BANKS have been cutting the interest rate they will pay on money left on deposit with them for two years now.
They are responding to record low European Central Bank rates and the fact that households seem determined to put money into bank accounts no matter how little they earn on it.
Well, the good news is that you can still earn some decent returns on your savings.
Regular saver accounts are where the action is, for those with a few spare bob every month.
You can actually get an interest rate of 4pc on one of these accounts, but these regular saver options do come with conditions.
The higher interest rates mean just €50 per month in a good regular saver account could return nearly €9,000 in 12 years. And €100 a month could return almost €18,000, while with €130 a month, you could end up with more than €23,000.
The best accounts for this kind of saving are regular saver accounts available from most banks and they are designed specifically to help make regular saving over the long term easy.
With so many regular saver accounts available, it can be difficult to choose the right one. And with accounts that will be used to save for the long term, a good interest rate can make a big difference.
Here is a selection of the best regular saver accounts available in the Irish market.
Nationwide UK (Ireland)
This account pays 4pc interest, for amounts up to €12,000.
With this account, the most interest you can earn before tax is €130 in a year if you were to save €500 a month before tax, according to the National Consumer Agency.
If the balance of the account exceeds €15,265, the interest you earn drops down to around 1pc.
Another condition is that the account is for 15 months only. After that, Nationwide UK (Ireland) will contact you about your options.
The minimum monthly lodgement is €100, with €1,000 the most you can put in.
Two withdrawals are allowed a year, without penalty.
KBC Regular Saver Account
KBC Bank has become known for offering strong rates of interest across its account range of savings products, and this account is no different.
The interest rate is 3.5pc annual equivalent rate (AER). It also offers a generous maximum balance of €50,000.
Customers must deposit between €100 and €1,000 per month to maintain the interest rate, but KBC Bank does allow two monthly payment breaks each year.
Saving €130 per month in this account for 12 years at 3.5pc AER could yield €23,209.
Permanent TSB Online Regular Saver Account
This account pays 2.7pc AER.
This year has seen Permanent TSB focus on its customers a little more and offer good value day-to-day banking products, according to Simon Moynihan of price comparison site Bonkers.ie.
The rate of 2.7pc applies for amounts up to €50,000. Once the balance goes over €50,000, the entire balance will earn an interest rate of 1pc.
Customers can save anything from €1 to €1,000 per month, but there is no requirement to make a monthly deposit, which could come in handy during times of unexpected expense.
Put €500 a month into this account for a year and you could earn €87.75 in interest, according to the National Consumer Agency.
Permanent TSB also has a 21 Day Notice regular saver account, paying 2.5pc for amounts up to €50,000.
EBS Family Savings Account
This account pays 2.25pc AER.
But with a low €12,000 maximum deposit amount, it may not suit parents saving larger amounts.
EBS also requires that after a year, any funds saved in the Family Savings Account are moved to another account.
Customers can add lump sums to the secondary account to the value of €50,000
Parent company AIB has a similar account.
Ulster Bank Special Interest Deposit Account
This account pays 2.15pc AER.
Ulster Bank's Special Interest Deposit Account offers the flexibility of being available by phone, branch and online.
The bank also allows customers to withdraw whenever they choose without giving notice or paying a penalty. Monthly deposit amounts are also very flexible with a minimum of €1 and a maximum of €1,000.
However, the 2.15pc AER is offered up to a maximum of €12,000 where anything extra will earn just 0.9pc.
This article appeared in the Irish Independent Your Money supplement magazine on 30th October 2014