Beware catches on easy-access deals paying 3%
RATES on best buy easy- access savings accounts are soaring. There are now 14 which offer more than 3 pc interest, as banks and building societies compete for cash.
But although the rates are attractive, trawling through a host of tedious terms and conditions can be a nightmare.
The accounts come with a vast array of rules you must obey to earn the headline rate.
Some offer a straightforward easy-access account where you put money in, then take it out as and when you want.
But others limit the number of withdrawals you can make, while some pay the top rate for only 12 months because they have added a short-term bonus.
Several accounts can only be opened online, while others are on offer in branches or even by post or telephone.
Others are only open to you if you have the right postcode.
Simple savings accounts with top rates come from Secure Trust Access Issue 6 (3.1 pc), Shawbrook Bank Easy Access Issue 33 ( 3.06 pc), Charter Savings Bank Easy Access Issue 33 (3.05 pc) and Ford Money Flexible Saver (3 pc). But these must all be opened online.
Ford Money is unusual in that it does not have issue numbers. With other providers, your rate will often differ depending on which issue you are in. Instead, Ford Money guarantees to pay the same rate to all customers.
Zopa Bank pays a higher 3.21 pc on its Smart Saver, but you need to open it through an app on a smartphone.
If you want a branch-based account, Swansea BS Instant Access Saver pays a better 3.25 pc. But you can only open one if you live in Wales — unless you are already a member of the society. You can also open the account by post, but not online.
Bath BS’s Instant Access account pays 3.09 pc, and you can open it online, in a branch, by phone or through the building society’s app. But you can only do so if you live, work or study in Bath, or if you are already a customer who has had a mortgage or savings account with the society for at least the past 12 months.
Newbury BS pays 3.05 pc on its Senior Saver account which is available only to those aged 55 or above. You can open and run the account through its branches and by post if you live in England or Wales.
Then come a host of easyaccess accounts which limit the number of withdrawals you can make each year. They can be run side-by- side with an ordinary easy-access account, and used to hold money that you are unlikely to need but prefer to have access to, rather than tying it up for a year or more.
The top rate comes from Yorkshire BS’s Rainy Day Account Issue 2, at 3.35 pc. But you only earn this on the first £5,000 in the account. Above this level, the rate drops to 2.85 pc.
You are limited to making withdrawals — as many as you want — on just two days a year. You can open the account online, through branches or by post.
Coventry BS offers a better six withdrawals a year on its Limited Access Saver Issue 8, but at a slightly lower rate of 3.1 pc. You can only open it online.
With two withdrawals a year, Principality BS Double Access pays 3.1 pc and Aldermore Double Access 3 pc. Both are only available online.
Harpenden BS Triple Access Saver at 3 pc allows you three withdrawals a year and you can open an account through its branches, by post or online.
Tandem Bank pays 3.2 pc including a 0.35 pc bonus for 12 months on its app-based Instant Access Savings Account. As an existing customer you earn the underlying rate of 2.85 pc unless you ask the bank to add the bonus to your account.