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Top current accounts for savers compared
High street banks are paying current account customers as much as 2% credit interest – better than most savings accounts – and you can open a bank account online in a matter of minutes.
Our first table shows the best deals for credit balances of £1,000 (click 'more info' to find out how to qualify for interest on the accounts). The second table shows the top bank switching offers.
If you want to maximise returns, read our step-by-step guide to opening multiple high-interest bank accounts below.
Virgin Money M Plus 2.02% on £1,000
The digital banking service known simply as 'B' from Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank has been rebranded as the Virgin Money Current Account, following the £1.7bn takeover in 2018.
The Virgin Money account pays the top rate of 2.02% AER (2% gross) on balances up to £1,000 and you can apply for a linked savings account paying 0.35% AER.
There are also no foreign transaction fees when you pay with your debit card or take out cash abroad – charges can be as high as 3.75% for withdrawals and purchases so this is a big saving for regular travellers.
Unlike most providers, Virgin Money doesn't insist that you pay in a certain amount every month to earn interest and there's no requirement to maintain a minimum number of direct debits.
Find out more:Best and worst banks rated by customers
Nationwide FlexDirect 2% on £1,500 fixed for a year
Nationwide's FlexDirect account pays 2% AER on balances of up to £1,500, fixed for the first 12 months. Thereafter, the rate reverts to 0.25% AER on balances up to £1,500.
If you open a FlexDirect account, you won't pay any interest on any arranged overdraft for the first 12 months, but after this you'll be stung with a rate of 39.9% APR.
You can make payments with your debit card abroad without fees, but ATM withdrawals abroad incur a 2.99% fee.
Using multiple high-interest current accounts to boost savings
Given the poor rates of interest offered on savings accounts, many savers are opening multiple high-interest current accounts to maximise their returns.
The drawback with this type of account is that banks apply restrictions, such as minimum monthly payments.
However, we explain how you can work within these rules to beat the limits and make the most of your cash savings.
How to make the most of high-interest current accounts
Step 1: Find the highest current account interest rates
Our table above shows you the best rates available on current accounts, along with the number of accounts you can open.
Step 2: Check the high-interest account requirements
Banks often set specific account requirements – such as fees, minimum monthly deposits and direct debits – to qualify for interest or to avoid paying a monthly fee on the account.
Each account limits the balance on which you can earn interest but, in most cases, banks will allow you to open a second main or joint account, essentially doubling that amount.
Watch out for accounts with tiered interest (where you get a higher rate for having a higher balance) as you must have a balance within the top tier to earn the top rate of interest. At lower tiers, these accounts become less competitive.
Step 3: Earn instant cash for switching
Before you start moving savings about, there's an easier way to save money.
Banks often offer cash incentives to attract new customers – in some cases more than £100 – and switching should only take seven working days.
Look out for conditions, such as depositing a certain amount, or using online banking services by a specific date.
Step 4: Open multiple high-interest current accounts
The number of accounts you'll need to open depends on how much money you're looking to save.
This is because accounts will only pay interest on balances up to a certain amount – see the notes on the table above. You want to make sure there's no 'excess' money sitting in accounts, but not earning interest.
Step 5: Circulate money between other high-interest current accounts
Most banks also require you to pay a certain amount into accounts each month.
Take a sum from your savings, equal to highest minimum deposit of the accounts you hold. So if you have three accounts, with minimums of £500, £1,000 and £1,500, put aside £1,500.
This sum will be continually circulated between these accounts.
Step 6: Deposit the rest of your savings in the other accounts
Divide the rest of your money between all the accounts, starting with the highest-earning account.
Once you've deposited the maximum sum the account will pay interest on, deposit money into the next highest-paying account and so on.
Step 7: Repeat step 5 each month
The easiest way to do this is to set up standing orders (instructions to your bank to pay a set amount at regular intervals to another account) so that the transfers take place automatically every month.
This means you meet the requirements of all the accounts and earn the most interest possible on the whole sum.
Find out more: Direct debits and standing orders – which is better for regular payments?
Here are my top places to put your cash.
We’re a long way now from when we could get 5%, with rates slowly dropping over the last few years. And following the Bank of England base interest rate cut to an all-time low of 0.1%. those cuts have happened even faster. Accounts can disappear days after becoming available, and rates continue to fall, though have steadied in recent months.
You want to make sure you’re getting the best rate on your savings, and this article will take you through the best options right now.
Some articles on the blog contain affiliate links, which provide a small commission to help fund the blog. However, they won’t affect the price you pay or the blog’s independence. Read more here.
Latest inflation rate
Though it’s not always possible at the moment, your aim should be to ensure you earn more on your savings account than the current rate of inflation. This really is key as anything below that rate is losing value in real terms,
The latest inflation rate (for October 2021) is a huge 4.2% – the highest in a decade. This rate means it’s practically impossible to get accounts that beat it. It’s forecast to reach 5% in 2022, but if you look at this chart you’ll see the current climate makes it very unpredictable.
My latest savings update
Every month on my YouTube channel I take you through the latest savings news and chat about some of the accounts featured on this page. Here’s my monthly video roundup from early November 2021, or read more here.
(This article is updated regularly but check the published date to see when this last happened. New videos are usually at the start of the month.)
Best Regular Savings accounts – up to 3.04%
These accounts are all “Regular” or monthly savers which work differently to normal saving accounts.
For a start, there’s a limit to how much you can save each month, and the interest is calculated on the balance each month. After 12 months the interest is paid and your saver closed. But you can then open up another and begin again.
These are ideal if you only have a certain amount of money to put aside each month, or to move money every month from a lower-paying easy access account. Here’s my full guide to how they work.
You can only open the top accounts if you have or open a current account with these banks – but that’s no reason to put you off.
Sadly the market leading accounts from First Direct, HSBC and M&S Bank all cut rates for new customers to 1% in late November 2020.
Natwest / RBS (3.04%)
|Account name||Digital Regular Saver|
|Interest rate||3.04% AER (variable)|
|Max monthly deposit||£50|
|Min monthly deposit||£1|
|Max amount earn interest on||£1,000|
|Withdrawals||Easy access with no penalty|
|Requirements||Must have a Natwest or RBS current account|
This account offers a massive rate but with a few restrictions. The biggest is you can only save £50 every month. Not far behind is that interest will only be paid on the first £1,000 saved.
It’s only open to Natwest or RBS customers – though you can have one at each bank. Here’s my review of the account and more information on how it works.
Apply at Natwest
|Account name||Flex Regular Saver|
|Interest rate||2% AER (variable)|
|Max monthly deposit||£200|
|Min monthly deposit||£0|
|Account closes||After 12 months|
|Withdrawals||You can make three withdrawals a year without impacting the interest rate. More than this and the rate drops to 0.35% for the rest of the term|
|Requirements||Hold a current account with Nationwide|
|Online or app only|
If you have a Nationwide account then it’s worth looking at this Flex Regular Saver.
Apply at Natiownide
|Account name||Monthly Saver|
|Interest rate||2% AER (fixed)|
|Max monthly deposit||£125|
|Min monthly deposit||£25|
|Account closes||After 12 months|
|Withdrawals||Instant access but you can’t replace the funds|
|Requirements||Hold a current account with TSB|
This TSB Monthly Saver (2% fixed) is only for people with a TSB current account. You’ll get 2% fixed for 12 months, though the most you can pay in each month is £125. If you do deposit the max you’ll get £16.20 interest after a year.
If you already have a TSB account it’s worth opening this up, but I wouldn’t bother opening a new one just to get the cash. Focus instead on other current accounts that have better rewards (eg Halifax pays £5 a month) and get their linked regular saver (likely around 1% – more on these below).
Apply at TSB
Coventry Building Society (1.05%)
|Account name||Regular Saver|
|Interest rate||1.05% AER (variable)|
|Max monthly deposit||£500|
|Min monthly deposit||£0|
|Account closes||After 12 months|
|Withdrawals||30 days interest penalty for early withdrawals|
This regular saver from Coventry Building Society doesn’t require a current account so anyone can open it. The rate is variable so it can change at any time (and dropped mid-Feb from 1.3%). You can however pay in a decent £500 a month.
Apply at Coventry Building Society
Other monthly savers (1%)
There’s is a 3.5% rate for existing Skipton Building Society members who joined prior to 16 August 2021, but that’s not going to be any good for most people.
These first accounts are only open to current account customers, new and old. Though a long way from their previous high rates, they are still among the highest paying. However, I wouldn’t bother opening one of these specifically to access the monthly savers.
There are also these accounts which don’t require a current account. Ecology BS is a decent ethical option.
It’s also worth checking your local building society to see if they offer a better regular saver for those who live nearly and can go into a branch to open an account.
Best high-interest current accounts & apps – up to 2.02%
Some of the next best rates are in current accounts. All of these accounts can be opened by anyone, though you will be credit checked. You can access your money at any time, however, the amount of money you can earn interest on is limited.
Virgin Money M Plus (2.02%)
|Account name||M Plus Current Account|
|Interest rate||2.02% AER (variable)|
|Max savings interest paid on||£1,000|
This account from Virgin Money will pay 2.02% on up to £1,000. You can also have more than one account and earn interest on the money there too. There’s no limit to how many you can have, though of course Virgin Money doesn’t have to accept you for each new application.
You can also get a linked 0.35% savings account which isn’t too much lower than the best easy access accounts (more on these below).
If you switch into a new M Plus account you can also get a £150 Virgin Experience voucher as a switching bonus. More details in my full review of this Virgin Money current account.
Apply at Virgin Money
|Interest rate||2% variable|
|Max savings interest paid on||£3,000|
|Withdrawals||Easy access (can take 48 hours)|
|Requirements||Via Claro app only|
Claro is a new financial coaching and tracking app that is tempting new customers with 2% interest on up to £3,000 saved. The interest is paid quarterly.
The app normally operates on a subscription system but it’s currently free for the first year. Sadly it’s iOS only, so Android phone users can’t currently get the account.
I’ve looked in more detail on how this works in October 2021’s savings update.
Sign up for Claro and earn 2% interest
Nationwide FlexDirect (2%)
|Account name||FlexDirect Current Account|
|Interest rate||2% AER (fixed for one year)|
|0.25% AER (variable after year one)|
|Max savings interest paid on||£1,500|
|Multiple accounts||Yes (one personal and one joint)|
You can get 2% for one year on a balance of up to £1,500 with the FlexDirect account. You do need to pay in £1,000 a month to account in order to get this rate.
After the first year it will drop to 0.25%, but you can always switch away when that happens (and hopefully get a nice cash bonus for doing so).
It’s worth noting that you only get this interest rate when you first open the account. This means if Nationwide were to bring back referral offers or increase the rate you’d miss out. On that basis I’d say give this account a miss for now as you’re not missing out too much. Here’s more in my full review of the FlexDirect account.
You’re able to get the 2% on both a solo account and a joint account, so it’s worth opening a joint account too if you’re in a relationship (though watch this video first).
You can also open a 1% monthly savings account.
Apply at Nationwide
Halifax Reward (1.2% equivalent)
|Account name||Reward current account|
|Interest rate||1.2% AER equivalent|
|Max savings interest paid on||£5,000|
|Requirements||£5,000 must stay in the account every day of the month|
|Pay in £1,500 a month to the account|
The Halifax Reward account gives account holders get £5 a month as a “reward”. There are two ways to get this.
One is spending £500 on your debit card, or you can get if there is £5,000 in your account every day of the month.
If you do this every day of the year, you’ll get £60, which though it’s not interest, is the equivalent of 1.2%.
However, have less in the account for just one day of a month and you get nothing. And £5k is a lot of money for most people, especially as you can get better rates elsewhere
So it’s better to use the debit card option and see it as cashback rather than a savings option. Here’s my rundown of how this Rewards account works.
Read my full Halifax Reward account review
Club Lloyds (0.78% equivalent)
|Account name||Club Lloyds current account|
|Interest rate||0.6% AER (£0.01 to £3,999)|
|1.5% AER (£4,000 to £5,000)|
|Max savings interest paid on||£5,000|
|Multiple accounts||Yes (one personal and one joint)|
|Requirements||Pay in £1,500 a month to the account|
|Pay out two Direct Debits each month|
With all the recent rate cuts, this current account has suddenly become a lot more appealing for savings. As long as you have two direct debits going out, you’ll get 0.6% on balances up to £3,999 and then 1.5% between £4,000 and £5,000. So that’s the equivalent to 0.78% if you have the full £5.000 saved.
You also get access to the above mentioned 1% regular saver, and there are freebies with the account such as monthly movie rentals or a magazine subscription. Make sure you pay in £1,500 a month to avoid a £3 monthly fee. Here’s my review.
Read my full Club Lloyds account review
£50 savings account bonus
Raisin welcome bonus
If you sign up to the savings platform Raisin and then put £10,000 or more in a savings account via them you’ll get a £50 bonus.
If you put in exactly £10,000, that £50 works out as the equivalent of an extra 0.5% on the interest rate for one year – though obviously if you have more money in there it reduces that impact.
If you open an easy access account then the bonus is only paid if the balance remains about £10,000 for at least six months.
You can only get the bonus once per customer. You’ll also need to claim the bonus – details of how to do this can be found here.
Sign up for Raisin
Top Raisin accounts
Make sure you compare these accounts with other interest rates available elsewhere as they won’t always be the best option. However, if you are using the welcome bonus and factor in the equivalent of 0.5%, then it could push these accounts higher.
- Charter Savings Bank via Raisin (1.27% AER) + £50 bonus for some: one year fix (min £1,000 / max £85,000)
- Oak North via Raisin (1.23% AER) + £50 bonus for some: one year fix (min £1,000 / max £85,000)
- Investec via Raisin (1.23% AER) + £50 bonus for some: one year fix (min £1,000 / max £85,000)
- Aldermore Bank via Raisin (0.86% AER) + £50 bonus for some: six month fix (min £2,000, max £85,000)
- Investec via Raisin (0.8% AER) + £50 bonus for some: 32 days notice (min £1,000, max £85,000)
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Get a £17 Quidco bonus (new members only). More details
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+ Get a £17 Quidco bonus (new members only). More details
Best fixed savings accounts – up to 1.35%
The above accounts all have caps on how much you can save, though a mix of some or all of them would cover a large chunk of the money you’d need in cash savings. You could also look at Premium Bonds.
But what should you do with any additional money? You can still beat most standard savings or current accounts where you’re likely to get less than the base rate of 0.1%.
You can also fix your savings for a year or longer and get a slightly better rate in return. However, you need to be sure you won’t need access to that cash over that time. The longer you fix, the greater the risk you’ll lose out if rates were to rise. But at the same time, they’re protected if rates were to continue to fall.
With £50 bonus (read more about Raisin above):
Best notice account – up to 1.10%
A notice account means you have to request to get your money and interest, which will be released after a set time. They often have a variable rate but if there’s a cut you’ll normally have notice.
Best easy access savings accounts – up to 0.75%
Rates are incredibly poor for these accounts but have started to get slightly better. Though the app Chip offers an account at 0.7%, you have to pay to access the rate, making the top option below a better bet.
Best Cash ISA – up to 0.67%
Though most of us don’t need the tax-free “wrapper” offered by an ISA, if you are wanting to use one then the same goes in terms of finding the best rate.
You can’t pay in more than £20,000 each financial year into any combination if ISAs, and you can only pay money into one Cash ISA.
Flexible ISAs allow you to withdraw money and pay it back in without impacting your annual allowance. Look for ones that allow transfers in if you have money from previous tax years you want to move.
- Shawbrook Bank (0.67% variable): (min £1,000 / max £85,000)
- Cynergy Bank (0.65% AER variable) – transfers in allowed / not flexible
- Marcus (0.6% AER variable) – no transfers / not flexible
- Tesco Bank (0.55% AER variable) – transfers in allowed / flexible
Read my article looking at how Premium Bonds compare to other savings accounts.
Broadly, if you have £10,000 saved you’ll likely win £75 in a year, the equivalent to 0.75%, increasing to above 0.9% the more saved.
Best children’s savings account
I’ve written in more detail about the different savings accounts for kids, so do check that article out.
Halifax Kids’ Monthly Saver (2.5%)
You can save between £10 and £100 a month into this regular saver with Halifax and earn 2.5% AER (Fixed) for 12 months.
Various Building Society Junior ISA (2.5%)
The best rate on a Junior ISA is with Bath BS or Darlington BS.
HSBC MySavings (2.5%)
The MySavings account from HSBC pays 2.5% AER (variable) on up to £3,000 saved. Above this amount you’ll only get 0.25%. There’s a minimum deposit of £10.
Best ethical savings account
The money you hold in your savings is used by the banks to invest and lend money. This could mean it’s used for things you might disagree with, such as fracking, tobacco or arms manufacturing.
There are banks with ethical policies such as Triodos, while building societies must lend 75% of their funds to home buyers, meaning they don’t have the cash to invest elsewhere. Sharia accounts can’t be used for things against Islamic law, like tobacco or gambling and I’ve listed the top ones further down the article.
Nationwide FlexDirect (Current account) – 2%
This current account gives 2% on up to £1,500. It’s fixed for one year. You can also open the 1% Start to Save regular saver. Read more about these above.
Ecology Building Society (Regular saver) – 0.8%
This is a variable rate regular saver from Ecology paying 0.8% with a minimum of £25 and a maximum of £250 a month.
Tandem (easy access) – 0.55%
This Instant Access Saver offers 0.55% from Tandem. The bank says it will support green lending initiatives. You can only open it via the Tandem app.
Nationwide (triple access) – 0.45%
You can only make three withdrawals a year, but you can be assured your money in this Nationwide is better invested than with the other major lenders.
Top Sharia savings accounts – up to 1.3%
Paying interest isn’t allowed in Islam, so a Sharia-compliant savings account instead promises a return on the money saved – an expected profit rate. Though technically this means the rate isn’t guaranteed, it’s not happened yet. They’re open to everyone, not just Muslims.
Finding the latest savings rates
I’ll update this page regularly (check the published date to see when it last happened), but if you find a rate has been cut or isn’t available, you can check the Savers Friend website.
If your savings account is at a bank other than where you do your primary checking, an important consideration is that moving your money between checking and savings will not be instantaneous. Transfers between the two will be possible through electronic funds transfers, which sometimes can take place in one day, but may take two or more days, depending on the bank and the time of day you initiate the transfer. So a little more advance planning will be necessary whenever you need to withdraw funds from savings.
While an interim rule allows institutions to decide if they want to allow more than six transactions per month, rules and fees still vary by institution. So be sure you understand the possible fees and the account's statement cycle.
For deposits into your savings account at another bank, this is similarly possible via electronic funds transfer. But some banks will also offer a smartphone app that allows mobile check deposits, the use of an ATM card, or mail-in envelopes for check deposits.
Lastly, all FDIC banks, whether brick-and-mortar or Internet-only, and all NCUA credit unions, carry U.S. government-backed insurance on up to $250,000 of deposits per individual per institution. If you hold more than that amount in the bank, you'll want to take steps to split the deposits across multiple institutions and/or multiple individuals (such as a spouse) to make sure all of your deposits are insured.
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The best all-round current account is offered by Starling Bank.
With no added fees for using your card overseas and lower than average overdraft charges, it’s a step ahead of most other accounts on the market.
If you prefer an in-branch experience there are plenty of other options, with the Co-operative, Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest also rated highly.
In this article we cover:
The products mentioned in this article have been independently chosen by Times Money Mentor to help you compare current accounts. If a link has an * by it, that means we may earn money. This helps fund the website and keeps it free to use. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.
Top five current accounts
Starling personal current account
Starling* is one of a new breed of app-based banks – which give you all the core banking functionality through your phone. Starling’s personal current account is the best all-rounder:
- No fees for using your card or withdrawing cash overseas
- Interest on savings: 0.05% AER on balances up to £85,000
- Lower than average overdraft rate: 15% – 35% EAR variable subject to credit checking
- No added charges for unarranged overdrafts
- High limit of £25,000 for sending and receiving payments instantly through the Faster Payments Scheme
- Highly rated app
Starling’s only weakness is that it doesn’t offer bank branches – if you need access to a branch, you will have to look elsewhere.
- Overdraft interest rate (APR): 15%-35%
- Maximum cash withdrawal per day: £300
go to provider site*
Co-operative Bank current account
Best for the ethically minded
If you want to have a current account with an organisation that has an ethical approach to banking, Co-op Bank should be on your shortlist:
- “Everyday benefits” option means the accounts pays a little cashback each calendar month – or generates a charity donation – ts&cs apply
- Has a UK branch network
- Arranged overdraft rates and overseas card charges are a little lower than some of its high street competitors
While it is longer part of the Co-op Group, the bank still has to prove it adheres to strong ethics and values, in order to continue using the Co-op brand name.
It does this by turning away businesses that conflict with its ethical policies and working to support those which are ethically strong.
- Overdraft interest rate (APR): 35.9%
- Maximum cash withdrawal per day: £500
go to provider site*
Barclays Bank Account with Blue Rewards
Best for cashback
If you think you will take advantage of the perks that this account offers, then this may be a good option for you:
- Free for the standard account
- £4-a-month membership fee to join Barclays Blue Rewards:
- get a host of tailored benefits
- a monthly reward of £7
- To receive this, you need to set up two direct debits to be paid out from the account
- At least £800 needs to be paid into the account each month
- Cashback is available from a number of well-known high-street retailers including Currys, Argos and Moonpig
Welcome to TD Bank Personal Banking
Community means family.
I think that's what it's turned into.
I'm going to cry.
I don't know why.
Alright, your turn to talk.
Sam from Bonn Place Brewing Company here, and this is my wife.
Bethlehem is one of the greatest steel towns in America.
When manufacturing had a downturn Bethlehem had to reinvent itself.
When I first met Sam and Gina, they had this dream that they wanted to accomplish.
When we first signed our lease on this building, people were questioning it, like "you sure you want to open a brewery on the south side of Bethlehem in the current climate?"
We were certain that it was ready for what we wanted to do.
We needed a bit of help to get this place opened...and everybody needs help.
When anybody ever comes to us and says, "We need help. What can we do? We don't know how to get through this red tape."
We say, "This is what we did. This might help you."
We even went to City Hall for someone once.
This is the community we can change.
What we can change is right here and right now.
Sam and Gina are very passionate about working with women entrepreneurs.
It's hard to start a business.
One thing Sam and Gina have been able to achieve is share the lessons they've learned with other business owners and convince them, "hey, it actually is possible."
We want to see businesses succeed with the opportunities that we've had.
So what better way than to mentor them.
We're all in this together, and it's the bigger picture.
Bonn Place is a catalyst for the regrowth of this community.
They're also now helping other young entrepreneurs get started.
Sam and Gina sat down with us and gave us tips and tricks of what to do to get started.
We had this idea.
And they believe in us.
How much they're committed to the growth of Bethlehem as a whole.
That's the real story.[Applause]
They are the last two people who would want this bestowed upon them, but they are the most deserving.
So we all want to gather here today and say thank you, because we value everything that you put into Bethlehem.
There's a little bit more.
So, the contribution we made to a female entrepreneurship program, in your name.
We're absolutely thrilled.
Next year, with this gift, we're going to be able to serve even more women entrepreneurs.
The integrity of this community is real strong.
This is just the beginning.