Good news for savers and current account holders alike

Business banking news review: week ending 21 Aug 2014

It’s a rare week when I don’t have anything to complain about, but here it is: whether you’ve got a savings account or a current account, things are looking up.

In fact, things are actually quite rosy if you ask me, especially with the news that July saw inflation drop by a stone. The consumer prices index, which was predicted to slip from 1.9 per cent to 1.8 per cent, sank to a wonderfully low 1.6 per cent. This CPI drop means that there are more savings accounts than ever that actually offer real gains for savers, even when basic tax is taken into account – something it feels like I haven’t seen in years.

How many? Well there are 84 ISA savings products on the market that beat inflation. In addition there’s another 86 non-ISA savers out there that do the same thing. This is a far cry from last year, where inflation was closer to 2.8 per cent at the time – eliminating nearly every savings product out there from offering real gains after taxes.

Meanwhile current account holders have something to rejoice about as well! The Financial Conduct Authority’s ‘same day retry system,’ which gave consumers a second chance for a bill payment or direct debit to clear their accounts if the first try failed due to lack of funds, is being rolled out and extended from next month. September will see shedloads of banks and building societies joining the programme, up from the seven banks that piloted the scheme. Almost every major bank out there is going to be a part of it, including newcomers such as Virgin Money and Tesco Bank and High Street giants like RBS, Barclays, and HSBC.

What this means for the regular consumer is if you know you’ve got a standing order coming due on a particular day that happens to coincide with your pay cheque getting deposited in your account as well you won’t have to worry if that direct debit is attempted first. Normally a consumer would be hit with a rather hefty ‘unpaid item fee’ in the original case, but now the transaction will simply be retried once more later in the day – somewhere around 2 pm according to industry officials – and those few extra hours could buy you enough time to get that cash in your account.

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