Explained: how to manage your savings account | moneyfacts.co.uk

Michelle Monck

Michelle Monck

Consumer Finance Expert
Published: 28/05/2020

At a glance

  • You can manage your savings account in a branch, by post, by phone, online or with an app
  • Different accounts have different rules as to how quickly you can access your savings

This guide focuses on how you can operate your account day to day. Understanding how you can access your savings account and when, along with the rules on paying money in and taking out, are important to make sure you earn the best interest rates possible.

What are the rules to access your savings?

Different types of savings account have different rules for when you can pay in, withdraw and close these accounts. Read more about the different types of savings accounts.

How to access your savings account

Here are the most common rules for paying in and making withdrawals for each type of savings account.

Type of savings account

When can you pay in?

When can you make a withdrawal?

Must I close the account?

Easy or instant access account

Anytime.

Anytime.

 

 

Open indefinitely.

Notice accounts

Anytime.

After your notice period or incur an interest penalty.

Notice accounts usually remains open indefinitely.

Fixed rate bonds and term accounts

Only at opening the account.

Once the bond matures or incur an interest penalty.

At the end date of the fixed term (the maturity date).

Regular savings accounts

Most require a regular minimum monthly payment to avoid penalty.

Variable – some do, some don’t.

Most have a set end date.

Stocks and shares ISA

Anytime.

Anytime.

Open indefinitely.

There are some exceptions to these broad principles. Below are some of the key things to check before deciding which savings account to open.

 

Beware withdrawal restrictions on some instance access accounts

There are some easy and instant access accounts that place restrictions on the number of withdrawals you can make within a set time period. If you break this rule you will find your interest rate is either reduced or an interest penalty is applied. We include details of these restrictions on our savings charts under the further details tab.

Check how many days' notice you need to give

Notice accounts allow you to make withdrawals by giving a required number of days’ notice. The number of days required can vary widely, from seven days up to more than 180 days (over six months). The amount of notice should be made clear when you open the savings account. If you cannot give the correct notice you can often still withdraw funds but this will incur an interest penalty.

There are more restrictions to access fixed rate bonds and term accounts

You can pay into your fixed term bond or account when you open your account. Some banks and building societies allow you to make multiple deposits within a set time period from opening the account before not accepting any further deposits. You will need to check the rules with your savings provider before opening your account if you need to make more than one deposit.
Fixed rate bonds do not allow you to access your funds until the end date of your account. If you must make a withdrawal before this date then you will incur an interest penalty and may have to close your account. However, you may not be allowed to withdraw any money until the end date, for any reason.
When your fixed rate bond reaches its end date, it then matures. Your savings provider will write to you informing you of this and will provide you with options to either receive your funds back or to reinvest with them. Make sure you read this information carefully, as if you do not reply some providers will automatically reinvest the funds into a new fixed rate account with a comparable term.

Look for the best rates before you reinvest

You should always check for the best savings rates before deciding whether to reinvest with the same bank or building society.

Moneyfacts tip

Moneyfacts tip Michelle Monck

The same rules and principles for each of these types of account also apply to ISAs.

Regular savings accounts have a range of rules

The principle for regular savings accounts is that you make a regular monthly payment. They can be fixed term, instant and notice accounts. This means their rules vary widely and each account should be looked at carefully about its rules on payments in and withdrawals. Different accounts have different minimums and maximums for the amount you can pay in each month. Some accounts will allow you to miss a set number of monthly payments before incurring an interest rate reduction or penalty.

How to pay money into your savings account

There are three ways to pay money into your account; online bank transfer, cash and cheque. You can make these payments in by using an online transfer, with your banking app, via post, visiting a branch or by telephone. Not all banks will necessarily allow money to be paid in using all these methods, especially the online banks.

Pay into your account using an online bank transfer

More and more savings accounts now offer you the ability transfer money online. The most common method used by banks and building societies to do this is called Faster Payments.
You can make an online transfer by logging onto the online account or app you want to transfer the money from. You will need to know the sort-code and account number of the savings account you want to transfer the money to. Some building societies also require you to add an additional number to your payment details to help identify your account. The money usually leaves your account immediately and will arrive into your savings account within a couple of hours. Most banks and building societies have a limit of £10,000 for online bank transfers. If you need to transfer more than this then you may need to contact the account provider.

Pay into your account using cash

Any cash that you need to pay into your savings account will need to be made through a branch. Never send cash in the post to your bank or building society. If you can’t get to a branch of your savings account provider, then if your bank has a nearby branch you could pay the money into your bank account and then make an online transfer, request a transfer by phone if this is available or write out a cheque.

How to pay money into your savings account in branch

When you visit a branch, you can choose to pay money into your account using cash or cheques. You can only pay into accounts you hold with the branch of the savings provider you are visiting.
You can pay in by using a self-service machine if this available or by speaking with a member of staff at the counter. You will need the sort-code and account number of the account you want to pay into and, if you have a building society account you may also use your account passbook. If you want to use a self-service machine, then you will need to have your bank card and PIN number to do this. You will need to complete a paying in slip detailing the account you wish to pay the money into.

How to pay money into your savings account online or through an app

You can use your online access or app to make payments to the same or another account provider. You will need the account details of the account you want to pay into, usually including the account name, sort-code, account number and reference.

How to make withdrawals from your savings account

You can make withdrawals from your account and receive this as cash, cheque or as online payment. Withdrawals can be made in person at a branch, through online access or app or on request by phone and post. As with paying money in, not all these methods will be available for all providers or accounts.

How to make a withdrawal in branch

You will need to make sure you have your branch passbook or bank card and identification (such as a passport driving licence and utility bill) to make your withdrawal. You may also need to answer security questions to make your withdrawal. If you are making a large withdrawal in cash, you should contact your savings provider to make sure this is possible and if they require notice. You can also request to receive larger withdrawals by cheque but should also check with your bank or building society if there are any limits.

How to withdraw money online or with an app

You can move money from your savings account to a linked current account using the online service or app if available. You may want to do this if it is not easy to access cash from this account or the account is not easy to make purchases from.

How to close your savings account

Easy access and notice accounts often come with a variable interest rate; this means that the interest rates on these can be changed at any time. If you find your interest is dropping, then you may want to transfer your money to a new savings account that pays a better interest rate. You can close an easy access account immediately by writing to your savings provider by post or using your bank’s online access. You may also be able to do this by telephone if your savings provider offers telephone access.
Remember fixed term bonds and accounts may not be closed until their end date and notice accounts require you to give notice first. If you must close your account early or before the required notice period, then you will incur an interest penalty.

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Disclaimer: This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

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At a glance

  • You can manage your savings account in a branch, by post, by phone, online or with an app
  • Different accounts have different rules as to how quickly you can access your savings

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