earn £150 before tax; interest is calculated daily rather than on the full sum invested over the year.

Despite the drawbacks, Stuart Glendinning, from the price- comparison website money-supermarket.com, says A&L is offering a "good double act"on current and savings accounts that is well ahead of rival deals.

"A&L now has an attractive rate for balances in credit, a 0 per cent overdraft for 12 months, plus a regular saver with a fantastic headline rate of 10 per cent." He says this should act as a "real call to action" to those who bank with the big four to switch.

He adds, though, that it is a shame this offer is available only for a month - and that thousands of people who have opened an A&L account in the past few years won't benefit.

"This is a big headline rate," adds Anna Bowes at independent financial adviser Chase de Vere. "While you do have to open an A&L current account, this has been a market leader for some time, so it's win-win."

The next highest-paying regular saver account is HSBC's, at 8 per cent. But Ms Bowes warns that you must have a linked current account - which pays a miserly 0.1 per cent.

"The Halifax regular saver, paying 7 per cent, is more straightforward," she adds. "This is not linked to a current account, so it's open to everybody."