Big banks’ easy access rates face scrutiny after ‘failing’ to be more competitive | Personal Finance | Finance

The big banks are still “failing” to be competitive with the rest of the savings market by offering low interest rates on easy access accounts.

This comes despite the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) launching a crackdown in the summer on banks neglecting to pass on Bank of England Base Rate rises to customers.

According to analysis from, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, NatWest, and Santander’s easy access flexible accounts remain in the bottom quartile.

James Hyde, spokesman at Money Factssaid: “Despite the increased emphasis on interest rates for savers, the big banks have on the whole failed to make their easy access rates more competitive with the rest of the market.

“The Financial Conduct Authority has taken up Consumer Duty’s challenge to banks to price their portfolios competitively, and while their fixed bonds are hitting the mark, some unannounced accounts are still worse than average.”

Lloyds Bank’s Easy Saver currently offers an Annual Equivalent Rate (AER) of 1.4 per cent. Barclays Daily Saver is offering a slightly higher AER of 1.65 per cent.

NatWest Flexible Savings is offering an AER of 1.74 per cent, while HSBC Flexible Savings (Standard) is offering an AER of 1.98 per cent.

The Santander Easy Access Saver, available to new customers, offers the highest rate of all with an AER of 2.5 per cent.

Mr Hyde said: “Of the highlighted easy access accounts of the big five banks, only NatWest has seen its choice improve its quartile ranking over the past three months – rising to the third quartile from the fourth (bottom ).

“Elsewhere, Barclays Bank, HSBC and Santander remain in the third quarter, while Lloyds Bank remains rooted in the bottom tier with an easy access rate of 1.4 per cent.

“Rates have increased in these four accounts in recent months, but these increases have not managed to improve the situation compared to the rest of the market.”

However, all these big banks are currently offering fixed bonds that are in the top quartile of the market, Moneyfacts analysis shows.

Mr Hyde said: “The good news is that all five providers offer fixed rate bonds that are in the top quartile of the market, which shows that they are willing to pay good returns on accounts that guarantee their capital over a period of time.”

Barclays Bank’s one-year fixed rate bond and ISA pay 5.35 per cent and 5.25 per cent gross respectively and both sit in the top quartile.

HSBC Fixed Rate Savings which pays gross rates of 5.10 per cent for two years and 5.3 per cent for one year is available to new and existing HSBC savings or current account holders. Both accounts are in the first quartile.

All the bonds offered by Lloyds Bank sit in the first quartile, while Santander sees its one-year fixed bonds reach the top quartile, with other terms falling into the second quartile.

Meanwhile, NatWest offers fixed ISAs paying 5.26 per cent and 5.01 per cent gross respectively for one and two-year terms, putting them in the top quartile.

Mr Hyde added: “As always, it is up to customers to proactively monitor savings rates and switch if they find they can do better.”

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