17% don't have a savings account
69% do not know what rate their savings are earning
The average saver has kept their main savings account with the same provider for 14 years
New research from Saga Secure Savings has revealed the savings apathy prevalent in the UK. 17% of people do not have a savings account at all and more than two thirds of those that do have no idea what interest their savings are earning.
Half of all savers said that they checked the interest rate on their savings once a year or less. This indifference towards savings rates is more widespread amongst those under 50 - 57% of this age group checked their account once a year or less, compared to 42% of over 50s.
When questioned, 71% said they felt it important that their savings were earning the best rate of interest, however more than half of savers said they couldn't be sure their rate would be competitive in six months time, rising to 70% in 12 months time.
When asked what prevented them from switching to higher rate accounts, a third of savers said that they didn't have time, 40% felt that there was too much admin involved. Large numbers of savers cited convenience as a reason for staying with their existing provider - two thirds said that their savings provider was located conveniently to them and 43% like to keep all their eggs in one basket - saying they prefer to keep all their accounts with the same provider.
Andrew Goodsell, Chief Executive of Saga commented: "The research shows that UK savers have all the right instincts when it comes to finding a good home for their money. However, the theory isn't necessarily working out in practice as people are not regularly checking interest rates, meaning that they could be missing out on the most competitive rates. Switching accounts is an increasingly easy process, and we would urge all savers to check their savings rate to make sure they are making the best of their money."
People over 50 tend to be more savvy when it comes to their savings, 35% of over 50s know what their savings are earning, compared to 22% of under 50s. When researching where to invest their savings, 38% of over 50s look at best buy tables compared to 30% of under 50s, whereas under 50s are much more likely to ask friends (37%) and family (48%).
Worryingly, the survey also revealed that one in five people are unaware that some providers, include an introductory bonus in the rate when the account is first launched to attract investors, but there is no guarantee of what the rate will be in the future. If these people are amongst those that do not check their rate regularly then they could be unaware of the low interest their savings are earning.
The Saga Secure Savings Account is an easy access savings account that tracks the Bank of England Base Rate. The account pays a Gross rate of 0.25% below Bank of England base rate for as long as the account is open. This guaranteed tracker level therefore removes the need for the over-50s to constantly check the interest on their savings as they can be confident that the rate they get will be consistently competitive.
For further information please visit www.saga.co.uk or call 0845 850 0664.
Notes to editors:
* Research carried out via telephone omnibus on behalf of Saga by BMRB between 10th - 12th June 2005 amongst a sample of 2035 adults aged 17 in Great Britain.
Accounts must be opened with a minimum deposit of 1,000, thereafter there is no minimum balance requirement.
For further press information please contact the Saga Press Office on: 01303 771529.