Easy access savers 'penalised'

Savers who like to have the freedom to access their money at any time are losing out on £629m a year in interest, research has found.

Research by First Direct shows people who are tied into a fixed rate deal, from which they cannot draw money, are getting a better return on their savings, with the average rate on a one-year fixed-rate bond at 5%.

Results show that 2008, the year the base rate plummeted to 0.5%, was the worst year for savers. At the start of the year savers could get around 2.77% but this fell to 0.49% by December, according to the HSBC subsidiary.

Between 2009 and 2010 variable rates on instant access accounts have remained fairly low between 0.16% and 0.23%.

Richard Brown, First Direct senior savings product manager, said: "This historical analysis shows that fixed-rate pricing over the past decade has consistently offered better returns when compared to both instant access and notice accounts."

However he said people need to work out which type account is best for their personal situation. For those who are unsure, he recommends splitting savings between a fixed-rate and easy access account.

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