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Best high interest bank accounts

Not sure which current account would suit you best? We've made it easier for you by selecting the best high-interest current accounts.

In this article
Top current accounts for savers compared Virgin Money Current Account 2.02% on £1,000  Nationwide FlexDirect 2% on £2,500 fixed for a year 
Using multiple high-interest current accounts to boost savings How to make the most of high-interest current accounts

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 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) and if you want to maximise returns, read our step-by-step guide to opening multiple high-interest bank accounts below.

Provider Account
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Interest
rate

Min funding

per month

Perks
Clydesdale Bank

 

More info

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). Linked savings account pays 0.5% as of 1 July 2020 (was 1%). 

Virgin Money Current Account (was B Account) 63% 2.02% £0

Linked savings account pays 0.5%

No debit card fees abroad

Yorkshire Bank

 

More info

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). Linked savings account pays 0.5% as of 1 July 2020 (was 1%).

 

Virgin Money Current Account (was B Account) 69% 2.02% £0

Linked savings account pays 0.5%

No debit card fees abroad

Recommended provider

Nationwide

 

More info

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 78% 2% £1,000 Fee-free overdraft for a year
TSB

 

More info

TSB currently pays 1.50% AER (1.49% gross) on balances up to £1,500 but this offer ends 2 Dec 2020 - from then, this account will pay no interest at all. You must pay in £500/mth, register for internet banking/paperless statements and log in regularly to earn interest. Max two accounts (one must be joint).

Classic Plus (closed to new customers from 23 Sept)

65% 1.5% (0% from 2 Dec) £500 Promises to refund all innocent victims of fraud. Read more about this here.
Bank of Scotland

 

More info

As of 1 Oct 2020, Vantage accounts pay 0.6% AER under £3,000 and 1.5% AER from £4,000 to £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 64% 0.6% £1,000  
Lloyds Bank

 

More info

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)

Santander

 

More info

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. You must pay in £500/mth, pay out two direct debits, and cover the monthly fee of £5 to earn interest. Max two accounts (one must be joint).

123 70% 0.6% £500 1% to 3% cashback on bills paid by direct debit including Santander mortgages (capped at £5 per tier)

Recommended provider

Starling Bank

 

More info

Earn 0.05% on balances up to £85,000. Managed via a mobile banking app.

Personal Account 83% 0.05% £0 No debit card fees abroad

 

Data correct as of October 2020

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 4,216 members of the general public in September 2019. 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 £2,500 fixed for a year 

While Santander, Lloyds and TSB began slashing interest rates on their flagship current accounts as early as August 2016, Nationwide held off and maintained a rate of 5% on balances up to £2,500 for its FlexDirect customers. 

However, on 1 May 2020, the credit interest rate fell 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.

This is the first time the building society has reduced the rate on its popular FlexDirect account since it was launched in November 2012. 

Existing FlexDirect members outside the introductory period (of 12 months) will have their credit interest rate reduced to 0.25% AER, on balances of up to £1,500, from 1 July (was 1% AER).

Any FlexDirect accounts applied for before 1 May will continue to receive credit interest of 5% AER on balances of up to £2,500 for the remainder of their 12-month introductory period.

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. 

But, Nationwide is near the very top of our customer satisfaction tables year after year, as rated by members of the public who hold a current account with the building society.

It's a Recommended Provider once again, following our banking survey in September 2019. 

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.

How to make the most of high-interest current accounts

Our example applies to a saver with £4,000 available to leave in high-interest current accounts and a further £1,000 to circulate between them.

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 

Banks often offer cash incentives to attract new customers - we compile the latest current account switching incentives here - and switching should only take seven working days.

In this example, we open the First Direct account which regularly pays £100 for switching and is a Which? Recommended Provider for current accounts, earning the top star rating for customer service and its mobile, telephone and internet banking. 

Start with £1,000 in this account that will be used to circulate around your high-interest current accounts and return to the same account each month. 

Step 4: Open multiple high-interest current accounts

Let's imagine you have a further £4,000 to play with. You could put £2,500 in a Nationwide FlexDirect account (earning just shy of £30 in the first year) and another £1,500 in a TSB Plus Account (earning £22.38 from May 2020) .

If you have more available to save, look further down our table.

For example, the Santander 123 account is the only one paying interest on balances up to £20,000, as well as up to 3% cashback on bills paid by direct debit from your 123 account.

If you could deposit the full £20,000, you'd earn £200 a year (£140 after the £5 monthly fee). 

Step 5: Transfer cash from your main current account

Transfer the £1,000 from your First Direct account into your Nationwide FlexDirect account so that you meet the minimum £1,000 deposit each month.

At this point, your Nationwide FlexDirect balance will stand at £3,500.

Step 6: Circulate it between other high-interest current accounts

Now, transfer that £1,000 from your Nationwide FlexDirect account to your TSB Plus account (the minimum monthly deposit on TSB's Plus account is £500 a month).

The balance on your TSB account will now stand at £2,500.

Step 7: Transfer it back to your main current account

Finally, transfer £1,000 from your TSB Plus account back into your main First Direct account.

Step 8: Repeat steps 5 to 7 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?

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