It’s been a tough year for savings, as banks have had to get to grips with coronavirus and the lowest Bank of England base rate in history – but which providers are still managing to offer a good service?
To help find out, we asked almost 6,500 people for their opinions on their savings provider, getting insight on everything from how easy the application process is to the provider’s customer service – and of course how good its products are.
Here, Which? reveals which providers came out on top, along with tips on how to choose the best savings account to suit your needs.
Best savings providers of 2020
In July 2020, we surveyed 6,474 members of the public about their savings providers to see how different banks and building societies fare for communications, complaints handling and fees.
We then asked savers how satisfied they were and whether they would recommend the provider in order to calculate an overall customer score.
Of the 37 providers we’ve got scores for, the 18 listed in this table performed the best in terms of customer satisfaction.
If you can’t spot your provider below, our guides on how to find the best savings account and how to find the best cash Isa both contain the full list – and are also updated weekly to show the top rates on the market.
Why should you consider saving with a Which? Recommended Provider?
Only the savings providers that combine excellent customer satisfaction with market-leading accounts and rates can become Which? Recommended Providers (WRPs).
This year, three brands have been named as WRPs: Aldermore, Principality Building Society and Skipton Building Society.
In order to qualify, a brand must:
- Have a customer service score of at least 70%
- Have at least one top-10 account
- Have an average or above-average product rating score.
Here’s what made the new WRPs stand out from the crowd and some information about the savings accounts they offer. Links will take you to more details on our comparison site, Which? Money Compare.
This is the second year in a row that Aldermore has been a Which? Recommended Provider. It achieved a strong customer score of 71%, with customers awarding it top marks for customer service, while also rating its clarity of statements, transparency of charges and interest rates highly.
Among the fixed and instant-access accounts on offer, Aldermore’s one-year fixed-term account offers a competitive rate of 0.75% AER.
Principality Building Society
Earning the highest customer score in our table, Principality Building Society scored an impressive 75%. Customers particularly appreciate the rate of interest it offers, awarding it four stars out of five.
Skipton Building Society
With a 70% customer score, Skipton Building Society achieved the highest possible rating for customer service. What’s more, its branch service, clarity of statements and transparency of charges were all rated highly, too.
Things to consider before applying for a savings account
Before making a decision about where to save your cash, note that the ‘best account’ for one person might not work for you – it all depends what you’re looking for. Here are a few things to consider before opening a new account:
- Does it offer the style of management you want? While some people prefer to do all of their banking online or via an app, for others it is still important to be able to visit a branch or chat to someone over the phone. Make sure your savings provider can give you the options you want to manage your account.
- How do the rates compare? While rates in general are very low right now, you should still make sure your savings are earning as much as possible. Even if your account doesn’t pay the highest rate, make sure it’s at least competitive or the value of your cash will be eroded by the effects of inflation.
- Are there any tricky terms? Some top-rate instant-access accounts come with extra restrictions – for instance, only allowing a certain number of withdrawals each year, or including a temporary bonus rate that will leave the account much less competitive at the end of the bonus period. Make sure you’re aware of these terms and don’t be caught out.
- Will there be any tax implications? Interest earned in a savings account will count towards your personal savings allowance; if you exceed it you’ll be charged tax on what you earn. However, all interest earned in a cash Isa (or any other Isa for that matter) remains tax-free, regardless of how much you earn. So, if you know you earn a large amount of interest, or you don’t have a personal savings allowance as you’re an additional-rate taxpayer, it may be best to opt for an Isa.
You can search through hundreds of cash Isas and savings accounts with Which? Money Compare.
Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Money Compare is a trading name of Which? Financial Services Limited.