Bank of England increases interest rates to 3% - what it means for your money

The Bank of England has just raised interest rates to 3%, their highest level since November 2008. Here's what it means for your money.

Share this guide
Bank of England building

The cost of borrowing money in the UK is set to rise again - after the Bank of England's rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee voted to increase the base rate to 3% in November.

It’s the eighth rise in a row from the Bank’s interest-rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee.

Combined, it means the base rate is an astonishing 30 times higher than it was just 12 months ago.

The Bank is acting to try and get the UK's runaway inflation under control, but so far it's not been effective with the consumer prices index showing a 10.1% rise in September.

"All members of the [Monetary Policy] Committee judged that an increase in Bank Rate was warranted at this meeting," the minutes of the Bank's meeting read.

Why the Bank of England changes interest rates

What it means for mortgages

Today’s move will see mortgage costs rise for anyone on a tracker mortgage, while people on their lender’s standard variable rate, or with a discount rate mortgage, will almost certainly see their bills rise too.

Anyone on a fixed-rate deal will see no change to their repayments until their term expires - but after that point they could be left facing much higher monthly payments when they re-mortgage.

For a quick calculation - each percentage point rise in interest rates adds about £50 a month to bills for each £100,000 of borrowing on a 25-year, repayment mortgage.

Whether you are looking to move up the property ladder, downsize or just relocate we can help you find the right mortgage when you move home.

What it means for savers

Savers should get a boost too, at least in theory - but it’s important to point out that banks have no obligation to raise rates for savers, and many accounts haven’t seen rates rise over the past few months.

We took a look to see what the best-paying savings accounts were at the time of the past four Bank of England rate hikes, and there's been remarkably little change in the rates people are offered.

That means it’s important to compare deals to find the best rate you can if you want to earn more interest.

Base rate vs top-paying savings accounts

Base RateBest instant access dealBest notice accountBest 1 year bond
November 33%2.50%3.20%4.65%
September 222.25%2.25%3.20%4.65%
August 41.75%2.25%3.20%4.65%
June 161.25%2.25%3.12%4.65%

Perhaps most importantly of all is that, despite eight hikes in interest rates in eight MPC meetings, the interest you earn on savings is still far lower than inflation.

Currently prices are rising at 10.1% a year, while the best instant-access savings account on the market pays just 2.5%.

But if you've not switched for a while, you could be earning far, far less than even that 2.5%. So it's worth checking to see if you could find a better deal.

See the top-paying instant access, notice and fixed rate savings accounts on the market today

What it means for cards, loans and overdrafts

Away from savings and mortgages it’s fair to ask how the astonishing rise in the base rate has affected credit cards, loans and overdrafts.

The answer is that it hasn’t, too much.

With overdraft rates of about 40% and credit card rates of about 20% in place long before the Bank of England started hiking, the interest on those products had far more to do with the risk of someone not paying than the underlying economy.

Underlying credit card rates have risen a bit over the past 12 months, but plenty of 0% balance transfer and purchase deals are still available - and the average interest charged has only crept up a couple of points.

There has also been some increase to average rates for personal loans - with the cheapest deals going from a little under 3% to about 4% - but that’s a smaller rise than most mortgage owners have faced.

That means the biggest impact of the rate rises falls on the biggest loans people take out - their mortgages.

The good news is that inflation looks set to fall in the months and years ahead - with the cost of fixed-rate mortgages already coming down a fraction compared to a fortnight ago.

But those are only predictions at the moment, and the past year has demonstrated very clearly just how fast predictions can change.

About James Andrews

James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.

View James Andrews's full biography here or visit the press centre for our latest news.