To mark Good Money Week, a campaign designed to raise awareness of sustainable, responsible and ethical finance, we’ve taken a look at the different types of ethical savings accounts available and how their rates compare to high street banks.
Ethical easy access savings accounts
Easy access savings accounts may offer lower rates than other types of savings account, but they have the advantage of allowing savers to quickly access their money. The top-paying restriction-free easy access accounts currently available come from high street banks, with the top rate of 0.80% AER being offered by Leeds Building Society and Yorkshire Building Society.
However, Gatehouse Bank offers the joint-second best easy access rate paying an expected profit rate of 0.75% AER, and as this is a Sharia’a-compliant savings account any deposits held can only be used for ethical investments (read our guide on Sharia’a-compliant savings accounts to find out more). Another competitive easy access rate comes from Al Rayan Bank, which is also Sharia’a-compliant and pays an expected profit rate of 0.70% AER.
Alternatively, Triodos Bank and Ecology Building Society both operate under ethical principles so could be ideal for those seeking to do good with their money, though the rates on offer are comparatively lower, with Triodos offering 0.30% AER on its Online Saver Plus and Ecology Building Society’s Easy Access paying 0.20%.
Charity notice savings accounts
For those who want to see their savings have a more direct benefit, many providers offer savings accounts that give a percentage of balances to charity – and some of these offer highly competitive rates. For example, The Melton Building Society pays the second-best rate among 90-day notice accounts with its Branch Rainbows 90 Day Notice and Online Rainbows 90 Day Notice accounts paying 1.00% AER, with each giving 0.10% of the average daily balances held to Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People charity.
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This easy access savings account from Investec Bank plc is brand new to the market and could offer a competitive choice for those seeking an accessible home for their money. Offering a rate of 0.55% AER from a minimum investment of £5,000, this internet-operated account permits unlimited further additions and withdrawals and pays interest monthly, making it ideal for those looking to supplement their income.
For those looking to lock their money away for the short term, here are the top one-year bonds:
• First up is Al Rayan Bank with its 12-month Fixed Term Deposit paying a market-leading expected profit rate of 1.08% AER on a quarterly basis. The account requires a minimum investment of £5,000, after which no further deposits can be made and there is no access to funds prior to maturity. It can be opened and operated online, in branch, by phone and by mobile app, and operates under Islamic finance principles.
• Next up is Union Bank of India (UK) Ltd, with its one-year Union Premier Bond paying 1.05% AER on maturity. The account, which can be both opened and operated online, requires a minimum investment of £1,000, with no further additions or withdrawals permitted. A branch and postal-operated version of the account – the 12-month Fixed Rate Deposit – is also available that pays the same rate of interest.
• Bank of London and The Middle East (BLME) completes this overview with the 12-month version of Premier Deposit Account paying an expected profit rate of 1.00% AER on maturity. This Sharia’a-compliant bond requires a minimum investment of £1,000, after which no further deposits can be made and withdrawals won’t be possible before the 12-month term is up. The account must be opened online before becoming postal-operated and savers must have or open a BLME transfer account to hold funds pending investment.
As climate change starts to have a greater impact on our environment, many homeowners are finding that homes are more at risk of flooding than they were 10 or 20 years ago. Indeed, according to the Met Office, the UK is getting wetter – the highest rainfall totals over a five-day period were 4% higher between 2008 and 2017 than 1961 to 1990, and the amount of rain from extremely wet days increased by 17% when comparing the same periods. The increase in rainfall has led to an increased risk of flooding, which can not only have an impact on property prices and insurance costs, but for older homeowners looking to release equity from their home, it can also impact getting an equity release deal.
Can you release equity if you live in a flood risk area?
In common with all residential mortgage lending, lifetime mortgages are secured on the homeowner’s property and equity release providers will take into account any flood risk when deciding whether or not to offer a lifetime mortgage and on what terms. Homeowners should be aware that it is not just those who have already been impacted by flooding, but also those who are at risk of future flooding.
Although there is not much a homeowner can do to reduce the risk of their property being flooded, they can improve their chances of getting a deal by applying to a provider more likely to accept applications from flood risk areas. An equity release broker will be able to provide help and advice on which providers are more likely to do so.
However, just because it’s possible to get an equity release deal, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right option. A more limited choice of products may be available, and as is always the case, the financial benefits of releasing equity will depend on individual circumstances. As such, homeowners living in a flood risk area should consider getting independent financial advice before applying for equity release to ensure it is the right option for them.
• Lloyds Bank tops the chart with a rate of 1.39% that’s fixed to 28 February 2026 (2.8% APRC), before reverting to 3.59% variable for term. It’s available to remortgage customers at up to 60% loan-to-value (LTV) and comes with a fee of £999, and offers free valuation and legal fees to offset some of the upfront cost. A version of the mortgage is also available to Club Lloyds members that offers an additional incentive of £200 cashback.
• HSBC is next with a rate of 1.41% fixed to 31 December 2025 (2.8% APRC), after which it reverts to 3.54% variable for the remaining term. It’s available to both purchase and remortgage customers at up to 60% LTV, and although it has a fairly substantial fee of £1,499, it covers valuation fees as well as legal fees for remortgage customers.
• NatWest completes the top three with a rate of 1.44% fixed to 31 March 2026 (2.8% APRC), before reverting to 3.59% variable. Available at up to 60% LTV, the fee of £995 is somewhat offset by free valuation and no legal fees.
*Excludes existing customer only or location specific products
Representative example: £168,000 mortgage over 25 years initially at 2.74% variable for 24 months reverting to 4.74% variable for term. 24 monthly payments of £774.14 and 276 monthly payments of £943.39. Total amount payable £279,290.00 includes loan amount, interest of £110,955, valuation fees of £185 and product fees of £0. The overall cost for comparison is 4.5% APRC representative.
DEAL OF THE WEEK
Two-year fixed rate mortgage
For those looking to fix their mortgage payments for the short-term, NatWest’s two-year deal could be just the thing – with a rate of 1.33% that’s fixed to 31 March 2023 (3.2% APRC) before reverting to 3.59% variable, it’s available to house purchase customers at up to 60% LTV, and its £995 fee is somewhat offset by the £250 cashback incentive.
YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE.
Representative example: £218,000 mortgage over 25 years initially at 1.33% fixed for 29 months reverting to 3.59% variable for term. 29 monthly payments of £854.56 and 271 monthly payments of £1077.92. Total amount payable £318,295.56 includes loan amount, interest of £98,899, valuation fees of £352 and product fees of £995. The overall cost for comparison is 3.2% APRC representative.
Zopa launches first ever credit card
Zopa has launched its first ever credit card, which comes with a range of features that the bank has said are designed to help customers stay in control of their money and debt. Here, we take a look at the card and compare it to others on the market.
Zopa’s Credit Card Visa
Zopa’s new card charges 34.9% APR, which is a higher APR than many rivals. However, it doesn’t charge a foreign usage fee, which will likely appeal to those who travel abroad regularly, and it also offers a unique feature called ‘Safety Net’, which allows customers to lock away part of their available credit for unexpected expenses. In addition to this, the card includes real-time balance updates, instant notifications on purchases and a spend tracking feature, and can be fully managed through an app. However, the rate of 34.9% APR means that this is an expensive way to borrow, and the balance should ideally be paid off in full each month to avoid paying high interest fees.
What are the alternatives?
The Zopa credit card doesn’t offer an introductory interest-free period on purchases, so instead, borrowers may want to look at our 0% purchase credit card chart. Santander comes out on top with its All in One Credit Card Mastercard offering an interest-free period of 26 months. However, it has a £3 monthly fee, so looking to cards that have a slightly shorter interest-free term but don’t have this fee may be a more cost-effective option, such as M&S Bank’s Shopping Plus Mastercard which has an interest-free period of 20 months.
Another feature that the Zopa credit card doesn’t offer is balance transfers, so if this is an essential factor, TSB’s Platinum Balance Transfer Card Mastercard could be considered with its market-leading 0% interest-free period of 29 months. Looking at the travel credit card chart could also offer some alternatives – the Zopa card is certainly competitive with it boasting no foreign usage fees, but the card currently topping the chart is Santander’s Zero Credit Card Mastercard, which (along with having no foreign usage charges) offers 0% on purchases for 12 months and has a much lower APR of 18.9%.
Secured loans could be a solution for homeowners looking to borrow a larger sum of money than unsecured loans can offer, by using their home as collateral. Paragon Personal Finance offers some of the lowest rates in this sector, with those seeking a 10-year loan of £20,000 able to find a highly competitive rate of 3.80% (5.8% APRC variable). Find this and other options by speaking to our preferred partner Loans Warehouse.
Representative example: If you borrow £35,500 over 14 years at a rate of 8.95% variable, you will pay 168 instalments of £418.88 per month and a total amount payable of £70,371.84. This includes the net loan, interest of £30,326.84, a broker fee of £3,550 and a lender fee of £995. The overall cost for comparison is 11.8% APRC variable.