The Bank of England (BoE) has raised rates 13 times in a row to June this year, with the base rate reaching 5% – a level not seen since 2008 at the height of the financial crisis. Mortgage rates and loan rates have risen alongside the base rate, but savings rates have tended to lag behind.
The base rate rises are designed to rein in inflation, which was still stubbornly high at 7.9% in June, significantly higher than the 2% target for the BoE. Experts at Schroders predict even more rate rises, with the base rate potentially reaching as high as 6.5% by the end of the year, which is bad news for borrowers, but good news for savers.
While personal savings accounts have seen rate rises, the same applies for business account savings rates. So, if your business has excess cash sitting in a business bank account earning little or no interest, then consider opening a separate savings account and allowing that money to work for you.
The rate you can get for your business savings varies depending on how quickly you want to access that money. If you want to be able to make unlimited withdrawals at any time, then you would need an easy access, also known as an instant access, account. But you are likely to get slightly less in interest than you could get if you can give some notice before making a withdrawal.
At the moment, one of the best rates you can get for an easy access account is around 4.65% Annual Equivalent Rate (AER) – this is the actual amount you would receive in interest depending on how often the rate is calculated and then compounded over an entire year. For example, the monthly gross interest rate on this account is 4.65%. But if there is a compounding effect – where interest is calculated and applied more often than annually, meaning the next amount of interest paid is based on the original deposit plus the previous interest added – it could take the overall interest paid in a year to a higher rate.
Usually there will be a minimum deposit amount to open the account, so check any terms and conditions you need to comply with to get the advertised rate. You also should check whether the interest is a fixed or variable rate. If the former, you know what you will receive for the period the rate is fixed for. If that latter, the rate can change at any time, so keep an eye on it and be prepared to move to a better paying account if the rate drops.
If you can keep some money in an account where you give notice before making a withdrawal, it will boost the amount of interest you can earn. The current leading rates for notice accounts are paying around 5.35% AER if you are prepared to tie your money up for three months before making a withdrawal.
Again, watch for any terms and conditions and minimum deposits you might need to make. As you have to give notice before you make a withdrawal, you may face a penalty if you access the account before the notice period has been completed. This is often a reduction in interest, but check the terms to be sure you are able to comply with them before signing up.
If you can afford to tie some of your company’s money up for longer, then you might want to consider a fixed rate bond. These will be offered over various periods, usually one year or more, and again you will not be able to access the money for the agreed term without a penalty.
The benefit for this is a higher rate of interest paid on your deposit. For example, one of the top rates for a one-year fixed rate bond for business customers is currently paying 6.13% AER. But you may find you need to put more money into the bond than some of the other accounts, which could be prohibitive for smaller businesses.
However, if you can keep some money in a product for a longer period of time, this might be worth considering.
Using business savings accounts, particularly when interest rates are rising, is a good way of making your money work harder for you. If you need help in finding out the right account for you, then please get in touch and we will be happy to assist you.