Nutty

Best easy access savings accounts - UK (2024)

Christopher Dowling
Editor-in-Chief
Updated
June 17, 2024

In a nutshell

The best easy access savings account is Moneybox (5%+), closely followed by Chip and Wise. They all offer some of the highest interest rates out there, and are super easy to set up and use (phone apps). You’ll be able to withdraw your cash simply and easily whenever you like too.

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Earning a small bit of interest on your savings, or nothing at all? It’s a good idea to move it to a high interest savings account – you could earn £100s per month. And, if you want to access your money instantly (meaning it’s not ‘locked away’ where you can’t touch it), an easy access savings account is likely your best option.

We’ve done the hard work and researched the best easy access savings account in the UK. Drum rolls please...

Best easy access savings accounts

Best rate 5.10%* with Chip

Chip is currently offering 5.10%* with their Cash ISA.

Visit Chip¹Visit Chip¹

*AER variable.

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Best overall
Chip rated 5 stars

Chip

Heads up: Chip offers one of the highest rates available right now – a massive 5.10%*

You can open an account within minutes. Their app makes it quick and easy to do.

There’s no fees, and your money is safe and secure.

There’s unlimited deposits and withdrawals and you’ll get your money back almost instantly if you need it.

Chip is an app to help you save, and invest if you want to. Although, you can simply use their instant savings account without any extra features for free.

Learn more

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Savings rate: 4.84% AER (variable)

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Top rate
Moneybox rated 5 stars

Moneybox

Heads up: currently Moneybox has a great savings rate - 4.75%!

Moneybox is super popular, with over 1,000,000 customers. It offers the full range of savings and investing accounts, from saving cash (at a great savings rate), to saving for retirement with a pension.

The mobile app is great and easy to use, with a range of investment options to choose from, which includes investment funds and individual shares (e.g. Apple and Amazon). 

It’s low cost overall (free to save cash), and the customer service is excellent.

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Capital at risk.

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Easy to use
Wise rated 5 stars

Wise

Wise offers a great interest rate, currently 4.82%.

Wise is a very popular money transfer and currency exchange platform, but you can just use it to save your cash.

Instead of a bank giving you interest, Wise has partnered with a large investment firm (BlackRock) so you can earn money on your cash – they use safe government loans that pay interest.

It’s free to open an account, although you’ll pay 0.29% in fees on your saved cash.

The app (and website) is super easy to use too.

Learn more

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Best rate 5.10%* with Chip

Chip is currently offering 5.10%* with their Cash ISA.

Visit Chip¹Visit Chip¹

*AER variable.

Our criteria for the best easy access savings account (UK)

There’s a lot of savings accounts out there, and most of them do not pay very well at all (meaning low interest rates), mentioning no names (all the big banks!). However, there are some great ones out there, some that you might not be familiar with, but offer a really great interest rate (how much money you’ll make), are easy to use, and have all the safety and security you want (and more) from a savings account.

When it comes to the best easy access accounts, the interest rate is super important (you might have guessed it). But we’ve also included lots of different factors, to determine the best overall. Here’s our criteria:

  • Interest rate
  • Easy to set up and use (online or app)
  • Fees
  • Speed to get your money back (withdrawals)
  • Withdrawal limits
  • Minimum investment
  • Safe and secure

We’re just focusing on easy access savings accounts, rather than ‘notice’ savings accounts (where you have to ask for your money and wait a number of days, such as 28 or 90 days), and ‘fixed-term’ savings accounts, where your money is locked away for a set period of time (such as 1 or 2 years), and you won’t be able to access your money during that time (unless you pay very hefty fees).

The easy access accounts we recommend are all ones we recommend to our friends and family too. So you can be confident that whichever of our recommendations you opt for, you’ll be using one of the best savings accounts out there.

Best easy access savings accounts - UK

As a quick recap, the best easy access savings accounts are Chip¹  and Moneybox¹ – it’s got one of the highest interest rates you’ll find, easy to use, and there’s no fees.

Is easy access the same as instant access?

They’re pretty much the same – these days the terms are pretty much interchangeable.

Traditionally, with an instant access savings account, you’d typically have a card (cash card), which you can use to withdraw money from a cash machine (ATM), and as many times as you like. However modern instant access accounts don't tend to offer a card anymore.

With an easy access account, you typically wouldn't have a cash card to withdraw money from an ATM, you’d simply send money from your savings account to your regular bank account (e.g. your current account).

There could be a limit on the number of withdrawals you can make too (withdrawal limits are part of our criteria, and all of our recommendations have a high number of withdrawals or unlimited).

How do easy access savings accounts work?

Easy access savings accounts are pretty simple really – all you need to do is add money to your account (deposit), and you’ll start earning interest. As simple as that.

And as they’re easy access, you can take your cash out whenever you like, without having to give notice – you’ll be able to transfer it to your bank account straight away.

Easy access accounts (and instant access accounts) normally have a variable interest rate. This means the interest rate can go up and down over time, when the savings account provider decides to change it. Normally this is in line with the Bank of England base rate (the interest rate the banks get paid to deposit their customers' money with the Bank of England).

Variable rate

What’s AER (Annual Equivalent Rate)

‘AER’, or Annual Equivalent Rate, is often used to measure the interest rate on a savings account. It means how much you’ll make (as a percentage) this time next year.

So, if the interest rate is 5% AER, you’ll earn 5% of your money this time next year. Simple right?

AER (Annual Equivalent Rate)

To work it out is a bit complicated, and it takes into account compound interest – which is your interest you get, making more interest. For instance, if you earn interest monthly, the monthly interest you make, will begin to make interest the next month, and this snowballs over and over (called compounding).

Gross rate

The alternative measure for savings accounts is the ‘gross rate’, and this is simply how much the account pays without taking compound interest into account.

AER vs Gross interest

Nuts About Money tip: if you want to compare easy access accounts yourself, always use AER, or always use the gross rate – don’t compare the two against each other, otherwise it won’t be a fair comparison (AER would normally show higher).

Will there be credit checks to open an account?

A credit check is where you’ll be checked to see if you’re worthy of borrowing money from a bank, and is often represented as a credit score. If you have a low credit score, which can happen if you don’t repay your debts on time, you likely won’t be able to borrow money.

Credit score - easy access savings account

With savings accounts, as you’re not borrowing money (getting credit), there’s typically not any credit checks involved.

You’ll likely still need to prove who you are, such as taking a photo of your driving licence or passport, and a few banks may carry out a ‘soft’ credit check (which just checks who you are), and they use this in order to verify your identity (this doesn’t leave any marks on your credit report).

No credit checks

This means opening a savings account does not impact your credit score – it also means it won’t improve your credit score either (in case you were thinking of opening a savings account to improve your score).

How much can I start saving with?

With an easy access savings account, you can normally start saving with as little as £1. However, it does depend on the savings account. With some, you’ll need a minimum deposit of £50, £100 or more (£1,000+).

All of our recommendations above have a very low minimum deposit (£1).

What’s an easy access bonus?

With some savings accounts, you’ll get a bonus when you open an account, which is typically a higher interest rate for the first 12 months.

These can be great initially, but typically the interest rate after 12 months is pretty bad. The bank is really relying on you not switching after 12 months, either forgetting about it, or not realising that you can move your money wherever you like. Loyalty doesn't pay!

These savings accounts can also have restrictions, such as not withdrawing money for a certain amount of time after you open the account.

We don’t typically recommend these accounts as you’ll need to switch again after 12 months, or whenever the bonus period ends, and there’s a risk you might forget – plus all the extra admin and time looking for another account again.

It’s often best to go for a high interest savings account without a bonus (unless the bonus is very good, and we mean very good!).

Should I get an easy access savings account?

Getting an easy access savings account, or a different type of account is completely up to you and your financial circumstances, but, if you think you might want the cash again soon, or simply want the option to withdraw your money whenever you like, then an easy access savings account is a great idea.

Alternatives to easy access savings

If you are planning to save for the long-term (for instance, a few years, or longer), and not concerned about getting your cash back anytime soon, then you could opt for a longer term savings option (covered below).

Notice account

A notice account is a savings account where you have to give ‘notice’ to get your cash back out. These can have a higher interest rate than an easy access account (but not always). They normally come in 28 days, 90 days, 180 days or 1 year, but can be any time frame.

Fixed term savings account

This could be a fixed-term savings account (for instance 5 years), where you might get a higher interest rate, but will need to lock your cash away (getting a slightly higher interest rate probably isn't worth locking your money away for many years).

Typically these have a higher minimum deposit, such as £1,000, and would require your money to be deposited as a lump sum (all at once), rather than regular deposits (for example every month).

Note: fixed rate savings accounts can also be called fixed rate bonds.

Regular savings account

A regular savings account is a savings account where, you guessed it, you save regularly. 

You’re normally required to pay in every month, and in return you might get a higher interest rate for a set period of time (e.g. the first 12 months).

However, they’re not great for long term saving as the rate drops after the bonus period (e.g. 12 months), and there can be a limit on the number of withdrawals you're allowed every year. Often, a modern easy access account can be a better choice. 

Investing your money

You could opt to invest your money instead. Typically this is one of the best ways to grow your money over time, and you’ll often make more money than simply earning interest with cash.

Investing is where your money is put into things like growing companies, with the view they’ll grow over time to be worth more money. And it can include things like property and bonds (loans to governments and big companies).

Stocks and Shares

When letting the experts handle things, this can be a great option for long term growth – they’ll use sensible, tried and tested investment strategies, that reduce the risk of losing money, and aim to grow your money significantly over time in a safe way.

Investing your money

Note: when investing, your money can go up and down over time, but over time, typically outperforms savings accounts (even the best ones).

This is pretty much exactly the same as how your pension grows over time too.

You’ll also be able to save tax-free, within a Stock and Shares ISA – meaning your money can grow even faster over time (as you won’t be paying any tax on your money).

What is an ISA?

If this sounds interesting to you, check out the best investment platforms – where you’ll find our recommended options for investing with experts.

Can I always withdraw money instantly?

Yep! Well, we say instantly, normally within a day or less. With an easy access account, you’ll have to withdraw it to your bank account, and this can take a bit of time – it’s all up to the banks. Normally, it’s around 2 hours, but it could be a day, or sometimes even longer.

So, if you do need the money, it’s often best to take the cash out a short while beforehand, just to be sure.

Your Personal Savings Allowance

In the UK, we all have a Personal Savings Allowance (PSA). This is how much we can earn each year in interest, before we have to pay tax (on the interest). How much interest you can earn depends on your income (e.g. your salary), and how much Income Tax you pay.

The maximum amount you can earn in interest without paying tax is £1,000 per year – and you’ll get this if you are a basic rate taxpayer (earn less than £50,270 per year). If you earn over £50,270 per year, but under £125,140, you’ll be able to earn £500 per year in interest before paying tax. And, if you earn over £125,140, you’ll have to pay tax on all of your interest.

Here’s a quick summary:

Income Tax band Personal Savings Allowance
Basic rate (£12,570 to £50,270) £1,000
Higher rate (£50,271 to £125,140) £500
Additional rate (£125,141+) £0

If you earn more interest than your Personal Savings Allowance, you’ll pay Income Tax on the amount above it. The rate you’ll pay is the same as your regular income (e.g. your salary).

So, if you pay 20% Income Tax (earn less than £50,270), and you make £1,500 in interest (and this doesn’t take you over £50,270 per year), you’ll pay 20% interest on anything over £1,000. In this case, you’ll pay 20% tax on £500, which is £100.

Nuts About Money tip: if you’ve got loads of cash in savings and might have to pay tax, (and don’t want to invest your money in the long term, for instance in a managed Stocks and Share ISA), you could consider a Cash ISA. This is where the interest you make is completely tax-free (you can save up to £20,000 per year). The drawback is interest rates on Cash ISAs are typically a bit lower than regular savings accounts.

ISA vs savings account

Starting rate for savings

For low income earners (earning less than £17,570 per year), there’s also something called the starting rate for savings. This is how much you can earn in interest before you need to pay tax on it – meaning you could earn £5,000 in interest per year tax-free.

If you earn less than £12,570 per year, you’ll be able to earn £5,000 in interest before paying tax. If you earn more than £12,570 (but under £17,570), your allowance reduces by every £1 over it.

So, if you earn £13,570, your £5,000 starting rate will reduce by £1,000 (as you are earning £1,000 more than £12,570). This means you can earn £4,000 per year in interest before paying tax. This keeps going until £17,570, which is £5,000 more than £12,270. Make sense?

Is it safe to use an easy access savings account?

It’s perfectly safe to use an easy access savings account, and often a great idea.

In the UK, all financial services companies have to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They’re the people who make sure finance companies (such as banks) are looking after you and your money.

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

This also means that your money is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). That means your money is protected up to £85,000 should the company your savings account is with go out of business (fail).

Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

What’s the best easy access savings account for over 50s?

If you’re over 50, don’t worry, there’s no need to look for special accounts just for you. You can use any savings account you like – all of our recommended options above can be used by anyone of any age, as long as they’re over 18 (or a children’s savings accounts for under 18s).

It’s very rare to find an account exclusively for over 50s (or 60s), that pays a higher interest rate.

What’s the best easy access savings account for over 60s?

The same goes for over 60s, you don’t need to worry about your age when it comes to opening a savings account – you can still get the best one, just like everyone else!

Pros and cons of easy access accounts

Let’s run through a recap, and the pros and cons of easy access savings accounts:

Pros

  • Quick withdrawals
  • Get your money whenever you need it
  • Can be high interest rates
  • Interest rates can keep going up automatically
  • Can have great apps to manage your money
  • Make multiple and regular deposits
  • Money is safe and secure (FSCS protected)

Cons

  • Can get higher interest rates (with fixed rate saving accounts)
  • Money might not grow as much as investing it (over the long term)
  • Interest can go down as well as up

Let’s recap

There we have it for the best easy access accounts.

Simple really isn’t it? All you need to do is add your money, and you’ll start earning interest. You’ll be able to withdraw your cash whenever you like, and add more money in, whenever you like too.

Easy access accounts are great for getting your cash to work for you (earn interest), but also have the cash there whenever you need it (such as a deposit for a mortgage, or buying a new car).

The interest rates are normally pretty good (with the best savings accounts) – although if you’re saving for the long term, and don’t need access to your money any time soon, you could consider a fixed term savings account (lock your money away typically for a higher interest rate), or invest your money, where experts aim to grow your money sensibly over time using tried and tested strategies. Check out the best investment platforms if this sounds interesting to you.

If you’re ready to get started, we’ve done the hard work and researched the best easy access savings accounts – not only looking at the best interest rate, but how easy it is to set up and use, and the number of withdrawals, among other things.

Overall, Chip¹ and Moneybox¹ come out on top, they're both great app to use, easy to set up, and one of the highest interest rates you’ll find.

No items found.

Best rate 5.10%* with Chip

Chip is currently offering 5.10%* with their Cash ISA.

Visit Chip¹Visit Chip¹

*AER variable.

No items found.

Best rate 5.10%* with Chip

Chip is currently offering 5.10%* with their Cash ISA.

Visit Chip¹Visit Chip¹

*AER variable.

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This article was written, reviewed and fact checked by the expert team at Nuts About Money. You’re in safe hands. Learn more.

Best rate 5.10%* with Chip

Chip is currently offering 5.10%* with their Cash ISA.

Visit Chip¹Visit Chip¹

*AER variable.

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