Three in 10 do not have enough savings to cover three months’ essential spending amid cost of living crunch, Which? reveals

Three in 10 people with savings accounts do not have enough savings to cover three months’ essential spending in case of an emergency, according to Which?’s annual survey revealing the best savings account providers. 

The coronavirus crisis has seen saving rates plummet to record lows, while pressures on the cost of living are making it harder than ever for some people to build up their cash reserves. And while there are no longer many good deals on the market, the consumer champion’s latest research shows some options are much better than others. 

The findings come as Marcus by Goldman Sachs and Coventry Building Society are named Which? Recommended Providers (WRPs) due to their high customer and product scores. Product scores are based on Which?’s statistical analysis and take into account nine elements including providers’ interest rates, opening restrictions, conditions to access and whether there is a high minimum investment. 

The consumer champion’s survey of 4,800 savings account holders gave savings providers an overall customer score, based on satisfaction and likelihood to recommend. Separate ratings were given for criteria such as the ease of the application process, rate of interest paid, customer service and transparency of charges and penalties. 

Marcus by Goldman Sachs achieved an overall customer score of 68 per cent and performed strongly across the board. The provider received five stars for its application process, clarity of statements and online banking service. 

Coventry Building Society was awarded a customer score of 66 per cent. It received four stars for its regular communication, clarity of statements and online service. 

Both Marcus’ and Coventry Building Society’s interest rates were awarded three stars amid record-low average rates. No providers scored more than three stars on this measure.

Monzo Bank (73%) and First Direct (70%) received the highest customer scores of all providers surveyed. Both banks achieved five stars for their application process, mobile banking app and online banking services, however they missed out on WRP status because neither offered competitive interest rates. 

HSBC, Clydesdale Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Sainsbury’s Bank all performed poorly, receiving customer scores below 50 per cent. 

HSBC achieved a customer score of 46 per cent. It received only two stars for its customer service, clarity of statements and branch service and just one star for its interest rates. 

While six in 10 (61%) respondents said they had three months’ worth of savings in case of an emergency, around three in 10 (30%) said they did not. Nearly half of Monzo customers said they did not hold three months’ worth of savings, despite saying their main reason for saving was ‘for emergencies’. 

Around four in 10 respondents (42%) said they were not saving for a particular reason, while one in seven (15%) were saving for retirement income, with customers of Yorkshire Building Society, NS&I, Marcus and Coventry Building Society twice as likely to say this compared to the average across all providers. 

One in 10 (10%) respondents told Which? they were saving for a property deposit. That figure doubled for Monzo customers. 

One in four (24%) respondents said they had less than £1,000 in savings. One in 10 (10%) had between £5,001 and £10,000 in savings.


Gareth Shaw, Head of Which? Money, said: 

“This is a really challenging time for savers thanks to near-universal poor interest rates, however our results show that there are some competitive deals out there from providers offering good customer service. 

“Savers shouldn’t put up with below-average rates or customer service. For anyone not happy with their provider, it may be worth doing some research and switching to a better option.” 



Notes to Editors: 

  • On behalf of Which?, YouGov conducted an online survey of 4,803 Savings Accounts Holders including 4,469 nationally representative sample plus 334 boosted sample to providers with small sample sizes. Fieldwork was undertaken between 31st August – 16th September 2021.  


Provider Customer score Product score
Monzo Bank 73% 65%
First Direct 70% 64%
Marcus by Goldman Sachs 68% 76%
Coventry Building Society 66% 84%
Nationwide Building society 65% 75%
Principality Building Society 65% 66%
Paragon Bank 64% 68%
Aldermore bank 63% 51%
Atom Bank 62% 75%
Yorkshire Building Society 62% 66%
Metro bank 60% 84%
Skipton Building Society 60% 60%
Leeds Building Society 58% 51%
The Co-operative bank 56% 78%
Lloyds Bank 55% 78%
NatWest 55% 74%
Santander 55% 78%
Bank of Scotland 55% 78%
Halifax 54% 78%
Barclays Bank 54% 93%
TSB Bank 52% 74%
Post Office Money 52% 64%
Britannia (merge with The Co-operative bank) 51% 78%
National Savings & Investments (NS&I) 51% 67%
Virgin Money 50% 71%
Sainsbury’s Bank 49% 56%
Royal Bank of Scotland 49% 74%
Clydesdale bank (Merge with Virgin Money) 46% 71%
HSBC 46% 84%


  • Table notes: Which? Recommended Providers (WRPs) in bold. Customer scores based on a survey of 4,469 UK savings account holders in September 2021. 


  • Sample sizes: Monzo Bank (85), First Direct (153), Marcus by Goldman Sachs (70), Coventry Building Society (88), Nationwide Building society (483), Principality Building Society (51), Paragon Bank (50), Aldermore bank (50), Atom Bank (50), Yorkshire Building Society (70), Metro bank (49), Skipton Building Society (50), Leeds Building Society (50), The Co-operative bank (85), Lloyds Bank (411), NatWest (426), Santander (398), Bank of Scotland (104), Halifax (411), Barclays Bank (399), TSB Bank (156), Post Office Money (52), Britannia (merge with The Co-operative bank) (51), National Savings & Investments (NS&I) (159), Virgin Money (124), Sainsbury’s Bank (49), Royal Bank of Scotland (115), Clydesdale bank (Merge with Virgin Money) (50), HSBC (334).


About Which?

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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