Best easy access savings accounts – May 2023
Rising interest rates have boosted the returns on instant-access savings accounts and we're seeing some of the highest rates seen in years.
The Bank of England's (BoE) raised its base rate for the 12th consecutive time on 11 May. The 0.25% hike took the base rate to 4.5%, the highest it's been since 2008. With consecutive rises, we're starting to see better rates on savings accounts.
The increases are part of the BoE's efforts to get inflation back to its target of 2%. It is currently floating above 10%.
This spells bad news for borrowers as mortgage rates remain high. But rising interest rates benefit customers when banks pass the increase on to savers. If you have cash savings sitting in a low-interest account, or are thinking of setting some money aside, you might want to take advantage of high rates with an easy-access savings account.
Kalpana Fitzpatrick, MoneyWeek’s senior digital editor and author of Invest Now, says: "We all need cash savings for short term goals and emergency cash to pay for unexpected costs. Easy-access accounts are the best place for emergency savings, as you may need access to your savings at short notice. So, although the rates are far from inflation busting, they do mean you can for the first time in years earn something on your savings.”
Easy-access savings accounts do not require you to give notice to access your savings and you do not have to lock your money away for a set period before you get paid interest. The rates are often variable.
Here are the best easy-access accounts available now. MoneyWeek uses data from Defaqto to regularly update this article. All the banks we mention are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which means up to £85,000 of your money is protected should a bank go bust.
The best easy-access savings accounts
Barclays Rainy Day Saver – 5.12%
An interest rate over 5% is certainly attractive but this rate is only available on balances up to £5,000 – after which the rate drops to just 0.25%. But, if you are always in credit, then this is worth a look. To qualify, you need to have a Barclays account and be part of its Barclays Blue Rewards – this costs £5 but you get £5 cashback each month if you pay in a minimum of £800 into the account and have two direct debits coming out of your Barclays current account. The minimum deposit is £1.
Santander Edge Saver – 4%
This account is only available to Santander Edge current account holders. The 4% rate includes a 0.5% bonus for the first twelve months. You can open it for free, and deposit up to £4,000. Interest will be calculated daily and added to the account monthly.
Chip Instant Access Saver* – 3.82%
Chip's instant access saver pays a 3.71% return on your funds. The account is free to open and there are no charges for holding the account. You can deposit a maximum of £85,000.
The return is paid monthly, as traditional interest. It's not cash though, it's money Chip will pay you when you withdraw all the money you've deposited in your account.
You will still see the bonus as part of your balance, but it's always the last money to be withdrawn from your account. Your bonus will not compound, so you won't earn interest on your bonus. Also note this bonus is not covered by the FSCS. You can open the account in-app, and it's only available to existing customers.
*When you sign up via this link, we may earn an affiliate commission from this deal.
Tandem Instant Access Saver – 3.75%
The bank has announced a Top Up scheme, which adds 0.35% to its instant access savings account for 12 months. So if you open an account now, you can benefit from a rate of 3.50%.
There’s no minimum deposit required to open Tandem’s account, which is opened and managed exclusively through the company’s app. You can save up to £250,000 and can withdraw your savings as often as you like with no fees or charges.
Shawbrook Easy Access Account - 3.75%
Open this easy access saver with £1,000 minimum deposit and save up to £85,000. You can choose to receive interest monthly or annually and you can open and manage this account online.
GB Bank Easy Access Account (Via Raisin) - 3.70%
This easy access saver can be opened with £1,000 and you can save up to £85,000. Interest is calculated daily and credited monthly. You can open and manage this account online.
Secure Trust Bank Easy Access Saver - 3.65%
This easy access saver can be opened with £1,000 and you can save up to £85,000. Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly. You can open and manage this account online.
Ford Money Flexible Saver – 3.60%
Interest paid on the anniversary of the account. The minimum opening amount is £1, and themax investment is £2,000,000. There are no restrictions on withdrawals.
How do easy-access accounts work?
Easy access accounts do what they say on the tin – they give you hassle free access to your cash when you need it. They’re also known as instant access accounts or no-notice accounts.
You earn interest on the money you pay in but you’re able to withdraw your funds whenever you want, which makes them ideal for rainy-day funds.
However, they might not be the best home for large amounts of money because you can get better interest rates if you store your money away for a few years or by investing if you are saving for the long-term.
It is also worth noting that some banks offer introductory rates to entice you to bank with them, so it is a good idea to keep an eye on rates and switch to another account when the rate drops. With the Bank of England expected to increase interest rates further, you may also find some better rates in the coming months, so it is worth shopping around on a regular basis.