Expats with offshore bank accounts are being advised to shop around after a flurry of activity has seen a number of new incentives and offers on savings rates but some rates are being quietly cut.
Although rates for savers remain historically low and there is still less competition for offshore money than there was even a few months ago, a number of banks are now offering new rates.
Santander-owned Abbey International has increased the interest rate on its five year fixed term account to 4.25% although early access is not permitted. There are conditions, namely that a call account must either already be open or opened to be able to apply for the product, it does not have to be funded and has a low minimum investment of £1,000. The minimum investment into the main account is £50,000.
It has also launched a new 180-day notice option on its Premium Notice account. On the minimum balance of £50,000 the new 180-day option pays 2.25%. However, Abbey has cut the rates on its 60 and 120 day notice options by up to 0.5%. Premium Notice 60 day now pays 1.75% and for 120 days, the rate is 2%. For 60 and 120-day notice options, the minimum balance is £25,000.
Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley have both recently launched new one year bonds paying 0.05% more at 2.8%. But both have cut their two year rates by 0.15%.
While Skipton International has just launched a new two year fixed rate International Reserve Bond with a rate of 3.25%, 0.15% more than it was paying. Its 12-month version now offers a fixed rate of 2.4% for annual interest or 2.3% if you want interest monthly. In both cases, the minimum deposit is £10,000 and the maximum is £5 million. But Skipton has withdrawn its six-month fixed rate International Reserve Bond, which was offering 2.25%.
Irish Nationwide has cut the rate on its Instant Quarterly account by 0.15% to 2.35%. It has also cut rates on its new fixed bonds by up to 0.15%. Its three month fixed product now pays 2.5%, down 0.15%, while its six month account is down 0.1% from 2.7% and for a year the new rate is 3%, down 0.1%.
Then, Clydesdale Bank International has cut the rate on its 30-day notice account by 0.25% and now pays between 0.95% and 1.25% depending on the balance. While Anglo Irish Bank International is paying 2.9% on its no-notice account.