The warning came in September 2019 as the UK’s departure from the EU was drawing nearer. The founder of Money Saving Expert was speaking on a live broadcast on ITV’s Money Show. He said that if you have savings in a low-paying interest bank account then it is time to “ditch and switch”. Martin spoke to guest Joanne who was keen to find out about the best savings accounts for her money at the time.
Joanne said she had a “good whack” of her savings in a three-year fixed account which ended in 2018.
However, on maturity, the bank then told her that “because of Brexit ” she would only get 0.2 percent interest.
She was advised to “leave it there and see what happens”.
But Martin Lewis said this simply wasn’t true, and advised that if your bank has not given you a good service – leave them.
He said: “There are a load of accounts out there that are easy access that pay 1.5 percent. They shouldn’t just tell you to leave it there and see what happens when there are so many options on the market.
“On the amount of money you’ve got, they’ve taken a couple of grand off you in interest that you could have earned elsewhere.
“My message is this: if you haven’t been given good service by your bank, go and give someone else a go.
“When you get bad service and bad information that means you lose out on money, don’t give them your custom and don’t let them keep your custom.”
He added that because the world’s economy was not in a good way, people with savings at the time needed to check “is my money in the right place”.
This warning was issued before the coronavirus pandemic, but the health crisis has led Mr Lewis to offer advice on how best to protect your savings.
Money Saving Expert offered tips this month on how to get the best deals for a savings account.
Firstly, Mr Lewis advises on how to get around minimum pay-in requirements.
He says: “If you can’t afford some banks’ minimum monthly pay-ins, don’t fret.
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“If there is a minimum, you can play the system. Say you need a min £1,000, but only have £500 coming in. If you pay £500 in, withdraw it or move to another bank, then pay it back in… BINGO, that’s your £1,000.
“Note: we’ve had reports some banks may not accept you if your income isn’t high enough to meet the minimum monthly pay-in.”
He also warns that top bank accounts require a credit check.
If you can’t get an account, Mr Lewis advises that “as you can prove your identity, you should be able to get a basic account – here, you’re not credit-checked as strictly, so most can get one”.
He added: “You can do most of the same things as with a normal bank account, except you won’t get an overdraft.”
Finally, he recommends getting a packaged account, as it helps save on things like travel, mobile and breakdown insurance.
Although, they can be worthless if you don’t need the cover or you could have got it cheaper elsewhere, so check first.