These are accounts that pay interest and allow you to withdraw money whenever you need it. You can save as little or as much as you want each month. You can often open an account with an initial deposit of as little as £1.
Are instant access savings accounts for you?
Instant access savings accounts are for you if you have spare cash and want to:
- earn a better return than from your current account
- save at your own pace
- be able to withdraw money whenever you want
- not take risks with your money
Risk and return
If you don’t need instant access to your savings, you could earn more with fixed term savings options such as savings bonds or regular savers.
- Usually offer higher interest rates than current accounts.
- The interest rate isn’t as high as with regular savings accounts or savings bonds, which would lock your money in.
- Your savings will not hold their buying value in the long run if the interest rate on the account is less than the rise in the cost of living – inflation.
Access to your money
You can withdraw money whenever you like.
You won’t be charged for opening an account or taking money out.
Safe and secure?
Cash you put into UK banks or building societies (that are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority) is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
The FSCS savings protection limit is £85,000 (or £170,000 for joint accounts) per authorised firm.
It is worth noting that some banking brands are part of the same authorised firm.
If you have more than the limit within the same bank, or authorised firm, it’s a good idea to move the excess to make sure your money is protected.
- Find out which banks are part of which authorised firms on the Bank of England website.
- Find out more by reading Compensation if your bank or building society goes bust.
How to open an instant or easy access savings account
You can open an instant access savings account with as little as £1 and save however much you want each month.
You can open an instant or easy access account directly with a bank or building society – most of them will let you open an account either:
- Over the phone, or
- By going into a branch.
You might need to have a current account with your bank or building society to open an instant access savings account.
Check with them before you get started.
Most people need to pay income tax on the interest they receive so basic rate tax is normally deducted as a matter of course from savings account interest.
A new personal savings allowance of £1,000 was introduced in April 2016, removing the first £1,000 of savings income from Income Tax.
Higher-rate taxpayers benefit from a smaller personal savings allowance of £500.
If you’re a non-taxpayer you can ask for interest to be paid without any tax deductions.
Follow the link below to the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website to find out how.
Instant access accounts that are cash deposit ISAs will give you tax-free interest so you won’t lose a penny of your return.
Read our guide to ISAs and other tax-efficient ways to save or invest.
Find out how to get Tax-free interest on savings or claiming tax back on GOV.UK.
If things go wrong
If you’re unhappy with the service from your bank or building society, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman if you can’t resolve the problem directly.
Comparison websites are a good starting point for anyone trying to find a savings account tailored to their needs.
We recommend the following websites for comparing savings accounts:
- Comparison websites won’t all give you the same results, so make sure you use more than one site before making a decision.
- It is also important to do some research into the type of product and features you need before making a purchase or changing supplier.
- Find out more in our Guide to comparison sites.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.