Savings: 'Play fair on bonuses'

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The Independent Online

Nationwide building society has called on the financial services industry to "play fair with savers" and inform them when introductory deals are coming to an end.

It has called for changes to the Banking Code to ensure savers are not caught out by high headline rates that last for a limited period, and wants to see guidance making it compulsory for banks to inform consumers about the termination of these deals.

Nationwide says many introductory offers – which last between six and 12 months – have interest rates up to 1 per cent higher than the rates that kick in when the deals expire, and that providers use these initial deals to "lure customers in".

Nationwide makes the point that while such accounts might suit savers in the short term, at the end of the introductory offer, many people will either forget or simply be unaware that their money is no longer benefiting from the headline rate.

Accounts with such offers include the Abbey e-Saver, which has a 0.5 per cent bonus for 12 months; Britannia building society's Easy Saver, with a 1 per cent bonus for the first three months; and Tesco Savings, with a 1 per cent bonus for six months.

To remedy the situation, Nationwide is proposing that a few weeks before an introductory deal is due to come to an end, savers should be told by their provider when they can expect to see a change in the rate – as well as details of the new rate they will receive in the future.

"This would inject transparency and ensure people are given all the information they need to make the right decisions regarding their savings," said a spokesman for the society.

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