Some of the highest rates of interest on savings are available on regular savings accounts. Last year I opened a Norwich and Peterborough E-Regular Savings account which paid a fixed rate of 4% with a maximum deposit of £250 per month. I liked the fact that this account was open to all, as frequently you need to hold a current account with the institution to access their enhanced rate regular savings accounts.
I thought I’d open a new regular savings account with the Norwich and Peterborough (N&P) when that account matured. However, I read that you now need to have a current account with the N&P to be eligible.
The Nationwide Monthly Saver pays a variable rate of 2.5% on monthly deposits of £500 – £1,000. The upper limit is much more generous, but the rate of interest is lower, than on many regular savings accounts.
The Club Lloyds Monthly Saver looked alluring, It pays a fixed rate of 4% for the first 12 months. You can make a monthly single deposit of between £25 – £400 by standing order. plus you have instant access to your cash. The catch is that you must hold a Club Lloyds Current Account to apply for this monthly saver account.
There was an additional incentive to try Annuity Line, as my husband was told that if he recommended their services to a family member or friend who proceeded to purchase their annuity through Annuity Line, then both he and the referee would receive £75 worth of M&S vouchers.
You could earn £75 in M&S vouchers if you quote my client ref 138927 when you contact Annuity Line, either by phone 0800 652 1316 or by email info (at) annuityline.co.uk to get a free, no obligation quote and then go on to buy your annuity through them. This is subject to annuity purchase funds of £18,000+. I will also receive £75 in vouchers as a referrer.
I had a problem with my Cash ISA transfer with Santander and they had admitted error. During my dealings with Santander, I had claimed compensation for time/effort/upset caused by them, in addition to putting my financial losses right. Although Santander eventually paid for the financial losses they had caused me, I felt that they had been rather ‘light’ with the amount of compensation for my time/effort/upset.
Since I had already contacted Santander to complain and their eventual decision had been final, I was entitled to have my complaint considered by the UK Financial Ombudsman Service. This service is ‘free’ (it’s paid for by the UK’s financial services sector through a combination of statutory levies and case fees) and it’s independent, meaning it takes no sides. The Ombudsman’s office has experience in similar matters, which is good if, like me, you’re coming up against a big bank for the first time. Furthermore, you are not bound by its decision, meaning that if not satisfied, you can take your issue to court. On this basis, I proceeded to the Ombudsman with my complaint.
The Bank of Scotland Classic Current Account with Vantage pays 3% (variable) interest on balances between £3,000 – £5,000. The rate of interest drops to 2% on balances between £1,000 to £2,999 and 1.5% on balances under £1,000. There’s no interest paid on balances over £5,000.
The highest rate of interest I could find on an open to all instant access savings account was 1.35% on the Tesco Bank Internet Saver.
Legal Aid cuts were always going to put up certain barriers to justice; a fact which is clearly illustrated in one damning statistic: since Legal Aid was cut the use of mediation services in family law has dropped by a staggering 38%. The amount of people representing themselves in a court of law is rising, which in turn means people involved in family disputes are no longer being encouraged towards professional mediation.
The government introduced the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) in 2012. Amongst other amendments to varying areas of Law, it meant legal professionals no longer had a duty to inform clients of mediation services. This is despite mediation being one of the only places legal aid wasn’t dramatically cut. This effectively severed the link between lawyers and mediation despite the fact individuals need high quality advice to make informed decisions at mediation. Before this, lawyers were obliged to direct clients towards mediation services as part of the conditions for Legal Aid. The figures are striking: in 2012/13 there were 13,609 cases of mediation; in 2013/14 there were 8,400.
When our almost 15-year-old LEC fridge freezer finally packed in, at the worst possible time, we needed a replacement as soon as possible.
We had been away for a few days during warm weather and arrived home on a Thursday evening to discover the breakdown. I reckoned that we’d have to pay a premium for a weekend delivery on an item ordered on a Friday. However, I didn’t want to wait another two days for a fridge/freezer.
On the Friday morning, we spent quite a bit of time looking for a new fridge/freezer. There weren’t that many options for the 50/50 fridge/freezer split we wanted. We settled on the HotpointSTF187WP, priced at around £300.
There’s a new kid on the cashback block. The daily deals website Wowcher is now offering cashback. So called ‘wowchering’ allows you to earn cashback by doing your shopping through links on the site.
The perk of using Wowcher cashback is that you also receive a 10% bonus of the cashback amount to spend on Wowcher Daily Deals.
There was a good selection of merchants on the Wowcher cashback site including Expedia, Debenhams and thetrainline.com.
You can get an estimate of how much you could earn in cashback over the year by using the Wowcher ‘CashBack Calculator’. You enter how much you spend online for different types of shopping e.g. clothing, insurance, home and garden and it works out potential cashback.
The TSB Classic Plus Account pays a very appealing 5% (variable) rate of interest. This rate made me prick up my ears in the context of a top interest rate of around 1.4% on open-to-all instant access savings accounts. Unfortunately, the 5% interest is only paid on balances up to £2,000. You earn no interest if your balance is over £2,000.
TSB say that this isn’t a teaser rate. Several other high interest current accounts e.g. the Nationwide Flex Direct, only pay a high rate of interest for the first 12 months. However, with a variable rate of interest you never know. You need to be ready to close the account if the rate becomes uncompetitive.
One of my friends, who is going on a round the world trip, told me that he planned to open a Norwich and Paterborough Gold Classic Current Account to benefit from the fee-free overseas debit card usage. To qualify for this free benefit, you need to either pay in £500 a month from an external account, or maintain a minimum balance of £5,000. If you don’t meet one of these conditions, you have to pay a £5 a month account fee.
Always keen to look at ways to save money, I decided to have a look at this account.
When I’m abroad, I use my Halifax Clarity credit card, which offers no fees on overseas transactions on ATM withdrawals. However I do have to pay interest on any cash withdrawals. If I pay off my credit card balance in full, then this interest usually equates to around 1% of the value of the money withdrawn. If I spend a minimum of £300 a month on transactions using this card, I am paid a reward of £5.
The Tesco Bank Current Account follows the recent trend of offering a higher rate of interest on a current account than a savings account. The Tesco Bank current account pays 3% (variable) interest on balances up to £3,000. while the Tesco Internet Saver pays 1.35% (made up of a variable rate of 0.75% and a 12 month fixed rate bonus of 0.6%).
There’s a £5 a month account fee on the Tesco current account, which can be avoided as long as you pay in at least £750 a month into the account.
At least you don’t have to set up a minimum of two direct debits on the Tesco current account in order to receive the 3% rate of interest.