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How to find the best savings account

We round up the best savings rates on the market in 2019 and explain how to pick the right account for you. 

In this article
Best savings rates vs inflation What are the best savings deals in 2019? Who are the best and worst savings providers?
Who are Which?'s Recommended Providers? About Which?'s savings account research

Best savings rates vs inflation

Inflation dropped to 1.5% in October 2019, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), mainly due to the energy price cap and a fall in the cost of furniture.

Below shows the accounts paying the most interest on cash across instant-access, notice and fixed-rate deals. This page is updated weekly, every Thursday. 

For live savings rates, the Which? Money Compare savings tables let you search hundreds of savings accounts from providers large and small to find a great account based on the quality of service as well as cost and benefits.

Regular savings accounts

The best regular savings accounts pay a higher interest rate than the current rate of inflation, but to access them you'll need to have a current account with the same provider.

In the past, these accounts have offered interest rates as high as 5% but these have disappeared in the last couple of month.

The Kent Reliance One-Year Regular Saver pays the best rate of 3% AER for a year.

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 into a regular savings account: maximum monthly deposits are typically around £250.

What's more, the rates are only payable for a limited time - typically 12 months.

Current accounts

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% AER after that. 

TSB's Classic Plus account pays 3% AER on balances up to £1,500, generating a maximum return of £75. 

 

What are the best savings deals in 2019?

Instant-access savings accounts (unlimited withdrawals)

Excluding accounts with limited withdrawals or other restrictions, the best instant-access savings rate in our table is 1.45% AER, offered by Marcus by Goldman Sachs

It's worth noting that the account includes a year-long bonus of 0.7% AER, so you may want to switch to a more competitive account after the first 12 months.

The next best rate is 1.4% AER and is offered by Saga (over 55s only, £1 deposit).

None of these accounts can match the current rate of inflation. 

One-year fixed-rate savings accounts 

If you're willing to tie up your savings for a year, Bank of London & The Middle East offers the best rate in our table, at 1.8% EPR. It's a Sharia-compliant product, and so offers an expected profit rate - or EPR - as opposed to interest (AER).

The next-best rate is 1.75% AER from Zenith Bank (UK) Limited.

Find out more: Islamic finance and Sharia-compliant savings

Two-year fixed-rate savings accounts 

The best rate for a two-year account is from United Bank UK, which offers 2% AER.

Bank of London & The Middle East offers the next-best rate, at 1.95% EPR. Again, this is a Sharia-compliant product, and so offers an expected profit rate as opposed to interest. 

Three-year fixed-rate savings accounts 

The best three-year fixed rate is currently 2.21% AER, from Secure Trust Bank.

United Bank UK pays the next-best rate of 2.2% AER.

Four-year fixed-rate savings accounts

The top rate for a four-year term is currently 2.29% AER, offered by Secure Trust Bank.

Bank of London & The Middle East offers the next-best rate in our table, at 2.1% EPR.

The account from Bank of London & Middle East is a sharia-compliant product, and so offers an expected profit rate as opposed to interest. 

Five-year fixed-rate savings accounts 

Secure Trust Bank currently offers the best rate of 2.37% AER.

UBL UK offers the next-highest rate, at 2.36% AER.

The links take you to Which? Money Compare, a comparison site for savings accounts offered by Which? Financial Services.

Who are the best and worst savings providers?

We know that customer service is an important factor for many people when choosing a savings account. But how do you find a bank or building society that pays great rates and provides top-notch customer service?

Which? is here to help. We've asked thousands of real customers to rate dozens of savings companies, resulting in unique Customer Scores to show you how satisfied people are with their provider.

We've also analysed thousands of savings products, generating an overall product score, to see which companies offer consistently competitive rates. 

To be a Which? Recommended Provider, a company must:

  • Achieve an above-average product score (currently 62%).
  • Have a savings account which sits in the top 10 in at least one category and another account sitting within the top half of at least one category.
  • Be fully covered by the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
  • Offer products which are available nationally and are not tied to the purchase of another product with the same provider.

The table below ranks the best and worst savings providers. 

Provider undefined Product score Customer service Rate of interest paid

Recommended provider


Marcus by
Goldman Sachs
79% 63% -

4 out of 5

First Direct 77% 60%

5 out of 5

3 out of 5

Recommended provider


RCI Bank UK
75% 63% -

4 out of 5

Yorkshire Bank 73% 63%

5 out of 5

2 out of 5

Recommended provider


Aldermore Bank
73% 65%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

Recommended provider


Shawbrook Bank
73% 80%

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

Recommended provider


Paragon Bank
72% 65%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

Nationwide BS 70% 73%

5 out of 5

3 out of 5

M&S Bank 69% 80%

5 out of 5

4 out of 5

Kent Reliance 69% 70%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

Metro Bank 69% 73%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

Coventry BS 68% 85%

5 out of 5

3 out of 5

Post Office Money 67% 68%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

Skipton BS 66% 83%

5 out of 5

3 out of 5

Yorkshire BS 65% 58%

4 out of 5

2 out of 5

National Savings &
Investments (NS&I)
65% 83%

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

Santander 64% 85%

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

Barclays 64% 75%

4 out of 5

2 out of 5

Virgin Money 64% 80%

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

Halifax 63% 75%

4 out of 5

2 out of 5

Tesco Bank 63% 73%

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

Lloyds Bank 63% 75%

4 out of 5

2 out of 5

HSBC 63% 85%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

NatWest 62% 75%

3 out of 5

2 out of 5

TSB 62% 63%

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

The Co-operative
Bank
62% 70%

4 out of 5

2 out of 5

Leeds BS 61% 70%

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

Clydesdale Bank 60% 80%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

Sainsbury's Bank 58% 58%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

Royal Bank of Scotland 56% 63%

3 out of 5

1 out of 5

Bank of Scotland 54% 75% - -
Britannia 53% 58% - -

 

Star ratings: a - indicates that we did not get enough responses on a particular aspect of a provider's service to generate a star rating. 

Aldermore (55); Bank of Scotland (92); Barclays (414); Britannia (40); Clydesdale Bank (43); Coventry BS (124); First Direct; (157); Halifax (513); HSBC (384); Kent Reliance (62); Leeds BS (76); Lloyds Bank (397); M&S Bank (72); Marcus by Goldman Sachs (50); Metro Bank (48); NS&I (205), Nationwide BS (514); NatWest (348), Paragon Bank (60); Post Office Money (93); RCI Bank UK (47); RBS (136); Sainsbury's Bank (77); Santander (441), Shawbrook Bank (49); Skipton BS (78); Tesco Bank (122); The Co-operative Bank (88); TSB (156); Virgin Money (153); Yorkshire Bank (43); Yorkshire BS (101). Overall average sample size 5,536.

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 62%).

Despite First Direct and Yorkshire Bank scoring 70% or more for customer satisfaction, they are not eligible for WRP status as First Direct's savings products are tied to the purchase of its 1st Current Account and Yorkshire Bank doesn't have a top 10 product.

Who are Which?'s Recommended Providers?

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs has the highest customer score this year, receiving 79%. Customers gave it five stars (out of five) for its application process, and praised its rate of interest.

See details about the Marcus by Goldman Sachs top-paying instant-access account.

RCI Bank

RCI Bank achieved a customer score of 75% this year, with customers rating it highly across the board - particularly when it comes to transparent charges and clarity of statement.

See details about RCI Bank's top-paying instant-access account. 

Aldermore Bank

A great customer score, and a decent overall product score, Aldermore Bank offers a combination of competitive fixed-rate bonds and variable-rate accounts.

See details about Aldermore Bank's top-paying instant-access account.

Shawbrook Bank

No stranger to the top-rate spot, Shawbrook Bank's rate of interest has been praised, along with its transparent charges by customers.

See details about Shawbrook Bank's top-paying instant-access account.

Paragon Bank

Paragon Bank scored an impressive 72% in our customer satisfaction survey and a product score of 65%.

See details about Paragon Bank's top-paying instant-access account.

The links take you to Which? Money Compare, a comparison site for Isas offered by Which? Financial Services.

About Which?'s savings account research

Which? Customer Score

Which?'s 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.

We surveyed 5,536 members of the general public in July 2019.

Product score

We analyse the key elements of savings accounts, including account management and restrictions to calculate a product rating score. 

Which? Recommended Provider status

A Customer Score of 70% makes a brand eligible for Which? Recommended Provider status, but we’ll only award this if it has an average or above product score.

It must also offer an account sitting in the top 10 in at least one category of savings accounts and, if it offers more than one account, another product sitting within the top half of at least one category.

This ensures that the providers we endorse have a set of products that offer consistently good rates, along with excellent customer service. 

Important note

The links take you to Which? Money Compare, a comparison site for savings accounts offered by Which? Financial Services.

Please note that the information in this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute advice. Please refer to the particular terms and conditions of the savings account provider before committing to any financial products.

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