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The best instant-access savings rates

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Last updated on

22 October 2014

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17 Comments

Instant-access accounts mean you can get your hands on your money easily, but many rely on big bonuses to boost the initial rate of interest. Here are the top ones right now.

It’s hard to know where to put your savings to get the best return on your money at the moment.

Savers have been suffering from the effects of the record-low base rate for a few years now, but locking up your cash to get a decent rate is not a sacrifice many are willing to make with such an uncertain economy.

The trusty instant-access savings account could be your best bet if you need your cash in a hurry and have reached your Cash ISA limit (currently set at £15,000).

But even rates on these accounts have been falling in recent times, due in part to the Government's Funding for Lending scheme meaning banks and building societies are less dependent on raising cash by attracting savers.

So it's worth looking at the whole of the savings market before you open an account as you could get a higher rate in a fixed-rate savings account – if you're happy with having your money locked away.

With an instant-access savings account, you can add to your savings pot and (usually) withdraw the money at any time. Because of this flexibility banks typically offer lower rates compared to fixed-rate accounts, but you still get a better return than if you did nothing.

Compare savings accounts with lovemoney.com

Bonuses

When it comes to instant access saving, you can either go for an account with a bonus, which boosts your interest rate (usually for about a year), or opt for a gimmick-free account with no bonus, just an upfront interest rate.

The bonus rate makes the advertised offer look that little bit juicier. But as soon as the period is up banks will dump you onto a far less attractive rate.

It's not a problem if you are happy to shop around and switch accounts regularly but if you can't be bothered, then an instant-access savings account with no bonus is a better option.

Top instant access accounts with a bonus

Account

Interest rate (gross AER) Minimum deposit Withdrawal limits

Bonus

BM Savings  Online Extra 14

1.60%

£1,000

 

Rate includes 1.10% bonus for the first 12 months.

AA Internet Extra (Issue 16)

1.40%

£1,000

 None

Rate includes 0.90% bonus for the first 12 months.

Post Office Online Saver (Issue 12)

1.40%

£1

None

Rate includes 0.65% bonus fixed for first 12 months.

Tesco Bank Internet Saver

1.35%

£1

None

Rate includes 0.60% bonus fixed for first 12 months.

Santander eSaver (Issue 11)

1.00%

£1

None

Rate includes 0.5% bonus for the first 12 months

Post Office Instant Saver

1.00%

£500

None

Rate includes 0.90% bonus for the first 12 months

So there are no accounts that come close to breaking through the 2% mark; in fact, most pay well below this threshold.

With the top rate of 1.60% you just beat inflation (the Consumer Prices Index stands at 1.2% currently) if you’re a basic rate tax payer but not if you pay the higher rate. So putting your cash in this type of account could mean you’re effectively losing money.

Read: Where to find inflation-beating savings rates.

Compare savings accounts with lovemoney.com

Top instant access accounts without a bonus

Account Interest rate (gross AER) Minimum deposit Notes

Newbury BS Welcome to Newbury

1.65%

£50

Max account balance of £3,000.

Only available in certain postcodes (AL, BA, BH, BN, BS, DT, GL, GU, HA, HP, KT, MK, OX, PO, RG, RH, SL, SN, SP, SO, TW, UB, WD.)

Kent Reliance Branch Easy Access Savings (Issue 1) 

1.50%

£1,000

Branch based

Earl Shilton BS Progress

1.40%

£100

Six penalty-free withdrawals a year

Coventry BS PostSave Easy Access 2

1.40%

£500

Manage by post. 12 penalty-free withdrawals a year

Britannia Select Access Saver (Issue 6)

1.40%

£500

Four penalty-free withdrawals a year

West Brom BS Limited Access Saver

1.40%

£1,000

Branch based. Six penalty-free withdrawals a year

Virgin Money Easy Access E-Saver 12

1.30%

£1

 

Tipton BS Hallmark Access

1.30%

£1,000

Branch based. Three-penalty withdrawals a year.

NS&I Income Bonds

1.25%

£500

 

UBL Online Easy Access Account

1.25%

£500

 

State Bank of India Instant Access Savings Issue 4

1.25%

£500

 

Hinckley & Rugby BS premier Saver 2

1.25%

£500

Branch based.

Kent Reliance BS Easy Access Savings Account Issue 8

1.25%

£1,000

 

Sainsbury’s Bank Extra Saver

1.20%

£1

 

Skipton Building Society eSaver 2

1.20%

£1

 

Nationwide Limited Access Saver Issue 2

1.20%

£1

Five penalty-free withdrawals a year

Chelsea/Yorkshire/ Barnsley BS Triple Access Saver (Issue 3)

1.20%

£100

Branch based. Three penalty-free withdrawals a year.

GE Capital Direct GE Saver Issue 7

1.20%

£500

 

West Bromwich WebSaver

1.20%

£1,000

 

The main benefit of opening an account without a bonus is knowing that 12 months down the line you're unlikely to see your interest rate plummet. However, your interest rate could be cut anyway as they are variable, so make sure you keep an eye on your account.

Note also that the top two  highest-paying accounts are restricted to branches and the next best deals have limits  on the amount of penalty-free withdrawals you can make in a year.

The Virgin Money Easy Access E-Saver 12 offers the best rate without any restrictions, if you don't happen to live near a branch of the Kent Reliance Building Society or Newbury Building Society.

Compare savings accounts with lovemoney.com

Current account alternatives

At the moment some of the best rates on easy access savings can actually be found in a current account.

The TSB Classic Plus Current Account is paying a market-leading 5% on balances up to £2,000.

The Nationwide FlexDirect Current Account also pays 5% but on account balances between £1 and £2,500. However, you should bear in mind that the rate on this account drops to 1% after 12 months.

Elsewhere Lloyds Bank offers the Club Lloyds Current Account which pays 4% on balance between £4,000 and £5,000. While the Bank of Scotland Classic Account with Vantage pays 3% on balances between £3,000 and £5,000.

For larger pots the Santander 123 Current Account pays 3% in-credit interest on balances between £3,000 and £20,000.

This article is regularly updated to reflect the latest rates.

Compare savings accounts

More on savings:

The UK's best Cash ISAs

The top fixed rate savings bonds

The best regular savings accounts

Where to earn most interest on your cash

 

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