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Maybe it's recession fear, but we are brilliant savers - here are some of best deals around

TODAY is the start of National Savings Week, so it's a good time to look at what's on offer in the marketplace. "Savings? Sure, none of us have two bob to rub together," I hear you cry.

You mightn't think so, but in fact we Irish are great savers.

Perhaps it's because we're terrified of spending at the moment in case we lose our job, or because we know the budget's looming, but according to Central Bank statistics there's €93bn on deposit in our banks from ordinary households. That's more than the bailout we got from our IMF friends!

Recent EBS 'Savings Sentiment Research' found that four out of five people save regularly, the average amount being €3,582 per year, which is great. However, it found that those with a regular savings account save 50pc more than those who only save when they have "spare" cash.


Banks love regular savers -- even more than those with lump sums to invest. They are so strapped for cash, they're offering rates way above the ECB rate to get hold of yours. If you pay monthly and are prepared to save for longer than a few years, there are very attractive offers to be had.

This week, we look at what's on offer for medium term savers. You want safe and secure. Accessible, but you don't need it immediately. There are hundreds of products on offer, so take a little time to research. All banks shown are covered under the State guarantee scheme and are completely safe.

I found it (ridiculously) difficult to get banks to quote me a net figure over five years because of the variable rate but you're entitled to know, and should ask what you're going to get back, even if it's an assumption.

•EBS may look like the best rate, but the account is a fixed one. If interest rates rise, you could lose out. At a minimum of €100 a month, it may be beyond the reach of some pockets.

•DIRT tax, currently 27pc, is payable on interest except for the An Post account. That's why it's so hard to beat. An Post also offers a facility which directs Child Benefit directly into the account without it passing to you first. A great idea for the undisciplined saver!

•You will get a higher rate if you are prepared to leave your money untouched for as long as possible -- shop around and remember to ask for deals. Sometimes banks have so many products, they're hard to find. Use a comparison website like www.itsyourmoney.ie or www.bonkers.ie.