It seems we all want an easy life, or at least most of us, and no more so than with our savings. With a whopping £735 billion held in easy access accounts which makes up almost 82% of the whole savings market, clearly most of us want accounts with the least amount of hassle and freely available access to our cash.
But not every easy access account is as easy to access as the next. In fact, there are many accounts with different terms and conditions attached. One provider’s easy access could mean an instant transfer of money from your savings to your nominated current account, another could take several days to send your money. These differences can catch people out if they’ve opted for an account on the basis that they might need the money in a hurry, for example if they need money for a house purchase and have not allowed enough time for the money to be moved.
To compare, the Cynergy Bank (formerly Bank of Cyprus UK) Online Easy Access Account*, paying a market leading 1.50% gross/AER, uses the faster payment system, so money should, in most cases, be transferred within hours, (if not minutes), on the same day the transfer request has been made, seven days a week.
Whereas with the National Savings & Investments Income Bonds, which contrary to the name is an easy access account, for balances below £50,000 the money will normally be in your account the next banking day. Request a transfer of more than £50,000 and it would normally be in your account two banking days from the request.
And some providers, such as Family Building Society, only allow withdrawals of up to £25,000 per day - even for account closure - so for larger balances, you’d have to make withdrawals over several days.
Other factors to take into consideration are those providers with restrictions on the number of easy access withdrawals you can make each year.
One of the very best-paying ‘easy access’ accounts on the market is from West Brom Building Society, paying 1.50% gross/AER. But this comes with a conditional bonus, which means your rate will drop to just 0.25% for the remainder of the account year should you make more than two withdrawals in that year.
Virgin Money also pays 1.50% gross/AER and allows just two withdrawals a year. There is no conditional bonus on this account – you simply can make NO further withdrawals until the end of that year.
Marcus, by Goldman Sachs, matches the rate of 1.50% AER with no restriction on the number of withdrawals you can make but it does come with a small bonus of 0.15% for the first 12 months.
Similarly, the aforementioned Cynergy Bank Online Easy Access Account Issue 21* also pays 1.50% gross/AER – and this rate includes a bonus of 0.50% for the first 12 months.
Simplicity is the Key
Our annual savings awards acknowledge excellence in a wide range of categories, recognising those brands that have consistently offered great value to customers in a variety of ways, from rate to customer service. This year we introduced a new category, the 'Award for Simple Savings'. This looked at those accounts that offered a competitive rate, one that’s fair to both new and, importantly, existing savers of that provider and no restrictions on the number of withdrawals. So, the accounts do exactly what you want and expect.
The winner of this year’s Award for Simple Savings - RCI Bank
RCI Bank has offered a competitive rate for both their existing and new savers since they launched back in 2015. Although the rate on offer has fallen back slightly within the best buy tables, its Freedom Savings Account still offers a competitive rate of 1.42% gross/AER and is one of the few easy access providers that tick all the boxes for simplicity.
High Commended - Ford Money
RCI Bank just pipped Ford Money to the post in this category on the basis of more consistently high rates over the last 12 months. The Flexible Saver also currently pays 1.42% gross/AER* and has no restriction on withdrawals, no conditional bonus or fiddly terms and conditions to consider. So, for simplicity it could be just the ticket.
If you’d like to discuss any of the accounts mentioned in the article or find an account that best suits your personal needs, why not get in touch. Email us at [email protected] or call us on 0800 321 3581.
*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 (*).
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