Treasury bills have become a candy for many savers who, given the inaction of their banks, have taken their money and lent it to the State. The letters have registered an interest higher than 3% in all their terms in the last auctions in the heat of the interest rate increases.
The bills boom has even left us curious images such as the queues in front of the Bank of Spain headquarters to buy public debt at the beginning of the year, which forced the regulator to demand a prior appointment from investors. Last February, 10.4% of the letters were in the hands of individuals, according to Treasury statistics. A year earlier, private investors held only 0.02%. The increase has been notorious.
Until a few months ago, these titles had little competition, especially since most Spanish banks were reluctant to remunerate savings and bills were an oasis of profitability. But the scenario has changed drastically and the best fixed terms not only equal the profitability of the bills, but also exceed it, say the experts from the financial product comparator HelpMyCash.com. "And with the advantage that the customer knows his profitability in advance," they explain.
Some deposits already reach 4%. Medium banks and digital entities have started a war to capture liabilities or prevent their clients from taking them to other entities. Banks such as Cajamar, Banca March, Targobank or Banco Caminos already offer deposits at 2% APR or more, HelpMyCash sources explain. Targobank even offers up to 3% APR for two years and Cajamar has just improved its Deposit Hello! at twelve months up to 2.78% APR (at the beginning of the week it was at 2%). Online banking, for its part, has brought out all its artillery and offers even more profitable deposits, between 3 and 4%.
And meanwhile, the big banks live oblivious to this savings war. Except for specific offers to some of its clients, none of the main entities in Spain have yet taken the step of remunerating deposits, despite the fact that the official rate of the European Central Bank is already at 3.75%.
Undoubtedly, the most striking offer in recent weeks has been that of Banco BiG, which has given a stir with a six-month deposit at 4% APR and another three-month deposit at 3.5% APR. The entity has already warned that the first will only be available until May 31. During the last weeks, the times to open an account in the bank and contract the deposit have been dilated. Despite the fact that BiG claims that it takes 48 hours to validate customer data, some requests are taking much longer.
Recently, BFF Bank has also raised the profitability of its Spanish deposits. Right now, the Depósito Facto has a remuneration of 3.55% APR for both six months and one year, higher than the average interest that the bills had in the last auction.
Also this month WiZink has made a move and has launched two new deposits: one for three months at 3% APR and another for one year at 3.30% APR.
Banco Mediolanum, for its part, also offers a deposit at 4% APR with a duration of six months to new customers. It has a very high interest rate, the same as that given by BiG, but to obtain that remuneration it is necessary to either direct deposit a salary or a pension of 700 euros or more or have 3,000 euros in investment products.
The aforementioned banks are either Spanish and are protected by the national Deposit Guarantee Fund (FGD), such as WiZink or Mediolanum, or they are foreign and are protected by the FGD of other European countries, but have a branch in Spain, for what their fixed terms are also Spanish and do not require doing any extra paperwork with the treasury, they explain in HelpMyCash.
The best deposits outperform bills. In addition, investors in government bonds have to take into account that commissions reduce their profitability. If they invest directly through the Bank of Spain, they will have to pay a commission of 0.15% with a minimum of 90 cents when they make a transfer to recover their money. The online banks that sell the best deposits, on the other hand, do not charge commissions, neither for making transfers nor for opening the deposits, so this expense disappears.
Foreign banks have also brought more competition to the conservative savings sector, with deposits that equally exceed the profitability of bills. Some entities capture liabilities in Spain and pay very attractive returns
The Italian entity Banca Sistema right now has a one-year deposit at 3.70% APR. It can be contracted online through the Raisin platform and is protected by the Italian FGD, which has the same coverage as the Spanish one. Of course, as it is a foreign fixed term, the client will have to include the interest manually in their income statement and pay the corresponding interest when presenting it, since the bank will not practice any withholding.
Another entity that markets its deposits through Raisin is the Spanish branch of the Portuguese bank Haitong, which offers a one-year deposit at 3.75% APR. In this case, the fixed term is Spanish and there is no formality to carry out with the Treasury, although the FGD that protects the client is Portuguese, and can only be contracted by Raisin.