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A hassle-free way to move your money

The retired and near-retired tend to be a very effective lobby group. They vote. They pay attention to their finances. And when they feel the need, they can kick up the most enormous fuss. Witness the way they managed to turn a perfectly innocent and understandable budget fiddle – the freezing of the already very high income-tax allowance for pensioners – into the “granny tax” scandal, while their government of 40-somethings stood by helplessly. All this makes the fact that they tolerate the treatment they so often get at the hands of our high-street banks something of a mystery.

Research from Governor Money shows that the average interest rate on the top 20 deposit accounts for the over-50s is currently 2.23%. Yet the average overall rate is 3.17%. Both are shockingly bad rates given that British inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index is once again running at 3.5%. But the fact that accounts for the over-50s get less than the rest is particularly outrageous.

If a bank labels an account ‘special’ (for children, older people, etc) it suggests it should come with some kind of benefit not available to others. But as the Yorkshire Building Society’s Access Saver for Pensioners account aptly demonstrates, it often means nothing of the sort. Their account more or less guarantees that its holders will do worse than almost every one else: it pays an exploitatively low annual rate of interest of 0.25%, as do many other accounts.

Clearly the fact that this research comes from Governor Money is part of a campaign on their part to draw your attention to their services. A cynic would therefore ignore them. But on this occasion I think we should put our cynicism aside. We know a large part of bank profits are about client inertia. We put our money into a savings account but don’t move it when the rate falls to near zero because of the hassle.

This is where Governor comes into its own. Sign up and you get a single account with Governor and a single log-in. Within that account, you’ll be able to deposit, monitor and transfer your cash around many different bank accounts with no extra administration. You get alerts when fixed-rate deals come to an end (so you remember to log in and move your money on).

It hasn’t managed to sign the big banks up (they’ve no reason to help you conquer the consequences of apathy) so you don’t always get the highest rates – although the best two-year fix on offer right now is still 3.75%. But the system means you won’t end up with the worst rates. That’s likely to be more than any one with a silver saver account can say.

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