Last updated: 15th May 2018

Since 2014, a few new names have popped up to compete for your savings. In this post, we take a look at three of these savings-focused UK banks: Paragon Bank, Charter Savings Bank and RCI Bank. Who are they? What do they offer? And last, but by no means least, are they actually any good?

Paragon Bank

The Paragon Bank story…launched in 2014, Paragon Bank is a savings-focused bank based in Solihull. Although a relatively new name to many, it’s part of the Paragon Group of Companies, a FTSE 250 company which was founded in 1985, has over 1,000 employees, and provides other products like Car Finance and Buy-to-Let Mortgages.

What do they offer? Essentially, a couple of savings products…an easy access savings account, as well as 1, 2 and 3 year fixed term savings accounts.

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

Are they any good? Well, on this one, the jury is quite simply still out with a 2.59 / 5 overall rating (51.8%) their rating could clearly be a lot stronger. A common theme is unhelpful staff. 

Read our Paragon Bank reviews to find out more.

RCI Bank

The RCI Bank story…launched in 2015, RCI Bank is the only bank in the UK savings market to be owned by a car company, Renault, and has its UK base in Watford.

What do they offer? Similar to Paragon Bank, RCI Bank offer an easy access savings account (called the Freedom Savings Account) and 1, 2 and 3 year fixed term savings accounts.

Are your savings FSCS (the UK’s deposit protection scheme) protected? No, but they are covered by the FGDR (Fonds de Garantie Dépôts et de Résolution), the French deposit protection scheme, up to €100,000.

Are they any good? Well, in short, there's also room for improvement here. RCI Bank have an overall rating of 3.33 / 5 (66.6%). Like many banks, RCI Bank has lowered the savings rate on its flagship Freedom Savings account a few times since launch in 2015. Of course, savings rates are always subject to change, so remember to keep track of the rate you’re getting, and look at alternatives if your rate starts to drop.

Read our RCI Bank reviews to find out more.

Charter Savings Bank

The Charter Savings Bank story…launched in 2015, Charter Savings Bank is based in Wolverhampton, and part of Charter Court Financial Services, which was established in 2008. They also operate Precise Mortgages (buy-to-let mortgages, bridging and second charge loans) as well as Exact Mortgage Experts (which helps other mortgage lenders analyse and manage their mortgage portfolios)

What do they offer? A standard range of savings products, consisting of an easy access account, notice accounts (30, 60, 95, 100, and 120 days), as well as a 1 and 2 year fixed rate bond.

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

Are they any good? Well, they have a mixed record so far when it comes to their customer reviews, although it is early days! Particular issues appear to be trying to contact them by phone. One reviewer told us that it’s “almost impossible to speak to a charter bank employee over the phone.”

As of the 15th May 2018, Charter Savings Bank have a 2.28 / 5 overall rating (45.6%) which happens to be one of the lowest ratings across Smart Money People. 

Read our Charter Savings Bank reviews to find out more.

In an era of new financial firms coming to market - be it new banks, or FinTech firms, the tale of RCI Bank, Paragon Bank and Charter Savings Bank is a helpful reminder that new firms aren't always best, and it's worth doing your research before opening an account.

British Bank Awards 2019

None of these banks made it into our British Bank Awards 2018 league table. If you're a customer of any of these new banks, please leave a short review here to help other savers find out more about these banks.