Two decent interest-paying current accounts from Lloyds and Bank of Scotland will have their rates cut from July, MoneySavingExpert can reveal – while Halifax is to increase the monthly fee for its Ultimate Reward packaged account.
The changes, announced in the small print on the banks’ websites and first spotted by sharp-eyed MSE forum users, are the latest in a raft of rate cuts which have shaken the high-interest current account market in the last couple of years.
Here are the changes, which affect new and existing customers, from 1 July 2018:
- The Club Lloyds current account will cut its headline interest rate from 2% to 1.5%.
- Bank of Scotland’s Vantage account will also cut its rate from 2% to 1.5%.
- Halifax’s Ultimate Reward account will increase its monthly fee from £15 to £17.
For the current best-buy bank accounts, including 5% interest fixed for a year, see our Best Bank Accounts guide.
How are the Club Lloyds and Bank of Scotland Vantage accounts changing?
Club Lloyds and Bank of Scotland Vantage accounts currently pay 2% AER variable interest on up to £5,000 – both feature in our Best Bank Accounts guide.
From 1 July 2018, both will have their rates cut to 1.5% AER variable – meaning the maximum interest you can earn in a year will fall from £99 to £74.50.
To earn any interest at all, you’ll still need to pay out at least two direct debits each calendar month for Club Lloyds and pay in £1,000, stay in credit and pay out at least two direct debits each month for Bank of Scotland Vantage. Club Lloyds also charges a £3 monthly fee if you don’t pay in at least £1,500/mth.
Neither account is currently market-leading – Tesco Bank lets you save £3,000 at 3% AER variable and the rate’s guaranteed until April 2019, while Nationwide pays 5% AER fixed on up to £2,500 for a year. But both rank in our best buys – the changes are likely to make them somewhat less attractive.
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How is the Halifax Ultimate Reward account changing?
The Halifax Ultimate Reward account is one of our top-pick packaged accounts. For a monthly fee, it offers worldwide family travel insurance plus mobile insurance and UK breakdown cover for the account holder(s). The fee will increase from £15/mth to £17/mth from 1 July.
Account holders will still receive a £3 monthly reward as a deduction on the account fee for each month they stay in credit, pay in at least £750 and have at least two direct debits leaving their account so if you do all that you’ll pay £14/mth.
New customers who open a Halifax Ultimate Reward account currently receive a £75 switching bonus, so long as they use the Current Account Switch Service to fully switch from an existing account at another bank. We’ve asked if this bonus will continue beyond 1 July – a spokesman said a decision on this would be made “separately”.
A couple of things are also changing with the mobile phone insurance you get. From 1 July:
- The excess will be £100 for all phones and claim types. It currently ranges from £30-£100.
- You’ll only be able to make two successful claims per account holder in any 12 month period. There’s no current limit to the number of claims you can make.
If you’re looking for a packaged account, always do your sums to check if the account’s really worth it. While the increased fee on the Halifax Ultimate Reward account will make it less attractive, it’ll still likely be a good option for some, especially if you can switch and get the £75 boon.
If you don’t want to switch, or have children, Nationwide’s FlexPlus might be a better option, even before Halifax’s fee increase. For £13/mth it offers worldwide family travel insurance, family smartphone insurance and UK and European breakdown cover. You can also get 3% AER variable interest on up to £2,500.