Best Instant Access Savings Accounts

Find an instant access account that will still give you a good rate of interest after the introductory period has ended, in this review.

Updated: June 12, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

|
Rachel Wait

Edited By

Rachel Wait

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If you want to be able to access your cash whenever you need to and without notice, an instant access savings account could work for you.

Instant access, or easy access, savings accounts are a popular type of savings account and can be a great option if you want to be able to pay funds into your account whenever you can, and withdraw your money instantly. This type of account can often be opened with just £1 (although some require a deposit of at least £1,000), but they don't always pay the highest rates of interest.

Instant access accounts can be handy if you want to build up a savings cushion to fall back on in an emergency, or if you'd prefer not to lock away funds for a set time.

This guide will give an overview of some of the best instant access saver accounts on the market.

ProviderScoreDetails
1. Metro Bank★★★★★Learn more
2. Leeds Building Society★★★★★Learn more
3. Paragon Bank★★★★★Learn more
4. Shawbrook Bank★★★★Learn more
5. Aldermore★★★★Learn more
6. Hampshire Trust Bank★★★★Learn more
7. Chip★★★★★Learn more
8. Yorkshire Building Society★★★★★Learn more

At a Glance, Pros and Cons

This section is for you if you want a quick summary of the pros and cons of instant access accounts.

Pros

Penalty-free withdrawals — You can access your money as needed, with no notice required.

Low deposit requirement — Many easy access accounts can be opened with as little as £1.

Add money when you want to — An instant access account allows you to make further deposits any time you wish.

Cons

❌️ Interest rates are less competitive — You might find interest rates on instant access accounts are lower compared to fixed rate accounts.

❌️ Conditions might apply — There could be catches like a minimum balance requirement to keep earning interest. Some accounts might also restrict the number of withdrawals you can make in a year. Make sure you check the small print carefully.

❌️ Bonus rates — Some easy access accounts include a bonus rate which temporarily boosts your overall interest rate. After a year, the bonus rate usually expires and your interest rate will drop and may no longer be competitive.

Best Instant Access Savings Accounts

Let's take a look at some of the best instant access savings accounts available.

1. Metro Bank — Limited Edition Rate

This easy access account from Metro Bank pays a top rate of 5.22% AER (variable) for 12 months.

You can pay into the account as required and access your money without penalty.

However, the 5.22% rate is only guaranteed for 12 months and will drop after this. You will also need to pay in at least £500 within 28 days of opening the account, otherwise the rate drops to 1.65% AER.

Existing customers can open the account through the mobile app or in branch. New customers will need to apply online.

Your money will be protected up to £85,000 under the FSCS.

2. Leeds Building Society — Limited Issue Online Access Account

This account requires an initial deposit of at least £1,000 but in return you'll get a great rate of 4.85% AER (variable). If the balance falls below £1,000, the rate drops to 0.05%.

Opening an online account, verifying your identification, and transferring funds can all be done in a matter of minutes. You can access your funds as required and top up money too.

However, the account can only be managed online so it won't be right for you if you want to bank in branch.

3. Paragon Bank — Double Access Savings Account

This is another competitive easy access account.

The Paragon Bank Double Access Savings Account pays 5.05% AER (variable) on balances above £1,000. You can save between £1,000 and £500,000 in the account, but remember only £85,000 is protected under the FSCS.

Unlike many instant access accounts, this account only permits two withdrawals every 12 months, otherwise the interest rate drops.

However, you can add funds whenever you like. The account can be opened and managed online.

4. Shawbrook Bank — Instant Access Savings Account

Earn 4.70% AER (variable) with this account from Shawbrook Bank.

There's no limit to the number of withdrawals you can make with this account, but each withdrawal must be for at least £1,000. You can top up the funds in your account as required and your money will be covered by the FSCS.

Like so many of these top-paying accounts, you will need to open and manage your account online, so it's no good if you want to bank in branch.

5. Aldermore — Double Access Account

Pay in at least £1,000 with this account from Aldermore, and you'll earn a competitive rate of 4.90% AER (variable).

However, this is another account that restricts your withdrawals. You'll only be able to make two per year, otherwise the interest rate drops to 1.50% AER.

You can pay in funds whenever you choose to and you can hold the account in sole or joint names. The account must be managed and opened online.

6. Hampshire Trust Bank — Online Easy Access Savings Account

The great thing about this account is that you only need £1 to open it. In return, you'll earn a competitive interest rate of 4.90% AER (variable).

You can pay money into the account whenever you want to and withdraw your funds without penalty.

However, this is another online account, so it won't suit everybody.

7. Chip — Instant Access Savings Account

Chip is a mobile-banking app that was founded in 2017. Its instant access account pays a competitive 4.84% AER (variable) and can be opened with just £1.

You can deposit up to £250,000, but remember only £85,000 will be protected by the FSCS.

To get started, you'll need to download the Chip app and then connect it to your bank to make withdrawals. You can make deposits by bank transfer, from any other Chip savings account, by debit card or Apple and Google Pay.

8. Yorkshire Building Society — Internet Saver Plus

This account from the Yorkshire Building Society pays 2.85% AER (variable) on your savings and you'll only need £1 to open the account.

You can pay in funds whenever you have the extra cash and withdrawals are unlimited.

However, the account can only be opened and managed online. Your money will be covered under the FSCS.

Best Instant Access Savings Account — Buying Guide

Find out more about instant access savings accounts below:

What Is an Instant Access Savings Account? 

A savings account is simply an account for you to put money in and earn interest. With an instant access account, you can access your money without first giving notice.

Easy access accounts enable you to build up a savings pot that you can then access easily if you need to pay for emergency expenses. They can also help you to save up for certain goals, such as a holiday or new car.

However, many instant access accounts offer variable rates of interest which means they can go up or down at any time. Some might also include a bonus rate that temporarily increases your overall rate, but then drops after a set time — usually a year.

Thanks to the personal savings allowance, basic rate taxpayers can earn up £1,000 in savings interest tax-free each year. Higher rate taxpayers can earn up to £500 tax-free each year, while additional rate taxpayers have no personal savings allowance.

If you are likely to exceed this allowance, you could put funds into a cash Individual Savings Account (ISA) as all interest earned is tax free. You can pay up to £20,000 in an ISA in the current tax year.

Tell Me the Process of Opening an Instant Access Savings Account

As long as you satisfy the following requirements, you can usually open an easy access savings account:

  • Aged 18 or above.
  • A UK citizen. 

When you've chosen an account and are ready to open it, follow the steps below:

  1. Submit an application. You can usually do this online, or you might be able to apply over the phone, by post or in branch. ✔️
  2. Provide the required ID documents and address verification. Common forms of identification include a driver's licence or passport, while address documents include recent utility bills or a mortgage statement. Make sure that your current address appears on all utility bills. ✔️
  3. Pay in your deposit. Once your application is accepted, make sure you pay in the required deposit. This might be £1, it might be £1,000.✔️

Is My Money Safe?

Your savings are safe — up to £85,000 is protected per bank or building society.

As long as your chosen bank has a UK banking licence, you money will be protected by the FSCS up to £85,000 per person, per financial institution in the event it goes bust (£170,000 for joint accounts). The only thing to watch out for is some banks fall under the same banking group, meaning this protection is shared.

Instant Access Savings Account — Best Money Tips to Supercharge Savings

  • Draw up a budget. Consider how much money you have coming in each month and how much you have going out each month on bills and other expenses. Work out how much you have left over to help you calculate how much you can afford to save each month.
  • Set up a standing order into your chosen savings account. This is the easiest way to ensure you pay into your savings account on a regular basis. You won't need to remember to do it and it stops you spending the cash on something else.
  • Pay off expensive debts first. If you have debts to pay off, the interest rate you're paying on those debts is likely to be higher than the interest you'll earn on your savings. So it's best to focus on clearing your debts before starting to save regularly.
  • Track your spending. Many banking apps now allow you to monitor and categorise your spending so you can see whether you're spending too much in certain areas — say, eating out or shopping. Cutting back where you can will free up more money for your savings account.
  • Establish savings goals. It will be much easier to save if you have a specific goal in mind, whether that's a holiday, a new car or essential home improvements. Some online providers let you set up different savings pots for different goals, making it easier to track your progress.
  • Shop around. Make sure you keep a close eye on your savings rate and get ready to move to a more competitive account when necessary.

Related Guides:

FAQs

If I accidentally transfer funds to the incorrect account, what should I do?

Do I pay tax on my savings?

Can dormant bank accounts be tracked down?

What is the difference between a standing order, a direct debit, and a regular payment?

How much should I keep in an instant access savings account?

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Mentioned Banks

About Founded in 1864 as Huddersfield Building Society, the company grew organically until 1975, when it became part of the largest merger between building societies to date. In 1994...
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Aldermore Bank Background Aldermore Bank (UK) provides commercial banking services to retail and institutional customers. Founded in May 2009 by CEO Phillip Monks, Aldermore Bank...
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About HTB Formerly 'Hampshire Trust Bank', HTB is a UK-based specialist ‘challenger’ bank founded in 1977 and relaunched under new management in 2014. The bank markets itself...
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About Metro Bank Metro Bank is a retail bank based in the United Kingdom. Founded in 2010 by Vernon Hill and Anthony Thomson, it is the first new high street bank to open in the...
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About Paragon Bank Paragon Banking Group is a UK-based specialist finance provider, headquartered in Solihull and founded in 1985. Originally named National Home Loans Corporation,...
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About Shawbrook Shawbrook is a commercial and retail bank based in the United Kingdom. Until 2017 it was part of Shawbrook Group PLC but was acquired in July 2017 by a...
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About Officially registered in 1875, the Leeds Building Society has a history that dates back to 1845. Unlike most building societies, the company has two international branches, in...
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