Easy access rates edge up after Wall Street titan launches high-yield savings account

Savers finally benefit from improving rates following the 1.5% rate from the Marcus account launched online by Goldman Sachs in September.

RCI Bank, which is French-owned has now raised its Freedom Account’s rate to 1.37% and, although it’s typical for banks to only apply raised rates to new customers, the RCI Bank account is giving all savers the benefit of this new increased rate.

The move has been matched by Ford Money, which is also paying the same 1.29% rate to all its Flexible Savers. Smaller building banks and building societies have been scrambling to compete with Marcus’s 1.5% deal since it was launched on 27 September because it pushed easy-access rates to their highest level for two years. The online Marcus account also includes a 0.15% fixed bonus payable for the first year.

Charter Savings Bank launched its new Easy Access account, which pays 1.4%, within hours of Marcus’s arrival. Then, Shawbrook Bank quickly followed by raising its rate for new Easy Access savers to 1.4%. And in the interim, Paragon Bank has also launched a new Limited Edition Easy Access account issue, at 1.37%, while OakNorth Bank’s latest Easy Access account is paying 1.3%.

Kent Reliance Easy Access and AA Savings Member Saver are also up to 1.37%. No restrictions apply to the number of withdrawals that can be made your money is covered by the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme (UKFSC) to the value of £85,000, or £170,000 on joint accounts.

If you are opening an account, whatever your savings goals, finder UK can help you find one to suit you. The rates that are available on the High Street may be slightly higher, but the arrangements tend to be much more complicated. For example, the rate on a Co-op Bank’s Britannia Select Access Saver issue 9 has been raised to 1.2%, but savers are limited to just four withdrawals in each calendar year.

Other High Street deals include Virgin Money Easy Access Saver at 1.16%, Coventry Building Society Easy Access Saver 5 1.15%, and Family Building Society’s Branch Saver is paying 1.21%. It’s worth noting, however, that Family BS has now also launched a new Premium Saver, which as well as being available online, can be opened at its Epsom, Surrey branch or through the post. It pays 1.45% on a minimum £5,000, but it’s only going to be possible to add money until 7 December this year.

Prior to the launch of Marcus, the average rate offered by competitors was just 0.55%.

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Money management app Emma adds cryptocurrency exchange integration

banking

Emma, the app that helps people avoid overdrafts and identify unnecessary subscriptions, now offers control over other finances including cryptocurrency assets.

London-based Emma Technologies calls itself the “banking app for millennials” and has already integrated with a number of UK-based challenger banks including Starling BankMonzo and Revolut.

But now, by integrating with a number of cryptocurrency exchanges Emma has become the only app that allows UK consumers to see their cryptocurrency assets along with other more traditional banking products for free.

In a few taps, Coinbase, Bittrex, Binance, Bitstamp, Kraken, Bitfinex and individual bitcoin and Ethereumaddresses, can connect to Emma allowing users to access all their banking and investment data under one secure app.

Emma CEO and co-founder Edoardo Moreni says this represents a first step towards account aggregation not only referring to banking products, but also “several financial services”. Emma, which successfully received Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approval at the start of the year, has since been steadily making Open Banking integrations with other digital banking players.

The banking app for millennials who use either iOS or Android devices is a mobile-only solution that aims to help people avoid overdrafts, cancel unwanted subscriptions, keep track of debt and save money. The integrations with Starling, Monzo and Revolut are helping the various banks’ customers understand their money and more easily manage it. Starling Bank’s Chief Platform Officer, Megan Caywood, says the Emma link is a boost to the startup’s ability to offer customers a wider choice of financial products.

The integration works on the basis that, in the modern world, people tend to have multiple accounts, many contracts, several credit and debit cards and are thus challenged when it comes to keeping things under control. Emma wants to make money management easy and much more straightforward by enabling consumers to access all their personal finance information at the push of a button.

Emma (whose name derives from an anagram of the initials of its founders, Antonio Marino and Edoardo Moreni, who met at the Manchester University) was given the nod by the FCA just over a month from the launch of its beta service.

Emma’s ultimate goal is the building of a private wealth manager driven by artificial intelligence. It is being propelled by the advent of Open Banking whose launch coincided with that of Emma. Open Banking means that, with the account holder’s permission, banks are able to share financial information, including transaction histories and spending patterns, with third-party providers who are also FCA regulated.

Digital banking is evolving all the time. With Finder UK you can read the latest reviews, browse apps and discover more about the latest developments.

Yolt is the first independent app to connect to the UK’s largest high street banks

Yolt, the app that allows customers to view credit card, banking and savings accounts in one place, has become the first third-party provider to tie up with all nine of the UK’s biggest retail banks.

Along with fintech challengers Starling and Monzo, 18 banks are now connected to Yolt, with users able to access a total of 35 different cards and banks. Yolt users can see the shops where they spend the most money. They can also set budgets and plan for upcoming payments as well as seeing how much cash they have available until payday.

Yolt is now the largest user of Open Banking application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable the app to perform about 1.5 million calls every week. APIs are sets of clearly defined ways for various components, in this case accounts to communicate between themselves.

Key features of the Yolt app are its spending tracker, easy budget settings and auto-categorisation.

The app has been working closely with the UK’s nine largest banks and building societies* since the start of 2018 to make it possible to involve all the big retail banking operations. Yolt is the first money app to make a complete Open Banking API link with the Lloyds Banking Group.

Yolt’s COO Leon Muis says that connecting with all the largest banks through APIs is “a huge milestone”. Muis points out that the Open Banking ecosystem has made it possible and for making users able to stay at the front of the Open Banking revolution and empowered to do more with their own money.

He accepts that the public still need educating about Open Banking, which is aimed at providing greater financial transparency for account holders, but believes that as more people get involved, consumers will see the benefits of having increased control over their financial information.

Yolt was launched in 2016 as a registered trademark of the Amsterdam-based ING group. Does it make it easier to manage your finances? Read this review to see what finder UK says. To find out exactly how Open Banking may help you take a look at this analysis.