How we select our best buys
Whilst there are many places for people to see ‘best buys’ for savings accounts, it’s not always clear which type of account is appropriate or how those best buys are selected.
Savings accounts can be complex at times, which means that choosing a safe-haven for your money can be a bit like stepping through a minefield.
We review the savings market daily to maintain our database of savings account rates. From this independent research, we select the accounts that we feel are the best available to the largest possible number of savers and put them into our best buy tables.
Each of our best buy tables feature the top five accounts in that category and are selected to appeal to a wide range of savers – so we believe this should be all that you need, for most of the time. That said, if you have particular needs and requirements, then you can call us on 0800 011 9705, to run through further options that may be suitable for you.
We settled on this approach because often savers are faced with ‘choice paralysis’ when it comes to best buys. If all accounts are included regardless of their suitability - as is the case with many tables - there is every chance that some will give up after a while, missing out on some good deals as a result.
The process of picking those top five best buys starts with our comprehensive research (more on this below) - which includes every account in the UK savings market.
- We exclude accounts that are unavailable to many savers, such as those only available to existing customers, local customers, those that require you to already hold a specific account with that provider - and even branch-based accounts where the provider’s branches are not spread out geographically.
- We also limit the amount you need to open the account with to £25,000 – if the account requires a higher minimum opening deposit than this, then this will exclude many savers.
Having said all of this, one table which follows a slightly different set of rules is our regular savings account table. This market is dominated by providers that encourage savers to also hold a current account with them.
So, we include these accounts, as it makes sense for savers to consider their current account as well, particularly if they have smaller amounts to save. In some cases, the current account pays interest as well, so this could work in your favour. However, our top five always includes at least one account that is free for anyone to open, to cater for all.
Picking out our own top five also means that we can apply other criteria to our selection - for example:
- Many savers prefer not to apply for and manage accounts online, judging from feedback that we receive from our subscribers. Therefore, we always include at least one account in each table that can be managed in branch, by post or by telephone – rather than just online.
We also have some additional rules in place that we apply to specific best buy tables – for example:
- Our easy access account best buy table always includes at least one ‘clean’ account – an account that is free from any introductory bonus or withdrawal restrictions. This means that savers can pick a straightforward option if that suits them best.
- Our notice account best buy table is selected slightly differently than others – instead of simply picking the top five interest rates, our aim is to provide a selection of different notice periods. So, we always include a range of notice periods, including shorter ones, to suit different circumstances.
- With our children’s savings accounts best buy table, we recognise that many parents and guardians are looking to save on a regular basis for a child, so our best buy table is dominated by regular savings accounts. However, we will always include at least one account where a lump sum can be placed, which can be easily accessed.
We are occasionally paid by some providers if you click through from our best buy tables and open a savings or current account with them. We will never accept a payment that compromises in any way our independent, whole of market approach to providing information on savings products. For clarity we will indicate those companies who remunerate us with an asterisk (*).
Our best buy tables are clear, straightforward and easy to understand - we hope that you find them useful.
How we research the UK savings market
Did you know that there are currently 150 different providers in the UK savings market, more than 5,500 different savings accounts and over 18,000 savings rates for us to monitor on your behalf?
Savings Champion does the hard work for you!
We have a dedicated team of researchers that analyse the UK savings market on a daily basis and our research is gathered independently and methodically.
Every interest rate held on our database is checked manually on at least a fortnightly basis, with the top accounts available checked even more frequently – every account on our best buy tables is checked each day to ensure that the information is as up to date as possible.
During the course of our daily checks, any changes that are picked up are updated straight away – with our best buy tables updated within 30 minutes of finding a change.
In addition to manually checking rates, we have an extensive number of contacts from the banks and building societies themselves, who will send notifications of changes through to us – often in advance of the effective date. This ensures that we are able to make these changes in a timely manner, though of course we will check each change has taken place as planned before updating our information.
We never solely rely on information that is sent to us by savings providers as, while extremely helpful, we cannot be absolutely sure that all information that we require has been supplied in every case.
We pride ourselves in our expertise when it comes to savings accounts and the way that we research the market means that we are able to question aspects that don’t quite tally with what we were expecting.
While of course manual checking means that we have a valuable human interaction with the data and research, we also recognise that there is potential for human error.
This is why we have extensive, robust processes in place to ensure that all information is periodically checked by a senior researcher, introducing a second, experienced set of eyes into the process.
Ultimately, our experienced researchers, independence and robust research processes mean that you can rely on the information that we provide to be comprehensive and second to none – helping you make the most of your savings.
How to keep track of your savings rates
Once you have found a suitable savings account, a big problem is keeping track of your accounts and making sure that you keep your money earning a competitive rate of interest.
It is generally the case that out of sight means out of mind, even with something as important as your savings. Our Rate Tracker offers the perfect solution.
Rate Tracker keeps details of your savings accounts in one place, so you can see the rates that are being paid and then you can judge when an alternative may be appropriate.
If you tell us when you opened your account, you can also see when the bonus rate is due to end or when your fixed term account is due to mature,
Remember, banks and building societies are relying on your inertia and apathy – Rate Tracker can be just the thing to help you fight back.
If you have any questions or observations about our research methods or best buy selection process - or have any other queries - please call us on 0800 011 9705 or email [email protected].