Easy access savings accounts, otherwise known as no notice deals, are often a savings staple for many people thanks to their simple management and instant access to funds. However, research from Moneyfacts.co.uk has found that more and more 'easy' access deals are imposing restrictions on withdrawals, which could end up costing savers if they fall foul of the limits.
According to our research, 25 easy access deals on the market currently set limits on the number of withdrawals that can be made. This is an eight-product increase on six months ago, when only 17 easy access deals imposed restrictions, and a year-on-year rise of six (up from 19 in August 2014).
These limits range from a maximum of 150 withdrawals per year to just one a month, so savers who fail to plan or who need access to their funds for an emergency could find that withdrawing money becomes a costly affair. Going over withdrawal limits can lead to hefty interest penalties or fees, not to mention closure of the account, so knowing the limits and respecting them is important to avoid becoming out of pocket.
"It's a misconception to believe that no notice accounts always allow easy access to funds," commented Charlotte Nelson, finance expert at Moneyfacts. "In truth, all it means is that savers are not required to give notice before making a withdrawal. To avoid issues and heartache, savers must make a note of any restrictions on their chosen account and make sure that all withdrawals made are absolutely necessary."
However, savers who want instant access to their cash shouldn't be too disheartened, says Charlotte. "There are many great deals out there and savers may find that they can get a better rate without having to resort to a restricted no notice deal."
Indeed, Moneyfacts' research also found that the rates offered by easy access accounts are showing signs of recovery: the top 10 accounts in August have an average yearly rate of 1.48%, an increase of 0.09% on the same time last year. This means that shopping around could generate some decent returns!
You can start hunting for a better deal by checking out our easy access best buys, but remember – check whether there are any withdrawal restrictions. If you're not sure you can meet the limit, or you are planning to use the account for emergency funds (or a spur-of-the-moment shopping spree), a restriction-free deal may be a better option.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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