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Fixed terms

A fixed rate bond (or fixed term savings account) is a simple investment product that pays out a guaranteed amount of interest after a set period.

If you’ve got a lump sum you’re happy to put away and not touch for a while, a fixed-rate bond can be a great idea.

They’re ideal for savers looking for a low-risk, low-maintenance investment.

Interest rates and payments

As a general rule, the longer you put your money away for, the higher the interest rate you’re offered will be.

This is, of course, a risk balancing exercise: if interest rates go up during the term, you’ll lose out, but if they go down, you’ll be safe.

Interest will either be paid monthly, annually, or the whole lot will be paid on maturity. Interest will be paid into a separate account but, in some cases, it can be reinvested into the bond, meaning that the actual value of subsequent payments will increase a little bit each year.

For example:

If you invest £10,000 in a 3-year bond with an interest rate of 2% that pays on maturity, then at the end of the three years, you’ll receive £10,600.

But if you’re given the option to reinvest your interest, then with the same account you’d get £10,612.08 - not a huge amount more, but it can add up if you’re investing large amounts or leaving the bond locked up for longer.

Other options

The first thing you should do before picking a savings account is work out your reason for saving. Do you have something in particular that you’re saving up for? If so, start by working out how much you need, and when you need it by. With your savings goal in mind, you can start looking at accounts. If you want to continuously top up your savings, say by putting a bit away each month, then you’ll probably be best off with a notice savings account or an ISA.