That’s according to analysis by Gatehouse Bank which has identified only seven out of 15 websites which present best buy information on savings accounts featured products which complied with Shariah law.
The bank said by not including these products and ranking them alongside the rest, 53% of sites were failing to provide consumers with the ‘clearest picture’ of savings accounts available.
Gatehouse thinks the reason for the different treatment of Shariah-compliant products could be down to the distinction in the language used by banks which offer the accounts.
Shariah-compliant products, in accordance with Islamic principles, do not pay interest. This means the savings products provide an alternative to an interest rate, called an Expected Profit Rate (EPR).
Gatehouse explained the two were similar but EPR was not technically guaranteed. It said this might create distorted views of the risks – or lack of them – associated with the accounts, since Gatehouse claimed it had never failed to pay the EPR.
Charles Haresnape, CEO of Gatehouse Bank, said: “It is vital that comparison websites, which give the impression they are presenting savers with the best rates on the market, live up to that expectation by including Shariah-compliant accounts.
“These accounts frequently offer some of the best, if not the best, rates and are growing rapidly in popularity among all kinds of customers.
“These sites are designed to help consumers, who shouldn’t have to go hunting for the best rates and should be encouraged to consider ethical Shariah-compliant banking as an alternative to the high street. Otherwise savers are left ‘rates blind’ and wrongly assume they are aware of all their options.”
Gatehouse is an ethical bank and therefore does not invest in gambling, alcohol, tobacco or arms companies. Among the eligible investments included in its portfolio are construction projects, property investments and Islamic bonds.