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Savers turn to fixed rate bonds for higher interest rates

29 September 2009 / by Andy Davies

Nine million savers have turned to fixed rate bonds in the past year in an attempt secure a high interest rate.

According to uSwitch.com, £131billion has been tucked away by savers, as 87 per cent of admitted they chose a fixed rate account because it was the "only decent rate around at the time".

However, nearly 10 per cent of savers who chose a fixed rate bond have had to make withdrawals to cover the cost of rising bills or as a result of losing their job, which has meant savers incurring penalty fees averaging £132 each.

In the past 12 months, 800,000 consumers have made an average withdrawal of more than £3,700, with over a third of these incurring penalty fees it means a total of £40million has been spent on penalties.

Commenting, Rumina Hassam, savings expert at uSwitch.com, said: "Fixed rate savings accounts can offer consumers some really competitive returns, but the reality of this extra interest can be harsh.

"Almost half of the accounts available do not allow consumers to access their cash under any circumstances which, in a climate of recession and redundancy, this is a dangerous situation for some people."

The comparison website has revealed 1.7million savers are now thinking they will need access to their money early, as 17 per cent of people who put their money in a fixed rate bond admitted they had made a rash decision.

Rumina Hassam, is urging savers who think they may need access to their money earlier than planned to, "think carefully before investing in a fixed rate savings account" as instant access savings accounts might be a more suitable way to save.

"Some deals offer more flexibility than others but the general rule of thumb is that accounts with limited access and longer investment terms will offer the highest rates.

"Also, with the base rate expected to creep up again over the next year and savings rates likely to follow suit, longer term fixed rates may not be the best option."

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