- 40% of easy access accounts do not offer branch access
- This figure was 33% five years ago and 29% ten years ago.
- Most major accounts can only be opened and managed online.
A growing number of easy-to-access savings accounts cannot be opened in branches, new data shows.
Today, 40% of easy access accounts do not offer branch access, according to figures from Moneyfacts Compare.
And this trend has become more pronounced. The number of savings accounts without branch access has fallen from 33 percent over the past five years to 29 percent a decade ago.
Easy-to-access accounts offering online access are on the rise. More than 69 percent offer online access, up from 60 percent five years ago and 54 percent ten years ago.
Switching online: 40% of easy-to-access accounts do not offer branch access, forcing savers online if they want to benefit from a good rate
It comes as a report from Yorkshire Building Society reveals that more than a fifth prefer branch service for their everyday banking needs, and more than a quarter visit their local branch at least once a month.
As banks continue to close branches, access to cash for those who prefer to handle their daily banking needs in person is becoming increasingly scarce.
Last week, Lloyds Bank has announced it is cutting around 1,600 jobs across its branches. as part of a massive company-wide shake-up that will see more services moved online.
Why is this important?
There is a warning here. Large banks that offer easy-to-access branch accounts are known for offering much lower rates than online providers.
Our analysis from November last year found that five of the UK’s biggest banks were paying 1.85 per cent on average. on £10,000 held in an easy-access account.
The best easy-access account available pays a rate of 5.15 percent. It is offered by Earl Shilton Building Society, which offers branch access, as building societies typically do.
However, it only has two sites – and it is the second smallest mutual in Britain.
Most other providers offering a maximum rate of 5 percent or more can only be opened online.
Rachel Springall, financial expert at Moneyfacts Compare, says: “Savers who prefer to manage their account in branch and save their money with one of the larger mainline banks will sacrifice the interest they earn on their savings.
“Savers could earn as little as 1 percent, or an average of 3 percent, but in fact they could earn around 5 percent on the easiest-to-access accounts.
“A saver earning 1 per cent for a year on a £20,000 pot would earn £200 in interest, while a 5 per cent gain would earn them £1,000.”
Many older savers, for example, may only be able to manage their finances in branch due to accessibility concerns.
And for some, they just want to go to their local branch and deposit or withdraw their money as they wish with staff they know and trust.
Part of a broader debate
As well as savers preferring to manage their accounts in branches, there is a wider debate underway over the overall accessibility of cash, which is being closely scrutinized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
At the end of last year, the FCA has proposed new rules to protect access to cash in the UK.
Under the proposals, banks and designated building societies will have to assess gaps in access to liquidity.
These assessments will take into account local factors such as demographics and transportation.
Where banks and building societies identify gaps in access to liquidity, they will need to address them.
The FCA’s new rules will not be finalized until later this year, but it is worth noting that they do not have the power to prevent bank branches from closing.
Springall says: “Those who are concerned about losing their local branches would do well to speak to their provider to discuss alternative locations or consider moving their accounts to an alternative brand that can meet their everyday banking needs. »