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12 Jun 2019

New chart-topping instant-access rate launched as savings battle heats up

Find out how the new account measures up

Savers looking for the option to withdraw cash freely now have even more choice, as Nottingham Building Society has upped the rate on its Beehive online saver.

The new offer of 1.5% AER puts the account among the UK's top-paying easy-access accounts.

But there's a catch - to earn the top rate, you'd need to keep several thousand pounds stored away.

We look at how this offer stacks up compared with other instant-access deals, as several providers compete for pole position.

Editor's note: this account was withdrawn by Nottingham Building Society on 12 June.

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Nottingham Building Society ups instant-access rate

The Beehive Online Saver is an instant-access account which is managed online. It allows you to make unlimited withdrawals without being charged, and you can deposit more at any time.

You must, however, open the account with at least a £2,500 deposit and keep this as your minimum balance to earn the top rate of 1.5% AER.

Interest is paid annually on 30 April and it can set up as a single or joint account.

Your estimated balance after 12 months if you opened the account with £2,500 and did not withdraw any money would be £2,537.50.

In October last year, Nottingham Building Society launched an instant-access account paying a whopping 1.55% AER, but it was pulled after just two days following high demand.

Find out more:how to find the best savings account?

Best instant-access savings accounts

While the Beehive saver is an eye-catching offer, other instant-access accounts offer a similar rate while allowing for smaller balances.

The Marcus by Goldman Sachs online saver also pays 1.50% AER, but you can open it with just £1. However, you'll only earn this bonus rate for the first 12 months - after that, it will drop to 1.35% AER.

Another account paying 1.5% on even the most modest deposits is the Virgin Double Take E-Saver. That said, this account has significant caveats - as the name suggests, savers are restricted to two withdrawals a year.

Meanwhile, Newbury Building Society will offer you 1.5% AER for a year with a minimum deposit of just £50 - and if you're already a member, you could even earn up to 1.75%. To open an account, though, you'll need to live in a specific postcode.

The table below shows the top-rate instant-access accounts currently available.

Provider/type of accountAERMinimum deposit
Nottingham Building Society Beehive Online Saver1.50%£2,500
Virgin Double-Take E-Saver1.50%£1
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account1.50%£1
Welcome to Newbury Building Society *1.50%£50

*Location restrictions apply.

Can the interest rate change?

The above products are all variable savings accounts. This means the provider can increase or decrease the interest rate at any time.

If the rate changes, your bank or building society will typically inform you within 14 days.

Many easy-access accounts, including the Marcus by Goldman Sachs and Newbury Building Society deals, offer customers an introductory bonus rate that's fixed for a set time - often 12 months.

After the introductory bonus expires, the rate payable on your cash may drop.

It's important to keep a close eye on your savings and switch to a better deal if your rate falls.

Are your savings protected?

Deposits into banks or building societies in the UK are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

The FSCS pays compensation of up to £85,000 per person, per financial institution, if your bank or savings company goes bust.

But this limit applies to each financial institution with a banking 'authorisation' - not to each bank account, or even each brand.

So, for example, if you had £50,000 in the Beehive Online Saver and another £50,000 in a Nottingham Building Society fixed-rate cash Isa, you'd potentially be putting £15,000 of your cash at risk if the building society collapsed.

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? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.