Banks push savers online: Top rates are only available through smartphone apps while branch deals lose out
Savers who do not want to bank online are missing out on the best interest rates.
Atom Bank raised its easy-access rate to 0.5 per cent last week, but customers must use its app on their smartphone to qualify.
The best easy-access account at a bank branch pays just 0.25 per cent, from Virgin Money and some small building societies. Leeds BS’s branch-based Defined Access account pays a slightly higher 0.4 per cent.
Online exclusive: Atom Bank raised its easy-access rate to 0.5% last week, but customers must download its banking app onto a smartphone to qualify
Atom Bank also has the best one-year rate at 0.85 per cent — but through its app.
This is more than double the best branch accounts like Yorkshire Building Society’s one-year deal paying 0.38 per cent.
Savers willing to manage their account by post can get 0.7 per cent with Charter Savings Bank’s one-year bond.
Coventry Building Society’s Easy Access account, with phone access, pays 0.3 per cent.
Current account customers are also being pushed online to get the best perks. Barclays has told customers they must register for online banking or download its app to continue benefiting from its Blue Reward scheme.
You earn £36 a year if two direct debits are paid from your account, after taking off the £4 monthly fee.
National Savings & Investments (NS&I) is also pushing customers online. Last year, it said it would axe Premium Bond cheques and pay winnings direct into bank accounts.
But NS&I was forced to delay the move to give savers a chance to register their details by phone (08085 007 007) instead.
Experts warn that the so-called ‘off-line penalty’ is hitting older savers hardest. Office for National Statistics figures show just 49 per cent of over-65s use internet banking.