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Top Savings Accounts

1.41% easy access or up to 2.7% fixed

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Top savings accounts

Top savings account interest rates have finally started creeping up, with more rises expected after the base rate increased from 0.5% to 0.75%. 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 more 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...


  • Savings interest is now paid tax-free, but some still need to pay tax

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

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

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

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

  • Find it hard to save or unsure what you can afford to put aside? Earn up to 5% with automatic savings

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

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

  • Ditch and switch after introductory 'bonus' rates end

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 (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?


cyprus

Top rate but you can only access your cash once a year

Yorkshire BS – 1.41% AER variable

The Single Access Saver from Yorkshire BS pays 1.41% and you can open it with £100.

However, the account isn't for everyone as you can only make one withdrawal per year. If you do want to access your cash after making a withdrawal you must close the account.

1.41,1
Need-to-knows
  • A withdrawal year is based on the anniversary of opening your account.
  • Can be opened by post or in branch, and managed online, by post or in branch.
  • Yorkshire BS shares its £85,000 UK FSCS savings safety protection.
SUMMARY:

Rate: 1.41% AER variable | Min deposit: £100 | Max deposit: £2 million | Access: Online/ post/ branch | Interest paid: Annually or monthly | Withdrawals: One/yr

cyprus

Good rate and you can open with £1, but limited withdrawals

Coventry BS – 1.4% AER variable

The Limited Access Saver from Coventry BS pays 1.4%, including a fixed 0.25% bonus for 12 months. After this, the rate will drop – so be prepared to switch away when this happens.

You can open this account with £1, but to earn the headline interest rate you can't make more than three withdrawals a year. If you do, you'll pay a penalty of 50 days' interest on the amount you withdraw.

1.4,1
Need-to-knows
  • Can be opened online, post or in branch, and managed online or by phone.
  • Coventry BS has the full £85,000 UK FSCS savings safety protection.
SUMMARY:

Rate: 1.4% AER variable (incl 0.25% bonus for 12mths) | Min deposit: £1 | Max deposit: £250,000 | Access: Online/phone | Interest paid: Annually or monthly | Withdrawals: Three/yr

ICICI Bank UK

Highest rate from a big name and you can make unlimited withdrawals

AA Savings* – 1.36% AER variable

The AA* Easy Saver pays 1.36%, including a fixed 1.16% bonus for 12 months. The account allows unlimited withdrawals and can be opened with £100.

As the account includes a temporary bonus, the headline interest rate won't last more than a year, so prepare to switch when the bonus rate ends.

1.36,100
Need-to-knows
  • Can be opened online and managed online or by phone.
  • If you're an AA member you can earn a slightly higher 1.37% AER with its Member Saver*.
  • AA savings shares its £85,000 UK FSCS savings safety protection with Post Office and Bank of Ireland UK.
SUMMARY:

Rate: 1.36% AER variable (incl 1.16% bonus for 12mths) | Min deposit: £100 | Max deposit: £2 million | Access: Online/ phone | Interest paid: 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 savings safety
Kent Reliance 1.37% (1) £1,000/£1 million Online/ branch Unlimited Full
Bank of Cyprus UK 1.36% (incl 0.36% bonus for 12mths) £1/£1 million Online Unlimited Full
Virgin Money 1.36% £1/£250,000 Online Two/yr (2) Full
Sainsbury's Bank 1.35% £1,000/£500,000 Online Three/yr (3) Full
Tesco Bank 1.31% (incl 0.76% bonus for 12mths) £1/£1 million Online Unlimited Full
Shawbrook Bank 1.3% £1,000/£85,000 Online/phone Unlimited Full
Ford Money 1.29% £1/£2 million Online Unlimited Full
(1) If your balance drops below £1,000, you'll earn just 0.1% interest. (2) You can only make two withdrawals per calendar year and account closure also counts as a withdrawal. (3) If you make four or more withdrawals a year or your balance drops below £1,000, you'll earn just 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.

Nationwide

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

Nationwide FlexDirect*

Open a 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.

Tesco Bank

Get 3% guaranteed on £3,000 until at least Apr 2019 (and you can open two)

Tesco Bank

The Tesco Bank Current Account pays 3% AER variable on the first £3,000, but you can open two accounts, so could get 3% on up to £6,000 (a couple can save £12,000 in four accounts). Plus, Tesco Bank has guaranteed the rate will be a minimum of 3% until 1 April 2019.

However, to get the interest you must pay in £750 and pay out at least three direct debits every month. If you've two accounts, you must meet this criteria for each account.

As an extra perk, you get Clubcard points on debit card spending. The number you can earn in Tesco will be quadrupled for two years until 1 April 2019, from 1 per £4 to 1 per £1 – good if you're a Tesco shopper. For example, if you spend £80/week in Tesco, you get 80 extra points per week (4,160/yr). The extra is usually worth £41.60 in Clubcard points, but you can boost that to £166, and this is on top of the points you'd normally collect.

Need-to-knows
  • The interest rate is guaranteed to be a minimum of 3% AER until 1 April 2019.

  • You can open two of these accounts, so it's possible to earn 3% on up to £6,000.

  • You must pay in £750 a month and make three direct debit payments every month. Direct debit payments to Tesco savings accounts do not count.

  • You'll get one extra Clubcard point per £4 spent in Tesco (boosted to 1 per £1 for two years until 1 April 2019), and one point for every £8 spent elsewhere.

  • Service is good, with 71% of Tesco Bank customers in our recent poll rating it 'great', though we had a limited number of votes.
  • You need to pass a credit check to get this account.
  • Tesco Bank has the full £85,000 UK savings safety guarantee.

SUMMARY:

Rate: 3% AER variable under £3,000. Nothing above. | Min deposit: £750 per statement month | Max deposit: None, interest only paid up to £3,000 | Access: Online | Interest paid: Monthly | Withdrawal restrictions: None

KEY QUESTIONS:

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 could I get? On top of your normal Clubcard points, you'll also earn 1 point per £1 spent in Tesco and 1 point per £8 spent elsewhere on your Tesco debit card until 1 April 2019. We've crunched the numbers to see how much this could be worth, assuming you take advantage of Clubcard Boost to get 4x 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) £41 £68 £137 £275
(1) Assumes 25% of spend in Tesco and 75% elsewhere. (2) Assumes you use Clubcard Boost to get 4x value.

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 1.35%.
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 £3/mth (3) £36 £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 £3 is classed as after having paid basic rate tax. So higher taxpayers will lose some of the gain. (4) Dropping to £2/mth from 1 October.

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...

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

Want a shorter fix? The Raisin 9mth fix below pays up to £80 cashback on a 1.8% fix. While it falls short of the rates below, it's still a decent option if you'll need earlier access.

ICICI Bank UK paragon 2.02% At maturity £1,000/No max Online Full
Charter Savings BankAtom Bank 2.01% Annually or monthly £1,000/£250,000 Online Full
OakNorthSecure Trust Bank 2.01% At maturity £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).

Co-op BankPost Office 1.71% Annually or monthly £1,000/£1 million Online/ phone/ branch Shared (1)

(1) Co-op Bank shares its £85,000 UK savings safety protection with Smile and Britannia.


Raisin: Earn up to £80 on 1.8% nine-month fix

'Savings marketplace' Raisin offers cashback when you open a savings account through it and deposit at least £10,000. It offers a range of accounts from some (though far from all) providers. Right now, there is one top pick offering cashback.

A £20 bonus is available if you deposit £10,000 - £19,999, £40 bonus on £20,000 - £39,999 or an £80 bonus if you've £40,000+.

- Earn 1.8% on a nine-month fix, plus up to £80 cashback. The nine-month savings account from ICICI Bank* pays 1.8% AER on £1,000 - though you'll only earn cashback if you save £10,000+. While on most occasions, the rate with cashback will be beaten by the one-year accounts above (on a month-by-month basis), if you don't want to lock your money away for a full year, it's still a decent option.

How does it work?

To get the bonus you must follow these steps:

  1. Sign up online to Raisin* (or log-in if you're an existing customer).
  2. Open an ICICI bond through Raisin.
  3. Pay in at least £10,000 within five working days of opening it. You'll need to do a bank transfer to Raisin's partner Meteor Investment Management (MIM) account, which is with RBS. MIM administers the payment and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. It'll then send the money to ICICI within three working days, when it'll start earning interest.
  4. Important. Annoyingly, you have to claim the bonus. Email bonus@raisin.co.uk from the address you signed up with within 30 days of funding your account. You need to include the subject line 'Bonus', plus your name and the amount you're eligible to claim.

The bonus will be paid within 60 days.

This is complex, so we've more info on how it works...

What is Raisin?

Are my savings safe?

Important – you'll need to take action after a year

Is there anything else I should know?

The best two-year fixed rates

Product Rate (AER) When is interest paid? Min/Max Deposit How to open FSCS Protection
Tandem paragon 2.25% Annually £1,000/£2.5million Online Full
InvestecAtom Bank 2.25% Annually or monthly £25,000/£1million Online Full
Charter Savings BankAtom Bank 2.24% 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 Bank 2.01% Annually or monthly £2,000/£5 million Online Full

The best three-year fixed rates

Product Rate (AER) When is interest paid? Min/Max deposit How to open FSCS protection
Charter Savings BankAtom Bank 2.41% Annually or monthly £1,000/£250,000 Online Full
Tandem paragon 2.4% Annually £1,000/£2.5million Online Full
MasthavenSecure Trust Bank 2.36% Annually or monthly £500/£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 Bank 2.21% Annually or monthly £2,000/£5 million Online Full

The best four-year fixed rates

Product Rate (AER) When is interest paid? Min/Max Deposit How to open FSCS Protection
MasthavenParagon Bank 2.53% Annually or monthly £500/£250,000 Online Full
Vanquis BankVanquis Bank 2.52% Annually or monthly £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
Charter Savings BankAtom Bank 2.7% Annually or monthly £1,000/£250,000 Online Full
MasthavenSecure Trust Bank 2.69% Annually or monthly £500/£250,000 Online Full
PCF Bankparagon 2.68% Annually or at maturity £1,000/£250,000 Online / 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 BankTesco Bank 2.5% Annually or monthly £2,000/£5 million 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.

secure

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

OakNorth – 1.77% AER Variable

The 90-day notice account from OakNorth allows you to boost rates to beat easy-access deals, but you must give 90 days' notice before each cash withdrawal – so only get this account if you'd never need the money in an emergency.

If you can wait longer to access your cash, you can get a slightly higher rate. OakNorth also offers a 120-day notice account paying 1.79% AER variable.

1.76,1000
Need-to-knows
  • You must open and manage the account online.

  • You can make unlimited withdrawals of £1,000 or more from this account, though you must give the relevant days notice.
  • OakNorth has the full £85,000 UK FSCS savings safety protection.
SUMMARY:

Rate: 1.77% AER variable | Min deposit: £1,000 | Max deposit: £250,000 | Access: Online | Interest paid: Monthly | Withdrawals: Unlimited

Quick question

Do I always have to give notice on these accounts?

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.

Ethical Rating 13.5/20

1.4% AER variable – Limited withdrawals

The Limited Access Saver from Coventry BS* pays 1.4% AER variable on £1+, but you can only make three withdrawals a year to earn the headline rate of interest. You can open the account online, by phone, post or in branch and manage it online or by phone.

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 2.05% AER fixed in an ethical bank

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

Ethical Rating 11.5/20

1.9% AER fixed for one year

The Kent Reliance one-year Fixed Rate Bond pays 1.9% AER on balances over £1,000. You can open and operate the account online, by post or in branch.

Ethical Rating 11.5/20

2.05% AER fixed for two years

Kent Reliance pays 2.05% 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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