Best easy-access savings accounts – December 2023

Rising interest rates have boosted the returns on instant-access savings accounts with some of the highest rates for years. We look at the best easy-access savings accounts on the market now

Woman hand putting money coin into piggy for saving money wealth and financial concept.
(Image credit: Nattakorn Maneerat)

MoneyWeek uses data from Defaqto to regularly update this article. All the banks we mention are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), meaning up to £85,000 of your savings are protected should a bank go bust. This article may contain affiliate links – when you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission*

Easy access savings now beat inflation, after a sharp fall in October to 4.6%.

Although NS&I withdrew its market-leading 6.2% one year fixed bond, savers will still find one-year fixed savings accounts are offering the best rates - Metro Bank tops the table with its 5.8% one year fixed bond. But easy-access savings accounts are becoming increasingly more competitive and don’t involve locking your money up. 

Best easy-access savings accounts

Metro Bank Instant Access Savings
Best easy access

Metro Bank Instant Access Savings - 5.22% AER

This top rate of 5.22% AER by Metro Bank is a limited edition rate for 12 months (variable). You will need to deposit at least £500 within 28 days of opening the saver, otherwise, the rate you earn on your savings will drop to 1.65% AER. 

You can save up to £2million and interest is paid monthly. You can open this account online or in branch. 

Even though the rate below by Santander is the top on the market, it comes with some hurdles.

Santander Edge Saver - 7% AER 

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This is the best easy-access rate on the market right now, but it is restricted to Santander Edge current account holders. 

The 7% rate (variable) includes a 2.5% bonus for the first 12 months of opening the account. You can start saving with just £1, but interest is only paid on balances up to £4,000. 

Plus, you have the freedom to withdraw money when you like by transferring funds to another account via online or mobile banking. 

You can open this account online or in a branch, and interest is paid monthly. Note, if you close your Santander Edge current account, your Edge Saver will be changed to an Everyday Saver. If this is the case, you will be notified around 60 days before the change is made. 

Cahoot Sunny Day Saver - 5.2% AER

This easy-access saver can be opened with just £1. Even though the account has a maximum deposit of £2million, you can only earn 5.2% AER on balances up to £3,000. No interest is earned on any sum above £3,000.

You can choose to have the interest paid annually or monthly, but once decided, you can’t change this. The account can be opened and managed online.

Ulster Bank Loyalty Saver - 5.2% AER 

Ulster Bank, part of the NatWest group, has increased the rate on its easy-access account from 2.25% to a top rate of 5.2% AER.

You need a minimum deposit of £5,000 to get the rate - anything less and the rate drops to 2.25%.

The Ulster Bank easy-access saving account - known as the Loyalty Saver account - must be opened and managed online. It is open to both new and existing customers.

Interest is paid annually and at account closure.

Paragon Bank Double Access Savings Account - 5.16% AER

This restricted easy-access account only permits up to two withdrawals per year. On your third withdrawal, the rate you earn will drop to 1.5% AER. You can start saving with £1,000 and deposit up to £500,000 in the account- but note, only up to £85,000 is protected by the FSCS.

Open this saver online and interest is paid monthly.

Hampshire Trust Bank Online Easy Access Account - 5.15% AER 

You only need £1 to open this account and can save up to £250,000. But, only up to £85,000 of your money is protected by the FSCS. 

You can open the account online and interest is paid annually. 

Beehive Money Limited Issue Easy Access – 5.15% AER

Beehive Money is owned by Nottingham Building Society. This easy-access account pays 5.15% interest, and you have the freedom to withdraw money without incurring penalties.

You can open this account with a £1,000 deposit, and save up to £85,000. Interest is paid yearly. The rate includes an introductory bonus of 2.5%, which will expire on 31 November, 2024. 

The account can be opened online or via an app.

Cahoot Simple Saver - 5.12% AER

Open this easy access saver with just £1 and save a maximum deposit of £2million. But note, you can only earn the 5.12% rate on balances up to £500,000.

The rate is variable for one year and you can open this account online. Interest is paid annually. If you choose to be paid monthly, the rate you earn will drop to 5%. 

Virgin Money Defined Access E-Saver - 5.12% AER

Virgin Money offers a variable rate of 5.12%. It restricts savers to three withdrawals a year. If you make any extra withdrawals, the interest rate will reduce to 2% AER variable. 

The minimum deposit is £1, and the maximum balance is £250,000.

The account is opened and managed online, and interest is paid annually.

Cynergy Bank Easy Access Account - 5.1% AER

Open this saver with just £1 and save up to £1million. The rate includes a 1.1% AER bonus for the first 12 months. 

You can open this account online, and interest is paid annually. 

Charter Savings Bank Easy Access - 5.07

Open this account with £5,000 and save up to £1million. If your balance falls below £5,000, the rate you earn drops to 0.10%. Plus, up to £85,000 of your savings is protected by the FSCS. 

Interest is paid annually on maturity and you can open the saver online. 

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, and you can usually withdraw it whenever you want, which makes the accounts ideal for rainy-day savings funds.

Note that some banks and building societies offer introductory rates to entice you to open an account, 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 raising interest rates to 5.25% before deciding to pause more hikes, there's been a recent flurry of activity in the savings market. This means some of the best rates may not hang around for long, so you may need to be quick if you spot a good rate. 

At the same time, you may find a market-leading account you opened a few months ago is not offering such a good rate anymore - so it's worth shopping around on a regular basis to ensure your savings are working as hard as possible.

When can I withdraw money with easy-access accounts?

Traditionally, easy-access accounts should give you unlimited and flexible access to your savings.

However, there is now a trend for savings accounts to restrict the number of withdrawals - while still calling the account "easy-access". Although some do make it clear in the name, like Paragon Double Access and Coventry BS Triple Access Saver.

If you breach the limits, the penalty is normally a loss of interest, or falling onto a lower interest rate.

It means you'll need to look carefully at any restrictions on withdrawals (which could limit the frequency, or the amount you take out) before opening an easy-access account.

Vaishali Varu

Vaishali graduated in journalism from Leeds University and she has experience working with the likes of Leicester Mercury, Inews and The Week. She also comes from a marketing background, where she has done copywriting and content creation for businesses. 

Currently writing about all things personal finance, Vaishali is passionate about finding the best deals around, whether it's the best credit cards or the cheapest personal loans, as well as sharing top money hacks to help people save and better manage their money. 

With contributions from