Best easy access savings accounts – January 2023
Rising interest rates have boosted the returns on instant-access savings accounts. We look at the top rates available on the market now.
The Bank of England (BoE) raised interest rates to 3.5% when it last met mid-December. The 0.5% was less aggressive than November's 0.75% one, but it took interest rates to their highest levels since 2008.
The increases are part of the BoE's efforts to get inflation back to its target of 2%. Though it has fallen over the last two months, it's still at 10.5% – five times the bank's desired target.
This spells bad news for borrowers as mortgage rates remain over the 5% mark. But rising interest rates benefit savers 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 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.
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's instant access saver pays a 2% 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 awarded as a bonus to your Chip Instant Access account, not 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.
Zopa Smart Saver Access Pot – 2.86%
Zopa's Smart Saver Access Pot lets you withdraw money whenever you want, but it also offers boosted pots for accounts with seven (2.91%), 31 (3.06%) and 95 (3.26%) days notice.
You need a minimum deposit of £1 and can save up to £85,000. Download the app to manage the account.
Al Rayan Bank Everyday Saver – 2.81%
Al Rayan Bank's Everyday Saver is a Shariah-compliant account that offers an expected profit rate of 2.81%. The account must be opened and operated online and has a minimum investment of £5,000.
Welcome to Newbury Saver – 2.80%
This account is only available to new members. You need an opening balance of £50, and can have a maximum balance of £3,000. You have 14 days from opening the account to make your deposit, otherwise the account will be closed.
Interest will be paid annually on October 31 or upon closure. It can be credited to this account, another Newbury Building Society account, or your bank account. If your balance dips below the minimum operating balance, a variable rate of 1.20% will be paid.
Tandem Instant Access Saver – 2.75%
There’s no minimum deposit required to open Tandem’s account, which is opened and managed exclusively through the company’s app. You can withdraw your savings as often as you like with no fees or charges.
Atom Bank Instant Saver – 2.55%
Atom Bank’s Instant Saver is one of the top-paying savings accounts on the market at the moment. However, the account can only be opened and managed online via Atom’s app.
Savers can open the account with £0. It’s possible to move to fixed rate deals with higher rates of interest within the app. Atom’s 6 month fixed saver offers a rate of 3.55%.
Chase Saver Account – 2.7%
If you have Chase current account, then you can now take advantage of the linked savings account too paying 2.7%.
You need £1 to open the account. The benefit here is that the Chase Bank account also gives you 1% cashback for a year on all your everyday purchases, so you can boost your savings as you spend.
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.