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The year of the fixed rate: Halifax sees savers shift their focus in 2012

22nd March 2012 Print

Recent years have thrown up fresh challenges to savers in the UK as wider economic forces have put greater pressures on household finances and the Bank of England base rate has remained at a historic low (0.5%) since March 2009.  As a result, savings behaviours have begun to change: a fact that new figures from Halifax only serve to underline.

The latest Halifax statistics show the number of its customers opting for a fixed rather than variable rate savings account has increased fourfold since 2011, with many now looking to longer terms for greater returns.

Richard Fearon, Head of Savings at Halifax, explains: "We have seen a stark shift in savings behaviour in 2012 with customers primarily opting for fixed rate products over variable rates. The fact that the Bank of England base rate has remained at a historic low since 2009 may well be playing into this decision, with many also looking for greater security in an otherwise uncertain economic environment.  A high proportion of customers are therefore also committing to longer term deals where they can secure a better return and a greater certainty about the future of their finances".

Overall, 52% of savers have selected a fixed rate savings account in 2012, almost four times more than over the same period in 2011 when just over 13% of savers opted for a fixed deal.  Many are now looking to the longer term deals in order to benefit from higher rates, with nearly half (46%) of fixed rate customers selecting deals of three to five years so far in 2012.

Halifax has also recently announced that it will be offering ten prizes of £100,000 in its May and June Halifax Savers Prize Draws in an effort to further encourage savers to take advantage of their tax free ISA allowance.

Richard Fearon continues: "In an economic environment when saving is more difficult, it is inevitable that behaviours will change, and we are clearly seeing this in the shift to long-term fixed rates. At Halifax, we have already shaken up the market with the Halifax Savers Prize Draw and it vital that banks continue to encourage customers to save for the future with good rates and innovative offerings".