Fixed term bonds can vary but they usually share some features such as;
- You always know the rate of interest your investment will earn
- You are protected against falls in interest rates for the full term
- A set minimum and maximum deposit amount
- Option to receive interest monthly or annually
Fixed rate bonds will suit you if you have a lump sum that you don’t need access to, because fixed rate bonds are designed to hold the money for the fixed time period, which allows the investment to grow - however, it is difficult to access that sum if you want it before the term is due to end without incurring a forfeit.
As this kind of investment involves you losing access to your funds for a predefined time period it is worth looking at alternatives before you do so to make sure you are making the right choice for you
- Tracker bonds – Similar to a fixed rate bond, but instead of your interest rate staying consistent throughout the bonds term, it will change in reflection to any increases or decreases in the Base Rate set by the Bank of England. This means if during the term the base rate raises you will benefit from an increase in how much you receive in interest, if however it decreases you will receive less.
- Structured Deposits – Like fixed rate and tracker bonds a structured deposit requires you to lock up your funds for a period of time however your gains are not guaranteed. This type of plan is normally tied to an index such as the FTSE 100, if over the plan the index or indices perform in a certain way you will receive your original investment back plus an interest payment typically larger than those offered by bonds or savings accounts. However if it does not perform in a certain way set out at the start of the plan you will receive your investment back but will no gains on it, so it is a risk that needs to be carefully considered beforehand.
- Savings Account – If you would like to maintain easy access to your savings should you ever need them before the end of the term then an instant access savings account may be the solution to you. Although they do usually offer lower interest rates than bonds or structured deposits, they offer unlimited free withdrawals meaning if you should ever need your savings you don’t need to worry about any forfeit or fines for closing the account early.