Savings providers are reporting a rise in people taking out fixed deals, as interest rates on some types of account improve to the best levels seen in more than a decade.
NatWest said the number of fixed-term accounts opened in the first half of 2023 was around 17 times the total it recorded in the same period in 2019.
More than 82,000 fixed-term savings accounts were opened in the first half of this year, the bank said.
This compares with 4,700 in the first half of 2019, according to NatWest’s data.
Nationwide Building Society said it has also seen a jump in people snapping up fixed-rate deals.
Tom Riley, director of retail product at Nationwide, said: “In recent months we have seen an increase in people taking out our fixed-rate accounts. Given the rates on offer we have found savers are increasingly willing to lock their money away for a period.”
Lloyds Banking Group, whose brands include Halifax and Bank of Scotland as well as Lloyds Bank, previously said that 1.9 million savings accounts, including a range of types, were opened in the first half of 2023, marking a 243% increase compared with the same period in 2022.
The average age of customers opening fixed-rate savings accounts has edged down from 60 in 2020 to 57 in 2023, according to NatWest’s data.
Scotland is among the top areas in the UK for fixed account openings, along with London and the South East of England, NatWest said.
But Wales and the North East of England have experienced particularly strong growth in account openings, it added.
NatWest savings expert Lewis Broadie said: “Customers are taking advantage of our increased rates.”
In general, fixed-term savings accounts can give people certainty over how much interest they will earn, in return for locking their money away for a certain period.
Many banks and building societies have increased their savings rates significantly as the Bank of England base rate has been raised. A further base rate increase is expected on Thursday.
A new consumer duty was recently introduced, requiring financial firms to put consumers at the heart of what they do.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has set out a 14-point action plan to make sure banks and building societies are passing on interest rate rises appropriately to savers, communicating with customers effectively and offering them better deals.
NatWest increased pays 5.56% AER (annual equivalent rate) on a one-year fixed-term account, increasing to 5.60% for balances over £100,000.
Financial information website Moneyfacts said earlier this week that savers looking to lock money into cash Isas or bonds lasting for a year or for the longer term will find average rates have risen above 5% for the first time in nearly 15 years.
Based on someone having a £5,000 deposit, Moneyfacts found that, by early September, the average one-year bond had a rate of 5.34%, while the average one-year fixed-rate cash Isa paid 5.19%.
The average longer-term fixed-rate Isa paid 5.02%, while the average longer-term fixed-rate bond paid 5.12%.
Longer-term accounts were defined by Moneyfacts as those lasting more than 550 days.
This week also marks UK Savings Week (September 18 to 24).