Focus on: Earn 2.01% on your savings with Manchester Building Society

With savers unlikely to benefit from rising interest rates any time soon, it's more important than ever to seek out the best possible home for your savings.

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Unfortunately, the very best savings rates are still limited to accounts that require you to tie-up your money for a number of years, which isn't a suitable option for everybody.

But Manchester Building Society could have an alternative solution after launching a competitive savings account which still allows savers to access their funds – providing they give 60 days' notice.

Not available on any other price comparison site except MoneySupermarket, the Platinum Notice Account pays an annual equivalent rate (AER) of 2.01% (variable). So let's take a closer look at what it offers.

What's the deal?

The Manchester Building Society Platinum Notice Account pays an annual interest rate of 2.01%.

The rate is variable, which means it could change at any time. But, unlike many variable rate accounts, there is no built-in bonus rate, so savers don't have to worry about moving their money again once the bonus expires.

Interest is paid annually on October 31 and can be credited to the account or paid into your bank account – whichever you prefer.

The account can be opened with a minimum deposit of £1,000 and up to a maximum of £75,000 can be invested. Withdrawals are permitted, up to a maximum of six per year, providing you tell the building society 60 days in advance. You can access the account by post or in branch.

At 2.01%, the Manchester Building Society Platinum Notice Account is the most competitive account of its kind. While savers can earn a higher annual rate of 2.26% (variable) with the United Bank UK 90 Day Notice Account, as the name suggests, it requires a lengthier 90 days' notice before funds can be accessed.

Shawbrook Bank offers a notice account paying 2.10% (variable) but the notice period is even longer at 120 days.

Who's it good for?

The Manchester Building Society Platinum Notice Account is a competitive offering for anyone looking to get a better rate of return on their savings.

It's a good option for those who don't need immediate access to their money but can't afford to tie-up their funds for a year or more in a fixed rate bond.

It's also an account to consider if you've had enough of temporary bonus rates on easy access accounts that typically expire after a year, forcing you to deal with the hassle of finding a better paying account for your savings.

Any catches?

The biggest catch with the Manchester Building Society Platinum Notice Account is the two-month notice period that savers must give before they can access their money.

And while Manchester Building Society's account is the market-leading 60-day notice account, if you're happy to accept a marginally lower interest rate of 2.00%, Principality Building Society's Promise Saver requires a notice period of just 30 days, and you can open it with £500.

Note that the 2.00% rate here includes a conditional 0.50% bonus which is paid each year providing you make no more than two withdrawals a year.

If you have a deposit of at least £10,000, you can also earn a higher 2.05% with West Bromwich Building Society's Direct Bonus Account 6, and you won't be required to give any notice before accessing your funds. However, you can only make a maximum of four withdrawals per year and there is a bonus rate of 0.55% until May 31, 2014, so you'll need to move your money elsewhere after this time. This account is not available on any other price comparison site except MoneySupermarket.

Manchester Building Society's notice account also only allows six withdrawals per year and, while the initial deposit of £1,000 is relatively low, if your balance falls below this, the interest rate will drop to 0.50%.

Don't forget also that the interest rate is variable so the building society could lower it at any time.

What's the verdict?

If you're fed up with earning next to nothing on your savings and you don't want to lock your money away, or deal with the hassle of bonus rates, the Manchester Building Society Platinum Notice Account is a competitive option – providing you are prepared to give two months' notice before you can access your money.

However, because the account requires notice, it's important to squirrel away some money into an instant access account which you can get your hands on in the event of an emergency – such as the West Bromwich Building Society account mentioned above.

Top tip!

If you haven't yet used up this tax year's ISA allowance, you only have a matter of days in which to do so – the final deadline is Friday April 5, but some institutions have earlier cut-off dates to allow for the necessary paperwork. Saving into a cash ISA will mean you won't have to pay tax on the interest you earn, boosting your overall return.

You can pay up to £5,640 into a 2013/14 cash ISA before Friday. You can't carry over any ISA allowance you haven't used into the next tax year, so act now before it's too late. Once the new tax year starts on April 6 you'll be given a new cash ISA allowance of £5,760.

Read Jessica Bown's article to find out which cash ISAs are paying the best interest rates.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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