Dismal interest rates putting off savers

As many as 14.6 million of us are not actively saving money and low interest-rates are partly to blame for this, according to the latest research from MoneySuperMarket.

Low interest

While more than three quarters of people (78 per cent) have stated that they cannot afford to save, a further fifth (18 per cent) put it down to the fact that interest rates are so low at the moment it is not worthwhile them doing so. Eleven per cent used to save but because of languishing rates they now don’t see the point, and seven per cent who blame low rates have never been savers.

Return of £222 would kick-start savings habit

Out of those who say low interest rates are responsible for their lack of savings, interest of £222 per year on average would kick-start their savings habit again. However, further insight has revealed that consumers require a hefty deposit to earn this amount in interest even with the leading cash ISAs, easy-access savings accounts or fixed-rate bonds.

  • For example, NS&I’s Direct ISA offers an AER of 1.50 per cent, however savers still need to invest a whopping deposit of a £14,669 to amass an annual interest amount of £220
  • Similarly, BM Saving’s Online Extra, and RCI Bank’s recently launched Freedom Savings Account both offer an AER of 1.50 per cent, meaning a deposit of almost £15,000 is required to build up just £220 in interest in 12 months
  • Anyone opting for a fixed-rate bond would still need a sizeable deposit too. Secure Trust Bank’s Fixed Rate Bond has an AER of 3.01 per cent so savers need £7,325 in there to accrue £220 in interest, but would need to tie up their savings for five years to achieve this.

Saving some is better than none

Kevin Mountford at MoneySuperMarket said: “Savers have suffered for some time due to low interest rates, but it’s concerning that this has stopped some saving altogether. Although ISAs, easy-access accounts and fixed-rate bonds might not be providing massive returns, saving a little amount money is far better than saving none at all.

ISA rates have slowly begun to creep up

"ISAs come with tax-free benefits, so it is worth stashing some cash away, even if the interest isn’t quite what you’d hope for. In addition, ISA rates have slowly begun to creep up, and hopefully we’ll see this continue, and providers will start ramping up their offerings as a result," he adds.

Plus, Kevin says current accounts are an attractive alternative to save money: "You can earn as much as £150 cashback just for switching, and several current accounts pay better rates than some savings accounts at the moment, so it’s worth considering these to get more for your money.”

  • For more on saving in a current account, read our guide here.