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Martin

Updated Daily

In a world of rock-bottom interest rates, you need to put your money into the right type of savings account with the best possible rate. Yet there are several different types, and bizarrely, the best savings rates are now on current accounts.

This guide will take you through the maze to find the most profitable home for your cash – and keep it safe.

11 need-to-knows before you pick a savings account

A savings account is just a place to dunk cash to earn interest and save for the future. But don't just go for the headline screaming the highest rate without first examining how it works and what the alternatives are.

  • Savings interest is now paid tax free

    It used to be that for every £100 interest earned, basic-rate taxpayers lost £20 in tax, higher rate £40. Yet since 6 April 2016, the new personal savings allowance (PSA) has turned it on its head. Now:

    • All savings interest will be paid gross, ie, there'll be no tax taken off.
    • This works for ALL interest – not just savings accounts, but bank accounts, credit unions & peer-to-peer savings. However share dividends aren't included.
    • Basic 20% rate taxpayers can earn £1,000/yr interest tax-free.
    • Higher 40% rate taxpayers can earn £500/yr interest tax-free.
    • Top 45% rate taxpayers don't get a PSA, so all interest is taxable.
    • Cash ISAs, premium bonds and other tax-free savings interest DON'T count towards the £1,000 (or £500) PSA limit so you can get this interest too.
    • If you earn interest over the limit, you pay tax at your income tax rate, but only on the amount over the limit.

    If you do then owe tax, it'll be taken through your tax code. If you self-assess, you'll declare anything you need to pay there. HMRC estimates the PSA will take 95% of people out of paying savings interest tax altogether. For full info and what to do if you'll earn over the limit see our how the personal savings allowance works guide.

  • If you've costly debts, pay them off before saving

    If the interest cost of your debt is more than you'd earn on savings you're better off paying down the debt. If you've £1,000 on a credit card at 20% it costs £200 a year, assuming a constant balance. In savings at 2%, you'd earn £20 a year, so you'd be £180 a year better off repaying the card. Much more info in Should I Repay Debts With Savings?

    Quick questions

    What if I have a 0% card or a really low rate?

    Shouldn't I have an emergency fund?

  • If you've got a mortgage, check if you should overpay it before saving

    This is the same principle as above: if the mortgage rate is higher than the savings rate, and you can spare the cash, overpaying is a solid financial decision. However, there are possible complications, such as penalties for paying too much...

    Quick questions

    Will I always be allowed to overpay and is there a limit?

    If I overpay my mortgage can I access that extra cash again?

  • Have you used your 2016/17 ISA allowance? It allows you to save and never pay tax on interest

    A cash ISA is simply a savings account where you never pay tax on the interest. Anyone aged 16 or over can put up to £15,240 into their cash ISA during the current tax year.

    Traditionally this was the first place for taxpayers to put a lump sum, yet the new personal savings allowance has made them a less attractive option. Read Martin's are ISAs worth it? blog for full analysis on whether or not you should open one.

    Quick questions

    Isn't my money locked away in an ISA? (That's a common myth – it's not)

  • Are you willing to switch bank account? You can boost savings rates

    Surprisingly, some banks' current accounts pay a higher rate of interest than their savings accounts – these are currently the top rates available, though are under threat following recent cuts to the Bank of England base rate. Unlike normal savings accounts, you'll need to pass a credit check.

    For a selection, see our top pick bank account section below, or for a full range of accounts, see the Best Bank Accounts guide.

  • Can you put money aside each month? Consider a regular saver

    This is a specific product for putting £10-£500 in every month (maximum deposits vary by account). If you want to save more, combine a few. The main advantage is they tend to pay much higher rates of interest than standard deals. For more details and best buys, see the full Regular Savings Accounts guide.

  • Can you lock the cash away? Fixed savings give a (slightly) better return

    You may want to consider getting a fixed-rate savings account where the amount you earn is set in stone over a fixed time period. However, you can't usually access the cash during that time, and even if you can, the penalties can be large.

    Usually fixed rates are higher than easy access, so they can be good deals. However, if normal savings rates were to increase during that time, you'd be unable to ditch and switch to a better payer. See the full top fixed-rate savings section.

  • Up to £85,000 in savings per person is safe in UK-regulated accounts

    Ten years ago, we wouldn't have had to stress this so clearly. No bank had collapsed in 100 years, but then the credit crunch and global market turmoil hit. After the calamities that hit Northern Rock, RBS, the Lloyds group, Bradford & Bingley, Icesave and Kaupthing, every sensible saver should ask: "Is my money safe?"

    Provided the money is in a UK-regulated bank or building society, it's protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) for up to £85,000 per person. Read more in the Are My Savings Safe? guide.

    Quick questions

    What counts as UK-regulated?

  • Ditch and switch after introductory 'bonus' rates end

    These are temporary interest boosts to attract new customers. They're actually a good thing for many, as they effectively act as a minimum rate guarantee during the introductory period, promising you at least some interest.

    But it is vital to diarise the end date and switch as soon as the bonus ends, so you don't languish on a rubbish rate. Always know your account's exact name and the rate it pays as some try to flog you a similarly named deal at bonus-end.

  • In a couple? Put savings in the name of the partner who pays less tax

    If one of you pays a lower rate of tax than the other, it's financially worth considering whose name you save in (but ONLY if you trust them). Put it in the lower rate taxpayer's name and it'll fall under a higher personal savings allowance, so you can save more without paying tax. There's nothing stopping married couples or civil partners moving money between them.

    If you're not married, there's no tax on giving your partner a 'gift' – though once the money goes across, be aware it becomes their cash, not yours. The only extra issue here would be inheritance tax. If the person who gave the cash dies within seven years the surviving partner may be charged tax.

  • Got kids? Encourage them to start saving

    If you've got children aged under 18, then you could consider opening a specialist savings account for them. Though they tend to mirror adult accounts (in that you can get easy-access, fixed-rate, ISAs etc), some of the current rates actually beat their grown-up counterparts. Plus, it can be a great way to teach your kids the merits of saving early.

    You can gift enough savings per parent tax-free to earn £100 interest each year – though open a Junior ISA and all interest is tax-free regardless, though the cash is locked away. Other children's savings options include Regular Savings, Easy-Access Savings and Fixed Savings.

Best BuysCurrent Account Savings

Rates are much lower on these accounts than in previous years. Yet you can still make money from bank accounts, as there are still market-leading savings to be had. Some even offer security of rate and that security is crucial in these turbulent times. Nationwide's rate's fixed at 5% (though only for a year). The beauty of fixes is, once the account's opened, these are locked in, regardless of base rate cuts or banks dropping rates at whim.

Beware, though, most of these accounts are variable and you've no certainty with variable rates – so apart from Nationwide, all rates could change at any time (though once you have the account, you'll get 60 days' notice).

Santander

Good for big savers as it pays 1.5% interest on up to £20,000 + get cashback on bills too

£5/mth fee, but cashback more than covers it for most
SANTANDER 123*

The Santander 123* used to be the main beacon of hope for savers in an era of ultra-low rates but its headline is now just 1.5%, though it still allows you to save the most in one account, at £20,000, which means it can still be a winner for many bigger savers.

Need-to-knows
  • You'll get 1.5% on your entire balance up to £20,000.

  • You must pay in £500/mth within a month of your statement date to get interest and cashback.

  • You can earn 3% cashback on landline, mobile, internet & TV bills; 2% on energy and Santander home insurance; and 1% on water bills, council tax & Santander mortgages, provided you pay them by direct debit.

  • You need at least two active direct debits (so not old, closed ones) on the account to get interest and cashback.

  • You can open two accounts, allowing savings of £40,000 at 1.5%, but the second must be a joint account. The same pay-in and direct debit rules apply to that account.

  • You'll need to pass a credit check to get this account.

  • Martin's full Santander 123 analysis may help you decide if this is the right account for you.
  • Santander shares its £85,000 UK savings safety guarantee with Cahoot.
SUMMARY:

Rate (paid on full balance): 1.5% AER variable up to £20k | Fee: £5/mth | Min deposit: £500/mth to get the interest (within a month of your statement date) | Max deposit: None, but interest only paid up to £20,000 | Access: Online, mobile, branch or phone | Interest paid: Monthly | Withdrawal restrictions: None

KEY QUESTIONS:

How much cashback could I really earn? You get 1% cashback on water, council tax bills and repayments of up to £1,000/mth on Santander mortgages, 2% on bills from major gas and electricity suppliers and on Santander home insurance, and 3% on mobile, home phone, broadband and TV packages. Santander has a list of qualifying suppliers (though it's worth checking with them about your suppliers, even if they're not listed).

We crunched the numbers on how this stacks up for low, average and high bill payers. After the fee, we worked out low users would be up by £11 a year, average users £79 and high users £190, even before savings interest's taken into account.

The cashback works best for those who have a mortgage payment of around £1,000/mth with Santander – but even without the mortgage payment, anyone with high bills will be able to make money from this account, even considering the fee.

Our table details how the account works for low, medium and high bill payers.

What will Santander charge me if I go overdrawn? Well, we hope if you're using this for savings that this won't be an issue. But, Santander's overdraft charges are middling. You'll get an interest-free overdraft for four months when you switch to the account. After that, it charges £1/day for arranged overdrafts, and £6/day if you go over your overdraft limit. There's a maximum charge of £95 in any calendar month.

From 9 January 2017, these charges are going up. You'll still pay £1 per day if you're less than £2,000 overdrawn. Between £2,000 and £2,999.99, you'll pay £2 per day, and £3 per day over £3,000.

How does opening two accounts work? You can only open two accounts if one is a single and one is a joint account – think carefully before doing this, as if you join finances, your partner's credit record affects yours.

This is great if you have up to £40,000 in savings and/or you have a second home with separate bills.

You'll have to pay the £5/mth fee on both accounts but the interest gains could make this relatively insignificant. But you'll still need to satisfy the £500/month pay-in requirement (you need to pay in from outside Santander). You must also have at least two direct debits set up on each account.

Bank of Scotland

Get 3% interest on £3,000-£5,000 (+ trick to get it on £15k)

Bank of Scotland Vantage

The Bank of Scotland Classic Account pays 3% AER variable on balances between £3,000 and £5,000. Its interest rate is unmoved since August's UK base rate cut which has seen several other banks slash their rates, so it could change at any time.

There is a trick in that the rules allow you to open three, giving you 3% on £15,000. You will still need to meet the criteria on each though - see our key questions below for help.

Need-to-knows
  • The interest doesn't automatically come with the account – you need to add 'Vantage' to the account to get it. You can do this during your application.

  • You'll need to pay in £1,000/mth, stay in credit, and have two different direct debits paid from the account(s) each month to get the interest.

  • If you've less to save, you'll get 1.5% AER on £1 to £999.99 and 2% AER on £1,000 to £2,999.99.

  • You need to pass a credit check to get this account.

  • Bank of Scotland shares its £85,000 UK savings safety guarantee with Halifax.

SUMMARY:

Rate: 3% AER variable if you've £3,000 to £5,000 (on entire balance); 2% on £1,000 to £3,000; 1.5% under £1,000; nothing above £5,000 | Min deposit: £1,000 per calendar month to get the interest | Max deposit: None, interest only paid up to £5,000 | Access: Online, branch or by phone | Interest paid: Monthly | Withdrawal restrictions: None

KEY QUESTIONS:

How much interest can I earn? You can earn 3% AER on the entire balance if you have between £3,000 and £5,000 in the account, but no interest on anything over that amount. Put and keep the full £5,000 in, and you'll get £148.

If you've less to save, you'll get lower rates of interest – 2% AER between £1,000 and £2,999.99 and 1.5% AER between £1 and £999.99.

What if I can't pay in £1,000? Nothing happens, you just won't be paid any interest that month.

How can I get 3% AER interest on £15k? You can open three of these accounts. But each needs to be operated as if it's a main account, so you need to pay in £1,000 to all three each month, have two direct debits going out, and stay in credit to get the interest.

Multiple accounts tip one: Some MoneySavers have found issues if you try to open the second or third accounts too quickly. Waiting 48 hours between each and calling up instead of applying online seems to make things easier.

Multiple accounts tip two: You can recycle £1,000 to meet the pay-in criteria - simply set up a standing order to move it from account one to account two then two days later to account three, but remember to keep cash in to pay the direct debits.

Multiple accounts tip three: If you don't have enough direct debits, set up small direct debits to specific savings accounts or, even to charity. Bank of Scotland doesn't care where the money is going, as long as they're direct debits. See full alternatives.

Nationwide

Get 5% interest FIXED for 12 months, though only 1% afterwards

Nationwide FlexDirect

Switch to the Nationwide FlexDirect account and you'll get an interest rate of 5% AER on the first £2,500 of your cash. This rate is fixed for the first year you hold the account, giving you certainty in these uncertain times, but it drops to 1% after, which isn't such a good deal.

Unusually for a current account with perks, you don't have to set up any direct debits, you can just open this account as an extra.

Need-to-knows
  • The initial rate is fixed, so provided it's still at 5% when you apply for the account, you know that's the rate you'll get for the first year.

  • To get the interest, you'll need to pay in £1,000+ per month.

  • This account also offers a 12mth 0% overdraft, though the limit you get is credit score dependent. After the 12 months, it charges 50p per day for the overdraft.

  • You need to pass a credit check to get this account.

  • Nationwide has the full £85,000 UK savings safety guarantee.
SUMMARY:

Rate: 5% AER fixed on up to £2,500 for 12mths; 1% AER variable after | Min deposit: £1,000 per calendar month to get the interest | Max deposit: None, interest only paid up to £2,500 | Access: Online, branch or by phone | Interest paid: Monthly | Withdrawal restrictions: None

KEY QUESTIONS:

How do I get the interest? To get interest, you need to pay in £1,000 a month.

What if I can't pay in £1,000? Nothing happens, you just won't be paid any interest that month.

How much will the overdraft cost? For the first year, your overdraft will cost nothing so long as you stay within your limit. After that, you pay 50p per day you're overdrawn (within your limit). So, if you have a limit of £1,500 and owe £1,000, then you'll pay £182.50 if you're overdrawn every day of the year.

Don't bust your overdraft limit, as you'll pay £5 per day plus a charge of £5 for every paid or unpaid item.

Can I have two accounts? And two overdrafts? You can definitely have two accounts, and can even get two lots of interest – though one of your accounts must be joint to get this. Nationwide say that you may be able to get two overdrafts if you have two FlexDirect accounts, but each would be assessed on its merits, so there's no guarantee.

Other top-interest paying current accounts

It's not just these accounts that offer decent interest rates. Several other accounts give you varying levels of decent interest (see below), and the one you pick should depend on how much cash you're likely to be able to keep in your account.

Be wary of these accounts though. While we've marked below where we know account rates or perks are under review, any bank could choose to cut its rate or change its deal at any point.

The top current account savings interest
For comparison, the top easy-access savings deal open to all pays just 1.01%.
In-credit interest (AER) Max
interest /yr (1)
Min monthly pay-in How many can you have?
TSB Classic Plus 3% on up to £1,500 £44 £500 2 (2nd must be joint)
Club Lloyds 2% on up to £5,000 £99 £1,500 2 (2nd must be joint)
Halifax £3/mth (2) £36 £750 2 (2nd must be joint)
(1) Before any tax if you always held the max balance+. (2) Paid regardless of balance, as long as you stay in credit. The £3 is classed as after having paid basic rate tax. So higher taxpayers will lose some of the gain.

Do note there are bank accounts which will pay you up to £100 to switch, which beat some of the accounts below in the first year - especially as many of them also have 5% regular savers. See a full list of accounts that pay you to switch and the top regular savings accounts.

Best BuysEasy Access Savings

An easy access account does what it says on the tin. Usually. The main idea is you pay cash into them, they pay you interest while the money's in the account and you can withdraw whenever you want.

But interest rates are usually lower than on notice and fixed savings accounts, because you pay for the flexibility to withdraw your cash at any point.

Quick questions (show allhide all)

When is an easy access account not easy access?

What's the difference between an account with a bonus rate and one without?

Can I get a savings account that lets me withdraw cash from ATMs?

My building society has a better rate than accounts here. Why isn't it featured?

How can I avoid paying penalties on withdrawals?


United Bank UK

Joint-highest UK-protected rate, though the rate includes a bonus

West Brom BS – 1.05% AER Variable

The WeBSave Bonus Saver from West Brom Building Society pays the joint-top UK-protected rate and allows an unlimited number of penalty-free withdrawals. However, the rate includes a fixed bonus of 0.35% until June 2018 after which the rate reduces so be prepared to switch if it's no longer competitive.

Be aware that the bonus isn't as substantial as the one with the Post Office account below so it's not much of a minimum rate guarantee.

1.05,1000
Need-to-knows
  • You need to open the account with at least £1,000, though you can operate the account with a balance of £1.
  • You can make unlimited penalty-free withdrawals from this account.
  • The rate includes a fixed 0.35% bonus until June 2018.
  • The account can be opened and managed online.
  • West Brom BS has the full £85,000 UK FSCS savings safety protection.
SUMMARY:

Rate: 1.05% (incl 0.35% bonus until Jun 2018) | Min deposit: £1,000 | Max deposit: £250,000 | Access: Online | Interest paid: Annually | Withdrawals: Unlimited

United Bank UK

Joint-highest UK-protected rate, though you can only hold the account for a year

Leeds BS – 1.05% AER Variable

The Limited Issue Online Saver from Leeds Building Society pays the joint-top UK-protected rate if you've £1,000 saved, and allows unlimited withdrawals. But you can only hold the account until 28 February 2018, after which it becomes a Instant Access Maturity account – which is likely to pay a lower rate of interest. So diarise to switch if it can be beaten.

1.05,1000
Need-to-knows
  • If you've less than £1,000 in the account you'll get just 0.05% AER interest.
  • You must make your initial deposit by cheque.
  • You can make unlimited penalty-free withdrawals from this account.
  • There is no bonus on the account, so the rate could drop at any time – keep an eye on it and switch if this happens.
  • The account can be opened and managed online.
  • Leeds BS has the full £85,000 UK FSCS savings safety protection.
SUMMARY:

Rate: 1.05% AER | Min deposit: £1,000 | Max deposit: £250,000 | Access: Online | Interest paid: Annually | Withdrawals: Unlimited

Tesco Bank

Good UK-protected rate with a bonus that acts as a minimum rate guarantee

Post Office* – 1.01% AER Variable

The Post Office* Online Saver account pays a good easy-access rate which includes a 12 month bonus of 0.76%. Whilst it's a lower rate than the accounts above, the relatively high bonus acts as a minimum rate guarantee, though it effectively plummets after a year so switch if it can be beaten. You can make unlimited withdrawals with this account so it's a solid option if you'll need access to your cash.

1.01,1
Need-to-knows
  • You can make unlimited penalty-free withdrawals from this account.
  • The rate includes a fixed 0.76% bonus for 12 months.
  • The account can be opened and managed online.
  • The Post Office shares its £85,000 UK FSCS savings safety protection with Bank of Ireland UK.
SUMMARY:

Rate: 1.01% (inc 0.76% bonus for 12mths) | Min deposit: £1 | Max deposit: £2 million | Access: Online | Interest paid: Annually or monthly | Withdrawals: Unlimited

Tesco Bank

Good UK-protected rate, though limited withdrawals

Virgin Money – 1.01% AER Variable

The Defined Access Saver account from Virgin Money also pays 1.01% and you can open it with just £1. However it only allows three penalty-free withdrawals per year. Make more than this and it gives you a lower interest rate so if you think you'll need the flexibility to access your cash more regulaly, consider other accounts in this guide.

1.01,1
Need-to-knows
  • You can make three penalty-free withdrawals a year from this account.
  • If you make four or more withdrawals you'll get just 0.25% interest.
  • There is no bonus on the account, so the rate could drop at any time – keep an eye on it and switch if this happens.
  • The account can be opened and managed online, by phone, post or in branch.
  • Virgin Money has the full £85,000 UK FSCS savings safety protection.
SUMMARY:

Rate: 1.01% | Min deposit: £1 | Max deposit: £250,000 | Access: Online/phone/branch/post | Interest paid: Annually or monthly | Withdrawals: 3/yr

RCI Bank

Highest easy-access rate but your money isn't UK FSCS protected

RCI Bank* – 1.1% AER

RCI Bank's* Freedom Savings account pays the highest rate on savings, for those who need easy access to their cash.

But we've not listed this account at the top of our best buys. This is because you need to be aware that any money in this account is NOT covered by the UK’s FSCS protection scheme as the bank's owned by French car manufacturer Renault. Instead, it’s covered up to €100,000 by France's protection scheme - if anything did happen to the bank it may be harder to get your money back.

So, before you stash your savings in it, you need to think carefully as to whether you want to save with them.

1.1,100
Need-to-knows
  • The rate on the account is variable, so the provider could drop it at any time. If it does, transfer out to a better payer.

  • The account can only be opened and managed online.

  • You must link one current account to pay in and out of your RCI savings account.

  • You can make unlimited penalty-free withdrawals from the account.

  • RCI Bank protects your cash up to €100,000 using France's FGDR scheme, and not the UK's FSCS.
SUMMARY:

Rate: 1.1% AER | Min deposit: £100 | Max deposit: £1 million | Access: Online | Interest paid: Monthly or Annually | Withdrawals: Unlimited

Got £85,000+? How to spread cash for safety

Remember, cash in all the accounts above is protected up to £85,000 per person, per financial institution. If you're lucky enough to have more than this, it's best to spread savings across several different banks in case one gets into difficulty. We've picked a selection of the other top payers…

See list of other top paying accounts

Provider Rate (AER variable) Min/Max Deposit How to Open Withdrawal Restrictions FSCS Protection
Sainsbury's Bank* 1% £30,000/£500,000 Online None Full
Tesco Bank 0.96% (inc 0.56% bonus for 12 mths) £1/£1million Online None Full
United Bank UK 0.9% £500/£200,000 Online 1/mth Full
Coventry BS 0.85% £1/£250,000 Online/phone/branch None Full
West Brom BS 0.85% £1,000/£1million Post/phone 6/year Full

Best BuysNotice savings accounts

You can often boost the interest rate from the easy access accounts above if you're able to wait a little to get your hands on your savings. Generally, the more notice you can give, the better the rate you'll get.

Quick question

Do I always have to give notice on these accounts?


Secure Trust Bank

Boost your interest rate, but only if you can wait 90 days for your cash

Secure Trust Bank – 1.35% AER Variable

Secure Trust Bank's 90-day notice account allows you to boost rates to beat easy access deals but you must give 90 days' notice each time you wish to make a withdrawal. You can only make three capital and four interest withdrawals a year so only consider this account if you'd never need the money in an emergency.

1.35,1000
Need-to-knows
  • You must open the account online, though you can manage it by phone or post.

  • You can make three capital withdrawals and four interest withdrawals per year with this account. You must give 90 days notice each time.

  • You must open the account with at least £1,000.
  • Secure Trust Bank has the full £85,000 UK FSCS savings safety protection.
SUMMARY:

Rate: 1.35% AER variable | Min deposit: £1,000 | Max deposit: £1million | Access: Phone/post | Interest paid: Quarterly | Withdrawals: Max 3/yr capital and 4/yr interest

Best BuysFixed savings

Most savings accounts are variable, so the rate can change both with the Bank of England's base rate or at the provider's whim – so to keep earning well you need to actively monitor accounts. Yet there is an alternative...

Fixed-rate savings give a guaranteed rate for a set period, and the best buy fixed-rate deals are usually higher than the best buy easy-access rates.

The big catch is you can't take your money out during that time, and you won't benefit if other rates rise in that period. Therefore, they're only suitable for those who are happy to lock cash away for the entire term.

Quick questions

Is now the right time to fix savings?

Why do you list the AER interest rate when not all of these accounts pay it?

I know these are fixed savings, but can I access my cash?

How do I get paid interest monthly?

The best UK-protected fixed-rate accounts

Here we've included the best UK-protected accounts that pay a fixed rate of interest, from one to five years.

The best one-year fixed rates

Product Rate (AER) Interest paid Min/Max Deposit How to Open FSCS Protection
Atom Bank Atom Bank 2% Annually or monthly £50/£100,000 Mobile app (Android or iOS) Full

How good is the app? Atom's app has been rated 2.5 out of 5 by users on both Android and iOS. Crucially this only relates to the functionality of the app. Savings deposited up to £85,000 with Atom have full FSCS Protection.

Secure Trust Bank Secure Trust Bank 1.61% Annually £1,000/£1million Online Full
Charter Savings Bank Hampshire Trust Bank 1.6% Annually or monthly £1,000/£250,000 Online Full

Best ‘Big Brand’ Savings. While all the accounts above have the full £85,000 UK savings safety protection – you asked us to ensure there’s a ‘name you know’ too. The account below is the top payer of those (however, there are other products - albeit not by well-known names - as well as the ones above, that beat it on rate too).

Virgin MoneyTesco Bank 1.05% Annually or monthly £1/£1million Online Full

The best two-year fixed rates

Product Rate (AER) When is interest paid? Min/Max Deposit How to Open FSCS Protection
Atom BankAtom Bank 2.1% Annually or monthly £50/£100,000 Mobile app (Android or iOS) Full

How good is the app? Atom's app has been rated 2.5 out of 5 by users on both Android and iOS. Crucially this only relates to the functionality of the app. Savings deposited up to £85,000 with Atom have full FSCS Protection.

Charter Savings Bank Hampshire Trust Bank 1.75% Annually or monthly £1,000/£250,000 Online Full
Union Bank of India UKUnion Bank of India 1.6% Annually £1,000/£1million Post/branch Full

Best ‘Big Brand’ Savings. While all the accounts above have the full £85,000 UK savings safety protection – you asked us to ensure there’s a ‘name you know’ too. The account below is the top payer of those (however, there are other products - albeit not by well-known names - as well as the ones above, that beat it on rate too).

Sainsbury's BankTesco 1.2% Annually or monthly £5,000/£200,000 Online/phone Full

The best three-year fixed rates

Product Rate (AER) When is interest paid? Min/Max deposit How to open FSCS protection
Atom BankAtom Bank 2.2% Annually or monthly £50/£100,000 Mobile app (Android or iOS) Full

How good is the app? Atom's app has been rated 2.5 out of 5 by users on both Android and iOS. Crucially this only relates to the functionality of the app. Savings deposited up to £85,000 with Atom have full FSCS Protection.

Secure Trust Bank Secure Trust Bank 2% Annually £1,000/£1million Online Full
Charter Savings Bank Hampshire Trust Bank 1.85% Annually or monthly £1,000/£250,000 Online Full

Best ‘Big Brand’ Savings. While all the accounts above have the full £85,000 UK savings safety protection – you asked us to ensure there’s a ‘name you know’ too. The account below is the top payer of those (however, there are other products - albeit not by well-known names - as well as the ones above, that beat it on rate too).

Tesco BankTesco 1.41% Annually or monthly £2,000/£5 million Online Full

The best four-year fixed rates

The top-paying three-year fixed rate beats these accounts, but you need to open it using an app. If that’s not for you, these accounts can beat the other three-year accounts on offer.

Product Rate (AER) When is interest paid? Min/Max deposit How to open FSCS protection
Charter Savings Bank Hampshire Trust Bank 2.06% Annually or monthly £1,000/£250,000 Online Full
Vanquis BankVanquis Bank 2.06% Annually or monthly £1,000/£250,000 Online Full

Best ‘Big Brand’ Savings. While all the accounts above have the full £85,000 UK savings safety protection – you asked us to ensure there’s a ‘name you know’ too. The account below is the top payer of those (however, there are other products - albeit not by well-known names - as well as the ones above, that beat it on rate too).

Tesco BankTesco 1.51% Annually or monthly £2,000/£5 million Online Full

The best five-year fixed rates

Product Rate (AER) When is interest paid? Min/Max deposit How to open FSCS protection
Atom BankAtom Bank 2.4% Annually or monthly £50/£100,000 Mobile app (Android or iOS) Full

How good is the app? Atom's app has been rated 2.5 out of 5 by users on both Android and iOS. Crucially this only relates to the functionality of the app. Savings deposited up to £85,000 with Atom have full FSCS Protection.

Secure Trust Bank Hampshire Trust Bank 2.2% Annually £1,000/£1million Online Full
Charter Savings Bank Hampshire Trust Bank 2.16% Annually or monthly £1,000/£250,000 Online Full

Best ‘Big Brand’ Savings. While all the accounts above have the full £85,000 UK savings safety protection – you asked us to ensure there’s a ‘name you know’ too. The account below is the top payer of those (however, there are other products - albeit not by well-known names - as well as the ones above, that beat it on rate too).

Tesco BankTesco 1.76% Annually or monthly £2,000/£5 million Online Full

Higher-paying fixed savings with a but...

If you can buck convention you can earn more with fixed savings. All the accounts above are straightforward deals, yet a host of other accounts do pay more, but with a but. So we’ll only list accounts here that beat the normal best buys.

  • Sharia compliant accounts – fully UK protected, but rate not guaranteed. The very top-paying five year accounts are from a Sharia-compliant Islamic bank.

    As Islam bars interest, instead of an interest rate they give an 'expected profit rate' - this has always been paid out by the banks listed below, though by definition it can’t be certain.

    The top payer is the Milestone Savings which pays 2.3% for five years – smashing the best buys above. Bank of London & The Middle East also has a good five year account, paying 2.25% for five years. Both banks have the full UK £85,000 per person savings safety protection.

Best Buys Ethical savings

Ethical savings accounts – where providers claim to behave ethically in terms of the environment, human rights and more – have jumped in popularity. Our main focus is always telling you the top savings rates, but to match demand we've worked with Ethical Consumer to list the top-paying accounts that also rate highly on their ethics.

When giving a bank or building society an ethical rating, Ethical Consumer looks at its track record on various environmental, social and political issues. For banks and building societies, this not only looks at how the business is operated, but also who their investors are, and what they invest in.


Ethical easy access savings

These easy access accounts are just the same as the ones above, but here we list only accounts from ethical providers.

Ethical easy access top pick: 1.05% AER

All the accounts below have the full £85,000 UK guarantee.

Ethical Rating 13.5/20

1.05% AER – Unlimited withdrawals

The Easy Access Saver account from Leeds BS pays 1.05% AER variable on balances over £1,000 and you can open it online. However the account's quite complex as you can only hold it for a year - see the Best Buy write-up above.

Ethical fixed savings

Again, these operate the same way as normal fixed savings, there's nothing special about what you have to do, but we only list ethical providers here.

Earn up to 1.1% AER fixed in an ethical bank

All the accounts below have the full £85,000 UK guarantee

Ethical Rating 13.5/20

1.01% AER fixed for one year

The Leeds Building Society one-year Fixed Rate Bond pays 1.01% AER on balances over £100. You can apply for the account online, by post or in branch and operate in branch, by phone or post.

Ethical Rating 12.5/20

1.1% AER fixed for two years

Kent Reliance pays 1.1% AER on balances over £1,000 in its two-year Fixed Rate Bond. You can open and operate the account online, by post or in branch.

The Savings Calculator

This multifunctional calculator allows you to calculate how much interest you'll be paid, how long you'll need to save for something, or tell you how much you need to save each month to meet a goal.

You might get one rate now, but unless you've fixed your rate, it's likely you won't get the same rate in a year – so you may need to redo the calculation then.

The calculator assumes you put money in at the beginning of each month, so if this isn't how you do it, the answers will be slightly out. If you don't make regular deposits but put lump sums in, figure out the monthly equivalent for a rough answer. Feel free to play with the results to see how it impacts your savings.

Savings Calculator

Pick your question...


How far ahead do you want to look? &
How much tax do you pay?

How much tax do you pay?

When do you need it by? &
How much tax do you pay?

Want to complain about your savings provider?

If your savings provider has given you the incorrect interest rate, or you haven't received your interest at all, then you don't have to suffer in silence. It's always worth trying to call your provider first to see if it can help, but if not...

Free tool if you're having a problem

This tool helps you draft your complaint and manage it too. It's totally free, and offered by a firm called Resolver, which we like so much we work with to help people get complaints justice.

If the complaint isn't resolved, you can use Resolver to escalate it to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.

Q&A Savings

  • What's the top account for joint savings?

  • Are there savings accounts designed for my business?

  • Haven't you forgotten about inflation-linked savings?

  • How does inflation affect my savings?

  • What about when there's deflation?

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