It’s not easy these days to find a decent rate on your savings. The average easy access account pays interest of less than 1%, which does not even nearly cover inflation.
So it’s perhaps not surprising that savers are looking beyond standard accounts to try to get a better return on their money.
What is a notice account?
Most banks and building societies offer notice accounts – and as their name suggests, the accounts demand notice of withdrawals. In other words, you don’t have instant access to your cash. And you usually have to specify the amount you want to withdraw.
The notice period varies but typically starts at about 30 days, rising to 120 days on some accounts. There might also be a limit on the number of withdrawals you can make within any one year, so you need to read the small print carefully.
The restrictions on notice accounts can help savers overcome the temptation to dip into their nest egg, but they can also prove costly. If, for example, you need immediate access to your money, you will normally have to pay a penalty.
Internet junkies should also bear in mind that most notice accounts are branch or postal, though some banks and building societies allow you to manage your savings online.
Notice accounts sometimes pay higher rates of interest than easy access deals, and the longer the notice period, usually the higher the rate. But it is always worth checking a range of accounts. Savers can for example, earn higher rates of interest in some of the top easy access deals. You might also get a better return on a 60 day than a 90 day notice account.
There is no point in opening a notice account if you think you will need to withdraw your money in a hurry. So, they are not a suitable home for emergency funds in case the washing machine breaks down or the roof needs repairs. The accounts are more appropriate for people who have no intention of touching the cash for at least the length of the notice period. They might, for example, be saving up for a wedding or a deposit on a house.
Keep an eye on the rate
You might not be able to touch the money in a notice account, but you shouldn’t forget about it completely. Most notice accounts pay variable rates of interest so the amount you earn can go down as well as up. It is therefore important to regularly monitor the rate to make sure you are getting a good deal.
If you don’t think a notice account is right for you, there are various other types of savings accounts on the market. You can, for example, fix your rate or open an easy access savings account. Moneysupermarket can help you find the best deal on your savings because it allows you to compare rates on a wide range of accounts. The service is quick and easy to use, plus it’s free and independent, saving you money all round.