Interest rates have descended recently as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. In March, the Bank of England said it would be reducing its base rate to a historic low of 0.1 percent, and many providers followed suit. Perhaps the most momentous change came when government-backed savings institution NS&I announced it would be dropping its rates after a long period of being the leading provider.
Express.co.uk spoke to Chris Lilly, lead publisher at finder.com, who provided insight into the actions worth consideration.
He said: “It is true that interest rates are very low at the moment, however this doesn’t mean people should automatically be spending money instead.
“Plus, for many, the future holds more uncertainty than ever, and for those in a less stable financial situation, saving money is still prudent – even if you aren’t earning any interest on top.
“Some banks are starting to bring back switching incentives, so this could be a way of boosting your savings even if the rate isn’t good.
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“If you don’t have a sensible financial ‘buffer’, then building one up should be a priority – once you have that it’s much less risky to start loosening the purse strings.”
With the switching incentives Mr Lilly mentioned, many people may be enticed to ditch their current provider in favour of new rates.
However, bank loyalty is still a common notion for thousands of people, who may be reticent to make a jump to a new provider.
Mr Lilly explained: “Consumers have become more and more aware that their loyalty is rarely reward.
“Loyal or simply unaware customers typically foot the bill for incentives aimed at gaining new customers.
“Unless it’s set in stone that your loyalty stands to benefit you, it’s usually worth shopping around to find the best deals for your specific situation.”
Another change which has been speculated in recent weeks, is the prospect of negative interest rates being introduced within the UK.
The Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, has previously commented that the measure is in the “toolbox” of the central bank.
And the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has previously discussed how this could be implemented should the need arise.
If negative interest rates were to be introduced, it is clear the implications on savers could be significant.
One option speculated is that banks could charge customers on their savings in order to encourage spending – for example, by increasing the cost of fees.
In this instance, Mr Lilly added, many people may wish to save money through other methods such as premium bonds or taking a risk with investment.
For those who need further assistance on choosing the bank account which suits their circumstances, the Money Advice Service also provides assistance.
Britons are urged to check charges and fees before making a decision, but also to evaluate the different features of an account.
This can help people decide whether it is worth switching provider, what method of communication with a bank they prefer, and minimising any unnecessary costs.