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What is a savings platform?

Find out how savings platforms like Raisin UK and Octopus Cash work, and whether they can help you find accounts with better rates.

In this article
What are savings platforms? Savings platform providers compared 'Hub accounts' - why do they matter? What is the Raisin UK savings platform? What is Hargreaves Lansdown Active Savings? What is Octopus Cash?
What is Dynamic Cash Management? What is Flagstone cash platform? What is Insignis Cash Solutions? Is it better to go to a savings provider than direct? What if you have a dispute about your savings? Does the FSCS cover savings platforms?

What are savings platforms?

Kind of like a concierge service for your cash, savings platforms are websites that work with a selected number of banks and building societies and help source savings accounts for you. 

This means you're saved the job of having to shop around for the best rate, and can sometimes find exclusive accounts that aren't available elsewhere.

It's a service that's becoming increasingly popular, especially as the likes of Raisin UK can often be spotted on comparison sites offering some of the top savings account rates.

Once you're registered, you'll only have one set of login information to remember, and - to ensure your savings don't languish in a low-paying account - the platform will usually get in touch to remind you when any bonds are due to mature.

This guide explains how savings platforms work, whether or not they offer a good deal - and which companies are now offering this service.

 

Savings platform providers compared

There are several savings platform providers on the market. Here, we run through the main players, along with the key information you need about which banks they work with, who is eligible to apply and what fees you can expect to be charged. 

The table below gives an overview of what each provider offers - we go into more detail below.

  Platform fee No. of providers Minimum deposit Top rate on a one-year bond Top rate on a three-year bond
Dynamic Cash Management up to 0.3% 40 £50,000 1.78% 1.78%
Insignis Cash Solutions up to 0.25% of interest earned 22 £50,000 1.85% 1.9%
Raisin UK

 

More info

Raisin UK offers fixed-rate accounts only

None 9 £1,000 1.8% 2.05%
Hargreaves Lansdown Active Savings None 8 £1,000 1.8% 2%
Octopus Cash

 

More info

Octopus Cash offers fixed-rate and notice accounts only

None 8 £1,000 1.57% N/A
Flagstone up to 0.25% 30 £50,000 2% 2.35%

This table is updated monthly. Last updated October 2019. 

'Hub accounts' - why do they matter?

Each of the savings platforms we've featured here use a 'hub account'.

This is where your money is stored during the times when it's not deposited in a savings product.

When you first sign up to a savings platform, you'll likely have to transfer money into your hub account before it's then deposited into the savings account of your choice.

If you have a fixed-term account, the cash will then be sent back to the hub account once the term has finished, before being sent to an account elsewhere.

Hub accounts won't usually pay any interest, so you won't want to leave your money sitting in there for long or else it will lose value.

As savings platforms themselves aren't banks, they should have hub accounts held by a registered bank - for instance, Hargreaves Lansdown has a hub account with Barclays.

It's important to check the provider of your hub account to make sure the bank is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), should anything go wrong while your money is held there.

Additionally, you'll need to be mindful if you have money saved with the same provider as the hub account.

For example, if you use Hargreaves Lansdown's savings platform and also have a Barclays savings account, you'll need to make sure the total amount held in savings and in the hub account doesn't exceed £85,000, otherwise the FSCS won't fully cover all of your cash.

What is the Raisin UK savings platform?

Raisin's savings platform serves customers in more than 30 countries across Europe. At the time of writing, it has nine partner banks, which provide the savings and cash Isa accounts Raisin customers can sign up to. 

Which accounts are available?

Currently, the banks include Agribank, Wyelands Bank, Axis Bank, QIB UK, Shawbrook Bank, ICICI Bank, Gatehouse Bank, FCMB Bank and Bank & Clients Plc.

You need to set up a Raisin account in order to apply for the savings products.

When you register, Raisin sets up a 'secure wallet' - provided by Starling Bank - which you can transfer money in and out of. You can see your account balance, transaction history, as well as download statements and apply for savings accounts.

Only fixed-term savings accounts are available, ranging from six months to five years. Once your money has been deposited in a fixed-rate account, you won't be able to access it until it matures. You can apply to as many accounts as you like.

Who is eligible?

To apply for a Raisin account, you must be a UK resident; aged over 18; have a UK bank or building society account in your name that accepts electronic transfers; have a National Insurance number or UK Tax ID number; have an email address and UK mobile phone number.

Fees

There are no fees to set up savings accounts or to make deposits and withdrawals. There will be fees, however, for additional services - you'll be charged £40 for requesting a copy of a taped call, and £40 for re-registration to a new owner. 

When an account reaches maturity

Once a fixed-rate bond reaches maturity, your deposit and any interest earned is transferred to your Raisin UK account.

You'll then have the choice to either put the money into another savings account, keep the money in the Raisin account (where it won't earn any interest), or withdraw it.

What is Hargreaves Lansdown Active Savings?

Perhaps best known as an investment platform, Hargreaves Lansdown launched its Active Savings platform in September 2018. The service is only for UK customers, and only features UK banks.

Which accounts are available?

Banks currently available include Coventry Building Society, United Trust Bank, Aldermore, Charter Savings Bank, Close Brothers Savings and Paragon. They're a mix of instant-access and fixed-term savings accounts - the terms range from three months to five years.

Who is eligible?

To apply for an account you must be a UK resident, and over the age of 18. 

Fees

Savers aren't charged - instead, Hargreaves Lansdown charges the account providers 0.25% of balances held.

When an account reaches maturity

Hargreaves Lansdown says it will email customers before an account matures, and the money will be returned to a client trust account - the 'cash hub'. You'll then have three days to decide whether to deposit the cash into another account, or it will be returned to you.

The cash hub is held by Barclays, and doesn't pay any interest.

What is Octopus Cash?

Founded in 2000, Octopus Cash serves financial advisers, businesses and individual savers. Its savings platform specifically works with smaller challenger banks.

Which accounts are available?

Providers currently include Cambridge & Counties Bank, Close Brothers Savings, OakNorth Bank, Aldermore Bank, Metro Bank, Bank & Clients Plc, Teachers Building Society and Shawbrook Bank.

You can choose between a fixed-term or notice accounts, and your money will automatically be put into whichever account from the list of banks is offering the best rate.

Who is eligible?

You need to be a UK resident and UK taxpayer.

Fees

There aren't any fees to pay - Octopus Cash charges its partner banks 0.15% to 0.30%.

When an account reaches maturity

One month before your savings product matures, you'll receive an email asking if you'd like to withdraw your savings, or put them in another account. You'll then get another communication when there are 14 days to go - regardless of your decision. 

If you choose to continue saving, the account with the best savings rate will be chosen again. If you don't give any instruction, your money will be returned to the segregated account until you confirm what you want to do with it.

What is Dynamic Cash Management?

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Cash Management (DCM) provides savings management for private savers, attorneys, and deputies, charities, academies and businesses. 

Which accounts are available?

DCM works with 40 providers, offering private clients an instant-access account, and then fixed-term options ranging from one month to five years.

Your cash is held in a Hub account, provided by Cater Allen Private Bank.

Who is eligible?

You need to be a UK resident and UK taxpayer, and the minimum initial deposit is £50,000.

Fees

You'll need to pay a platform fee of up to 0.3%

When an account reaches maturity

DCM reviews and switches your accounts when it decides they have become uncompetitive, or 'too risky' - though it's not clear what kind of circumstance would qualify as too risky. 

Your Client Manager deals with everything - from dealing with the paperwork from opening a new account to sorting any withdrawals you want to make.

What is Flagstone cash platform?

Flagstone has been around since 2013 and provides services for businesses, charities, wealth advisers, banks and individual savers with high net worth.

Which accounts are available?

Flagstone works with 37 banks, including Santander, Nationwide, Metro Bank, Charter Savings Bank and Hodge Bank. It offers instant-access accounts, notice accounts and fixed-term deposits.

Barclays Bank Plc holds money in the 'Hub Account' - this is the segregated account where savers pay in their deposits, and receive funds back into, when they're not in one of the platform's savings accounts.

Who is eligible?

The minimum deposit required to open a Flagstone account on its platform is £50,000.

Flagstone accounts can be opened by UK resident UK-domiciled, UK resident non-domiciled, expats and US citizens.

Fees

Flagstone charges a flat Annual Management Fee of up to 0.25% p.a, dependent on the total value of deposits held on the platform. This is taken monthly.

There's also a one-off administration fee of £500 to set up a new client account.

When an account reaches maturity

You'll receive email alerts when new banks, rates and products become available.

What is Insignis Cash Solutions?

Insignis manages cash for financial advisers, charities, companies, local authorities, trusts and trustees, and individual savers.

Which accounts are available?

Insignis works with 22 banks, all of which are based in the UK. It offers a variety of notice and instant-access accounts, plus fixed-term accounts going up to five years.

Money is held in a Barclays Hub account whenever it's not in a savings account. 

Who is eligible?

You'll need to be able to reach the minimum initial deposit of £50,000. This is the same whether you're saving as an individual, a charity or a company.

Fees

Fees vary depending on how much you save; it will be a percentage of your savings, but Insignis did not confirm what this was. 

The company does not get paid by banks at all - it says this means it can remain completely impartial when recommending accounts.

When an account reaches maturity

Ten days before your account is due to mature, you'll be contacted and asked what you want to do with the cash. You can view your account online and move money around yourself, as well as give notice if you have a notice account you want to make a withdrawal from. 

If you have any questions about your account, you can speak to your relationship manager - savers are assigned their own personal relationship manager when they sign up. They can also manage your accounts if you don't want to do it yourself via the online portal.

Is it better to go to a savings provider than direct?

The points below show some of the pros and cons of using a savings platform. You should take time to weigh these up before making a decision on where to save your cash.

The main attraction that savings platforms have to offer is the convenience - you should save time by only having to register your details once, and having the feature of being reminded when your fixed-term bond is coming to an end. 

On some occasions, you'll also be able to access exclusive savings products with rates that are more competitive than others on the market - but at the moment this is a rarity. 

As many savings platforms charge providers for the service of featuring their accounts, and signing savers up to them, the money the bank has to pay is often reflected in a slightly reduced AER. 

The minimum deposit should also be a consideration. While many people are unlikely to have the £250,000 required to save with Flagstone, savers with smaller pots may find they're unable to save with any savings platform.

Raisin UK, Octopus Cash and Hargreaves Lansdown Active Saving services require an initial minimum deposit of at least £1,000. 

Lastly, the issue of whether your cash is covered by the FSCS is arguably the most important. All providers we've featured have plans in place to make sure your money is protected - but read further down the page for more details on this.

What if you have a dispute about your savings?

As you will have applied for and opened an account via the savings platform, the platform itself tends to be the port of call if you're unhappy with your account. Each platform will have its own internal complaints procedure. 

If you can't reach a resolution you're happy with, you may be able to take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). You can get in touch by phone, online or by post and your complaint will be reviewed.

If your savings provider goes bust, you may be covered for compensation by the FSCS - we explain more about that below.

Does the FSCS cover savings platforms?

Usually, when you deposit money into a savings account, your funds of up to £85,000 will be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in case the bank goes bust. But when you save via a savings platform, things can get a little more tricky.

If deposits are held in your name, or on trust, where you remain absolutely entitled to the funds, you could still claim up to £85,000 in compensation.

However, if the savings platform itself fails - as opposed to a bank or building society - the FSCS says they generally won't be able to compensate, as the service provided by the savings platform is not a regulated activity.

For this reason, it's important to check whether the savings provider will hold your cash, and whether it's covered by the FSCS if anything should go wrong.

All of the providers mentioned in this guide have confirmed that money is always held in accounts covered by the FSCS or an EU equivalent - that's whether it's held in a savings account or a 'hub account' provided by a UK bank on behalf of the savings platform.

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