Is one of your resolutions to save more this year? If so, bravo! It's something we all need to get into the habit of, but to ensure that habit sticks – and maximise your returns in the process – you'll need to find the right savings account. We're here to help, so read on to find the top accounts that can kickstart your savings habit and give you the returns you need to make it all worthwhile.
A cash ISA should ideally be your first port of call. The Personal Savings Allowance (PSA) may mean that all savings accounts now pay interest tax-free, but it's only cash ISAs that have no upper limit. This means you can be safe in the knowledge that the taxman won't take a chunk of your hard-earned cash, no matter how much you've got saved or what happens to savings rates (or PSA rules) in the future.
So, just what accounts could be right for you? Chances are you'll want one that pays the best rate possible, and currently the top pick comes from Paragon Bank. Its 5 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA pays a rate of 1.60%, so it could be ideal if you've got a long-term savings goal.
Alternatively, if you're still testing the savings waters and don't want to lock your money away for that long, the top one-year ISA comes from Al Rayan Bank, with its 12 Month Fixed Term Cash ISA paying an expected profit rate of 1.06% on maturity. Or, for true simplicity and easy access to your cash, the top instant access ISA comes from NS&I, with its Direct ISA paying a variable rate of 1.00% from just £1.
If you've already used your ISA allowance for the year – or if you've got an easy access ISA but want some longer term security, too – a fixed rate bond could be ideal. These offer the promise of better rates as long as you agree to keep the money locked away for a set term, and if you're sure you won't need access to the cash, they could be a great way to maximise your returns.
Currently, the top pick comes from Ikano Bank. The Fixed 5 Year Saver offers a market-leading 2.05% yearly, but if this seems like too much of a commitment, you can get an impressive 1.67% from Masthaven Bank's 3 Year Fixed Term Bond. Alternatively, even a one-year account could offer the rates you're after, with the best of the bunch currently being Atom Bank's 1 Year Fixed Saver which pays 1.40%.
If you want to get into the habit of saving regularly, why not open a regular savings account? These accounts don't require significant lump sum investments, but nor do many of them allow early access or let you miss payments – most stipulate that you need to pay in a minimum amount each month (as well as having a maximum limit), and that you need to keep the account for the full term, otherwise a lower rate will be paid or the account will be closed. This combination makes these accounts the ideal way to really get into the habit, and you can often earn higher rates of interest, too.
Saffron Building Society currently takes the top spot in this sector, with its 12 Month Fixed Rate Members' Regular Saver (Iss 3) offering a market-leading fixed rate of 3.50% on maturity. It requires a minimum monthly deposit of £10 up to a maximum of £200, and although it stipulates that 12 monthly payments have to be made, it even allows unlimited withdrawals if you're unable to keep your funds tied up.
Last but not least is the easy access account. These generally allow you to pay in and withdraw money whenever you wish (although bear in mind that some have certain limitations on the number of withdrawals that can be made per year), often making them the ideal choice for those new to the savings game. You can earn up to 1.00% yearly, too – the rate currently offered from ICICI Bank UK, as well as NS&I, Leeds Building Society and RCI Bank's Freedom Savings Account – so it can offer the perfect compromise between returns and convenience.
For many people, the key to achieving a savings goal is motivation, and there's nothing quite as motivating as seeing the interest add up. It'll make all those little sacrifices seem worth it – the lack of takeaway coffees, fewer nights out, not quite as many shopping trips – and with the right account by your side, you could have all the motivation you need. Check out our Best Buy tables for more options and see if you can get into the habit.
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