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Building societies launch better-paying branch-based savings accounts

High Street savings comeback: Building societies launch spate of better-paying branch-based accounts

Savers wary of running their accounts online have been given a glimmer of hope.

Building societies have launched a spate of better-paying branch-based accounts that give you easy-access to your money.

None can match the rate of inflation, which leapt to 2.5 per cent in June. But they offer a much better chance of shielding your money from rising prices than the miserly 0.01 per cent paid by traditional High Street banks.

On the High Street: Building societies have launched a spate of better-paying branch-based savings accounts that give you easy-access to your money

The catch is they limit the number of times you take money out of your account each year. So you need to make sure that the terms and conditions suit your needs.

But they could appeal to those who have built up big balances and want to earn a higher rate on their money with a High Street provider without tying it up in a fixed- rate bond.

Coventry, the second largest building society, has a new Limited Access Saver, available through its branches as well as through the post. 

It pays 0.5 per cent on £1 or more. But it limits you to taking money out up to six times a year.

If you need to make further withdrawals, you will pay a fee equivalent to 50 days’ of interest on the extra you take out — or around 70p for each £1,000.

Leeds BS has a similar new offering with its Double Access account, also paying 0.5 per cent. But it is more restrictive as you can only make two withdrawals a year. 

If you want to take out more cash, you will pay the equivalent of 30 days’ interest — or 41p for every extra £1,000 withdrawn.

Plus, you must keep at least £5,000 in the account or the rate drops to a pitiful 0.05 per cent.

Nationwide’s One Year Triple Access Saver pays 0.45 per cent. But the account is only available online. 

And, after 12 months, your money is moved into a lower-paying account. The society does have two branch-based accounts but they are no longer open to new savers — and they pay dreadful rates. 

Its Limited Access Saver pays 0.05 per cent, as long as you make no more than five withdrawals. Any more and the rate drops to 0.01 per cent.

Its Triple Access Saver pays 0.1 per cent if you limit your withdrawals to three a year. This rate also drops to 0.01 per cent if you make more.

Savers happy to go online would do better with Marcus at Goldman Sachs paying 0.5 per cent, with no withdrawal restrictions on £1 or more. 

Charter Savings Bank also pays 0.5 per cent online or through the post but the minimum to open an account is £5,000.

Marcus raised its rate from 0.4 per cent last month by adding a 0.1 per cent bonus to its rate, payable for 12 months. 

But the 0.5 per cent is only automatically available to new savers. Those already in the account have to claim the bonus.

Savings accounts