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.
March’s savings update video
March’s savings news
Base rate increased again, while inflation drops to 10.1%
As predicted there was another increase to the base rate as set by the Bank of England on Thursday 2 February. It now sits at 4%. There’s another meeting on 23 March which could see another increase. Meanwhile inflation has dropped a little to 10.1%, but that’s still very high.
Easy Access rates reach
*Update 7/3/23 – Chip increased their rate to 3.4%*
There have been big increases in easy-access rates at the start of this month. Cynergy increased to 3.15% (then dropped down to 3.04%) and Chip matched it to top the table.
Then last Friday Tandem went to 3.2% (make sure you’ve activated the 0.2% top up) and Zopa followed to go above that to 3.21%. It’ll be interesting to see if Chip increases again to return to the top.
Notable new accounts are from Monzo, offering a competitive rate (3%) for the first time, and Al Rayan if you want a Sharia-compliant account.
An interesting account is from Skipton Building Society. It’s base rate tracker offers 1.1% below the base rate for two years. That puts it at 2.9% right now. Where it could be useful is you’re guaranteed the rate will improve each time there’s a base rate. So even if it’s not at the very top of the table it’ll always be there or there abouts.
NS&I also increased easy-access rates to 2.85% and 2.89%, which though now falling a fair bit behind the top options do provide increased protection of £1m or £2m and can be opened via the phone or post.
Easy access picks as of 5/3/23
A full list of accounts is available here. Notable changes this month include:
- Zopa (3.21% AER variable, slight increases in notice pots): min £1 / max £85,000
- Tandem (3.2% AER variable, includes 0.2% bonus for 12 months): min £0 / max £250,000
- Chip (3.15% AER variable): min £1 / max £250,000
- Al Rayan (3.05% Expected Profit Rate variable): min £5,000 / max £1m
- Monzo Instant Access pot (3% AER variable): min £0 / max £100,000 (requires current account)
- Skipton Building Society Base Rate Tracker (2.9% AER variable, tracks at 1.1% below base rate for 24 months): min £1 / £1m
- NS&I Income Bonds (2.89% AER variable): min £500 / max £1m
- NS&I Direct Saver (2.85% AER variable): min £1 / max £2m
Limited access accounts nudge up to 3.35%
Slightly higher rates are available thanks to hikes to Yorkshire Building Society and HSBC’s limited accounts, though you will have restrictions on balances and how often you can access the cash. The YBS and Coventry BS accounts are also good ethical options.
Limited access picks as of 5/3/23
Notable changes this month include:
- Yorkshire Building Society Rainy Day account (3.35% AER on first £5,000 / 2.85% on balances over £5,000) Max two withdrawals a year: min £1 / max £500,000
- HSBC Online bonus (3.25% AER variable) rate reduces to 1.2% in months you make a withdrawal: min £1 / max £10,000 (requires a current or other savings account with HSBC)
- Coventry Building Society Limited access account (3.1% AER variable) Six withdrawals a year: min £1 / max £250,000
As ever, these could well change again in the coming days, so check out my best buys guide for updates.
Notice accounts reach 3.55%
And you can get a little more if you are willing to give notice. Here are the top paying ones by length
Notice accounts picks as of 5/3/23
- Moneybox (3.46% AER variable) 120 day notice: min £1 / max £85,000
- Investec (3.55% AER variable) 90-day notice: min £5,000 / max £250,000
- Zopa (3.31% AER variable) 31-days notice: min £1 / max £85,000
- Zopa (3.25% AER variable) 7-days notice: min £1 / max £85,000
Lloyds, Natwest, RBS & Bank of Scotland regular saver increases
There’s been a big increase for Club Lloyds customers without an existing Monthly Saver. You can now get 6.25% (up by 1 percentage point) on up to £400 saved every month for a year. Here’s my full review. That’s second only to First Direct now.
The bank also increased the standard Monthly Saver to 5.25%, while Bank of Scotland pushed their equivalent account up to 5.5%. Both are among the best paying accounts. With all three of these accounts existing customers will not receive the increase.
Also pushing rates up since the last update is the Natwest and RBS Digital Regular Saver. That now pays 6.17% for both new and existing customers. However the £150 monthly limit stays the same. Full details here.
Regular Saver accounts picks as of 5/3/23
- First Direct (7% AER variable) – min £25 / max £300 (requires current account)
- Club Lloyds (6.26% AER fixed) – min £50 / max £400 (requires current account)
- Natwest or RBS (6.17% AER variable) – min £1 / max £150 (requires current account)
- Bank of Scotland (5.5% AER fixed) – min £25 / max £250 (requires current account)
- Lloyds Monthly Saver (5.25% AER fixed) – min £25 / max £250 (requires current account)
Fixed rates pick up slightly
For the last few months fixed rates have been falling, in part because the rates available in October were based on a much higher base rate prediction for this summer than what is now expected.
But in the last few weeks there’s been some movement upward, I think driven by a few providers looking to top the tables rather than any bigger market moves.
These do come and go, but there are notable improvements to 6 month and 9 month fixes. One interesting new account is a 7-year fix via Raisin at 4.5% – though with interest paid at maturity it’ll likely mean what you make is hit by a hefty tax payment.
Make sure you keep an eye on my best buy list for all the options.
Fixed savings accounts picks as of 5/3/23
- Atom 6 month fix (3.75% AER fixed): min £50 / max £100,000
- FCMB via Raisin 9 month fix (4% AER fixed): min £1,000 / max £85,000
- Al Rayan 12 month fix (4.31% Expected Profit Rate fixed): min £5,000 / max £1m
- Atom 12 month fix (4.3% AER fixed): min £50 / max £100,000
- My Community Bank 24 month fix (4.48% AER fixed): min £1 / max £85,000
Green Savings Bonds up to 4.2%
These three year fixed bonds from NS&I are a decent ethical option and for the first time not too far off what you’ll get elsewhere – though it’s worth comparing with what building societies have. Full analysis here.
Premium Bonds increase to 3.3% prize rate
NS&I boosted the Premium Bonds prize rate of 3.3% for the March 2023 draw, the third hike in as many months. However, the other easy access increases I’ve written about above, with more likely to follow, mean it’s still lagging behind guaranteed rates elsewhere. Here’s more on the Premium Bond change, and why it doesn’t mean you’ll get a 3.3% return.
Chip Instant Access to become “normal” savings account
One of the issues I’ve had with the recent easy access account from Chip is that rather than get interest you earned a bonus. And this bonus didn’t compound, wasn’t protected by FSCS and was only accessible if you withdrew the full balance!
This changed in February, and the last bonus on the old system will now have been paid. However, you’ll need to withdraw your entire balance in order to get that final bonus out of the account.
Best rates for “ISA season”
We’re now approaching the end of the financial year, which means there’s just a month left to use your ISA allowance for 2022/23 – though only if you need to.
There’s been no movement on the top paying fixed and limited access ISAs, though a few more easy-access ISAs have increased to join Virgin Money at around 3%. MoneyBox has improved its cash LISA rate to 3.5%.
ISA picks as of 5/3/23
- Virgin Money one-year fix (4.25% AER fixed): min £1 (transfers in / requires current account)
- Barclays limited access/one year fix (4% AER fixed for one year) Max three withdrawals a year up to 10% of the balance at each time: min £1 (transfers in / flexible)
- Shawbrook easy access (3.01% AER variable): min £1,000 (transfers in)
- Coventry Building Society Limited Access (3% AER variable) Max six withdrawals a year without penalty: min £1 (flexible / transfers in)
- Virgin Money (3% AER variable): min £1 (transfers in / flexible / requires a current account)
Lifetime ISA picks as of 5/3/23
- Moneybox (3.5% AER, drops to 2.75% after one year): min £1
Where to put your savings in March 2023
Below are my “simple” tips – the accounts that’ll give you the highest rates, though make sure you check for updates in my regularly updated savings best buy article,
Of course you might be able to fix your money for better rates. The same goes if you’re happy to have your money in lots of different places. And you might have existing accounts closed to new customers with better rates. But if you just want one or two accounts, these are the ones I’d go for right now.
Best places to save up to £5,000
The highest paying 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 above £5,000
Again, going on the idea of keeping things simple, I’d next look at an easy access account without any restrictions. If you wish to have more accounts with higher rates but limits then you could look at the Santander Edge or Yorkshire Building Society Rainy Day Saver.
|Up to £85,000||Zopa Instant Access||3.21%|
Best places to save extra each month
If you’re looking to save every month then it’s worth looking at a regular or monthly saver. The top paying ones all require a current account, but I’d go for the Club Lloyds Monthly Saver over the higher paying First Direct account one as you can get free cinema tickets on top.
|Up to £400 a month||Club Lloyds Monthly Saver||6.25%||Requires a current account, fixed for 12 months|
Best places to avoid tax on interest
If you’re going above your Personal Savings Allowance (or don’t have one), then you can obviously save up to £20,000 in an ISA and £50,000 in Premium Bonds. I’m assuming you don’t need access to this money.
|Up to £20,000 (more if transferred)||Virgin Money 1 year fixed ISA||4.25%||Requires a current account|
Best ethical savings option
The easy shorthand is to go for a building society account, though Tandem also claims to be building a green bank and has the best rates
|Up to £250,000||Tandem easy access||3.2%|
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