Marcus and Saga cut easy-access savings rates again
The two top-paying easy-access savings providers Marcus and Saga cut the interest they pay new customers to 1.2% last Friday, and existing customers will also see rates drop. But after rival bank Aldermore also cut its rates over the weekend, Marcus and Saga remain the best buys.
Easy-access rates had held up surprisingly well following the Bank of England's two emergency rate cuts in March, which saw the base rate drop to a historic low of 0.1%. But with the last 5% savings deal on the market set to vanish at the end of the month, these latest rate drops suggest more bad news for savers could be on the horizon.
Here's a summary of Friday's cuts:
- The headline rates on the top-paying Marcus and Saga accounts have been cut to 1.2% for new customers from Friday 17 April. Saga still includes a fixed bonus, while Marcus hasn't offered this since February. (Bonus rates are temporary interest hikes to attract new customers, which essentially act as a minimum rate guarantee during the introductory period.)
At their new rates, Marcus and Saga are still best buys as they offer the joint top easy-access rate. (Aldermore did briefly top the market at 1.25%, but it too cut its rates on Saturday.) See full new customer info below.
- Existing customers will see their interest rate fall by 0.1% on Thursday 7 May. However, the exact amount you'll earn depends on what, if any, fixed bonus you have on your account. See full existing customer info below.
While they have different brand names, the Marcus and Saga easy-access accounts are both operated by investment banking giant Goldman Sachs.
For help on searching out the best interest rates, see our Top Savings Accounts guide.
If you open a new Marcus or Saga account today, you'll be offered an interest rate of 1.2% AER variable (Saga includes a fixed bonus of 0.2% for 12 months). So if you opened an account with £1,000, you'd have a projected balance of £1,012 after 12 months.
If you're a new customer looking to put money in an easy-access account – ie, one that gives you flexibility to make withdrawals – Marcus and Saga remain top picks as they offer the joint top rate, allow unlimited withdrawals and can be opened with just £1.
Alternatively, you can get better returns on your cash by opening a fixed-rate or notice account – which give you less flexibility with withdrawals – or with some current accounts, including Nationwide's FlexDirect, which pays 5% fixed for a year on up to £2,500 if you meet its criteria and apply this month.
If you're an existing Marcus customer, your underlying interest rate will drop from 1.3% to 1.2% on Thursday 7 May, while existing Saga customers will see their underlying rates drop to 1% from the same date.
Crucially though, any fixed bonus you have on either account will remain in place until it expires 12 months after you took out the account or renewed the bonus – so the overall interest you earn may be more than that underlying rate.
To illustrate this, here's how existing Marcus customers are affected – their current rate will depend on when they took out their account or last renewed their bonus:
|1.45%, incl 0.15% bonus||1.35%, incl 0.15% bonus||1.2%|
|1.4%, incl 0.1% bonus||1.3%, incl 0.1% bonus||1.2%|
You can check whether you've got an active fixed bonus – and when this will expire – by logging in to your Marcus account and clicking 'View' next to the account name. You'll see the bonus details on the right-hand side (or towards the middle if you're using a mobile). Saga customers can also check details of their bonus online.
If you're an existing Marcus or Saga customer, weigh up carefully whether you should ditch and switch after your rate drops in early May:
- If you have a Marcus account with a fixed bonus, you'll likely be better off sticking with it for now as the bonus means it'll still pay more (1.35% or 1.3%) than the top easy-access accounts do right now – though check if this is still the case on Thursday 7 May. In any event, it's worth checking when your bonus expires and remembering to reconsider your options then.
- If you have a Marcus account without a fixed bonus, you should check the rates of the top-paying savings accounts on Thursday 7 May to see if it's worth switching. Based on the rates right now, there'd be no benefit to moving your money, but this could change by then.
- If you have a Saga account, check the rate you're getting in early May and weigh up if it can be beaten. Again, what you'll earn from Thursday 7 May will depend on the size of your fixed bonus – some with the 0.25% fixed bonus first offered by Saga may still earn more than the current top-paying account after Thursday 7 May, but check.
Again, you may want to consider a fixed-rate or notice account – which pay more but give you less flexibility with withdrawals – or Nationwide's FlexDirect current account, which pays 5% fixed for a year on up to £2,500 if you meet its criteria and apply this month.