Best savings accounts 2023

Forget putting your money under the mattress and hoping for the best. If you want the biggest bonuses, you need the best savings account. These are the smartest ways to save.

While we can't promise you'll be rich by the end of your first term, a high-interest savings account can earn you free money with any extra cash you might have.

UK interest rates may not be at their best at the moment, but something is better than nothing. With some accounts requiring as little as a £1 deposit to open, you don't have to wait until you're making a lot of money to get started.

Whether it's money from a part-time job, birthday cash from your parents, or child support loan balances, you can put it to good use with the best student savings accounts.

What's in this guide?

Things to consider before opening a  account
Choosing which type of savings account to choose?
Best Easy Access Savings Accounts
Best Fixed Rate Savings Accounts
Best Combined Checking/Savings Accounts

Things to do before opening a savings account

Before deciding which savings account to choose, there are five important things to think about.

1.Work out what sort of saver you are

Be realistic about the type of saver you are. Do you struggle to stay on budget and often need to spend on emergency supplies? Or can you afford to put some cash away and not touch it for a few years?

Some accounts have an early withdrawal penalty. If you're overly ambitious when choosing your account, you could lose all the money you've earned in interest if you have to withdraw money early.

With that in mind, be honest with yourself before choosing which account to choose.

2.Make sure your savings are protected

Thanks to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), any money (up to £85,000) in a savings account will be protected if things go wrong at the bank holding your money.

You'll get your money back within seven days if the bank fails, and the process is automatic, so there's no need to make a claim.

Whichever bank you choose, make sure it is secured by the FSCS.

3.Don't get taxed on your savings

The ‘preliminary savings rate' means that you don't have to pay tax on the interest on your savings until your total income (from your salary and interest) exceeds £5,000 of the £12,570 (ie £17,570) income tax threshold.

As your first £1,000 of interest in savings is also tax-free, you won't have to pay tax on your savings until your combined salary and interest income exceeds £18,570.

Note: If you have a higher Personal Allowance (for example, you receive Blindness Allowance), your minimum total income before tax on savings will be higher than £18,570 accordingly.

Alternatively, if you're in it for the long haul (for example, you plan to save long-term for a deposit on a house or something similar), choose a tax-free ISA or a lifetime ISA.

4.Try an automatic savings app

If you struggle to save cash regularly, look into automatic savings apps.

You must allow these apps to access your bank account. But when you do, they will be able to evaluate your performance and save accordingly.

This cash will go into a virtual savings fund and is only for as much as you think you can afford at the time. Sometimes it's a couple of quid, sometimes it's the price of a meal. It depends on how much your software calculates that you can save.

You can find the best automatic saving bots and apps in our guide.

5.Consider switching accounts for more interest

Some readily available savings accounts tempt you with generous interest rates that include a one-year bond or a variable rate that can plummet at any time.

Being smart with your savings means staying on top. Keep an eye on interest rates because they fluctuate unless you choose a fixed rate option. And if you find a better rate elsewhere, switch.

Be sure to stay tuned and switch when prices drop. Bookmark this page so you can come back to it when it's time to look for a new account.

It's your money, so make sure you get the most of it.

What kind of savings account should you get?

There are many savings accounts to choose from, and each has its own advantages.

Remember that if you earn £17,570 or more a year, you'll pay tax on any interest earned over £1,000.

If you're not working, or your total taxable salary and interest income is less than £18,570, you won't pay any tax on the savings. Be aware of this, and if the bank accidentally taxes you when you earn less than that amount, be sure to ask for a refund.

If you are concerned about paying tax on your savings, an ISA will be your best option. More on this below.

Main types of savings accounts

These are the main types of savings accounts.

  • Easily accessible savings accounts. You can withdraw money immediately without notice, but you tend to pay lower interest rates in return. Easy Access Savings is a good option for those who don't have a lot of cash but want to earn a little extra without draining emergency funds.
  • Fixed interest savings accounts. these accounts offer a slightly better interest rate, but you usually have to lock your money in them for three months to five years. Fixed rate savings accounts often have higher minimum deposit amounts. In most cases, withdrawing money early means you will lose your interest.
  • Checking Accounts – Some checking accounts are bundled with a savings account. We have the top picks below.
  • Cash ISA. All interest on ISA savings is tax-free. You can put up to £20,000 into an ISA each tax year, either in one account or by splitting the amount between several (if you have £20,000 in savings). ISAs can be good long-term savings approaches. The best options are featured in our guide to the best ISAs for students.
  • Lifetime ISAs – Also known as LISAs, these accounts can get you up to £1,000 a year in free money if you use them to buy your first home (or for retirement). Start saving now to get the maximum bonus.

The main decision you have to make at this point is: Do you need to access your savings right away, or can you put up with them being locked up for a year or more to earn decent interest? If it's the latter, you can usually get better rates with a fixed-rate savings account.

If you have a regular income, you can get the best rates with a checking account.

Best easy-access savings accounts

Easy access accounts (sometimes known as instant access accounts) usually pay reasonable interest rates. While some limit the number of withdrawals you can make each year, you don't have to wait for certain periods to withdraw.

Another important advantage is that they tend to have low minimum deposits. Just be sure to opt out and switch when the bonus rates expire after 12 months.

These are the best easily accessible savings accounts.

1.Zopa Smart Saver (1.5%)

Minimum deposit: £1

Entry: Apply and login through the app

Withdrawals: Unlimited.

2.Atom Bank Instant Saver (1.35%)

Minimum deposit: £0

Entry: Apply and login through the app

Withdrawals: Unlimited.

3.Cynergy Bank Online Easy Access Account (1.46%)

Minimum deposit: £1

Sign in and sign in online

Withdrawals: Unlimited.

4.Tandem Instant Access Saver (1.35%)

Minimum deposit: £0

Entry: Apply and login through the app

Withdrawals: Unlimited.

Best fixed-rate savings accounts

If you can save some money over a period of time, you will get the best interest on your savings with a fixed interest account.

Just make sure you can really afford to hide this cash. Some banks will waive your interest entirely if you withdraw early or even charge you a fee.

We offer these fixed rate savings accounts:

1.Zopa One-Year Fixed-Term Savings (2.55%)

Minimum deposit: £1,000

Interest paid: monthly

Sign in and sign in online.

2.Zopa Two-Year Fixed-Term Savings (2.91%)

Minimum deposit: £1,000

Interest paid: monthly

Sign in and sign in online.

Best combined current and savings accounts

If you're smart with your cash (and disciplined enough to keep your savings in your checking account), you can earn up to double the interest a traditional savings account can provide by choosing a checking account with an attached savings basket.

The only condition is that you usually have to pay a certain amount every month to these accounts. This could be from part-time work, your maintenance loan or parental support. But for the average student, this will probably still be a challenge.

However, if you have a chunk of savings in an easily accessible savings account, you can set up a standing order to deposit cash from there every month to take advantage of the higher interest rate. Remember, you can transfer money from these accounts whenever you need to.

1.Nationwide FlexDirect (5%)

The minimum you have to pay each month is £1,000

Withdrawals: Unlimited

Interest rate. 5% AER fixed rate on balances up to £1,500 (no charge for anything above that) for the first year

Additional information: You need to deposit at least £1,000 each month to keep the rate, not from another national personal account. And after 12 months, the interest rate will decrease to 0.25%

2.Virgin Money (2.02%)

Minimum payment for each month. there is no minimum

Withdrawals: Unlimited

Interest rates. 2.02% AER variable interest paid monthly on your current account balance up to £1,000 (no interest paid on anything above that). The current account is linked to the M Plus savings account, which has a variable interest rate of 1.56% AER up to £25,000 (0.75% on balances over £25,000), payable quarterly.

Already thinking about saving for your first home? A Lifetime ISA can see you benefit from a 25% bonus from the government.




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