Everything you need to know about the Chip Instant Access account
Chip’s app and Instant Access account offer a variety of features to help you make more from your savings.
Here, we do a deep dive into the app, how it works and the pros and cons to consider.
What is Chip?
Chip is an automated savings and investment app founded in 2016 that is managed using your smartphone.
It allows you to connect your bank account to the app through Open Banking to make transferring money into and out of your savings account easier within the app.
When it started, Chip was all about using smart technology to help you save. But now there’s a charge to use these, it’s moved to become a more traditional savings provider – though usually with some very decent rates.
You can also invest with Chip, though most of these features require you to pay a monthly fee.
Chip offers a variety of features to help you save and invest including:
- Up to £50 bonus: you can earn a bonus of up to £50 when opening Chip Instant Access account (More on how it works here.)
- Interest paying accounts: Chip offers relatively competitive interest with its Instant Access account currently paying 4.84%.
- Prize Savings Account: savers can win prizes ranging from £10 to £10,000
- Automated savings: Chip uses AI to analyse your spending habits to calculate how much you can afford to save, though it charges for this. You can read more about this feature in our separate guide (LINK)
- Recurring saves: you can set up your own automatic regular payments into your savings and investment investment accounts.
- Savings goals: Chip allows you to set targets to save towards e.g. for a holiday or house deposit.
- Investing: you can invest your money via Chip, and also open a Stocks and Shares ISA with the paid ChipX subscription.
- FSCS protection: Though Chip itself doesn’t have FSCS protection, its partner banks do, so up to £85,000 of your money held in a savings or investment account is protected with Chip (There are some cases where your money will be protected through a process called “safeguarding” instead which we explain more later.)
Chip special offers
Chip regularly runs deals for new, and even sometimes for existing customers.
As well as the welcome offer listed below, Chip will occasionally also offer individual customers a bonus rate depending on a variety of factors including:
- Your price plan
- If you refer a friend
- If you use a promotional code
- If you hold funds in the Chip Instant Access account for a certain amount of time
Up to £50 welcome bonus
Chip is offering new customers a bonus of up to £50 when they open an Instant Access Saver. You’ll need to download the Chip app and register for an account to get the bonus. We’ve more details in our money apps deals page.
Chip Instant Access account
The big reason to get Chip right now is the Chip Instant Access account. It’s powered by ClearBank and offers the following features:
Chip Instant Access Account 4.84% (powered by ClearBank)
|4.84% AER variable (plus a bonus of up to £50)
|Easy access (you can make unlimited withdrawals, although money must be moved to a UK-based current account.)
|You must be at least 18 years old and a UK resident
How much interest does Chip pay?
The Chip Instant Access account offers 4.84%. Although that’s a competitive interest rate, it can be beaten by a few others on the market at the moment.
You can also regularly get a bonus of up to £50 but you’ll need to be a new customer and deposit at least £5,000 into your account.
When is interest paid?
Chip calculates interest on your balance daily and pays it out monthly. Interest is added to your account on the fourth working day of the month. For instance, if the first day of the month is Monday your interest will be added on the Thursday of that week.
How much interest can I earn?
The amount of interest you can earn with the Chip Instant Access account varies depending on your account balance and whether the interest rate changes.
The table below shows some estimates of how much interest you could earn on different balances within 12 months. Remember that these are just a guide though and assume that you don’t make any withdrawals (or add more money) into your account.
How much can I deposit?
The smallest deposit you can make into your Chip Instant Access account is £1. There isn’t a maximum deposit but the account can hold up to £250,000. It’s also worth noting that only £85,000 of your savings are protected by the FSCS.
Can I apply for a joint savings account with Chip?
Chip doesn’t currently offer a joint savings account. So you can only open a savings account for yourself.
Can Chip change my savings rate?
As with all savings account providers, Chip has the power to change the interest offered on your account. If the interest on your account increases, Chip aims to pass it on to you the same day. If the rate on your account decreases, you’ll get a minimum of 14 days’ notice.
Though it’s no guarantee it’ll continue to do this, Chip has been pretty consistent at boosting the interest rate after any Bank of England base rate rises, so even if it’s not top of the table, it’s in the mix.
Chip Prize Savings draw
Chip’s Prize Savings Account (which is also powered by ClearBank) gives savers the chance to win a share of £57,500 worth of prizes each month instead of paying interest.
These prizes are broken down into a “Grand Prize” of £10,000 and various smaller value prizes as well. (It’s very similar to the way that NS&I Premium Bonds work.)
You can open the account in the Chip app and must have a minimum average balance of £100 each calendar month to qualify for the draw.
Every £10 (on average) that you save in this account gets you one entry on the prize draw. So in theory having an average of £100 will give you 10 entries.
The most you can deposit into the account is £85,000 (watch out if you already have money elsewhere with ClearBank, such as in the Instant Access account).
You can win multiple prizes in each draw – though you might also win nothing. Check out our Chip Prize Savings account review, for more about how it works.
Are savings prize draws worth it?
Although the chance of winning cash prizes is appealing, they are by no means a replacement for actual interest.
Opting for a prize draw savings account means that you miss out on a return as winning is slim to none.
So, if you want to earn interest you’d be better off finding a best buy savings account to ensure you earn something from your lump sum.
Other Chip savings accounts
Chip says that there are plans to introduce an ISA and fixed rate savings accounts and we’ll update this review when they are available.
Chip auto savings
Chip offers an auto-saving feature that uses AI to analyse your finances to suggest a sum of money that you can afford to save regularly.
This money is then automatically moved into your savings account or investment fund without you having to do anything.
To set up your autosave you’ll need to select the “Profile” tab and click “Savings Plans.” From here you’ll be able to turn on the auto save feature on or off.
Up until October 2022, this feature was free but now you’ll have to pay a 45p fee each time this money is automatically saved.
Although this might not sound like a lot, it adds up over time and could make a dent in your savings efforts over the long term.
Currently, autosaves cost 45p per save and happen every 4 days unless you turn them off or pause them. This works out to about 7 times a month or 91 times a year.
This means you’ll pay £3.15 each month or £40.95 a year for this feature, which is expensive and will eat into your savings.
And if automating your savings is an important part of your budgeting strategy, then there are free alternatives out there. Plum, for example, does exactly the same thing for free.
Read our guide about the best auto savings apps (and hacks) for more.
How much does Chip cost?
There are two membership options that apply to new and existing customers:
This is the free tier and the default one when you sign up. I think this is the option most of you will need. However, as detailed there could be additional charges, depending on how you use it. With this you get:
- Access to savings accounts
- Auto savings (additional fees are charged)
- Basic investing options (additional fees are charged)
There is a £5.99 fee for this, charged every 28 days (so you pay 13 lots in a year, not 12). It’s reduced to £4.99 if you pay annually. This gives you access to advanced investing functions.
As detailed elsewhere in this review, some features incur extra charges, such as autosaves, so watch out for them.
How does the Chip app work?
Here are some of the key things to know about how the Chip app works:
How do I manage my account?
Chip is completely digital which means that you’ll need to download the app onto your smartphone or tablet to manage your account.
How do I log into Chip?
Once you’re registered with Chip you’ll need to go into your settings to set up your secure login. There isn’t a prompt to do this, so it’s an easy thing to miss! If you don’t do this your account will be available every time you open the app. Which means that anyone could access your account if they have your phone or tablet.
To set up your secure login, select “Profile” and then go to “Secure login.” Here, you’ll be able to create a secure four-digit passcode. You also have the option to set up a FaceID login as well.
How do I link a bank account to my Chip account?
You’ll need to link a UK bank account to Chip so that you can withdraw money (and make deposits too should you wish to do so via Open Banking.) To do this you’ll need to select the “Profile” tab and go to “Bank verification.” Next, tap “Connect your bank” and select your provider from the list.
Which banks does Chip connect to?
Chip currently allows you to connect accounts from the following banks:
- Bank of Scotland
- First Direct
- Lloyds Bank
- Ulster Bank
How do I add money to Chip?
You can add money to your Chip account by selecting the “Savings” tab and tapping “Add money.” You’ll then get the following options for how to make the deposit:
- Bank transfer from your linked account
- Apple Pay or Google Pay (the max deposit is £500)
- Paying via debit card
Once you’ve selected a way to add money to your account, you’ll get to add in the sum you want to transfer.
How long do deposits take?
Bank transfers via Open Banking should arrive in your savings account the next working day. It takes 3 working days for funds to land in your account if you make a deposit through Apple/Google Pay or via debit card.
How do I withdraw money from Chip?
To withdraw money from your Chip savings account, select the “Savings” tab and click into your account. Next, click the “Withdraw” button below your balance and enter how much you want to transfer out of the account. Withdrawals can take up to two hours to land in your linked account.
Investing with Chip
Chip offers a general investment account (GIA) with the free-to-use account. This lets you invest in funds such as the FTSE 100 index fund and the S&P 500 tech fund. You’ll need to pay an annual platform fee of 0.5% (which is collected monthly).
It’s also worth pointing out that you’ll have to pay tax on a GIA if the interest you get goes above your personal income tax allowance.
Chip also offers a stocks and shares ISA which lets you save up to £20,000 a year tax-free. However, this is only available for ChipX users, which comes with a monthly charge.
How do customers rate savings accounts with Chip?
Financial review site, Smart Money People rate Chip 4.92 out of 5 stars at the time of writing (August 2023). And that’s based on 10,592 customer reviews.
Positive reviews of Chip highlighted the ease of use, app features and savings interest.
Negative reviews of Chip expressed difficulty withdrawing money and contacting customer service for support.
Is Chip safe?
Chip is authorised to provide payment services in the UK by the FCA. However, it’s important to note that it isn’t a fully-fledged bank.
This means that you’ll only get FSCS protection for your savings when it’s in the accounts of the regulated banks that Chip partners with.
When your money is in the process of being transferred into or out of these savings and investment accounts, it is not covered by the FSCS.
Instead, it is protected by a process called “safeguarding.” This means that Chip must keep the money in a separate account with an approved bank that can’t be accessed by creditors.
So if anything happens to Chip, your money should still be protected.
What is the FSCS scheme?
FSCS protects up to £85,000 of your money held in banks that are regulated by the FCA. An important thing to remember is that the protection applies to a banking licence rather than each bank individually. More than one bank can be held under the same licence. So let’s say you have three savings accounts with providers under the same banking licence, your £85,000 coverage would be split across all three, rather than applying to each one. Here’s more.
Pros and Cons of Chip
If you’re thinking about opening a Chip account, here are some pros and cons to consider:
- Tends to pay competitive interest rates on the Instant Access account
- Easy to set up
- Savings goals can help you track your progress
- No credit checks
- FCSC protection via linked savings accounts
- Recurring and autosaves come with a fee (on the free-to-use account)
- You need to remember to set up a secure login yourself
- You can only make deposits and withdrawals from a linked account
- You can’t connect all banks (e.g. Chase)
- Deposits take days to appear in your account
- App only so no online banking, physical branches or face to face support
Is Chip any good?
The highlight of the app when it first came to market was the autosave feature. It is a really great way to boost savings. But since it’s now paid for (if you have the standard free Chip account), it’s best avoided. Especially since you can use Plum for free instead.
However, if you look at Chip just as a savings account, then it’s well worth considering. It’s pretty simple to set up and use, and regularly offers competitive interest rates for easy access savings.
That being said, the interest on the Instant Access account is beaten by several best buy easy-access savings accounts on the market right now.
One thing to be aware of is that you’ll need to remember to secure your Chip account once it’s open. Otherwise, anyone can access your account when they go into the app leaving your money and details vulnerable.
How to open a Chip account
To open a Chip account you’ll need to download the app and register your details including your name, date of birth and UK address.)
You’ll also have to verify your identity by taking a selfie and snapping a photo of your proof of ID. If your application is successful your account could be available within the same day.
Sometimes Chip requests additional information to verify who you are. If this is the case you’ll get a notification in the app to contact customer service. They’ll also send you an email requesting the additional details they need.
You may need to provide another form of ID as well as a proof of address dated within the last three months. The extra verification checks can take another 48 hours to process.
I ran into this issue when setting up my account and it was quite easy to send off the additional details. It took an extra day for everything to get verified and to open my account.
Alternatives to saving with Chip
There are several alternatives to Chip if you’re looking to boost your savings. Plum offers the same AI autosave feature for free. Both Monzo and Starling Bank let you create goals in the “Pots” or “Spaces” features for free too.
To find the highest-paying savings rates it always helps to shop around. Check out our round up of the best savings accounts to help you find the right one for your nest egg.
How do I contact Chip?
You can contact Chip through the app by selecting the “Profile” tab and then “Contact us.” This will open up a chat feature which allows you to message the support team directly. The support team is available from 8am to 8pm on weekdays. You can also contact them via email at [email protected].
Can more than one bank account be added to my Chip account?
You can only link one bank account to Chip. If you need to change it you’ll need to get in touch with Chip’s support team using the app. You can also make a request by selecting your current linked bank account in the “Profile” tab and clicking “Update bank details.”