Eligible deposits with UK institutions are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to a maximum level of protection of £85,000 per person per institution.Disclaimer
All rates subject to change without notice. Please check all rates and terms before investing or borrowing.
A savings account is a secure place to put your money and earn interest. This means that you will get back more than the money you originally deposited. Bank accounts are different, while some pay interest they offer more services such as being able to pay bills and using a debit card.
Banks and building societies will often use the money you save with them to lend to other customers as mortgages, credit cards and loans.
In the UK savings are protected up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) but only if you save with a UK authorised bank. This means your protection is at a banking group level and not by individual brands. For example, Halifax and Bank of Scotland are both subsidiaries of Lloyds Banking Group (LBG), meaning your protection of £85,000 is across all of these and other LBG brands.
If you want to be fully protected by FSCS, then you should make sure you do not exceed £85,000 of savings with any single bank or building society group. Our guide to FSCS explains how the scheme works and which banks are covered.
Once you have earned interest on your savings up to the limit of your Personal Savings Allowance, you should think about placing any surplus into a cash ISA. This is on the basis that most often savings accounts without an ISA wrapper have higher interest rates than ISAs. You can then invest up to £20,000 per tax year into your ISA without paying tax.
ISAs allow you to save up to £20,000 each tax-year tax-free.
It’s important that you understand how long you must wait, if at all, to access funds in your savings accounts. If you need access to your savings either for an emergency fund or for planned future expenditure, then you should keep these in easy access accounts so your money is readily available.
It’s important to keep an eye on the rate of inflation. If inflation is greater than the interest rate you are earning, your money is eroding over time. You should look for accounts that exceed the current rate of inflation to make sure you are generating a real return in cash terms.
Higher interest rates are usually found with fixed rate bonds, but they will have restrictions on when you can access your funds and additional payments into your account. Easy access accounts offer flexibility, but their rates can be reduced over time. It’s important that you compare savings accounts rates regularly to make sure you keep the best available rates.
Our tables above are consistently updated during each working day to make sure you always have the best rates at your fingertips. Use these links above to start your search for the best savings accounts.
Depending on your needs, you might want to have more than one account to take advantage of all the different features on offer. You can choose from:
Fixed Rate Bonds require you to set your money aside for a set period of time - typically from one year up to seven or more. Usually you won't be allowed to add to your pot over that time (bar the occasional window on opening the account). You may be able to access your funds on a severe interest penalty, but many of these accounts will not allow any access at all until the full term of the bond is up. In exchange, they do tend to offer the highest available rates of all standard savings products.
In many ways, notice accounts are a halfway house between easy access and fixed rate savings. They may allow unlimited additions, but withdrawals will usually require the stated notice period, which can range from 30 days to six months. Sometimes savers will even be able to get early access on the loss of a certain number of days' interest (usually equivalent to the notice period). As they live between easy access and fixed, the rates on offer also tend to sit between the two.
As the name suggests, monthly interest accounts pay out interest on a monthly basis. These accounts may require notice or could be easy access. They will likely offer saving rates that are less than those offered on annual interest-paying accounts.
Regular savings accounts tend to offer the highest rates, but also come with the most restrictions. They will have a time limit to them, as well as an upper investment limit, and they'll usually require a certain number of deposits per year. They tend to be ideal for those looking to save small amounts every month, to develop a savings habit or save up for a specific purchase.
Offshore savings accounts are specifically designed for expats or those who live beyond the UK mainland, typically in Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar. Such accounts are typically offered by the offshore arm of the UK’s largest banks and building societies, but bear in mind that funds held in such institutions will fall under the depositor protection scheme of the relevant jurisdiction, not the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Find out more about how to manage your savings account including how you can pay money in, make withdrawals and close your accounts.
Savers can also use high interest current accounts and regular savings accounts to maximise their savings income. When using these types of accounts, you may need to follow strict rules on the amount you must deposit each month into these accounts, be required to make specific types of transactions and/or have withdrawal restrictions.
Savings interest can be paid on the anniversary of your account, annually or quarterly on a specified date or monthly. You should also check if your interest is ‘paid away’ or compounded into your account. Savings interest that is paid away, means the interest must be paid into another account. Our savings charts show how the interest is paid and when you open a savings account you will be asked to nominate another account to pay the interest into, if this is required. If the interest is not paid away, then it is added to your account balance. If you are due to have interest added again in the future this interest will then be applied to your original balance, plus the first interest payment. This is called compound interest.
Read our guide to how compound interest works and find out how this can help to grow your savings balance.
The Annual Equivalent Rate (AER) is designed to make savings accounts easier to compare. The AER assumes that you keep your money in a particular savings account for a year, while taking more factors into account than the gross rate, which means it can show a truer picture.
Our guide compares the different types of savings interest rates.
Since April 2016, the Personal Savings Allowance means basic rate taxpayers are able to earn up to £1,000 in savings interest tax-free, while 40% taxpayers can get £500 in tax-free interest and anyone paying 45% tax will have no tax-free allowance. Any amounts of interest above these tax-free amounts are taxed at the marginal rate applying to that person (20%, 40% or 45%). (Rates of tax in Scotland may differ.)
This means that if you earn interest above £1,000 (or £500), you'll need to declare it to HM Revenue & Customs. Cash ISAs, in contrast, are tax-free regardless of your tax status, so this is always a good first port of call for large savings pots or higher rate taxpayers.
The Government also offers savings schemes to encourage more people to save.
Those aged between 18 and 39 can save up to £4,000 tax-free in a Lifetime ISA. The Government pays a 25% bonus on top of what you save. This means a bonus of £1,000 for every £4,000 saved and that’s before you add any interest. The money can only be used for a house purchase or for your retirement and there are strict penalties for early withdrawals for any other purpose.
Those receiving Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit with over £569.22 from paid work each month can apply for Help to Save account. You can save from £1 to £50 each month and will receive 50p for every £1 saved up to a maximum of £1,200 over four years. You receive a bonus payment from the Government at the end of years two and four.
Generally, anyone can open a savings account, subject to proving their identity, but you will need to be a UK resident and be at least 16 for a cash ISA and over 18 for other savings accounts. Those younger than this can open specific childrens’ savings account either in their own name or via their legal guardians.
Different accounts will have a minimum and maximum amounts that you can deposit. Our savings charts show these values under Further Information for each account listing.
There is no limit to the number of savings accounts you can have, but there are restrictions for the number of open cash ISAs you can save into during any one tax year. It’s often sensible to have a mixture of accounts, for instance, you might want a fixed rate bond for your longer-term savings, an easy access account for your emergency pot, and a regular saver to save up for your next holiday.
Grandparents can open savings accounts in trust for their grandchildren or open a children’s savings account in the name of their grandchild/ren and contribute to this. Grandparents can also contribute tax-free up to £9,000 each tax year into a Junior ISA, but this has to be set up initially by the child’s parents or legal guardian.
Knowing how an investment is being used can be very important to many savers. For instance, you might not be happy knowing that your savings are being used to help finance industries that have an adverse effect on the environment. Or you may not want your money lent to the producers of weapons, or to bankroll a gambling business.
There is a small minority of truly ethical banks and building societies in the UK that offer such transparency and ethical lending commitments. They are Charity Bank, The Co-operative Bank, Ecology Building Society and Triodos Bank.
However, it’s worth pointing out that Sharia’a compliant accounts also tend to operate under ethical principles, with the money held never being used to fund businesses that engage in unethical activities.
It is generally the case that you don't earn as much interest in an ethical savings account as in a non-ethical alternative – the exception being with Sharia’a compliant accounts, which often boast the top (or near-top) rates for their terms – but what you do get is peace of mind that every penny of interest you receive has been earned ethically.
If you have more than £100,000 to put into a savings account, you should be aware, first of all, that you will likely have to pay tax on the interest that you get, as you would breach your personal savings allowance with a rate as low as 1%. To that end, the best savings vehicle for you might be an ISA, where you'll be able to enjoy the build-up of your interest without worrying about tax.
However, ISAs will only allow you to put in a certain amount per year (£20,000 for the 2020/21 tax year), so you'd still have £80,000 to stash away. With this, you might want to put £20,000 aside for the short term, to be put into a new ISA or added to an existing one the following year, keep some of the rest in an easy access account, and put the remainder in a longer-term bond or even invest it on the stock market depending on your objectives and attitude to investment risk.
Depending on the savings rates at the time, there's no guarantee that you won't have to pay some tax on your interest, but the amount of interest you get may just outweigh the tax you'd have to pay – seek professional advice if you're not sure.
While there are a few savings accounts available that are exclusively for people over the age of 50, or even 60, these won't necessarily offer the best savings account rates. Instead, it’s often best to tailor your savings search according to your financial needs, regardless of your age – you’ll want to make sure any potential account can be managed in the way that you are most comfortable with and that it allows the level of access you desire, and of course make sure you’re getting the best savings rate to go with it.
You can claim benefits if you are saving, but many are means tested and may reduce or not pay you at all if you have a certain amount in your savings account. You and your partner (if below state pension age) can have up to £6,000 before this impacts your benefits payments. This increases to £10,000 for those who are state pensioners. Those with savings above £16,000 will not receive any means tested benefits. Anything between £6,000 to £16,000 will see your benefits reduced by a set amount. Means tested benefits include Income-based Job Seekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Income Support.
Inflation, which measures the increased price of goods and services, affects the cost of everything you buy. As inflation rises, so does the price of your groceries, fuel etc. Because of this, you'll ideally want an interest rate that is above the rate of inflation, so your money doesn't lose its spending power.
When inflation is greater than the average interest rate, or (in the worst case) all savings rates fall short of the Consumer Price Index - the most commonly used measure of inflation - you will essentially be getting a negative return. That's why it's always a good idea to make sure your savings interest rate is higher than the rate of inflation, if possible.
There is no credit check to pass when opening a savings account. You will need to prove your identity and be clear on the source of our funds.
The Money Advice Service suggests you aim for three times the amount you spend on essential items each month. Examples of essential expenditure include your mortgage or rent, food shopping, heating, internet, utility bills and insurances. This will help you to set up an emergency savings fund. This pot of money is then available for when something needs repairing or replacing unexpectedly or in case of losing your job. You may also want to save for a specific item, such as a new car, home improvements or a holiday. In this case you need to identify how much you are looking to spend, when you want to have this by and find out how much you will need each month. You should then compare this with the spare cash you have available. Make sure you are careful not to build up any debts while trying to save.
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Every basic rate taxpayer in the UK currently has a Personal Savings Allowance (PSA) of £1,000.
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