October 2023’s savings round-up & news

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.

October’s savings update video

October’s savings news

Inflation falls & base rate stays at 5.25%

Inflation has fallen, and now sits at 6.7%. It’s still well above the 2% target, but it does mean prices are rising at a slower rate.

The base rate currently stands at 5.25% – un unexpected result (most people thought it’d go up to 5.5%). Following this we’ve seen longer term fixed rates on savings drop below 6% for most lengths. More on this later.

Best rates improve on easy access but fall on fixes

This table shows the increases on the best paying accounts at the time of writing, compared to my update last month.

Account typeBest rate 11 October 2023Best rate 30 August 2023Change in percentage points
Current account linked7%7%+0%
Easy access5.2%4.94%+0.26%
Limited access5.3%5%+0.3%
90-day notice5.6%5.45%+0.15%
120-day notice5.75%5.53%+0.22%
Open to all5.5%5.5%+0%
6 month fix5.75%5.56%+0.19%
9 month fix5.79%5.79%+0%
12 month fix6.12%6.2%-0.08%
2 year fix6%6.05%-0.05%
3 year fix5.97%6%-0.03%
4 year fix5.8%5.85%-0.05%
5 year fix5.8%5.85%-0.05%
Easy access ISA4.934.43%+0.5%
1 year fix ISA5.85%5.78%+0.07%
2 year fix ISA5.65%5.73%-0.08%
Lifetime ISA4.25%4%+0.25%

Regular savings hits 8%

Nationwide has introduced a new regular saver for current account holders paying a massive 8%. I’ve written a detailed analysis of it but the headlines are:

  • You can pay in up to £200 a month
  • It lasts for a 12 months
  • You must have a Nationwide current account

Existing Yorkshire Building Society members now have access to a 7% paying regular saver allowing up to £500 in a month. You need to have had an account for at least 12 months to get access. They’ve a relatively decent history of this, so last year I suggested you open an easy access account to get that clock ticking. I did so will be opening one up soon. Hopefully some of you can take advantage too.

Elsewhere Coventry Building Society now offers 5.5% without the need to have a linked current account and the most you can pay in is £500 a month.

We’ve got a dedicated Regular Saver best buy article, so you can see further details and more rates there.

Regular Saver accounts picks as of 11/10/23

  • Nationwide Flex Regular Saver (8% AER variable) – min £1 / max £200 per month (max 3 withdrawals per year, after which your rate drops to 2.15%. Requires Nationwide current account) – full review
  • First Direct (7% AER variable) – min £25 / max £300 (requires current account)
  • Club Lloyds (6.25% AER fixed) – min £50 / max £400 (requires current account)
  • Natwest or RBS (6.17% AER variable) – min £1 / max £150 (requires current account)
  • Coventry Building Society Regular Saver (5.5% AER fixed) – min £1 / max £500 per month
  • Halifax Regular Saver (5.5% AER fixed) – min £25 / max £250 a month

Starling adds decent in account interest

Generally I suggest you don’t keep much money in your main current account, instead moving your savings into a separate option. That’s not just to get a better rate, but also to keep your cash separate and avoid accidental overspending.

However, there’s always going to be some cash in your current account. Whether that’s for general spending or just for some days on and around payday. So I was pleased to see my main account provider Starling Bank massively increase the in-account interest.

It now pays 3.25% on balances up to £5,000 (not that you’d want to have any more than that in there for more than a few days if you can avoid it). Yes it can be beaten significantly elsewhere, but it’s makes an already very good banking experience a little better.

Santander Edge Saver hack update

A quick one here. Last time I shared a potential hack that suggested you could open a Santander Edge account and avoid the monthly fee – meaning you’d get the full 7% on the linked Edge Saver account (on up to £4,000).

It entailed not adding any direct debits or paying in the required minimum, which the terms and conditions suggested wouldn’t trigger the fee.

Sadly Santander have confirmed to me that this isn’t likely to work. Here’s what their press office told me:

The fee for the Edge Account is charged once a customer qualifies for cashback for the first time. If after opening, the customer’s circumstances change and the account is no longer right for them or they don’t meet the requirements of the terms and conditions they can, or we may, switch them to a different account within our range which doesn’t charge a fee.

The choice of “may” in the wording could be interpreted as not a guarantee you’ll be downgraded if you don’t pay the fee. So you might want to still give it a try. Let me know what happens if you do.

5.3% limited access, easy access not far behind

Between these updates there’s been a 5.2% easy access account from Santander come and go. But if you missed out, don’t worry.

Ulster Bank (part of the Natwest Group) is offering the same amount on balances over £5,000, and Cynergy is not far behind with 5.15%.

And you can beat it too in a limited access account. Chorley Building Society will let you take money out once in the year and pay you 5.3%.

There are also a number of easy and limited access accounts above 5.1% now, with Cahoot (part of Santander) & Shawbrook the next best easy access and Coventry BS and Virgin Money decent on limited access rates.

I know many of you will still be saving with previous table toppers such as Chip, Zopa, Kroo and even Chase. Even the Barclays Blue Rewards saver. They’re all paying rates that can easily be beaten, so it may be worth moving you cash if you’re with them.

Current account linked saver picks as of 11/10/23

  • Santander Edge Saver (7% AER variable, includes 2.5% bonus for 12 months): min £0 / max £4,000
  • Barclays Blue Rewards Rainy Day Saver (5.12% AER variable): min £0 / max £5,000
  • Nationwide FlexDirect (5% AER variable for 12 months): min £0 / max £1,500
  • Kroo: (4.35% AER variable): min £0 / max £85,000

Limited access picks as of 11/10/23

Easy access picks as of 11/10/23

  • Ulster Bank (5.2% AER variable): min £5,000 / £1m
  • Cynergy Bank (5.15% AER variable includes a 1.15% bonus for one year): min £1 / max £1m
  • Cahoot (5.12% Variable): min £1/ max £2m
  • Shawbrook Bank (5.11% AER variable): min £1,000 / max £85,000
  • Beehive Money (5.1% AER variable – includes a 2.45% bonus until 31 October 2024): min £1,000 / max £85,000
  • Secure Trust Bank (5.1% AER variable): min £1,000 / max £85,000

Notice accounts picks as of 11/10/23

  • 3 months notice RCI (5.6% AER variable): 95-day notice: min £1,000 / max £1m
  • 4 months notice Stafford Railway BS (5.75% AER variable) 120-day notice: min £5,000/ max £150,000
  • 6 months notice Oxbury Bank (5.59% AER variable): 180-day notice: min £1,000 / max £500,000

As ever, these could well change again in the coming days, so check out my best buys guide for more options and updates.

In case you missed previous savings account updates:

Check out my savings updates from previous months for details on the following and more

  • First Direct’s 7% regular saver
  • Santander’s 7% Edge Saver

NS&I axes one year fix – more to follow?

Last month I told you about the NS&I guaranteed income bond paying 6.2%, and how it had reversed a trend that saw one year fixes over 6% start to disappear. Well hopefully you got if you were interested as it finally closed to new applicants last week.

And as a result other one year fixes are quickly falling below 6%, as are rates on two, three and longer fixes.

You can, at the time of writing get 6.1% for a year with Ahli United via Raisin, or a slightly higher 6.12% via the Sharia account provider Al Rayan, also via Raisin. But below that only a handful offer 6%, and I’d expect them to drop shortly.

Remember, most fixed rate accounts will pay all the interest at the end of the term, so the longer fixes will very likely take you over your personal savings allowance, meaning you’ll be subject to tax on the excess.

Here are the leading options right now. Make sure you keep an eye on my best buy list for all the options.

Fixed savings accounts picks as of 11/10/23

  • 6 months Habib Bank Zurich (5.75% expected profit rate fixed): min £5,000 / max £1m
  • 9 months Ahli United via Raisin (5.79% AER fixed): min £1,000 / max £85,000
  • 12 months Al Rayan via Raisin (6.12% expected return fixed): min £5,000 / max £85,000
  • 15 months Oak North Bank (6% AER fixed): min £1 / max £500,000
  • 18 months Cynergy Bank (5.95% AER fixed): min £1,000 / max £1m
  • 2-year United Trust Bank (6% AER fixed): min £5,000 / max £1m
  • 3-year JN Bank (5.97% AER fixed): min £1 / max £250,000
  • 4-year JN Bank (5.8% AER fixed): min £1 / max £250,000
  • 5-year JN Bank (5.8% AER fixed): min £1,000/ max £100,000

Easy access ISA closer to 5%

For those of you who need the tax-free earnings offered by ISAs, the story above is repeated with ISAs. Movement upwards on easy and limited access, and generally downward movement on fixes, though there’s a better 1 year fix available this month, though you need to have a Virgin Money current account to get it.

ISA picks as of 11/10/23

Where to put your savings in October 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

The best rate is via Santander’s Edge Saver so it’s worth a look. But if you want to keep things simple, I’d look at using Ulster Bank for anything beyond this you need access to.

Amount savedAccountRateNotes
Between £2,000 and £4,000Santander Edge Saver7%£3 monthly fee
Between £5,000 and £85,000Ulster Bank5.2%

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 Nationwide Flex Regular Saver. There’s also a £200 switching bonus to go for if you’re not already a customer.

Amount savedAccountRateNotes
Up to £200 a monthNationwide Flex Regular Saver8%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.

Amount savedAccountRateNotes
Up to £20,000 (more if transferred)Virgin Money year ISA5.85%

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 decent rates. Here are the best paying options

Amount savedAccountRateNotes
Up to £85,000Family Building Society easy access5.04%
Up to £100,000Green Savings Bonds (three year fix)5.7%

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