Daily Mail

Don’t delay savings hunt

- By Lee Boyce MONEY MAIL EDITOR l.boyce@dailymail.co.uk

OUR savings guru Sylvia Morris doesn’t have a crystal ball. But she does have trusted industry insiders who spill the beans on latest developmen­ts behind the scenes at banks and building societies.

So when she’s told firms are rapidly shelving their plans to launch new top-rate fixed bonds, you know something is afoot. In fact, her sources now believe rates on bonds are starting to plateau.

That can mean only one thing: get your skates on and hunt down a home for your savings before you miss out.

As you’ll see in Sylvia’s masterful table on Page 34, you can earn 4.45 pc on the best-paying one-year bond, or as much as 2.81 pc on an easy-access deal, if you need cash at hand in case of emergencie­s.

You’ll also find far better rates on Isas and even children’s accounts now compared with at the start of the year.

Regular savings accounts are one of my favourite ways to make a pot snowball in value, now paying as much as 5 pc on deposits of up to £500 a month.

I have a standing order set up to send money to my regular saver on payday so that in 12 months’ time, I can pat myself on the back and roll the lot into Premium Bonds — or put it towards a family holiday.

Don’t chicken out by telling yourself there are too many options and there is too much uncertaint­y in the economy right now.

Doing nothing would be like going into a restaurant that has plenty of menu options and just walking straight out again because you can’t make up your mind.

The excuse for leaving money in poor-paying accounts used to be: rates aren’t good enough to make a difference. Now they do pay well — and there’s no guarantee they’ll go any higher.

So go, go, go! This is no time to be gazing into a crystal ball.

Coin cash in

A CONfeSSION: I have a soft spot for coins. There is something thrilling about plucking an unusual one out of your change and tucking it away for safekeepin­g.

Thousands of us will do just that when the new King Charles 50p pieces enter circulatio­n next month. But a word of caution: beware chancers looking to make a quick buck by listing them at inflated prices online.

Just because you’re among the first to get hold of one, it doesn’t mean you’ve landed a small fortune. What you have bagged is a little piece of history: the only circulatin­g coin to have King Charles and 2022 stamped on it.

My daughter Brooke loves the Paddington 50p pieces. She’s built her own little collection of unusual coins nabbed out of her pocket money and keeps them in a special piggy bank.

It’s a brilliant early money lesson — all the more reason we must fight to keep cash circulatin­g.

Before the pandemic, I visited the Royal Mint in Llantrisan­t, South Wales, and discovered my favourite fact about coins: they’re pickled.

Blank coins are put in a pickling bath to remove blemishes from the surface. Ball bearings are then added and swirled around in a solution of sulphuric acid. After a final wash and dry, they’re ready to strike.

Will I be plucking a King Charles coin out of my change? You bet your bottom 50p I will.

Branch block

The Money Mail postbag has heard from a trickle of readers who are finding it difficult to open financial products in bank branches.

This includes savings deals at the bank of which they are already a customer, as well as opening current accounts with new providers. Some have been told to wait for a month for an appointmen­t to see an adviser.

If demand from customers is that high, why are banks cutting branch hours to the bone, claiming that no one uses them any more?

Inevitably, people will start relying on branches less if banks make using them an infuriatin­g experience, with snaking queues and complicate­d machines replacing human advisers.

Call me cynical, but it all looks like a massive stitch-up. Do email me if you’ve found branches jam-packed in recent months.

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