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Average savings rates hit new lows one year on from first lockdown

Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent
·2-min read

Average savings rates are continuing to tumble to new record lows a year on from the start of the first UK coronavirus lockdowns, analysis has found.

The average easy access savings rate is less than a third of what it was a year ago, said.

The typical easy access rate on the market slumped to a new record low of 0.16% at the start of this month, according to Moneyfacts, whose electronic records started in 2007.

On March 1, 2020, just weeks before the UK went into lockdown, the average easy access rate on the market was more than three times this, at 0.56%.

The average easy access Isa rate on the market now sits at a record low of just 0.23%, compared with 0.83% on March 1, 2020.

The research was published by Moneyfacts as the anniversary of the first national lockdown approaches on March 23.

The only cash savings accounts to buck the general downward trend in March 2021 were notice accounts, the website said. Average rates where some notice needs to be given edged up to 0.37% in March 2021, from 0.36% in February 2021.

This is still much lower than a year ago when the average rate offered on a notice account was 1%.

Moneyfacts said there are now 383 fewer savings deals, including cash Isas, on the market than there were a year ago, with the choice having shrunk to 1,385 products.

Rachel Springall, a finance expert at Moneyfacts, said: “Savings cuts continued to be the trend over the past month, with average easy access and fixed rates falling to new lows.

“March marks the anniversary of the first UK lockdown and the impact of the pandemic, which led to the two (Bank of England) base rate cuts that set the market in motion to contract.

“As interest rates sit at an unprecedented level, it would not be too surprising to see apathy among savers when it comes to switching, or perhaps look away from cash savings vehicles altogether and revaluate their attitude to risk.”

Ms Springall continued: “As the savings market remains volatile, savers would be wise to consider challenger banks, which continue to take a firm place within the top rate tables, but also be mindful that a good deal doesn’t appear to last on sale for too long.

“Savers who have existing accounts and have not reviewed them in some time may wish to do so as they could be on a much poorer rate of interest than they expect.”