How to find the best savings account
By Chiara Cavaglieri
How to find the best savings account
We round up the best savings rates on the market and explain how to pick the right account for you.
How to beat inflation
With inflation at 2.9%, it's hard for savers to find an account that pays enough to protect their money from losing value in real terms.
Of the 750 savings accounts on the market that are without eligibility restrictions, not one can beat or match inflation.
Here we round up the best accounts currently available.
The Which? Money Compare savings and Isa tables let you search hundreds of savings accounts from providers large and small to find a great account based on quality of service as well as cost and benefits.
Regular savings accounts
The best regular savings accounts pay rates that are high enough to outstrip inflation, but to access them, you'll need to have a current account with the same provider. First Direct, HSBC, M&S Bank, Nationwide and Santander all have regular savings accounts that pay a market-leading 5% AER for 12 months, but only existing current account customers are eligible.
Bear in mind that unlike fixed-rate bonds or instant-access accounts, which allow you to deposit a lump sum, you'll be much more restricted on the amounts you can pay in to a regular savings account- maximum monthly deposits range from £250 to £500. What's more, the rates are only payable for a limited time - typically 12 months.
Despite a series of rate cuts on popular interest-paying current accounts, many still offer meaningful returns, albeit only on small balances. You'll also need to make sure you pay in the required minimum monthly amount to qualify for interest.
Nationwide's FlexDirect account pays 5% AER on balances up to £2,500 for the first 12 months, generating a maximum return of £125. The rate will drop to 1% after that.
Tesco Bank's Current and TSB's Classic Plus accounts pay 3% AER on balances up to £3,000 and £1,500 respectively. What's more, Tesco Bank guarantees to pay 3% AER until 1 April 2019.
Savings account deals
Instant-access savings accounts (unlimited withdrawals)
Excluding accounts with limited withdrawals or other restrictions, the best instant-access savings rate in our tables is 1.25% AER, offered by Ulster Bank.
Bank of Cyprus UK, RCI Bank UK and Shawbrook Bank offer the next best rates in our table, all paying 1.2% AER.
RCI Bank is not covered under the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme. However, your savings are protected to €100,000 under the French equivalent.
One-year fixed-rate savings accounts
If you’re willing to tie up your savings for a year, the best rate in our tables is 1.9% AER, offered by Atom Bank and Al Rayan Bank. Al Rayan's advertised rate is the expected profit rate in accordance with Sharia law
Secure Trust Bank offers the next best rate in our table, at 1.85% AER.
Two-year fixed-rate savings accounts
Al Rayan Bank offers the best two-year fixed-rate savings account in our table, paying 2.2% AER. The advertised rate is the expected profit rate in accordance with Sharia law.
Secure Trust Bank offers the next best rate in our table, paying 2.11% AER.
Three-year fixed-rate savings accounts
Al Rayan Bank offers the best rate in our three-year fixed-rate savings account table, paying 2.3% AER. The advertised rate is the expected profit rate in accordance with Sharia law.
Secure Trust Bank offers the next best rate in our table, paying 2.26% AER.
Four-year fixed-rate savings accounts
Secure Trust Bank offers the best rate in our four-year fixed-rate savings account table, paying 2.31% AER.
Tesco Bank offers the next best rate in our table, at 2.12% AER.
Five-year fixed-rate savings accounts
The best rate on a five-year savings account available in our tables is 2.51% AER, and is offered by Secure Trust Bank.
Atom Bank offers the next best rates in our table, paying 2.4% AER.
The best and worst savings providers for customer satisfaction
We know that customer service is an important factor for many consumers when choosing a savings account. That's why the Which? Money Compare comparison tables include our unique customer satisfaction ratings alongside each account.
You can also see the scores, and Which? Recommended savings Providers below.
It's worth bearing in mind that a fair proportion of the best rate savings accounts are internet-only. If you've got your heart set on a branch-based account, then you will probably have to settle for a slightly lower interest rate.
|Customer satisfaction for savings|
|Provider||Customer service||Rates of interest||Regular communication||Transparency of charges/penalties||Product Score||Customer Score|
|Al Rayan Bank||n/a||56%||75%|
|Charter Savings Bank||n/a||n/a||n/a||58%||75%|
|RCI Bank UK||n/a||n/a||68%||72%|
|West Brom BS||n/a||68%||69%|
|Bank of Scotland||73%||56%|
|National Savings and Investments (NS&I)||58%||55%|
|Post Office Money||65%||53%|
|Royal Bank of Scotland||88%||52%|
|ICICI Bank UK||n/a||n/a||68%||51%|
We’ve also looked at the main elements of an instant-access savings account and have introduced a scoring system as a way of comparing each account on an equal basis. For a provider to be eligible for WRP status, it must achieve an average or above score for its instant-access savings account (currently 69%).
Choose the right type of savings account
- Last updated: 15 September 2017
- Updated by: Jo Langenhan