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Jul 09

Best Easy Access Savings Accounts in Summer 2020

Reading Time: 6 mins

Both the number of savings products on the market and their interest rates are at an all time low. Data analysts MoneyFacts have found that average interest rates for easy access savings accounts have now hit 0.24%, comparable to 1.55% a decade ago. Even fixed ISAs have seen a fall of nearly 3%.

This is not good news for anyone with money in easy access savings accounts, as with inflation you’re essentially losing money every year. However, it is important that you set money aside in an easy access account in case of an emergency. Ideally, you want to have at least 3 months’ of compulsory spending put by. If you work freelance, are self-employed, or have a fluctuating income, having up to 6 months is more advisable.

There are plenty of better options out there to get your money to earn more for you, including ISAs and various investments. Investments work well for your long-term financial goals and we do recommend investing if you can. But first, you should make sure you set up an emergency fund. As we’ve seen this year – anything can happen, so make sure you’re protected.

Even though interest rates on easy-access savings are currently appallingly low, we’ve done some research to put together some of the best options out there which might be suitable for you.

regular savers

Regular savers earn more interest than stashing your emergency fund in a piggy bank

While regular savers are a great product for some, they’re not for everyone. Regular savers are a good way to build an emergency fund if you’re starting from scratch. They tend to offer better interest rates than some other savings accounts but you do have to commit to saving a minimum amount every month. This can help you to get into the mentality of saving regularly though if you tend to struggle.

If you are looking to immediately put a large sum away into an emergency fund, then these accounts are not for you. To get the benefit of the higher interest rate, you’re limited on how much you can deposit into the account each month. You’ll usually need a current account with the bank to open a regular saver, too.

REGULAR SAVER ACCOUNT – ALLIED IRISH BANK

Interest Rate: 2.75% AER variable

Minimum Monthly Deposit: £10

Maximum Monthly Deposit: £500 (you can deposit more, but anything above £500 will receive interest at a rate of 0.50%)

  • You can withdraw money immediately with no charge.
  • You can continue to receive the benefits of your regular saver account after 12 months. After a year a new annual saver period starts and the monthly threshold is reset. Bear in mind interest rates will likely have changed by then.
  • You don’t have to hold any additional accounts or products with AIB in order to set up a Regular Saver Account. However, if you don’t have any other accounts then you will have to open the account in a branch rather than online.

REGULAR SAVER – HSBC

Interest Rate: 2.75% AER fixed

Minimum Monthly Deposit: £25

Maximum Monthly Deposit: £250

  • You can save up to £3,000 at a fixed rate of 2.75% for 12 months.
  • If you don’t deposit the full £250 in one month you can carry over the remaining allowance into subsequent months.
  • However you will need to have another HSBC product along with this savings account.
  • If you want to withdraw, the whole balance must be withdrawn.

instant access saving accounts

Instant access savings accounts offer a lower interest rate than regular savers. However, you often don’t have the same deposit restrictions as a regular saver, and you can open them independently without the need for a linked current account.

START TO SAVE – NATIONWIDE

This account is best suited to people can’t afford to put large sums away regularly but are trying to build an emergency fund.

Interest Rate: 1% AER variable

Minimum Monthly Deposit: N/A

Maximum Monthly Deposit: £100

  • Unfortunately, you are only eligible if you live in England, Scotland, or Wales.
  • The most you can deposit when you open the account is £100.
  • You have easy access to your money whenever you need it, with no notice, fees, or charges.
  • At the end of the 24 month period your money will be moved to an instant access saving account with a lower interest rate. However you can still choose to close the account whenever you wish.
  • Every quarter you get the chance to be entered into a prize draw to win £100. To qualify you need to increase your balance by at least £50 (but no more than £100) in each of the three calendar months leading up to the draw.

DIRECT SAVER – NS&I

Interest Rate: 1% AER variable

Minimum Monthly Deposit: N/A

Maximum Monthly Deposit: N/A

  • You are able to open the account with just £1 and save up to £2 million.
  • NS&I is protected by HM Treasury rather than the FSCS. This means that all your money is guaranteed, you are not limited to the £85,000 that the FSCS guarantees with one institution.
  • You are able to immediately access your money with no fees, but you need to keep a balance of at least £1 in order for the account to remain open.

SUPERSAVER SAVINGS ACCOUNT – ICICI BANK

Interest Rate: 1% AER variable

Minimum Monthly Deposit: N/A

Maximum Monthly Deposit: N/A

  • Allows you easy access of your savings – able to deposit and withdraw as much as you want immediately with no fees or charges.
  • However, to open this account you also have to open the HomeVantage Current Account as the products are linked.

Help to Save Accounts

One savings account with a MASSIVE and guaranteed 50% return is run by the Government. It’s called Help to Save – check out our detailed guide here.

The short version of it is this: if you receive certain benefits (even £1 of Universal Credit!), you could be eligible. Save up to £50 per month over four years. At years two and four, you get a bonus paid to you by the Government that’s worth 50% of your highest balance held in that two-year period. So, if you save £50 a month for four years, that’s two bonus payments of £600! You’ll have saved £2,400 yourself, and benefit from a total £1,200 bonus.

This payment is notably a bonus and NOT an interest rate. That means it doesn’t come under the personal allowance for interest rate earnings (where you can earn £1,000 a year in interest before paying tax on it). It’s a guaranteed account and scheme, and couples on Universal Credit or similar benefits can each have a Help to Save account.

It’s easy access, too: you can take your money out whenever you need it. However, this will reduce how much you can get on your bonus.

should i lock my money away?

Only lock your money away when you've got an emergency fund in an easy access savings account first

There are so many options for saving products it’s hard to know where to start. The benefit of locking your money away, in investments for example, is that your money keeps up with inflation and you often see better returns in the long-run than the low interest rates will ever give you.

The problem is that you need to lock money away for at least ten years to see suitable returns and ride out the ups and downs of the stock market. This obviously doesn’t help in the case of having an emergency fund. So, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a couple of months’ worth of living costs that you can easily access should you need to. Part of this is accepting that you will have to have some money in a relatively low interest account.

The good news that comes with this is that due to coronavirus inflation has dropped down this year from 0.80% to 0.50%! So as long as your money is in an account with a rate of 0.50% or higher, you won’t be losing money at least.

If you do have money left after you’ve created an emergency fund then we definitely recommend investing. If you are able to commit for the long haul then it’s a great way to see your money grow.

more useful reading

For more money management help and advice on how to look after your savings, check out more of our articles here:

Downing
Saving Accounts

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Raman
Raman
27 days ago

Good options but i am worried about interest rate, so noncompetitive.

Tom
Tom
1 month ago

A very helpful article. Much appreciated.

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