If your savings are shuffling along like a zombie at a deathly low rate, here are five things you can do to bring them back to life –
with no incantations, spells or sacrifices necessary. 1. Bonus expiring? Exorcise your account!
A number of competitively-priced easy access accounts are propped up by a temporary bonus – and when they vanish, usually after 12 months, the rate flatlines.
Just over a year ago, for example, Tesco Bank’s Internet Saver account offered one of the top rates at 1.35% AER (variable), which incorporated a 12-month bonus of 0.60% AER.
If you opened this account, its rate will now have withered to 0.75% AER (variable).
When your bonus expires you should move your money to something more competitive.
The good news is you can now get a better paying easy access account. The
, for example, pays 1.65% AER (variable) and there's no bonus to worry about - although remember the rate is variable, so it could change at any point. RCI Bank Freedom Savings Account
You'll need £100 to open the account, but bear in mind that RCI is part of a French group and therefore your money will not be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) which protects the first £85,000 of your savings (£75,000 from January) should your bank or building society go bust.
Instead, your money will be covered by the French Deposit Guarantee Scheme which protects up to the sterling equivalent of EUR 100,000 of your cash (again per person, per institution). At the time of writing, EUR 100,000 is equivalent to £73,368.
pays 1.61% AER (variable), including a fixed bonus of 0.96% AER for 12 months. You’ll only need £1 to open the account. Post Office Online Saver 2. Reawaken long-lost accounts
Some savings accounts may not be dead at all – but old and forgotten. If you’ve ever changed your address or name, or you had an account as a child, you may still have cash in lost accounts.
uses the tracing systems of the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), National Savings & Investments (NS&I) and the Building Societies Association (BSA), and can you help track down old bank, building society and NS&I accounts. Mylostaccount.org.uk
using as much information as possible about your old names and addresses and you could reclaim any lost cash. The service can take up to three months, but has recovered more than £645million since launching in 2008. a few forms 3. Shield your savings from the vampiric taxman
Not yet taken advantage of your annual ISA allowance?
Do it now. Until April 5, 2016, you can save up to £15,240 in a cash ISA and your returns will be shielded from tax. Consider it the garlic to a vampiric taxman.
Virgin Money, for example, offers a one-year fixed rate cash ISA paying 1.81% AER fixed until October 24, 2016, or a two-year option paying 2.06% AER fixed until October 24, 2017.
Both accounts only require £1 to open them and you can transfer existing ISA funds in.
Alternatively, Barnsley Building Society offers a three-year fixed rate cash ISA paying 2.30% AER fixed until October 31, 2018. You’ll need a minimum deposit of £100 and the account allows transfers in.
It’s worth noting that from April 6, 2016 basic-rate taxpayers will be able to earn £1,000 of savings interest without the taxman taking a slice. Higher-rate taxpayers will be able to earn £500.
4. Explore the ‘other side’
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, where you lend directly to consumers and small businesses and bypass the banks, can earn you higher returns than a conventional savings account.
For example, you could earn 5.10% per annum (pa) if you invest in Wellesley & Co’s three-year fixed term account, or an even higher 6.32% (pa) with its five-year fixed term account.
What's more, if you commit at least £3,000 to one of the above Wellesley & Co accounts
by December 11, you'll receive an iPad mini 2*, worth £219. You can find out more about this through MoneySuperMarket here.
It’s by no means a dark art, and the peer-to-peer lending sector has been regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) since April 2014, which means all firms must operate under certain rules.
But, the big drawback of P2P is that it isn’t sheltered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). So this means you could lose all or some of your initial investment.
However, many P2P lenders (Wellesley included) have compensation arrangements of their own.
You can read more about P2P lending
. here 5. Better the devil you know
It sounds stranger than fiction, but some current accounts out-perform savings accounts, meaning you’d be better off keeping your cash there.
you can earn up to 3.00% AER (variable) on balances up to £20,000. You’ll earn 1.00% AER (variable) on balances from £1,000; 2.00% AER (variable) on balances from £2,000 and 3.00% AER (variable) on balances of between £3,000 and £20,000. Santander 123 Current Account
You’ll need to pay in £500 or more a month, have two active direct debits on the account and pay a £2 monthly fee, which rises to £5 a month in January.
goes further, paying 5.00% AER (variable) on balances up to £2,000, plus 5% cashback on your first £100 of contactless payments each month until the end of 2016. TSB’s Classic Plus current account
You must pay in £500 or more every month and register for internet banking, paperless statements and paperless correspondence.
And if you switch to the TSB account through MoneySuperMarket, you’ll also receive £125 cashback. You must open the account by November 2 and have completed the switch by November 23 to qualify. You must also pay in £500 or more within 28 days of switching and have at least two direct debits on the account.
Rest in Peace
There you have it - follow our tips and in no time you’ll be laughing maniacally and yelling “IT’S ALIVE!” as your savings rise from the grave.
Don’t have nightmares…
*iPad mini 2 16GB Wi-Fi £219 RRP
Apple is not a participant in or sponsor of this promotion
Peer-to-peer lending is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, but your money is NOT protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. There is a risk you may lose some or all of your initial investment.
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Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct