Top current accounts for savers compared
High street banks are paying current account customers as much as 2% credit interest - better than most savings accounts - and you can open a bank account online in a matter of minutes.
Our first table shows the best deals for credit balances of £1,000 (click 'more info' to find out how to qualify for interest on the accounts). The second table shows the top bank switching offers.
If you want to maximise returns, read our step-by-step guide to opening multiple high-interest bank accounts below.
The B digital bank has been rebranded after Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank Group (CYBG) agreed to pay £1.7 billion for Virgin Money. Now pays 2.02% AER (2% gross) on balances up to £1,000 (previously paid 0.5% on up to £2,000). Managed via a mobile banking app. Max two accounts (one must be joint).
|Virgin Money Current Account (was B Account)||61%||2.02%||£0|| |
No debit card fees abroad
On 1 May 2020, Nationwide reduced the credit interest from 5% to 2% AER (1.98% gross) on balances of up to £1,500 for the first 12 months (falling to 0.25% after.) The 'Refer a friend' scheme is currently paused. Max two accounts per person (one must be joint).
|FlexDirect||74%||2% (0.25% after a year)||£1,000||Fee-free overdraft for a year|
|Bank of Scotland |
As of 1 Oct 2020, Classic with Vantage pays 0.60% AER/gross p.a. variable on balances from £1 up to and including £3,999.99, and 1.50% AER (1.49% gross p.a.) variable from £4,000 up to and including £5,000. You won’t earn interest on any balance over £5,000. Vantage must be added to your account. Must pay in £1,000/mth, stay in credit and pay out two direct debits. Max three accounts per person.
|Classic with Vantage||62%||0.6%||£1,000|
|Lloyds Bank |
As of 1 Oct 2020, Club accounts pays 0.6% AER on balances under £4,000 and 1.5% from £4,000-£5000 (was 1% and 2% respectively). Lloyds previously paid 1.5% on balances up to £5,000. Must pay out two direct debits. Monthly fee of £3 applies in any month you don't pay in £1,500. Max two accounts (one must be joint).
|Club Account||69%||0.6%||£1,500|| |
Free annual gift (6 x Vue/Cineworld tickets, or mag subscription, or Gourmet Society membership)
You must pay in £500/mth, pay out two direct debits, and cover the monthly fee of £5 to earn interest on this account. On 5 May 2020, Santander reduced the interest rate from 1.5% to 1% on your entire balance up to £20,000. On 3 August 2020, the rate was slashed again - to 0.6% on balances up to £20,000. From April 2021, it will pay 0.3% and the monthly account fee will fall from £5 to £4. Max two accounts per person (one must be joint).
|123||63%||0.6% (0.3% from April 2021)||£500||1% to 3% cashback on bills paid by direct debit including Santander mortgages (capped at £5 per tier)|
Recommended providerStarling Bank
Earn 0.05% on balances up to £85,000. Managed via a mobile banking app.
|Personal Account||88%||0.05%||£0||No debit card fees abroad|
Data correct as of January 2021
Which? Customer Score: Our rating for customer satisfaction, based on feedback from real customers. The score is made up of a customer's overall satisfaction with the brand, and how likely they are to recommend that brand to a friend. We surveyed 4,501 members of the general public in September 2020. Our full table includes scores and star ratings for all banks.
Virgin Money Current Account 2.02% on £1,000
The digital banking service known simply as 'B from Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank has been rebranded as the Virgin Money Current Account, following the £1.7bn takeover in 2018.
The Virgin Money account pays the top rate of 2.02% AER (2% gross) on balances up to £1,000 and you can apply for a linked savings account paying 0.5% AER.
There are also no foreign transaction fees when you pay with your debit card or take out cash abroad - charges can be as high as 3.75% for withdrawals and purchases so this is a big saving for regular travellers.
Unlike most providers, Virgin Money doesn't insist that you pay in a certain amount every month to earn interest and there's no requirement to maintain a minimum number of direct debits.
Find out more: Best and worst banks rated by customers
Nationwide FlexDirect 2% on £1,500 fixed for a year
Until May, Nationwide's FlexDirect account paid a market-leading 5% AER for 12 months, followed by an ongoing rate of 1%
The credit interest rate has fallen to 2% AER on balances of up to £1,500, fixed for the first 12 months. Thereafter, the rate reverts to 0.25% AER on balances up to £1,500.
Some other benefits have already been pulled - in April 2019, Nationwide withdrew its Flex Regular Online Saver which paid 5% on regular payments of up to £250 a month for a year.
Using multiple high-interest current accounts to boost savings
Given the poor rates of interest offered on savings accounts, many savers are opening multiple high-interest current accounts to maximise their returns.
The drawback with this type of account is that banks apply restrictions, such as minimum monthly payments.
However, we explain how you can work within these rules to beat the limits and make the most of your cash savings.
Step 1: Find highest current account interest rates
Our table above shows you the best rates available on current accounts, along with the number of accounts you can open.
Step 2: Check the high-interest account requirements
Banks often set specific account requirements – such as fees, minimum monthly deposits and direct debits - to qualify for interest or to avoid paying a monthly fee on the account.
Each account limits the balance on which you can earn interest but, in most cases, banks will allow you to open a second main or joint account, essentially doubling that amount.
Watch out for accounts with tiered interest (where you get a higher rate for having a higher balance) as you must have a balance within the top tier to earn the top rate of interest. At lower tiers, these accounts become less competitive.
Step 3: Earn instant cash for switching
Before you start moving savings about, there's an easier way to save money.
Banks often offer cash incentives to attract new customers - in some cases over £100 - and switching should only take seven working days.
Look out for conditions, such as depositing a certain amount, or using online banking services by a specific date.
Step 4: Open multiple high-interest current accounts
The number of accounts you'll need to open depends on how much money you're looking to save.
This is because accounts will only pay interest on balances up to a certain amount - see the notes on the table above. You want to make sure there's no 'excess' money sitting in accounts but not earning interest.
Step 5: Circulate it between other high-interest current accounts
Most banks also require you to pay a certain amount into accounts each month.
Take a sum from your savings, equal to highest minimum deposit of the accounts you hold. So if you have three accounts, with minimums of £500, £1,000 and £1,500, put aside £1,500.
This sum will be continually circulated between these accounts.
Step 6: Deposit the rest of your savings in the other accounts
Divide the rest of your money between all the accounts, starting with the highest-earning account.
Once you've deposited the maximum sum the account will pay interest on, deposit money into the next highest-paying account and so on.
Step 7: Repeat step 5 each month
The easiest way to do this is to set up standing orders (instructions to your bank to pay a set amount at regular intervals to another account) so that the transfers take place automatically every month.
This means you meet the requirements of all the accounts and earn the most interest possible on the whole sum.
Find out more: Direct debits and standing orders - which is better for regular payments?