Desperate providers in dash for easy-access business

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The Independent Online

Competition is heating up in the easy-access savings account market, according to price comparison website Moneysupermarket. com. A host of new launches has improved the accounts on offer to savers.

The Coventry Building Society and Alliance & Leicester both launched easy-access accounts on Friday. Coventry's eSave account, available to the over-50s, is paying a market-leading rate of 3.25 per cent. Unlimited penalty-free withdrawals are allowed, although the rate is fixed for 12-months.

Alliance & Leicester's Online Saver is a variable-rate deal, as are most easy-access accounts, but it is currently paying 3.15 per cent. In the past, easy-access accounts have often been seen as the poor relation of cash individual savings accounts (ISAs) and fixed-rate savings products.

"This level of activity is unusual given that the Bank of England base rate hasn't changed since March," said Kevin Mountford, the head of banking at Moneysupermarket.com. "But it's great news for savers, particularly those who don't have money that they can afford to lock away in a fixed-rate account. Providers are still desperate for our cash, so the competition is likely to remain strong for some time.

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