09 July 2019 Customers can register today for a new savings account, Kepe, which promises to end the ‘loyalty penalty’ by automatically moving cash savings to get better interest rates.
Kepe plans to do for people’s cash savings and cash ISAs what auto-switching has begun to do for household energy bills. It removes the need to manually search for, and switch to, new accounts once initial preferential rates have expired.
Customers will be able to sign up to one account, just once, and from then on their money will be automatically moved to different savings accounts best suited to meet their specifc savings needs and offering the best rates available to each saver.
An initial panel of partner banks will be offering highly competitive rates across a range of easy access, notice, fixed term and cash ISA products.
A ‘super complaint’ lodged by Citizens Adviceto the Competition and Markets Authority last month (June 2019) estimated savings customers had lost out on more than £800 million since September 2018. It claims this happens because higher rates are only offered to attract new customers.
Kepe intends to tackle this by automatically moving money to get people better offers.
“There are several issues with the savings market at the moment, not least the loyalty penalty which is unfavourable to people who don’t actively manage their cash savings,” explains Karteek Patel, CEO of Crowdstacker, the financial platform behind Kepe.
“Also the FCA’s 2018 report ‘Price Discrimination in the Cash Savings Market’identifies people’s apparent unwillingness to switch accounts as one of the main reasons why they are losing money on their cash savings and cash ISAs,” Karteek continues.
“And it goes so far as to suggest providers are capitalizing on this by offering the lowest rates to the longest standing customers.”
Kepe’s own research found that despite less than one in five (19%) savers saying they are confident they are getting the best interest rate on their savings, a large majority of two-thirds (66%) say they are unlikely to bother switching.
The FCA report estimates that £117 billion of the money held in easy access cash savings accounts, and £21 billion held in cash ISAs, has been in accounts opened for more than five years. Yet Kepe’s own research also reveals the number one criteria considered by savers when looking at account options is the interest rate offered.
“So that doesn’t make a lot of sense, people want better rates but they aren’t doing anything about it. A lot of money is obviously just sat there not working as hard as it could,” Karteek continues.
“This customer inertia is owing to misplaced brand loyalty, and probably confusion caused by multiple product offerings and unclear communications.
“Kepe tackles all of these issues by automating the process of switching accounts so that money is never left in an account paying a lower rate of return than is otherwise available to each particular saver.
Kepe customers will be able to select the terms they are happy to accept such as whether the cash is held in instant access accounts or not. Similarly they will be able to set savings goals according to what they are savings towards.
Each time a customer’s money can be switched to a better deal it will automatically be done removing the need for researching or form filling. Customers will be notified when this happens and up to the minute information on the status of their cash can be viewed via their dashboard.
In line with the priorities identified by Kepe’s market research the core offering will be protection provided by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (97%), better interest rates (96%) and up to date information about account status (90%).
Anyone interested in opening a Kepe account can pre-register now at https://www.crowdstacker.com/kepe/register to enjoy a range of early-bird benefits. The full service will launch later in 2019.
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