Economy & Policy

The top easy-access savings accounts

Savers looking to deposit their money into an easy-access savings account may be disheartened by the crop of rates on offer, with most providers paying less than 1pc. The average, according to the Bank of England, is just 0.15pc – down 65pc in just one year.

Remember, there are alternative ways to save that people should consider, such as in current accounts and peer-to-peer lending.

Best easy-access accounts

Charter Savings Bank pays a top rate of 1.26pc on balances of £1,000.  Balances must remain above £1,000 or the interest rate is reduced to 0.1pc.

Ulster Bank offers 1.25pc and accounts can be opened online with £1.

However this is quite a complicated account to open. Those based in Great Britain who cannot have their identification documents verified electronically may have to bring their documents to a local NatWest or Royal Bank of Scotland branch. The providers will then take a copy and send it to Ulster Bank, which is based in Northern Ireland.

In these cases, it may take a few days for the accounts to be opened.

Customers are then able to make withdrawals from the account or make additional deposits by online transfer, on the mobile app or using telephone banking.

  • Are your savings safe in Renault’s new bank?
  • Reader Service: Find out how to increase your savings income by up to 350% with the Telegraph Concierge Cash Service

Virgin Money’s limited access account offers 1.21pc on deposits starting at £1. The accounts can be opened online.

There is a maximum of two easy access withdrawals per year.

Bank of Cyprus UK, RCI Bank and Shawbrook Bank all have easy access accounts that pay a slightly lower rate of 1.2pc. All these accounts can be opened online.

Bank of Cyprus allows the account to be opened with just £1 however the 1.2pc rate includes a 0.6pc bonus which is only paid for the first 12 months.

RCI Bank customers must have at least £100 to open the account.

RCI’s Freedom Savings account is online only and can be opened with £100. The French provider is not covered by the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme which protects funds of up to £85,000.

Instead it subscribes to the French equivalent which covers €100,000. Should the bank go bust customers will claim their money back in the same way as in the UK however there may be issues with language and the exchange rate.