Nationwide hikes interest to 5% on FlexDirect account

Once again it’s the highest paying current account for savings.

Those who open a new Nationwide FlexDirect current account will be able to earn a table-topping 5% interest on savings – as long as they’ve not had the account before. Here’s what you need to know.

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How to get 5% interest on your savings

This rate is only on offer in Nationwide’s FlexDirect current account (here’s my review). You don’t need to open up any additional accounts as you’ll earn the interest on the balance held in the current account itself.

However, there are three key restrictions:

  • First, it’s only offered on the first £1,500 saved in the account
  • Next, this rate is only for one year, after which it drops to 0.25%
  • And finally, you can’t get it if you’ve previously had a FlexDirect account

So if you’re new to the building society and put in the full amount at account opening, it’s worth £75 in interest after a year.

This is lower than the last time the building society offered 5% as back then it was on balances of up to £2,500. Still, it’s better than you’ll find elsewhere.

You can get the rate on both one personal account and one joint account, though the same rules apply.

There’s also a switching bonus worth up to £125, more on this below.

Should you get the account?

Andy’s analysis

I’ve been warning against opening this account ever since the rate dropped to 2%. That was in the hope that we’d see an increase just like this.

The rate makes the account my new top pick for savers not just on the rate but also on ethical – though only for 12 months. So I’d absolutely open up the account and put as much in as possible.

But timing is important. Remember, if you open it now and don’t have the savings, you won’t be able to get the rate again at a later date.

So it could be wise to hold off, and leave it for a time when you will have £1,500 that can sit in the account for a full year.

What if you already have the account?

For years the Nationwide FlexDirect ruled the roost when it came to savings, offering 5% on a limited amount of cash. This made it my top pick, so I’m sure many of you already took advantage. You might even have opened it after it dropped to 2%.

As mentioned, you can’t get the rate again if you have already had a FlexDirect account in the past or had one for more than a year.

And sadly this is also the case if you’re currently in the first 12 months of the account. You’ll keep getting 2% interest on your savings, and it won’t be bumped up to 5% for any remaining months of that first year.

Alternative savings accounts

If it is the case you won’t get 5% interest rate, whether you open a new account or through an existing one, or you’ve got more than £1,500 to save, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

It could be that this move from Nationwide triggers other banks to offer similar deals, and there are likely more base rate increases on the way too.

But for now, your next best bets are two accounts offering 2% and a handful of regular savers offering between 2.5% and 3.5%. You can get more details about these in my top savings account guide.

High-paying current accounts & apps

AccountRate
Nationwide FlexDirect Current Account5% AER fixed on up to £1,500 for 12 months
Virgin Money M Plus Current Account2.02% AER variable on up to £1,000
Claro (iOS app)2% AER variable on up to £3,000

High-paying regular savers

AccountRate
First Direct Regular Saver*3.5% AER fixed for 12 months (Max £300 a month)
Natwest Digital Regular Saver*3.3% AER variable on up to £1,000 (Max £150 a month)
RBS Digital Regular Saver*3.3% AER variable on up to £1,000 (Max £150 a month)
Nationwide Flex Regular Saver*2.5% AER variable for 12 months (Max £200 a month)
Nationwide Start to Save2.5% AER variable for 24 months (Max £50 a month)
Santander 123 e-Regular Saver*2.5% AER fixed for 12 months (Max £200 a month)
* Current account required

How to get another £125 for opening the account

Nationwide is currently offering a switching bonus of up to £125. First, you’ll need to apply for any Flex current account from the building society, either online or in person. There will be a hard credit check on your application.

Once you’ve done this, make sure you then switch over a current account from a different bank. You can do this during or after the application. Here’s my full analysis and all the eligibility rules.

If you’re brand new to Nationwide, you’ll get £100 as part of the switch (which closes your old account completely). But if you’re an existing member, you’ll get £125.

It’s easy to cheat this and become a member first by opening up a separate savings account, and then opening the current account. The recent Start to Save regular saver is a decent option.

4 thoughts on “Nationwide hikes interest to 5% on FlexDirect account

  1. Long-time YouTube through TV watcher here. So helpful – thanks! But NW website says you’ll need to pay in at least £1000 a month. Is this the case even if you put in the full £1500 at the start?

    1. Yep, but that £1,000 doesn’t need to stay in the account

  2. If you’ve had a FlexDirect account before, you won’t receive the 12 month credit interest offer or the interest-free overdraft offer again. However, you will get the offer on a new joint account, as long as you have not shared a FlexDirect account with that person before.

  3. Hi Andy if you’ve already had a switch bonus in the past year from Nationwide will you still get the £125 Incentive…? Much appreciated as always!

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