The cost of living crisis and spiralling inflation has led to the Bank of England hiking interest rates. While this has been a blow for many mortgage borrowers, it has led to more competitive savings rates hitting the market.
Which? has analysed the best savings accounts currently available to consumers and has also found other ways for people to make the most from their bank accounts.
- Find the best savings account for you
There are various different ways to save your money, including regular savings accounts, instant-access, and fixed-rate bonds. When choosing between them, consider how often you’d like to be able to deposit and withdraw savings.
Which? regularly reviews the best savings deals. Our most recent check found that the best restriction-free instant-access savings rate is currently 3.15% AER (Annual Equivalent Rate), offered by Chip. However, you can find higher interest rates with a fixed-rate account, for example: the best rate for a two-year account is 4.47% EPR (Expected Profit Rate), offered by Al Rayan Bank (Rates correct as of 23 February 2023).
- Take advantage of switching offers
If you’re already looking to move banks, it’s worth seeing what incentives are on offer first. Switching to a new provider takes just seven working days and can often earn you a cash bonus.
For instance, NatWest has recently launched its highest-ever switching incentive for new and existing customers who move to its current accounts. Those thinking of switching to the NatWest Select and Reward current accounts could pocket £200 for the move. You can also get £200 if you switch to a TSB Spend and Save account, or Spend and Save Plus, using the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) by 24 March.
Be sure to read the fine print in the terms and conditions when thinking about switching to a new account.
- Packaged bank account perks
Packaged bank accounts offer perks such as travel insurance, breakdown cover or mobile phone insurance, in exchange for a monthly fee. Packaged accounts can offer a cheaper and more convenient way to insure yourself, but read the terms and conditions carefully.
Remember that these accounts are only worth having if you make the most of the benefits and services you’re paying for.
- Earn rewards and cashback through your account
Cashback can help you make money on your spending. Many banks and building societies offer cashback on monthly bills and loyalty rewards as an incentive to open or retain an account.
Some pay as much as £20 per month. The Santander 123 account was ranked highly by Which? and pays up to 3% cashback on selected household bills, capped at £5 per cashback tier each month – however, it also comes with a £4 monthly fee.
- Check the overdraft fees on your bank account
Going overdrawn can be costly, especially as some accounts charge up to 39.9% EAR (effective annual rate). If your bank charges a high rate of interest, it could be worth checking to see if you can switch to an account that offers a lower one – particularly if you use an overdraft regularly. Nationwide currently offers a free authorised overdraft on its FlexDirect account, subject to status, but this only lasts for the first year.
Reena Sewraz, Which? Money Expert, said:
“Many people are feeling financial pressure at the moment. However, there are steps you can take to get the most from your bank, by saving and even earning money.
“Search around to find the best savings account for you. If you’re looking for a new account or are thinking about switching providers, you might be able to get yourself a switching bonus of up to £200.”
Notes to editors
- Over the coming months, Which? will be highlighting free and useful money-saving advice every Monday to help consumers manage the ongoing cost of living crisis. The series will cover a range of topics, from how to save money on household bills, to childcare and travel.
- The Which? My Money Health Check is a free tool for anybody looking for ways to help them save money during the cost of living crisis.
- The Which? Money Podcast offers weekly advice to help you get on top of your bills and tackles the issues hitting your pocket – from spiralling energy costs to your weekly food shop.
Which? is the UK’s consumer champion, here to make life simpler, fairer and safer for everyone. Our research gets to the heart of consumer issues, our advice is impartial, and our rigorous product tests lead to expert recommendations. We’re the independent consumer voice that influences politicians and lawmakers, investigates, holds businesses to account and makes change happen. As an organisation we’re not for profit and all for making consumers more powerful.
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