There’s no shortage of savings banks out there, many of which aren’t exactly household names. And if you’ve been searching high and low for the best savings rates, you may well have come across Milestone Savings, Al Rayan Bank and BLME. So in this post, we take a look at these three savings-focused UK banks with a twist! Milestone Savings, Al Rayan Bank and BLME all offer Shariah compliant savings products.

Who are they? What do they offer? And, of course, are they any good?

But first, just what is a ‘Shariah compliant savings product’? In summary there are 2 key elements:

1) The principle of paying or indeed charging interest on money is forbidden in Islam. So, to help deliver a return on your savings, Shariah compliant savings accounts tend to invest some of their funds and pay you a share of the profit this generates. In this way, the advertised “expected profit rate” is not a “guaranteed interest rate”. Find out how each of the banks featured handles this below.

2) Your money won’t be used to fund activities that are prohibited in Islam, for example alcohol and gambling.

So, who are Milestone Savings? Milestone Savings is a trading name of Gatehouse Bank plc which is based in London and run by CEO Charles Haresnape, who joined the bank from Aldermore Bank. Today, Gatehouse Bank offers savings products and finance for UK commercial and residential real estate, in addition to sourcing and advising on UK real estate investments.

What do they offer? A range of fixed term and notice accounts (no ISAs). On the 10th November 2017, Milestone Savings lowered the minimum deposit threshold to £1,000 for its fixed term deposit accounts (from £10,000).

Are your savings FSCS (the UK’s deposit protection scheme) protected? Yes, up to £85,000 (£170,000 for joint accounts).

“Expected profit rate” track record: “In the unlikely event that we feel the expected profit will not be achieved, we will contact you and let you know the new expected profit rate. If the profit exceeds the expected profit, we will pay the expected profit to you and we will be entitled to retain the remaining amount.”

Is Milestone Savings any good? As a trading name of Gatehouse Bank, the name Milestone Savings has only been around since 2014, and with just 1 Milestone Savings review online, we need more!

So, who are Al Rayan Bank? Al Rayan Bank PLC is the UK’s oldest Sharia complaint retail bank, having commenced operations in 2004, and now services over 80,000 customers. Its majority shareholder is MAR (Masraf Al Rayan) a Qatar-based Islamic bank. They have 5 branches and 10 offices, spanning from London is the south all the way to Glasgow in the north.

What do they offer? Al Rayan offers a range of savings products, including ISAs, and it also offers a range of non-savings products, including current accounts and home purchase plans (Sharia compliant mortgage alternatives).

Are your savings FSCS (the UK’s deposit protection scheme) protected? Yes, up to £85,000 (£170,000 for joint accounts).

“Expected profit rate” track record: “Al Rayan Bank has always achieved at least the profit rate quoted.”

Is Al Rayan Bank any good? There’s only a handful of Al Rayan reviews out there, so it’s hard to say, but Al Rayan’s transparency around its investments may well appeal to a wide audience who want to know that their money is not funding ‘unethical’ activities, or fuelling speculation in the financial markets, while making them a return.

So, who are BLME? BLME (Bank of London and The Middle East PLC) was founded in London in 2006. It’s fair to say BLME is not a ‘typical savings bank’ – with Wealth Management and Commercial Finance key activities for BLME.

What do they offer? Unlike Al Rayan which offers a full suite of retail savings accounts, BLME offer just two savings accounts, a Notice Account and a Premium Notice Account, with a minimum opening deposit amount of £10,000 and £25,000 respectively.

Are your savings FSCS (the UK’s deposit protection scheme) protected? Yes, up to £85,000 (£170,000 for joint accounts).

“Expected profit rate” track record: “In the unlikely event that your deposit is not producing the agreed profit rate we will contact you. If you then tell us you do not wish to continue with your savings account, we will end your deposit and we will return the original deposit amount in full plus the profit at the original Expected Profit Rate. In this circumstance you will not be penalised for terminating your agreement early.”

Is BLME any good? Customer reviews about BLME are hard to find. If you have experience of this bank, please leave your own BLME review today to help us find out!

Will any of these savings banks make it to the finals of the British Bank Awards 2018? Only your votes will decide vote now!