The latest news to help you get the most from your savings account.
Here’s my monthly update sharing changes at leading UK savings accounts, as well as some of the articles you might have missed on the blog.
December’s savings update video
December’s savings news
Fixed rates falling
Over the last few weeks the best buys on all fixes have been falling, and it could be that the peak has been and gone. For example a one-year fix reached 4.65% early in November but it’s now at 4.35%. Falls have been similar on two, three and five year fixes.
This is partly because rates jumped up when there were predictions that the base rate would hit 5% or even 6% next year. As that’s now looking less likely, the savings rates are reflecting it. Of course, you never know, what will happen, but if you have money you can fix, it could be worth grabbing a rate now.
You just need to be happy with the knowledge that things could go up or down again next year. Make sure you keep an eye on my best buy list of all the options.
Massive 7% regular saver from First Direct
On 1 December 2022, First Direct will double the rate on its regular saver from 3.5% to 7%. This will be for new and existing customers. You can save up to £300 a month for 12 months. Save the full amount and you’ll get £135 interest in a year.
New First Direct customers can also get £175 right now for switching to the bank. All the details on that offer here.
HSBC and Nationwide reg savers increase to 5%
Elsewhere, HSBC will increase their regular saver from 1% to 5%. There’s a cap here of £250 a month, so the max interest over a year will be £81.
Nationwide is also boosting the rate of it’s regular savers. The Start to Save account will be 5% (up from 3.5%), while the Flex Regular Saver will improve to 4% – though that’s still closed to new applications and Nationwide confirmed to me there are no plans to change this at the current time.
Again, both banks have switching offers right now worth £200! Details here.
Natwest and RBS regular savers increases to £5,000 balance
From 6 December 2022 you’ll be able to earn 5.12% on balances up to £5,000 in the Natwest Digital Regular Saver and its sister account from RBS. This is a huge increase from the current £1,000. However, the monthly deposit is still capped at £150, though you can save additional funds if you use the Round Up function.
If you keep the interest in the account, it’ll take two years and seven months of saving the full £150 to reach a balance of £5,000, which will include interest of around £370.
For those already with £1,000 saved in the account, it’ll be just over two years until you reach £5,000, which will include interest payments of around £300.
Once you hit the balance of £5,000 the rate on additional interest drops so it makes sense to stop paying any further money into the account. Of course, in two years time the offer could have changed again so it’s not something to worry about right now!
Christmas regular savers pay up to 5.5%
Two building societies are offering limited Christmas regular savers. You can get 5.5% with Monmouthshire BS on up to £200 a month for a year, though applications are by post or in branch only. Or there’s up to £125 a month in the 5% paying option from Principality.
Santander Edge up to 3.55% joint accounts hack
The new Santander Edge account comes with an Edge Saver account offering 4% on up to £4,000 – though it comes with a £3 monthly fee. If you don’t use cashback on bills to cancel that out, it drops quite a bit, with only those saving more than £3,600 beating the 3% available from Virgin Money’s Cash ISA or HSBC’s Online Bonus account. My full analysis of the Santander Edge account is here.
However, those with a joint account are able to open two Edge Saver accounts, so the impact of the fee can be reduced. You’ll still need more than £3,600 across both accounts to beat 3%, but it gives you the potential to earn more than this on up to £8,000.
Here’s how the “real” interest rate looks if you do this.
|Amount saved||Annual Interest||Interest after £36 fee||Effective interest rate|
Cash ISA hits 3%
If you have a Virgin Money current account then this 3% paying ISA is a great option as it beats all easy-access accounts. However you can only add up to £20,000 across all your ISAs in a financial year, which includes payments to Lifetime ISAs and investment ISAs.
Raisin bonus ends
The £30 bonus available to first-time customers of savings platform Raisin via this link ends on 30 November 2022. You’ll need to open an account by this date and save £10,000 for six months to get the extra money. You will need to claim the bonus – how to do this and full terms and conditions can be found here.
The top options at the time of writing are:
- Zenith via Raisin (4.28% AER fixed) + £30 bonus for some: one year fix: min £1,000 / max £85,000
- Zenith via Raisin (3.4% AER fixed) + £30 bonus for some: six month fix: min £1,000 / max £85,000
- UBL via Raisin (2.71% AER variable) + £30 bonus for some: 95 days notice (min £1,000 / max £85,000)
Chip launches 2.55% bonus account
Chip is offering customers what it calls a market-leading rate of 2.55%. Technically that does match the rates from Tandem and Atom, though it can be beaten by Al-Rayan’s sharia compliant account (2.81%) and Cynergy’s existing customer account (2.75% – though you can open another account and then this to get it).
Even so, you have to be careful of Chip’s offering as the 2.55% rate isn’t an interest rate. Instead it’s a bonus. And this bonus has a few problems. First, it’s not protected by the FSCS, though your initial deposit is.
You also don’t earn a bonus on the bonus, so it won’t compound as it would with normal savings accounts. Plus to access the bonus you have to withdraw the full amount from your account first. So if you want to keep saving it there you’ll need to then pay it all back.
Chip changes prize draw eligibility rules
From 1 December you can no longer just add money to the Chip Prize Savings account at the end of the month and withdraw it a few days later and still be entered into the draw. Instead, entries under new rules will be based on the average balance over the month.
So to have the minimum £10, required for a single entry, you’d need to multiply this amount by the number of days in the month and have that as your average balance – at the very least. So for a month with 31 days, that’s a single or multiple deposits totalling £310 required.
You still also need to have at least £100 in the account on the last day of the month for any entries to be counted. Here’s my analysis.
Where to put your savings in December 2022
Make sure you check for updates in my regularly updated savings best buy article, and of course you might have existing accounts closed to new customers with better rates.
Of course you can fix your money for better rates, or if you’re happy to have your money in lots of different places you can mix and match the options. But if you’re looking for relative simplicity right now I’d look at the following easy access accounts:
Best places to save up to £5,000
The best option for the first £5,000 is the Barclays Blue Rewards Rainy Day Saver via a current account.
|£5,000||Barclays Blue Rewards Rainy Day Saver||5.12%||Can only earn interest on the first £5,000 saved and requires two direct debits a month to cancel out a £5 monthly fee|
Best places to save between £5,000 and £9,000 (possibly up to £17,000)
Next up I’d look to put additional income into the Santander Edge saver. There’s also the potential to open an extra Edge account as a joint account and get two more Edge savers with this. However the monthly fee will impact your interest so you’ll want at least £3,600 in accounts where this charge isn’t covered by cashback on bills.
|Up to £4,000||Santander Edge Saver||4%||Assumes £3 fee is cancelled out by cashback on bills|
|Up to £8,000||Two Santander Edge Saver (via joint account)||Up to 3.55%||Opening an additional joint Edge current account means you can get two Edge Savers.|
Best places to save more than £9,000 / £17,000
If you can’t do all or some of the Edge options, or for money after this then the highest place for the rest is HSBC’s limited access account at 3% or Virgin Money’s 3% ISA.
Beyond this are easy-access accounts without upper limits from Al Rayan and Tandem.
|Up to £20,000||Virgin Money ISA||3%||Requires a current account|
|Up to £10,000||HSBC online bonus saver||3%||Rate reduces in months you make a withdrawal|
|Up to £100,000||Al Rayan easy access||2.81%||Sharia account / Online only / min £5,000 to open|
|Up to £250,000||Tandem easy access||2.55%|
Best places for ongoing savings
If you are saving money every month then these accounts will beat the above accounts. You could also drip feed from easy-access accounts to boost existing savings. Read more on regular savers here.
|Max amount saved per month||Account||Rate||Notes||Max annual interest|
|£300||First Direct Regular Saver||7%||Current account required||£135|
|£400||Club Lloyds Regular Saver||5.25%||Current account required. Full review here.||£135|
|£150||Natwest Digital Regular Saver||5.12%||Current account required. You can save up to £5,000 and get 5.12% interest. It’s a flexible account so you can take money out and pay it back in. There’s also no set end date like with many regular savers||£50|
|£150||RBS Digital Regular Saver||5.12%||You can have both the RBS and Natwest accounts, though you’ll need a current account with both||£50|
|£250||HSBC Regular Saver||5%||Current account required||£81|
|£250||Halifax Regular Saver||4.5%||£73|
|£250||Lloyds Regular saver||4.5%||Current account required.||£73|
|£250||Bank of Scotland Regular Saver||4.5%||Current account required.||£73|
Best places for locking savings away
If you are willing to lock money away for a set time then better rates are available in a fixed bond.
|Length of fix||Account||Rate||Notes|
Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s twice-weekly podcast. Episodes every Tuesday and Friday.