Virgin Money has launched its first savings deals through Northern Rock since its takeover of the former bank. Its Easy Access Saver account and ISA both pay 2.85 per cent.
They have no introductory bonuses. That may sound negative but it means what you get what you see and the rate won't slump 2 per cent next year. Also, accounts can be opened in branches, online, by post and by telephone.
There are better deals out there, notably Santander's eSaver Issue 4 account, which pays 3.1 per cent.
It's a good start from Virgin Money, which raises hopes that further market-challenging accounts will follow. Things are improving for savers as competition begins to hot up.