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Live event: ask your questions about banking, savings and Isas – 3pm 7/10/21

Which? Money expert Danielle Richardson joins us live on Which? Conversation. Ask your banking, savings and Isa related questions in the comments.

Our next live Which? Conversation event sees us discussing all things banking, savings accounts and Isas with Danielle Richardson.

Danielle works as a senior writer in the Which? Money team, specialising in banking content. If you have a question for her, get in touch in the comments.

The event will take place in the comments with replies appearing as text – it is not a live stream/Zoom meeting.

📄 Live banking, savings and Isas Q&A

🗓 3pm Thursday 7 October 2021

Danielle will be live on the site on Thursday 7 October, but you can ask your questions in advance any time in the comments below.

We look forward to seeing you taking part.

Comments

When is Which? going to put out wider publicity of the new 159 fraud hotline on Convos?

There is an article published in Which? news today: “Can the new 159 anti-fraud hotline stop impersonation scams?” which doesn’t sound like very practical advice to me.

I’m not going to post a link here because it will get held up in moderation. And it’s not a perfect system, but if it helps to stop just one person being scammed, please get on with it.

Basically, you can contact your bank by calling 159. Use a different phone if you can, or check the phone line is clear by calling a friend first. Then call 159 and select your bank.

I should have made it clear in my post above that not all banks are members of the scheme, nor all telecom providers. If you dial 159 from Vodafone, for instance, the call drops without explaination.

If your bank does not yet support the scheme, use a number you can trust, like the one on the back of your debit or credit card, or from a statement.

Check it out now. Also, if you are partially sighted, it is an easier way to contact your bank that having to read the number of a card.

Information about the

new 159 fraud hotline. Looks to be a promising innovation.

Information about the new 159 fraud hotline. Looks to be a promising innovation.

Information about the new new anti-fraud 159 hotline

Let’s hope people not only use it, but act on advice.

”A new fraud hotline will let you check whether a call from your bank is genuine, as the industry battles against unprecedented levels of authorised fraud.Stop Scams UK and the Global Cyber Alliance have launched the ‘159’ pilot scheme with backing from major banks and technology firms, including BT and Google. The hotline is designed to disrupt impersonation scammers who pose as banks or other firms to trick customers into sending them money – known as bank transfer or authorised push payment (APP) scams. The latest industry figures show that although purchase scams account for 49% of all APP cases, fraud involving impersonation of banks or the police spiked by 129% in the first half of 2021. A dedicated phone number for anti-fraud checks could be effective, says Which?. But will banks use this to justify even lower reimbursement rates?

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/09/can-the-new-159-anti-fraud-hotline-stop-impersonation-scams/ – Which?

Interesting for Which? to say “authorised fraud”. Do they mean the customer authorised a payment to a fraudster? Or that the bank, knowing the transaction was fraudulent, allowed a payment instruction to proceed?

”But will banks use this to justify even lower reimbursement rates?“ Do Which? mean that if customers ignore advice the banks should still reimburse them?

I’d like to see far greater clarity from Which? on how responsibility for making fraudulent transactions should be attributed, and what specific measures the banking industry should have taken, and be taking, that will identify fraudsters before they commit fraud.

Having a simple number to call when we need help is commendable. Rather than look up a number for the local police we can call 101, if we need medical advice from the NHS it’s 111. I’ve only had two scam texts but I knew to forward them to 7726.

I read that not all banks are currently using the 159 hotline and the sooner they do the better.

Nationwide have a dedicated number. As most will conduct their transactions using one bank this seems OK. It will partly depend upon how well staffed these numbers are, so how long you have to wait. But will the people calling these numbers be the same ones who would be cautious anyway? Those who are incautious may well just carry on regardless.

“While Nationwide isn’t participating in the 159 pilot, it has developed its own Scam Checker service, encouraging members to check a payment they are worried about either in branch or by calling a 24/7 freephone number (0800 030 4057). Staff who are trained to spot the signs of fraud will then talk with members about the nature of the payment and discuss if there are any concerns with proceeding. Nationwide said that it will fully refund members if they fall victim to an APP scam after being given the go-ahead to make the payment, under its new ‘Scam Protection Promise’. But if members are warned against making a payment and either proceed with the payment, or fail to share requested important information, this refund promise will not apply. Nationwide said its data shows that speaking to members before they make a payment could help to identify and stop up to two thirds of attempted scams each year.

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/09/can-the-new-159-anti-fraud-hotline-stop-impersonation-scams/ – Which?

Nikki Brown says:
5 October 2021

Hi Danielle, are Cash ISAs as key in the market as they once were? I thought they might disappear when the Personal Savings Allowance came in.

Hi Nikki,

It’s true that the introduction of the personal savings allowance has diluted cash Isas’ popularity somewhat – but they can still be really handy for saving tax.

If you have a large savings pot where your interest may exceed your personal savings allowance, or you’re an additional-rate taxpayer where you don’t receive any personal savings allowance, cash Isas are really key.

Also, due to the nature of compound interest building up over time, it’s worth considering a cash Isa for savings you’re not planning to touch any time soon – your money can continue to grow without any worries about exceeding your allowance.

It’s also worth bearing in mind the fact that you’re restricted to the £20,000 Isa allowance each year, so if you do have a larger amount of savings it’s a good idea to plan ahead and start transferring it into a cash Isa before you run the risk of being charged tax on your savings interest.

I hope that helps!

Thanks,

Danielle

In the Which? list of ranked savings rates for fixed bonds, the sharia-based savings generally tend to be at the top of the list. Has any of these companies finally been unable to meet their claimed “expected” rates when their bond matures? Are there any other disadvantages with these sharia-based bonds apart from the lack of guarantee over the interest rate? Presumably, the FSCS only covers the capital invested.

Hi Dr Kay,

To answer your first question, we’ve never heard of an instance where an Islamic bank has failed to offer its advertised expected profit rate in the UK, but you’re right in saying the rate is not guaranteed, so that is something to be aware of.

UK-based Islamic banks have to follow the same banking rules and regulations as all other banks, so providing the bank is FCA registered (as those on the Which? Money Compare tables are), customers will have the same protections from the FSCS if the bank were to go bust. With regards to whether only FSCS covers capital invested, I can take this away and check for you.

As a saver, the main thing you may want to check is whether the bank can allow you to manage the account in the way you’d like (ie if you prefer to make changes over the telephone versus online, for instance).

Thanks,

Danielle

Hi all, just to clarify, Danielle isn’t our scams/fraud expert so won’t be able to answer questions on that subject. We had that team live on the site a few months back:

https://conversation.which.co.uk/community/which-conversation-live-scams-event/

I’d encourage questions on scams/fraud to continue to be asked there or in other relevant discussion articles – we’ll ask the team to revisit to answer them.

Back on to this event – Danielle, I’d be interested in your thoughts on Premium Bonds – do you feel they represent an attractive alternative to an ISA/savings account at the moment? How many do you need to buy to make it worth the investment?

Thanks @gmartin, I had assumed that banking would include security.

Hi George,

Great question – premium bonds are still proving to be really popular – in the past few months the number of bonds in each prize draw has been growing by around 1 billion each month.

I can see why they’re appealing – while rates for most savings accounts and cash Isas are still so low people are trying their luck on winning a prize, which starts at £25 – a sum it may take several months to make in savings interest. And, of course, there’s the chance of winning £1m.

As to how much you’d need to buy – there’s never any guarantee that you’ll win anything. Some savers go for years without even getting one prize. But, according to premiumbondscalculator.com if you have ‘average luck’ you’re likely to win £25 over the course of a year if you have a premium bonds holding of at least £3,000. So perhaps it depends how lucky you’re feeling!

Hi Danielle, I’d be interested to know what the best childs savings accounts would be? Haven’t explored this area before but would be to good to know what to look out for? Thanks

Chirag, I, too, would be interested in children’s savings options. I’d rather give them money for the future (and a small present) for birthdays and Christmas. My leaning would be to a junior stocks and shares ISA; I see Which? News covered a NatWest offering here https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/06/natwest-launches-junior-stocks-and-shares-isa-is-it-any-good/

Hi Chirag,

There are a few options when it comes to saving money for children. As malcolm r mentioned, Junior stocks and shares Isas can be good when you’re saving for the long-term (which helps to balance out investment risk), and the interest earned is tax-free. Junior cash Isas also have the tax-free benefit – though both types have restrictions on how much you can pay in each year.

There are several different types of children’s savings accounts you might consider; regular savers are great if you want to build up your child’s savings pot gradually over time, whereas something that offers instant-access can be a good way to teach children about money.

For something slightly different, it’s also possible to buy premium bonds for children – there have even been instances in the past of children winning the £1million jackpot prize!

And, if you want to think really long term, you can also start off a pension. We go into the pros and cons of each savings option in this guide: https://www.which.co.uk/money/savings-and-isas/savings-accounts/childrens-savings-accounts/best-ways-to-save-for-children-asgyc8d5nh2m

Thanks,

Danielle

Hi I would like to know what is the best savings investment platform to make your money work for you is?

Hi Amit,

If you’re referring to savings platforms we have a guide on these that you might find useful: https://www.which.co.uk/money/savings-and-isas/savings-accounts/what-is-a-savings-platform-ah9112x13r8n

We’ve included an overview of the main savings platforms in the UK, along with the top rates offered for one and three-year fixed-rate accounts. The best one for you will depend on how much you have to save, and which kind of service suits you best.

If you’re looking for advice on investment platforms, my colleague Kim has a guide all about the best ones: https://www.which.co.uk/money/investing/investment-platforms/investment-platforms-reviewed/best-and-worst-investment-platforms-anyxw2k9cdz8

Thanks,

Danielle

My advice would be to first invest it where your children are unable to access it until they are 18 or finish university, to help with their fees, whichever is relevant. Premium bonds, unless you are lucky don’t offer any assured returns. Long term interest on savings accounts are a waste of time and money, so I would go along with Malcolms recommendation and invest in a stocks and shared tax free ISA.

I did just that, and was able to pay for both my grandchildren’s uni fees, which in turn, helped them to save enough money for a deposit on a house when they started earning.

Hannah says:
6 October 2021

Danielle I’d like to know where best to save money for the next 3 years for one of our children whose savings account has just matured. No need for access and it is a lump sum.

Hi Hannah,

This is a little tricky for me to give a definitive answer to, as the children’s accounts on offer vary depending on how old your child is, and whereabouts you’re based – some UK building societies offer high rates, but these are restricted to local customers, so it may be worth checking with your local providers.

Nationwide options that offer some of the highest rates include Family Building Society’s Junior Saver, which pays a variable rate of 1.6% AER on balances above £3,000.

Barclays Children’s Savings pays a variable rate of 1.51% AER on balances from £1 to £10,000.

Leeds Building Society has three children’s savings accounts, all offering a variable rate of 1.35% AER, called Ronnie the Rhino Youngsaver, DinoSaver and The Vault, which are suitable for a range of ages.

If your child is a bit older, you might also consider a Junior cash Isa – but access won’t be allowed until they turn 18. Our guide is regularly updated with the top rates: https://www.which.co.uk/money/savings-and-isas/isas/junior-isas/best-junior-cash-isas-aqsu71x1pjq2

Thanks,

Danielle

Hi Danielle. Could you explain how personal savings allowances work? I have a savings account that pays a better interest rate than my ISA, but what happens with tax for accounts like that? It says that it’s paid tax free but may affect your allowance….. I’m not really sure where it’s best to keep my money as it’s quite confusing. Thank you!

Hi Bob,

Absolutely – it’s quite a confusing set of rules but hopefully I can help! So, the first thing to know is that your personal savings allowance will depend on the rate of income tax you pay. If you’re a basic-rate taxpayer – ie. in 2021 your income is between £12,501-£50,270 – you get a £1,000 personal savings allowance. If you’re a higher-rate taxpayer, earning between £50,271 and £150,000 you’ll get a £500 personal savings allowance. Additional-rate taxpayers whose income is above £150,000 don’t get a personal savings allowance at all.

So, as all savings rates are pretty low at the moment, you generally won’t need to worry about paying tax on your savings interest unless you have a lot of money saved that will exceed your personal savings allowance, or you have a high income which means you don’t receive the allowance.

That being said, if you leave your savings to build up over a long time, a cash Isa can still be handy as you know you’ll never need to worry about exceeding your personal savings allowance. If you leave your money in a savings account, make sure you check up on how much interest it’s earning so you don’t end up with an unexpected tax bill.

You can find more information on our guide here: https://www.which.co.uk/money/tax/income-tax/income-tax-on-savings-and-investments/tax-on-savings-a4gts3t6h06x

Thanks,

Danielle

Thank you Danielle

Hi all, @danielle-richardson will be joining us here in the comments to answer any questions you have about banking, savings and Isa’s.

The event will kick off around 3pm and questions will be updated in the comment section above. So please keep refreshing to see the answers appear.

If there is anything else we can help with myself and George will be in the comments to help.

Thanks 🙂

Harry says:
7 October 2021

I use Nutmeg and find them really easy to use but do you think they are quite expensive? Should I switch to another robo investor?

Hi Harry,

I’m afraid I’m not hugely clued up on the current fees offered by robo investors – but I suppose one thing you’d have to consider is whether you think the service you’re receiving is worth the money, and do you think you’d still be able to get that service if you went elsewhere?

I know robo investors, including Nutmeg, charge different fees depending on the type of investment style you’re signed up to, so if you want something cheaper you may have to factor in whether or not you want more control over picking your investments, or taking on other services that are currently done for you.

Thanks,

Danielle

Matt says:
7 October 2021

Hi,
I’m in in the fortunate position that my emergency fund has grown to over 12 months now due to COVID. It’s all in cash or premium bonds. Would you advise a proportion of this should go into a stocks and shares Isa? I was considering a tracker fund as I would describe myself as quite risk averse. I don’t like the thought of locking money away but interest rates are so low I’m starting to feel I might be being too safe.

Hi Matt,

I think the first thing to stress is that you should only go for savings or investment options you’re comfortable with.

There is always an element of risk involved when it comes to investments, so as you are risk averse it may be worth reading our guide that’s all about deciding whether or not you’re ready to invest: https://www.which.co.uk/money/investing/how-investing-works/investing–the-basics/are-you-ready-to-invest-ar3jm3x7dlty

This guide is great for outlining your options, giving you an idea of how to get started with investing and ultimately deciding whether or not it’s the right thing for you.

I hope that helps.

Thanks,

Danielle

That’s all the time we have for the moment unfortunately, so thank you everyone for joining us today, and thank you Danielle for joining us here and fielding so many questions for us.

If you are seeing this past the question hour, please do feel free to post a question here and we will do our best to get some answers back to you.

Thanks again, have a great afternoon everyone!