Easy access accounts are a popular choice among savers, particularly for those seeking additional flexibility or who are looking to get into the savings habit, so it'll come as welcome news that activity has been on the rise in this sector of the market – resulting in improved rates at the top of the charts.
Providers appear keen to leapfrog one another to secure the top spot, so much so that the best rates available have improved dramatically in recent months. Not only that, but the latest analysis by Moneyfacts.co.uk shows that the current top six easy access account rates now pay 1.47% on average, up from 1.44% six months ago and 1.26% a year ago (based on a £10,000 deposit), showing the improvement in the market.
This can be seen across both standard savings accounts and easy access ISAs, with both sectors boasting deals that pay at least 1.48% – including Skipton Building Society's Online Bonus Cash ISA – and it's now even possible to find several easy access deals paying 1.50%, something that was unheard of just a few months ago.
The tables below highlight the recent improvements in more detail:
Top easy access rates
|A year ago||Six months ago||Today|
|RCI Bank UK - Freedom Savings Account - 1.30%||Marcus by Goldman Sachs® – Online Savings Account – 1.49%||Virgin Money – Double Take E-Saver Issue 10 – 1.50%|
|Kent Reliance – Easy Access - Issue 26 – 1.30%||Bank of Cyprus UK* – Online Easy Access Account - Issue 19 – 1.47%||Virgin Money – Man Utd Double Take E-Saver Issue 5 – 1.50%|
|Yorkshire BS – Single Access Saver Issue 9 – 1.25%||Family Building Society – Premium Saver (1) – 1.45%||Marcus by Goldman Sachs® – Online Savings Account – 1.49%|
|Shawbrook Bank – Easy Access - Issue 11 – 1.25%||Virgin Money – Double Take E-Saver Issue 8 – 1.42%||Paragon Bank – Limited Edition Easy Access (Issue 7) – 1.45%|
|Bank of Cyprus UK* – Online Easy Access Account – 1.25%||Virgin Money – Man Utd Double Take E-Saver Issue 3 – 1.42%||Sainsbury's Bank – Defined Access Saver - Issue 10 – 1.45%|
|Ford Money – Flexible Saver – 1.22%||
Sainsbury's Bank – Defined Access Saver - Issue 7 – 1.40%
|Tesco Bank – Internet Saver – 1.45%|
Top deals at £10,000 gross. *Rebranded to Cynergy Bank. Source: Moneyfacts.co.uk
Top easy access ISA rates
|A year ago||Six months ago||Today|
|Al Rayan Bank** – Instant Access Cash ISA – 1.35%||Virgin Money – Double Take Cash E-ISA Issue 3 – 1.38%||Coventry BS – Easy Access ISA (Online) (2) – 1.50%|
|Coventry BS – Easy Access ISA (7) – 1.25%||Virgin Money – Man Utd Double Take E-ISA Issue 2 – 1.38%||Skipton BS - Online Bonus Cash ISA Issue 10 - 1.48%|
|Shawbrook Bank – Easy Access Cash ISA - Issue 3 – 1.25%||Leeds BS – Limited Issue Online Access ISA (Issue 7) – 1.38%||Virgin Money – Double Take E-ISA Issue 6 – 1.47%|
|Nottingham BS – Easy Access ISA - Issue 2 – 1.20%||Paragon Bank – Limited Edition Easy Access Cash ISA (Issue 5) – 1.37%||Virgin Money – Man Utd Double Take E-ISA Issue 5 – 1.47%|
|Sainsbury's Bank – Cash ISA – 1.16%||Post Office Money® – Online ISA - Easy Access Issue 14 – 1.35%||Kent Reliance – Cash ISA - Easy Access - Issue 18 – 1.46%|
|Tesco Bank – Instant Access Cash ISA – 1.16%||
Yorkshire Building Society – Online Single Access Saver ISA Issue 2 – 1.35%
|Tesco Bank – Instant Access Cash ISA – 1.44%|
Top deals at £10,000 gross. **Islamic Bank, pays an expected profit rate. Source: Moneyfacts.co.uk
"It is encouraging to see competition heating up within the easy access market, as just a few brands opting to raise rates could lead to other providers also considering improving their offering," said Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk. "Not only have rates in the easy access market improved over the past six months, but the easy access ISA market has also improved, with savers now seeing rates as high as 1.50%, equalling the top rate on offer from its non-ISA counterpart.
"In fact, since the start of May, Beehive Money, Post Office Money® and Sainsbury's Bank have all either launched or increased rates on their easy access accounts, while Coventry Building Society, Post Office Money® and Skipton Building Society have either increased or launched top easy access ISAs over the same period."
This in itself gives savers far more choice when it comes to selecting the top rates, but it also highlights the need to consider smaller brands rather than high street names. For example, if savers were to choose one of the top easy access accounts in the market, such as Virgin Money's Double Take E-Saver Issue 10 paying 1.50%, they would earn 10 times more interest than if they were to save with the HSBC Flexible Saver paying 0.15%, so it could pay to stop being so loyal to the big names.
"However, savers would still be wise to check the full terms and conditions of any easy access deal, as there are a handful of accounts that limit withdrawals," noted Rachel. "Instead, it could be more beneficial for those savers requiring regular access to their funds to choose an account that pays a lower rate but does not penalise them for making multiple withdrawals."
This means savers need to be vigilant when it comes to choosing their preferred deal, but it can't be denied that there are plenty of high-paying options available, many of which don't come with restrictions. Hopefully, the latest round of activity is only the beginning, too – as Rachel pointed out, any kind of movement at the top of the easy access charts could encourage other providers to follow suit, creating a kind of domino effect where they're locked in a battle for the top spot.
However, if you find a deal you like it's important to not hang around, because as with so many things in the savings market, there's no telling how long each deal will be available for – so get searching!
Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.