Top Savings Accounts

1.5% easy access or up to 2.7% fixed

Top savings account interest rates have finally started creeping up, with banks battling for your cash. This guide will take you through the maze of accounts on offer to find the most profitable home for your cash – and keep it safe.

What is a savings account? Plus 9 savings need-to-knows

A savings account is basically just a place to dunk cash in to earn interest and save for the future. Some accounts are variable rates with easy access while others are fixed where access to your money is restricted, with other variations too. But don't just go for the headline screaming the highest rate without first examining how it works and what the alternatives are.

Rather watch than read? This helpful little video gives you the easy-access savings lowdown...

Video player requires JavaScript enabled. You can watch this video here: https://youtu.be/K4o59pK-NsQ
  • Since April 2016, the personal savings allowance (PSA) means:

    • All savings interest is paid gross, ie, there'll be no tax taken off.
    • 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 takes 95% of people out of paying savings interest tax altogether. For full info see our how the personal savings allowance works guide. 

    Already used your personal savings allowance? Consider a cash ISA as you never pay tax on the interest. Anyone aged 16 or over can put up to £20,000 in during the current tax year. Traditionally this was the first place for taxpayers to put a lump sum, yet the personal savings allowance has made them a less attractive option. Read is the cash ISA dead for full analysis on whether or not you should open one. 

    In a couple and in different tax bands? 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. 

  • 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. See Should I Repay Debts With Savings?

    Quick Questions

    • Well, if your debt is free, the urgency isn't there to pay it off. But debt at 0% tends to have an end date.

      So long as you meet minimum payments, there's nothing wrong with saving while the debt is at 0% but then paying it off when the intro deal ends. This way, you'll have the best of both worlds – you'll have paid off the debt without paying any interest, plus you'll have earned interest on the savings while you had them.

      A low rate is different. You need to examine whether you're actually paying more interest on the debt than you're getting on the savings.

    • It is important to have access to an emergency fund in case the worst happens, but that doesn't mean you have to actually have a pot of cash. If you pay off an expensive credit card, then keep the card for emergencies.

      If nothing untoward happens then you never need to use the card, but if something goes wrong, then you could always use the card, and you'd be no worse off than had you not paid it off anyway.

    A practical example of why this works: Johnny Comelately

    Johnny Comelately currently has £5,000 saved up, earning 2% interest, in case of emergency, yet he also has £5,000 on credit cards at 18%. Thus while his savings are earning him £100 a year, his debts cost £900. Overall he is paying out £800 a year.

    Now compare what happens if he pays off his debts with his savings vs not doing so:

    Situation A: No emergency happens

    No change. Keeping both debts and savings costs Johnny £800 a year.

    Pay off debts with savings. Johnny now neither earns nor pays any interest, thus is relatively £800 a year better off, and all the new cash he puts aside can go towards genuinely saving.

    Situation B: After a year he has to pay £5,000 for an emergency roof fix

    No change. Johnny uses the savings for the emergency. This leaves him with no savings and £5,000 of credit card debt at 18%.

    Pay off debts with savings. As Johnny has no savings, he has to borrow the £5,000 on his credit cards. This leaves him with no savings and £5,000 debt on his credit card at 18%.

    In other words, Johnny is in exactly the same position in situation B, regardless of what he does. Yet before the emergency he was £800 a year better off by paying off his debts with his savings.

    So overall, whether an emergency happens or not, the best result is to pay off your debts with your savings. The only time to beware of this is if you're not assured of being able to reborrow the cash.

    Usually with credit cards it's fine, as they're a readily available source of credit, but if your debt is a personal loan, there's no guarantee you will be able to get another – in which case an emergency fund is sensible.

  • 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

    • Whether you can overpay your mortgage or not depends on your mortgage provider and the type of mortgage you've taken out.

      The vast majority of mortgages allow you to overpay, though there's usually a limit – commonly £10,000 a year or 10% of the value of your mortgage debt each year.

      It's important to check how it plans to use your overpayment. Some lenders will reduce the term of your mortgage, so your monthly payments stay the same but it'll be paid off quicker. Where the amount overpaid is small enough, others use it to reduce your next monthly payment, which only saves you a few days' interest. Ask to reduce the balance to really see the benefit.

      Find full information on the pros and cons in the Should I Overpay my Mortgage? guide, or see how overpaying affects your mortgage with the Overpaying my Mortgage calculator.

    • If you have an offset mortgage the ability to access those extra payments is usually part of the deal. An offset is where you build up savings to reduce/offset the amount of debt you pay interest on, so if you had a £100,000 mortgage and £20,000 in savings, you only pay interest on £80,000.

      On other types of mortgages, some flexible deals allow you to borrow back overpayments. However, this practice is far less common now for new mortgages. Check your mortgage terms carefully.

      One warning: just because you've overpaid doesn't automatically mean you'll be allowed to borrow the money back in all cases. Your mortgage lender will do checks on affordability so they comply with current lending criteria. For example, you might be turned down if they thought you'd struggle to make future contractual payments – they'd want to keep hold of as much of your money as they could in that case.

  • Surprisingly, some banks' current accounts pay a higher rate of interest than their savings accounts – these are currently the top rates available. 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.

  • 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.

  • Some apps (with your permission) can connect to your current account to determine how much you can afford to save each month. It's done automatically using clever algorithms, though some manual deposits are also permitted. You can currently earn up to 5% for a year, though there's no protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). For full details, see our App-based banking guide.

  • You may want to consider getting a fixed-rate account – which is just a 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, but if normal savings rates were to increase during that time – and we are now in a position of rising rates – you'd be unable to ditch and switch to a better payer.

    See the full top fixed-rate accounts section.

  • After the calamities that hit big banks such as Northern Rock, RBS, and the Lloyds group, every sensible saver should ask: "Is my money safe?" If it is in a UK-regulated bank or building society, it's protected under the FSCS for up to £85,000 per person. See the Are My Savings Safe? guide.

    Quick Questions

    • To be UK-regulated, a savings or current account needs to be registered as a deposit taker with the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority.

      Many banks are foreign-owned, such as Santander, which is owned by Spain's Banco Santander. However, Santander has UK headquarters and is authorised by UK regulators, so it is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

      However, some banks that offer products in the UK are not headquartered here – and rely on another country's deposit compensation scheme. A good example of this is Triodos Bank, which sometimes offers decent rates on fixed savings. But it is headquartered in the Netherlands, so you'd be reliant on the Dutch government's compensation scheme if Triodos went bust.

      If you want to read more about how savings are protected, please read Are My Savings Safe?

  • 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 remember the end date and switch as soon as the bonus ends, so you don't languish on a rubbish rate.

Best easy-access savings

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. If you can save every month, consider a regular savings or app-based account where you can earn up to 5% and your cash is more accessible. 

Quick questions 
  • Some accounts limit the number of withdrawals you can make a year. Others won't pay interest in any month a withdrawal is made. So, while they're listed as easy access in that you can have your cash when you like, they're not all truly 'easy' access.

    These penalties for withdrawals can have a big impact. For example, you might only withdraw £100, but you'd lose interest on the £100,000 in your account for the month. Terms vary, so always know what taking out your cash will cost, and if you think you may exceed what's allowed, go for a more accessible account.

  • Bonus rates are temporary interest hikes to attract new customers so the rate will DEFINITELY plummet after the term ends, so ditch and switch then.

    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. Plus, in a period of dire rates, they at least offer some respite. The rate could still fall during the bonus period if the non-bonus element drops.

    Clean rate accounts don't pay a bonus. They are completely variable, so you could end up taking one out, and the provider drops the rate it pays on the account a couple of weeks later.

    In our experience, all savings account rates – if you hold the account long enough – become rubbish accounts. But active savers can avoid this by shifting the cash to a better payer once they see their rate has dropped. This can happen at any time with any account that is not fixed.

  • It's not common, but there are two accounts we know of that will let you do this. However, they don't feature in our best buy tables, so consider whether you're willing to trade a lower interest rate for easier access to your cash.

    PRODUCT RATE(AER) MIN/MAX BALANCE MAX ATM WITHDRAWAL ACCESS PROTECTION
    Post OfficePost Office Money 0.75% AER (incl 0.65% bonus fixed for 1yr) £100/£1m £1,000 per day Online/ ATMs/ branch/ post Shared
    Yorkshire BSYorkshire BS 0.5% AER variable £10/£2m £250 per day Online/ ATMs Shared
  • MoneySavingExpert.com is a national website serving England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. So we try to feature accounts open to everyone, which means you need to be able to open them online, or by phone or post.

    Branch based accounts are more difficult, as – unless the account is offered by one of the big banks – it's unlikely that everyone will be able to reach a branch. For example, Skipton Building Society sometimes offers decent branch-based accounts.

    But a person in Brighton would have to travel almost 40 miles to their nearest branch to be able to open it. Similarly, someone in Carlisle couldn't access branch-based accounts offered by Ipswich Building Society as there isn't one close by.

    It is always worth looking at local building societies as they can occasionally have a corking branch-based account. But, because we're a nationwide site, we just can't feature them all.

  • The simple solution is to study the terms of your account so you know exactly when you can make penalty-free withdrawals.

    Sometimes you won't be able to, but at least withdraw just after interest has been paid so you don't lose out.

Top rate, unlimited withdrawals and you can open it with just £1

The Marcus* account – a new UK brand from US investment bank Goldman Sachs – pays 1.5%, including a fixed 0.15% bonus for 12 months. It can be opened with £1 and offers unlimited penalty-free withdrawals and deposits.

While the bonus only lasts a year, you can choose to renew it after it ends – though it may be lower than 0.15% in year two, so check if the rate can be beaten then.

Rate: 1.5% AER variable (incl a fixed 0.15% bonus for 12mths) 
Min/max deposit: £1/£250,000
How to open/access: Open online; manage online or by phone
Interest paid: Monthly 
Withdrawals: Unlimited
Savings protection: Shared with Goldman Sachs International Bank

New. Highest rate from a big UK brand, unlimited withdrawals and you can open with £1

The online saver account from Post Office* offers a decent rate of 1.45%, including a fixed 1.2% bonus for 12 months. It lets you make unlimited withdrawals and deposits online and you can open it with just £1. You can earn slightly more with Bank of Cyprus below, but we know many of you like saving with an established UK name.

As there's a bonus on this account, the rate will drop in a year, so prepare to move your cash then if it's no longer competitive.

Rate: 1.45% AER variable (incl fixed 1.2% bonus for 12 mths)
Min/max deposit: £1/£2m
How to open/access: Online
Interest paid: Annually or monthly
Withdrawals: Unlimited
Savings protection: Shared with Bank of Ireland UK and (some) AA Savings

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 SAVINGS SAFETY
Bank of Cyprus UK 1.47% (incl 0.47% bonus for 12mths) £1/£1m Online Unlimited Full
Family BS 1.45% (1) £5,000/£250,000 Online/ post/ branch Unlimited (min £100) Full
Virgin Money 1.45% £1/£250,000  Online  Two/yr (2)  Full 
Tesco Bank 1.42% (incl 0.87% bonus for 12mths) £1/£1m Online Unlimited Full
Charter Savings Bank 1.4% (3) £1,000/£250,000 Online Unlimited Full
Shawbrook Bank
1.4%
£1,000/£85,000
Online
Unlimited
Full
Sainsbury's Bank* 1.4% £1,000/£500,000 Online/phone Three/yr (4) Full
Kent Reliance 1.4% (3) £1,000/£1m Online/ post/ branch Unlimited Full
(1) You must fund it by Fri 7 Dec. After this, you can't make any further deposits. (2) You can only make two withdrawals per calendar year and account closure also counts as a withdrawal. (3) If your balance drops below £1,000, you'll earn just 0.1% interest. (4) You can only make three withdrawals a year or you'll earn 0.5% interest. 

Best current account savings

Rates are much lower on these accounts than in previous years. Yet you can still beat the easy-access rates above on small amounts, and some even offer security of fixing the rate.

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. Be aware, though, if an account has a variable rate it could change at any time (you'll get 60 days' notice). As these are bank accounts, you'll have to pass a credit check to open one.

Get 5% interest on £2,500 FIXED for 12 months, though only 1% afterwards

Open a Nationwide FlexDirect account and you'll get 5% AER interest on the first £2,500 of your cash, fixed for a year, as long as you haven't had a FlexDirect account before and you pay in £1,000+ each month. Note that the rate drops to 1% after a year, which isn't such a good deal.

Unusually for a current account with perks, you don't have to set up any direct debits to be paid in – you can just open it as an extra account. But you do need to pass a credit check to get it.

Rate: 5% AER fixed on up to £2,500 for 12mths; 1% AER variable after
Min monthly pay-in: £1,000 to get interest (equates to £12,675 annual salary)
How to open/access: Online, branch or by phone
Interest paid: Monthly 
Savings protection: Full

How do I get the 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 as long as you stay within your limit. After that, you'd pay 50p each day you're overdrawn (within your limit). So if you have a £1,500 limit and owe £1,000, 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 a day plus a £5 charge 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 says 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.

Is my money protected? Yes, Nationwide has full FSCS protection, so money saved with it is safe up to £85,000.

Get 3% guaranteed on £3,000 (and you can open two)

The Tesco Bank Current Account guarantees at least 3% AER variable on up to £3,000. You can open two accounts, so could get 3% on up to £6,000 (a couple can save £12,000 in four accounts). Though to get any interest you need to pay in £750+ and pay out at least three direct debits each statement month.

As an extra perk, you get Clubcard points on debit card spending: one point per £1 spent in Tesco and one point per £8 spent elsewhere – good if you're a Tesco shopper. Note that you need to pass a credit check to get this account.

Rate: 3% AER variable under £3,000. Nothing above
Min monthly pay-in: £750 to get interest (equates to £9,150 annual salary)
How to open/access: Online
Interest paid: Monthly
Savings protection: Full

How much interest can I earn? You can earn 3% AER on the first £3,000 you have in the account, but no interest on anything over that amount. Put and keep the full £3,000 in, and you'll get £88.80.

How many clubcard points can I get? On top of your normal Clubcard points, you'll earn one point per full £1 spent in Tesco and one point per full £8 spent elsewhere on your Tesco debit card. We've crunched the numbers to see how much this could be worth, assuming you take advantage of Clubcard Boost to get 3x value for your points.
 

Annual Spend £3,000 £5,000 £10,000 £20,000
Number of Clubcard points earned (1) 1,030 1,720 3,440 6,870
Value of Clubcard points (2) £30.90 £51.60 £103.20 £206.10
(1) Assumes 25% of spend in Tesco and 75% elsewhere. (2) Assumes you use Clubcard Boost to get 3x value.

Is my money protected? Yes, Tesco Bank has full FSCS protection, so money saved with it is safe up to £85,000.

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.

For comparison, the top easy-access savings deal open to all pays just 1.5%.
TABLE_CELL_STYLE IN-CREDIT INTEREST (AER) MAX
INTEREST /YR (1)
MIN MONTHLY PAY-IN HOW MANY CAN YOU HAVE?
TSB Classic Plus (2) 5% on up to £1,500 £74 £500 2 (2nd must be joint)
Bank of Scotland Vantage 1.5% on up to £5,000 £74.50 £1,000 3
Club Lloyds 1.5% on up to £5,000 £74.50 £1,500 2 (2nd must be joint)
Halifax £2/mth (3) £24 £750 2 (2nd must be joint)
(1) Before any tax if you always held the max balance+. (2) Warning. TSB is currently not accepting applications for its current account due to IT problems. We'll update this guide when applications re-open. (3) Paid regardless of balance, as long as you stay in credit. The £2 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 £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 fixed-rate accounts

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 accounts (also known as 'fixed-rate bonds') are just savings accounts which give a guaranteed rate for a set period. The best buy fixed-rate deals are almost always 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.

Rather watch than read? This helpful little video gives you the fixed-savings lowdown...

Video player requires JavaScript enabled. You can watch this video here: https://youtu.be/FqBlcOvsrpc

Quick questions

  • It's difficult to say. The Bank of England raised interest rates from their historic 0.25% low in November 2017, though only by 0.25 percentage points and it indicated further rate rises would be slow and gradual.

    However, if you are thinking of locking in, it's best to do it for a short time, then you don't lose out for long if rates do go up during the period of your fix.

    Whatever you choose to do, it's important to go into fixed-rate savings with your eyes open and know the risks. Of course, if rates don't rise again in the short term, and you pick well, you will earn more in a fix in the meantime.

  • We list the AER as it's the best way to compare rates, rather than listing some accounts at the AER, and some at a gross rate of interest.

    The difference comes in the way these accounts pay interest. Most pay interest into the fixed account itself, meaning you get interest on that interest in subsequent years.

    But Metro Bank, Tesco Bank and Secure Trust Bank pay interest into separate accounts, meaning that you don't earn interest on the interest, and therefore the actual rate of interest you get is slightly lower than the AER.

  • No. With fixed savings, you lock away the cash in return for a better reward other than in extremely rare circumstances.

    Think – for a second – about it from the bank's point of view. If it knows it has your cash for three years, say, then it can lend that out for a three-year period safe in the knowledge you won't demand it back. It has the certainty of holding your cash, and you have the certainty about the rate you get.

    This certainty is the reason the rate is higher. And this is also the reason that easy-access savings tend to be poor payers in comparison.

  • When using fixed-rate savings, you won't usually get paid monthly interest (though some accounts offer this). Therefore many who rely on interest earned from savings as an income stream don't fix, even though they pay higher rates. Yet there's a workaround.

    Here's an example (ignoring tax for ease of explanation)...

    You've £100,000 and can get 2% in a year-long fixed account and 1.3% in an instant access account. You'd like roughly £2,000 of interest from these savings to supplement your income.

    Put £98,000 in the fixed account, and £2,000 in the instant access. Then spend the instant access money over the year, knowing the £1,960 interest earned in the fixed account will just about make up for it. Then you're effectively getting the higher rate and spending the interest.

    This way you can grab the higher fixed-rate accounts, but retain access to enough cash in the meantime. Remember, if you might need to get at the whole lump within the fixed term, this trick won't help and fixed rates may not be for you.

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
OakNorth 2.02% At maturity £1,000/£250,000 Online Full
Union Bank of India UK*
2.02% Annually £5,000/£340,000 Online Full
Kent Reliance 2.01% Annually or monthly £1,000/£1,000,000 Online, in branch, by post 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 Bank 1.91% Annually or monthly £2,000/ £5m
Online
Full

The best two-year fixed rates

PRODUCT RATE (AER) WHEN IS INTEREST PAID? MIN/MAX DEPOSIT HOW TO OPEN  FSCS PROTECTION
Charter Savings Bank 2.3%  Monthly or annually  £1,000/£250,000  Online  Full 
OakNorth 2.3% At maturity
£1,000/£250,000
Online Full
Investec 2.3% Monthly or annually £25,000/£1m 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 Bank 2.11% Annually or monthly £2,000/£5m Online Full

The best three-year fixed rates

PRODUCT RATE (AER) WHEN IS INTEREST PAID? MIN/MAX DEPOSIT HOW TO OPEN FSCS PROTECTION
Secure Trust Bank 2.41% Annually and at maturity £1,000/£1m Online Full
Tandem 2.4% Annually £1,000/£2.5m Online  Full
Investec 2.4% Monthly or annually £25,000/£1m 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 Bank 2.21% Annually or monthly £2,000/£5m Online Full

The best four-year fixed rates

PRODUCT RATE (AER) WHEN IS INTEREST PAID? MIN/MAX DEPOSIT HOW TO OPEN FSCS PROTECTION
Secure Trust Bank 2.42% Annually and at maturity £1,000/£1m Online Full
OakNorth 2.41% At maturity £1,000/£250,000 Online Full

The best five-year fixed rates

PRODUCT RATE (AER) WHEN IS INTEREST PAID? MIN/MAX DEPOSIT HOW TO OPEN FSCS PROTECTION
Secure Trust Bank 2.71% Annually or monthly £1,000/£1m Online Full
Paragon Bank
2.66% Annually or monthly £1,000/£100,000 Online Full
Close Brothers 2.6%
Annually and at maturity
£10,000/£2m Post 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 Bank 2.5% Annually or monthly £2,000/£5m Online Full

Best notice savings accounts

If you don't want to lock away your cash for up to a year, notice accounts could be a winner instead. Generally, the more notice you can give, the better the rate you'll get.

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

The 90-day notice account from Secure Trust Bank allows you to beat the easy-access rates above, but you must give 90 days' notice before each cash withdrawal and you can only make three capital withdrawals a year – so only get this account if you'd never need the money in an emergency.

Rate: 1.82% AER variable
Min/max deposit: £1,000/£1m
How to open/access: Online
Interest paid: Quarterly on 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December
Withdrawals: Three capital withdrawals/yr (with notice)
Savings protection: Full    

Quick question

  • The short answer's yes. The clue is in the name.

    You may find a few notice accounts will allow you immediate (or at least sooner) access to your funds, and charge you an interest penalty for 'breaking the rules'. But these are few and far between.

    It's much safer if you think you might need immediate access to your cash to opt for an easy-access account.

Best 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: 1.4% AER

ALL THE ACCOUNTS BELOW HAVE THE FULL £85,000 UK FSCS SAVINGS SAFETY GUARANTEE.

1.4% AER variable – Unlimited withdrawals

The easy access account from Kent Reliance pays 1.4% AER variable on £1,000+ and you can withdraw whenever you like - though if you're balance drops below £1,000 you'll earn just 0.01% interest. The account can be opened and managed online, by post or in branch.

Ethical fixed-rate accounts

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 2.24% AER fixed in an ethical bank

ALL THE ACCOUNTS BELOW HAVE THE FULL £85,000 UK FSCS SAVINGS SAFETY GUARANTEE

2.01% AER fixed for one year

The Kent Reliance one-year Fixed Rate Bond pays 2.01% AER on balances over £1,000. You can open and operate the account online, by post or in branch.

2.24% AER fixed for two years

Kent Reliance pays 2.24% 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.

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

  • This is a commonly asked question but almost every savings account can be set up as a joint account, so actually the question should just be "what is the best savings account?", which this guide is set up to answer.

  • If you have a business current account, the chances are it pays 0% interest. So any businesses with cash stored, even just to pay the taxman, are missing out on interest.

    If you're a sole trader, you're likely to be able to save the business's cash in a personal savings account. It's best to do this, as you get the best rates. But if you've a limited company, then you will need to use a specially designed business savings account.

    For more information on how you can max the interest for your business, and to see the current top rates, read the Small Business MoneySaving guide.

  • We haven't. But, sadly, there aren't actually any accounts offering inflation-linked savings at the moment.

    In fact, currently, most savings accounts don't pay more than the rate of inflation. So you're actually losing money, as prices are increasing faster than your savings are growing.

    Inflation-linked savings work in a similar way to fixed-rate accounts. Your money is locked away, but you're paid the percentage change in inflation. Usually there is also a fixed amount on top of this rate, so even if inflation becomes negative (deflation), you'd still get some increase on your balance over the term.

  • To really know how well your savings are doing, you have to look at it compared to the rate of inflation. Inflation is the measure of the rate at which prices increase, so if savings don't beat inflation after tax, they're losing you money.

    Ensure your savings aren't 'losings'...

    A savings account that pays less than the rate of inflation is eroding your wealth. An example using simple numbers should help...

    Imagine inflation is 5%...things costing £1 this year will then cost £1.05 next year
    You have £1 in a savings account at 2% interest... by next year it will have grown to £1.02.
    Therefore saving's reduced your spending power by 3p/pound... it's a 'losings', not a savings account.

    Of course sometimes prices drop – as happened in 2009 – and you get negative inflation, known as deflation. This can sometimes be positive for savers.

  • Deflation is when the rate of inflation goes negative, meaning overall prices are lower than a year ago. This, or very low inflation, can actually be a boon to savers. Look at the contrast between inflation and deflation...

    When inflation's high...

    Suppose inflation is at 5.0% and the best savings account pays 6.5%. Sally Saver has £10,000 in her account, enough to buy a nominal 100 shopping trollies of food/shoes/washing machines.
    Calculating over a year for ease, her savings would grow to £10,650. Yet inflation means the shopping basket has increased in price to £10,500. Thus Sally's spending power has only increased by £150; her real interest rate was just 1.5%. 

    When there's a deflationary period...

    Deflation has set in, with the inflation rate at minus 2%, while savings rates have further slumped too, offering just 1.5% interest. Here, after a year Sally's ten grand's only grown to £10,150, yet deflation means the shopping trollies now only cost £9,800. 
    This means she could buy them and have £350 left over, giving a real interest rate of roughly 3.5%. So even though her interest's plummeted, she's actually better off.

    This has remarkable consequences. Far too many have a concrete savings mindset that shouts "don't spend your capital!" Yet in a deflationary environment that's too rigid; anyone living off savings interest would face huge cuts in their income, and not spending capital would actually be penalising yourself.

    Personal rates of inflation do vary, yet if you're experiencing deflation, and need to spend from your savings pot, you can do so without hurting your savings pile. Take the capital out at the rate of deflation, and you're not losing anything as your purchasing power is retained.

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