December 2018: what are the best savings account rates?

Average rates are rising across the board for first time in seven years.

Ford Money has upped the rate on its easy-access online account, Flexible Saver, to 1.42%. The bank says that when it changes its rates, the new rate applies to both new and existing savers.

RCI Bank also pays its new, higher 1.42% rate to all savers holding its easy-access Freedom savings account. 

Most banks offer their new rate only to savers opening an account following the announcement, while loyal savers remain on the old rate.

The top rate of 1.5% on easy-access accounts comes from Virgin Money’s Double Take E-Saver, Goldman Sachs’ Marcus online saver account and West Bromwich Building Society’s Double Access postal and phone account.

However, both the Virgin and West Bromwich accounts limit you to two withdrawals a year, while the Marcus rate includes a 0.15 percentage point bonus for the first year that you hold the account.

On fixed-rate bonds, the top one-year rate is 2.05% from Atom, Masthaven, Tandem and Investec banks, while Market Harborough Building Society follows closely behind with 2.02% and Charter Savings Bank at 2.01%. Metro Bank pays 2.25% to those savers who are willing to tie up their money for 18 months.

On fixed-rate tax-free cash Isas, Shawbrook Bank pays a top 1.66% for one year and Aldermore Bank 1.65%. For two years, they pay 1.86% and 1.85%, respectively.

On easy-access cash Isas, Paragon’s new account pays 1.35%, while Charter Savings Bank and Sainsbury’s Bank both offer 1.31%. Virgin Money pays a higher 1.45% on its Double Take E-Isa, but it limits you to two withdrawals a year.

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