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Pre-financial crisis savings interest rates looked a lot healthier than they do today. Believe it or not, you could get a nice little sum at the end of the year on your cash holdings.
Since then, however, we’ve seen savings rates plummet, to the extent where people flocked in their droves to a 1.5% rate offered by Goldman Sach’s Marcus account, launched in 2018; this account quickly became the darling of the PF community.
Even this has now been reduced to an ‘is it really worth it?’ 1.3% rate for new members.
There are accounts out there that offer alternative ways to save by putting you into a prize draw to earn you some cash prizes.
A word of caution before we delve deeper, the interest rate on these accounts is usually terrible and well under inflation, if there is one at all. But with the likes of the above Marcus account being one of the best rates you can get on an easy access account currently, you’re not exactly missing out anyway.
The Family Building Society Windfall Bond
This one is currently not running, but they do plan to reintroduce it sometime this year, according to their website.
It may be a bit of a stretch for some as you’ll need a minimum of £10,000 for each bond purchase.
There are a few different cash prizes you can win:
- 10 prizes of £1,000
- 2 prices of £10,000
- 1 prize of £50,000
The money in your account will still earn a little interest, but this is linked to the Bank of England’s current rate – this is currently 0.75% at the time of writing, but this could change at any time.
There is a more detailed breakdown of how this account works (or will work once/ if it is back up and running) on their website in the link above, so may be worth checking out if you’re interested.
Halifax Savers Prize Draw
This one has actually been going on for a number of years, but I must admit, up until recently I’d remained entirely oblivious to it.
This account acts a lot like Premium Bonds; the prize draw is every month and doesn’t cost a penny, but the potential winnings are a lot lower at £550,000 total.
To enter, you need to hold at least £5,000 in certain Halifax accounts for a whole month. This doesn’t need to be in one specific one, but can be spread across the various qualify accounts (make sure you visit the website to check which will make you eligible).
Like Family Building Society Windfall Bond, there are three categories of prizes:
- 3 savers win £100,000
- 100 savers win £1,000
- 1,500 savers get £100
Qualifying joint accounts are also available to be entered into the draw, but both individuals must register separately.
Nationwide Start to Save
The UK’s largest building society recently announced a new savings account designed for people either struggling to save or who are only able to save small amounts, but can still have the opportunity to make those small amounts give them a small boost.
A prize draw is conducted every three months with a prize of £100 up for grabs in the fourth month. Nationwide claim your chances of winning can be anywhere between 1 in 34 and 1 in 67.
In order to qualify, you must increase the balance of your account by at least £50 every month – for the three months in a row leading up to the prize draw – but you must not exceed increasing it by more than £100 a month. You can find out more about the account here.
Maybe not something worthwhile for those with large amounts to tuck away each month, but could still be a consideration if you want to a build a small cash pot.
This account has the added bonus of offering 1% interest and you can withdraw your money at any time, but this may affect your entry for the prize draw.
Nationwide’s 2020 ISA incentive
This isn’t the official name of this offer as it doesn’t look like it actually has one.
Nationwide are offering a limited time incentive to savers completely separate form the Start to Save account.
This incentive tasks you with saving at least £100 in a Nationwide cash ISA between 6th March and 30th April.
Once done, you could win one of 60 prizes:
- 10 prizes of £20,000
- 10 prizes of £10,000
- 40 prizes of £5,000
If you HAVEN’T contributed to a cash ISA already this year whether you’re an existing Nationwide customer or not, this will be open to you
This looks to be a one time, end of tax year offer, so if you’re interested it’d be worth getting in quick with the prize draw being held on 21 May 2020.
Probably the most famous example of a savings account with a prize winning element.
These guys have been going for years and offer you an opportunity to be entered into a monthly prize draw from just £25, with a maximum of £50,000.
Each month your bonds could win you one of two opportunities at a £1million prize, but there are other sizeable amounts available too which could fetch your a pretty penny.
No interest is gained on these accounts, so it’s a weighing up of whether you’re happy to forgo guaranteed, but paltry, interest, for the chance at winning something life changing.
You can also decide to reinvest any winnings into more bonds, or take them as cash; if you hold the maximum £50,000, then you’ll have no choice but to receive them in cash (lucky you).
You can withdraw your money at anytime, and any money with the Premium Bond account is entirely tax free.
These accounts certainly aren’t for everyone and offer a very low chance of winning the big prizes, if anything. But in times of all time low interest savings rates, these may bring back a little spice back to our good old friend: cash.
Bare in mind, you may not win/earn enough to beat inflation if you hold cash in these accounts for some time. This may mean your money will effectively lose buying power over the long run and won’t be worth as much as it once was. Just something to think about when considering these types of accounts.