What is a savings platform, and should you sign up? | moneyfacts.co.uk

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Published: 16/05/2022

At a glance

  • Savings platforms bring together selected savings accounts of many banks and building societies in one place.
  • They offer a convenient way to save as you only need to complete one application form with one set of login details to access many accounts.
  • However, you can still find the most competitive rates in the open market.

What is a savings platform?

Savings platforms bring together selected savings accounts of many banks and building societies into one place, where savers can then select which ones they want to invest in. These platforms usually only ask savers for their personal and bank details once, removing the need for multiple applications. The savings accounts listed within the savings platforms also usually offer protection of funds up to £85,000 per individual.

The bonus of a savings platform is that savers can easily spread their money between different providers to maximise their FSCS protection. However, savers still need to check that individual brands are not sharing the same banking licence (for example with Saga using the banking licence as Marcus by Goldman Sachs®) and should remember that the overall FSCS limit applies whether they’ve taken out an account directly with a provider or through a savings platform. Our guide to the depositor protection scheme has a list of different brands and banking licences.

The intention is that the convenience of savings platforms, that are also being dubbed ‘savings supermarkets’, will act to encourage more savers to actively manage their savings accounts and achieve better interest rates. Savers can more easily control what happens to their funds on maturity of an account and can quickly find an alternative. Those who don’t reinvest their maturing funds may find that these are either returned to their nominated bank account or are held in a holding account belonging to the savings platform.

What are 'hub accounts'?

Hub accounts are where deposits are initially held before being forwarded to the saver’s chosen account provider, and is where it will be returned to on maturity. Essentially, any time savers’ money isn’t being held in an interest-bearing savings account with a partner provider, it will be stored in the hub account.

These accounts are provided by regulated banks – Barclays and Starling Bank are the two most common hub account providers across the platform space – and don’t normally pay any interest. This means it’s important for savers to not leave their money in such an account for too long. It also means that the savings platform doesn’t have ownership of funds; instead, they remain the property of each saver.

The benefit of hub accounts is that savers can quickly and easily transfer money between providers from this one central account. It’s a core part of the savings platform functionality and allows savers to reinvest maturing funds quickly and easily in an account with the same provider, or with another savings provider in the platform.

Are savings platforms safe?

Yes. Savings platforms themselves are regulated but only to allow payments between the banks and building societies they use, so don’t, themselves, offer FSCS protection. But their partner banks will do, as will their hub accounts which are held with protected banks.. This means that savers’ cash will be protected by the FSCS (or the European equivalent in the case of some banks). Find out more about FSCS protection and savings platforms.

Most will be designed with bank-level security as well, so savers’ money will be as safe as if they went directly to a provider.

How to earn an interest bonus with a savings platform

Savvy savers can sometimes get bonus payments when they sign up to a savings platform and boost their returns. Some providers will offer cashback based on the amount invested, while others will offer partner or welcome bonuses if users sign up using an exclusive link. However, deals can change at any time, so savers should always check the Ts&Cs of the platform they’re considering.  

Best savings platforms

Savings platform providers

  • Minimum deposit: Varies between accounts, but typically £1,000

    Key brands: Paragon, ICICI Bank UK, Teachers Building Society, QIB UK

    Hub account provider: Starling Bank

    Account types available: Easy access, notice accounts and fixed rate bonds

  • Minimum deposit: £50,000

    Key brands: HSBC, Nationwide Building Society, Santander, Shawbrook, Kent Reliance

    Hub account provider: Barclays or HSBC

    Account types available: Easy access, notice accounts and fixed rate bonds

  • Minimum deposit: £1 (but can vary depending on account chosen)

    Key brands: Coventry Building Society, Aldermore, Paragon, Charter Savings Bank 

    Hub account provider: Barclays

    Account types available: Easy access, fixed rate bonds and a cash ISA

What is the Raisin UK savings platform?

The Raisin UK platform is free to use and offers access to a huge range of savings accounts from top providers, often with highly competitive interest rates. Savings can be managed both online and via the platform’s app, with a simple interface and high-level security offering convenience and safety combined.

Which accounts are available?

Easy access, notice and fixed rate accounts, with terms ranging from between six months to five years. There are both UK and European banks to choose from, all of which are regulated by the FSCS or European equivalent.

Who is eligible?

Anyone aged 18 or over who is a UK resident with a National Insurance or UK Tax ID number, a valid email address, a valid UK mobile phone number and a bank or building society account in the saver’s own name that accepts electronic transfers. Eligible savers must not have accounts offered by Smart Savings from Willis Owen, Cash savings hub from AJ Bell Youinvest, or Aviva Save from Aviva.

Fees

None.

What is the Flagstone savings platform?

The Flagstone platform is designed for high net worth individuals, businesses and charities that are looking to deposit a minimum of £50,000 (or £250,000 for companies, charities and trusts). It provides access to hundreds of accounts from over 50 banks, with a highly secure platform for simple and safe money management.

Which accounts are available?

A range of easy access, notice and fixed rate accounts are available, with terms of between three months and five years. Savers will be able to find accounts in USD and euros as well as GBP.

Who is eligible?

The platform is open to individual and joint applicants who are at least 18 years old and UK residents. UK-registered business, charities and trusts can also open a Flagstone account. Different accounts and rates are available accordingly.  

Fees

An annual management fee of between 0.15% and 0.25% is payable depending on the value of deposits held on the platform. For deposits of £250,000 or more, a set-up fee of £500 is also payable.

What is the Hargreaves Lansdown savings platform?

Hargreaves Lansdown Active Savings offers savers the chance to source a range of savings products from their online account, helping them find the best rates possible for their cash.

Which accounts are available?

A range of easy access accounts and fixed rate bonds, with terms of between three months and five years.

Who is eligible?

UK residents who are 18 or over can apply. Joint accounts are not available.

Fees

None.

Other savings platforms

There are several other savings platforms to be aware of, including:

  • Aviva Save
  • Interactive Investor Cash Savings
  • Akoni Cash Management
  • Insignis Cash Solutions
  • Smart Savings from Willlis Owen
  • AJ Bell Youinvest Cash savings hub

They all operate in a similar vein in that savers will have access to a range of accounts without the hassle of multiple applications, and many of them are free to use.

Pros and cons of using a savings platform

Pros

  • Simple and convenient, with a one-time set-up and single login.
  • Savers can move their money between a range of accounts without needing to go through a full application process each time.
  • Safe and secure, with bank-level security and FSCS protection.
  • Easy to compare partner accounts.
  • Can sometimes benefit from incentives and exclusive rates not available anywhere else.

Pros

  • Simple and convenient, with a one-time set-up and single login.
  • Savers can move their money between a range of accounts without needing to go through a full application process each time.
  • Safe and secure, with bank-level security and FSCS protection.
  • Easy to compare partner accounts.
  • Can sometimes benefit from incentives and exclusive rates not available anywhere else.

Cons

  • May not always have access to the best rates in the market.
  • Some platforms charge fees.
  • Minimum investment amounts can be higher than going directly.
  • FSCS protection is still in place, but it can sometimes take longer to get the money back if the bank or building society went bust.


Cons

  • May not always have access to the best rates in the market.
  • Some platforms charge fees.
  • Minimum investment amounts can be higher than going directly.
  • FSCS protection is still in place, but it can sometimes take longer to get the money back if the bank or building society went bust.


Pros

  • Simple and convenient, with a one-time set-up and single login.
  • Savers can move their money between a range of accounts without needing to go through a full application process each time.
  • Safe and secure, with bank-level security and FSCS protection.
  • Easy to compare partner accounts.
  • Can sometimes benefit from incentives and exclusive rates not available anywhere else.

Pros

  • Simple and convenient, with a one-time set-up and single login.
  • Savers can move their money between a range of accounts without needing to go through a full application process each time.
  • Safe and secure, with bank-level security and FSCS protection.
  • Easy to compare partner accounts.
  • Can sometimes benefit from incentives and exclusive rates not available anywhere else.

Cons

  • May not always have access to the best rates in the market.
  • Some platforms charge fees.
  • Minimum investment amounts can be higher than going directly.
  • FSCS protection is still in place, but it can sometimes take longer to get the money back if the bank or building society went bust.


Cons

  • May not always have access to the best rates in the market.
  • Some platforms charge fees.
  • Minimum investment amounts can be higher than going directly.
  • FSCS protection is still in place, but it can sometimes take longer to get the money back if the bank or building society went bust.


Pros

  • Simple and convenient, with a one-time set-up and single login.
  • Savers can move their money between a range of accounts without needing to go through a full application process each time.
  • Safe and secure, with bank-level security and FSCS protection.
  • Easy to compare partner accounts.
  • Can sometimes benefit from incentives and exclusive rates not available anywhere else.

Pros

  • Simple and convenient, with a one-time set-up and single login.
  • Savers can move their money between a range of accounts without needing to go through a full application process each time.
  • Safe and secure, with bank-level security and FSCS protection.
  • Easy to compare partner accounts.
  • Can sometimes benefit from incentives and exclusive rates not available anywhere else.

Cons

  • May not always have access to the best rates in the market.
  • Some platforms charge fees.
  • Minimum investment amounts can be higher than going directly.
  • FSCS protection is still in place, but it can sometimes take longer to get the money back if the bank or building society went bust.


Cons

  • May not always have access to the best rates in the market.
  • Some platforms charge fees.
  • Minimum investment amounts can be higher than going directly.
  • FSCS protection is still in place, but it can sometimes take longer to get the money back if the bank or building society went bust.


Alternatives to savings platforms

The best alternative to a savings platform is simply comparing the market yourself. This way savers aren’t limited to the accounts offered by the individual platform and are therefore more likely to find the best rates for their hard-earned cash, and they’ll still get the benefit of FSCS protection. Head to our savings charts to get started.

Alternatively, for those who want to get more from their money, an investment platform could be a good alternative. These operate in a similar way to savings platforms but offer access to a range of funds and shares rather than savings accounts, offering the potential for higher returns with the trade-off of much higher risk. Find out more about investment platforms to see if they could be worth considering.

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.

At a glance

  • Savings platforms bring together selected savings accounts of many banks and building societies in one place.
  • They offer a convenient way to save as you only need to complete one application form with one set of login details to access many accounts.
  • However, you can still find the most competitive rates in the open market.

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