Survey shows big differences for savers

THE Irish Nationwide Building Society is offering the biggest return in the country for regular savers, according to a survey conducted by the Financial Regulator.

It offers a return of 7.35% — more than twice the rate given by An Post and far in excess of that offered by National Irish Bank and the EBS. It also eclipses the rate offered by the main financial institutions such as AIB, Bank of Ireland, First Active and Anglo Irish Bank.

The Financial Regulator yesterday published its first-ever regular savings account comparisons on its personal finance website.

The comparisons feature a number of regular savings accounts from the main providers and give details of the interest rate and features available for each account.

The comparisons show that the interest rates on regular savings accounts vary from a little more than 3% to 7.35%. Savings of €200 each month for a year would earn €95 more at the higher rate. The features of these accounts also vary widely, with some accounts requiring no minimum or maximum lodgment. Some accounts allow unlimited withdrawals, with no notice required, while with others, withdrawals are limited and may result in penalties.

Commenting on the comparisons, consumer director Mary O’Dea said: “With credit not as easily available as may have been in the past, now is a good time to start saving, rather than borrowing, to fund your lifestyle. Starting to save will allow you to manage your money better and give you a cushion against the unexpected. The comparisons show there are competitive rates out there for consumers.”

She advised those considering opening a savings account to examine issues other than the interest rate, such as access to the money in the account and the ability to take a break from making lodgments.

“Obviously the interest you receive on your savings is an important factor, but there are other issues to think about when choosing a regular savings account, such as what you want from the account. If you will need regular access to your money at short notice, be sure to choose an account that requires no withdrawal notice period and allows the withdrawals you need, as some don’t allow withdrawals. You should also consider how much you can afford to put in each month and look at the options available for this amount.”

The comparisons provided also highlight the flexibility available, with all accounts allowing you to change the monthly amount you want to save. Some accounts will also allow you to take a payment break if you find yourself unable to save

The regular savings comparisons are available by logging onto the Cost Comparisons section of the Financial Regulator’s website.

lCopies of the guide Savings and Investments Made Easy are available from the website or from the consumer help-line on lo-call 1890 777777. www.itsyourmoney.ie


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