Julian Knight: The banks want your savings. So don't ask for them back
Charging customers to take out their own cash and calling this 'instant access' is no way for account providers to build long-term relationships
Sunday 31 August 2008
Choosing the right savings account isn't just about going for the best headline rate. It's always advisable to check the small print for hidden nasties, which could take a great big bite out of any interest you earn on your money. This is the conclusion of the research firm Defaqto, which has looked at the 50 highest-paying instant access savings accounts available in the UK.
First the good news: all 50 are paying above the Bank of England base rate of 5 per cent. I can't recall such a large number of accounts paying above BoE rate at any time in the past. We have the credit crunch to thank for this state of affairs. Banks can't raise the cash they need to finance mortgages and loans on the international money markets cheaply enough, and need to pull in fresh cash from ordinary savers.
But it's no good just attracting new savers; banks need to keep them long term. Now they could just ensure that they keep paying the best rate and get their customer service spot-on. But Defaqto notes a trend among some banks to tag on stringent terms and conditions to their savings accounts. It found that 15 of the 50 accounts surveyed limited the number of withdrawals customers were allowed to make each year. Any customer exceeding this limit will be hit with a brutal loss of interest.
What I find really galling is that these accounts are allowed to masquerade in the best-buy tables under the term instant access. They are only truly instant access if you fancy paying a penalty, and for me they are as disingenuous as accounts that pay an introductory bonus which disappears after a few months.
Left up in the air
Another week, another airline goes bust. Zoom's collapse brings the total number of airlines leaving the departure gate for good this year to a staggering 28. With fuel costs having soared, more will go to the wall; we need to ensure passengers who booked seats in good faith are not left stranded abroad or without a refund.
Zoom advises passengers to claim compensation from their credit card company, referring to section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which makes card providers jointly liable if a purchase goes wrong. But not everyone will have paid for their flights this way, and why, in truth, should the card companies pick up the tab for a failed business model?
The airline industry as a whole should, as a matter of urgency, adopt a bonding system – as suggested by the parliamentary transport committee – so if an airline goes under, its rivals will ensure that people get their money back and are repatriated for free.
Too young to drive?
I have a confession to make, I really don't like having my photograph taken. I have big bushy eyebrows, a habit of glaring menacingly at the camera and a smile – while not as cringe-inducing as Gordon Brown's – that suggests pain, not pleasure. However, one of the few pictures I am pleased with is on my driving licence.
But now Norwich Union tells me I need to get my mugshot changed pronto as the fact that it is 10 years old means the licence is no longer valid. As a result, apparently, I am driving illegally and some insurers would probably turn down a car insurance claim if I were to make one – a big price to pay for an oversight. Photo licences were introduced in the second half of 1998, so potentially thousands of drivers could, unwittingly, be driving around illegally and as a consequence uninsured.
Phoenix Life: Chance of a refund for overcharged policyholders has risen
Money Insider: Peer-to-peer lenders come into their own as marketplace lending evolves
Donald MacInnes: A church that pays a living wage? Don't make me laugh
Simon Read: You're guilty until proven innocent when HMRC sends in the tax credit detectives
Bank-beating exchange rates on your international payments
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...
£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...
£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...
Day In a Page
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads