The best instant access savings accounts
Filed under: Savings & ISAs
It's hard to know where to put your savings to get the best return on your investment at the moment.
Savers have been suffering from 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 the jobs market so uncertain.
Need to know: Savings
However, even rates on these accounts have fallen recently 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 account - if you're happy with having your money locked away.
Need to know: Savings
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 left that cash lying around in a current account.
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.
Top instant access accounts with a bonus
|Post Office® Online Saver (Issue 7)||2.95%||£1||None||Rate includes a fixed 1.30% bonus for the first 12 months|
|Derbyshire NetSaver (Issue 5)||2.90%||£1,000||None||Rate includes a fixed 1.90% bonus until 31 January 2014|
|Principality BS e-Saver (Issue 6)||2.85%||£1||None||Rate includes a fixed 1.20% bonus for the first 12 months|
|Santander eSaver (Issue 7)||2.80%||£1||None||Rate includes a variable 2.30% bonus for the first 12 months|
|GE Capital Direct Bonus Saver (Issue 3)||2.80%||£500||None||Rate includes a fixed 1.30% bonus for the first 12 months|
There's not a huge deal of difference in these accounts, although with some, such as the Nationwide account, you're only allowed one penalty-free withdrawal per year so it offers less flexibility.
The accounts on offer from both the Post Office, ING Direct and Allied Irish Bank can be opened with £1 which makes them more appealing, however only the first two have unlimited withdrawals and deposits.
Sadly this is not a big cash pay-out but a gimmick used by banks to lure us into signing up.
The bonus rate makes the advertised offer look that little bit juicier. But as soon as the period is up banks will revert dump you onto a far less attractive rate. That'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 without a bonus
|Shepshed BS Postal Account||2.80%||£25,000||Withdrawels (minimum £1,000) can only be made by cheque or BAC's.|
|Manchester BS Platinum Instant (Issue 5)|
|Virgin Money Easy Access eSaver|
|Sainsbury's Bank Extra Saver||2.50%||£1||None|
|Allied Irish Bank (GB) Easy Access Account (Issue 3)||2.50%||£1||None|
You'll have to decide for yourself whether that's a sacrifice you're willing to make for the sake of an easier life. But at least you know that 12 months down the line you're unlikely to see your interest rate plummet.
Top of the tables are two accounts from Shepshed and Teachers building societies and although they both pay 2.80% they also require a hefty deposit of £25,000. Typically this kind of sum of money could generate a much higher interest rate if it were in a longer-term account.
It is possible to open either of these accounts with £3,000 and on this sum you'll earn 2.60% interest.
Therefore if you haven't got this much to put away, or you're not happy having it in this kind of account, go for another on the table with a smaller opening deposit.
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