Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Recently a family friend gave me a pile of out-of-date copies of my childhood favourite, Reader's Digest. Perfect as ever for a snoozy summer read, I set about getting through them all in one afternoon. In one I came across this financial titbit:
"Zombie accounts can gobble up savings. Watch out if your savings account is no longer on offer because interest can plummet - some pay just 0.03% a year. As inflation is currently 2.8%, that's effectively £97.23 for every £100 invested, so check rates regularly to stop your savings shrinking." 

This made me beat myself up a bit. You see, I've got three accounts with Nationwide: two Flexaccounts and one Cashbuilder. One more Flexaccount than I need because it's hard to make them understand what you want sometimes and I ended up with a new account when I asked for a debit card on my original account. Le sigh. Of course I've been too busy procrastinating ever since to close one. Ruminators FTW.

The sad thing is that none of these accounts have any interest on them. It's a bit of a nonsense given its name but the Casbuilder gives a paltry 0.10%. Perhaps that tickles Nationwide HQ but me not so much.

So after I read the RD's tip, I thought I'd get off my arse and find some better interest for my pounds, especially as I've recently got quite a bit more money. Well, dear reader, the Nationwide savings guide might as well be written in Cyrillic. It uses doublespeak, misinformation and cunning withholding of certain facts* (*terms and conditions apply) to blind you with technicalities and draw a veil over the fact that there is no interest. Rien. Nada. Niente. Or at least, about 1% if you're lucky. And that's only good if you're a Russian oligarch.

Any semi-decent interest rate I thought I found was quietly bracketed with "variable". Half of the accounts it's only what you pay in that month that attracts the interest. Most of them it's what they call a bonus interest rate for one year which slips to sweet FA thereafter. Rude. It was one of the most devious Mensa puzzles I've ever attempted.

My essential conclusion from all this is that unless you don't mind your pennies being squirrelled away in Nationwide's underground grotto and fiddled with for five years, 1% is about your lot.

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