Written by Karen Bryan
The Halifax Options
When I logged into my Halifax Guaranteed Reserve account I got a message saying I would receive a letter from them 30 days before the account matures. In fact I received the letter on 14 October 2011, only 17 days before maturity. This letter gave me three options to avoid the proceeds of the savings account going into a Bank of Scotland Matured Funds Account which pays an absolutely pathetic fixed interest rate of 0.1%.
- Post back a form with my instructions – not keen on this as forms can get lost in the post
- Phone them – I won’t have a written record of my instructions
- Go into a branch – takes too much time and no local Halifax branches.
The Option I’d Like
It would be so much simpler to go online and request an internal transfer to my Halifax Web Saver account.
Not Telling Customer About the Best Rates
In the letter from the Halifax, they mention four Bank of Scotland Fixed Rate Bonds:
- 6 month bond paying 1.0%
- 12 month bond paying 2.45%
- 2 year bond paying 3.45%
- 3 year bond paying 3.7%
However when I looked at the Halifax site (on 14 October 2011) their fixed rate bonds for the same periods of time were paying 0.05% more. Now, I grant you, hardly a lot more but still, shouldn’t the Halifax be offering the highest available rates for existing customers? Aren’t they both supposed to be a single entity Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS)? And why not an additional bonus to entice existing customers to reinvest? Or maybe they need to employ tactics like these to fund the prizes in their Halifax Savers Prize Draw?
Now I’m sure that the Halifax isn’t the only bank acting like this, but as I bank with them I can relate my experiences. Therefore I’d recommend that one month before your savings bond is due to mature, you carefully check the withdrawal arrangements. Do some research into the best option for the maturity funds; whether that be an instant access online account such as the Santander esaver Issue 4 (currently paying 3.1%), a long term fixed rate account such as the Secure Trust Bank 4 Year Fixed Rate Bond (currently paying 4.3%) or a fixed or variable rate Cash ISA.
Update 11 November 2011
Halifax made such a bodge of dealing with my Guaranteed Reserve maturity i.e. the funds weren’t in my Halifax Reward Current account on the maturity date, that I complained about poor customer service and received £30 in compensation.