A quick search of MoneySupermarket 's best buy tables for example, reveals that West Bromwich Building Society's Direct Bonus Account 3, pays the market-leading rate of 3.13%.
Further investigation however, reveals that this rate is only available to savers who have a deposit of at least £10,000 to open the account with.
Anything less than this, and the answer will be no.
Getting the best for you
But this shouldn't deter anyone from saving. The fact is the vast majority of people don't have a whacking great deposit to trade for the best rates. But, the good news is, everyone can shop around for the best deal for their own deposit level. We take a look at what's out there.
If you have a £10,000
If you are looking for a home for £10,000 or more, and want to retain access to your cash, West Bromwich Building Society's Direct Bonus 3 3.13% deal is your best bet. However, this includes does include a 12-month bonus rate of 1.35%.
As with most easy access savings accounts, this means you will have to move your money when the year is up and chase the next best rate. Put the date in your diary as £10,000 is a lot of money to be wasting on poor returns.
However, when it comes to a large sum of money like this, there’s a good chance it could be your life savings, or perhaps a deposit for a house – neither of which you will want to dip into for some time. If this is the case, you will generate better returns on your cash with a fixed rate bond.
Yorkshire Bank, for example, offers a fixed rate of 4.7% on balances of more than £2,000, though you will have to tie up your money for five years. The bank pays a lower rate of 4.3% if you are only prepared surrender your cash for three years.
Even if you are permitted to access your cash before a fixed rate bond’s maturity date, it will mean sacrificing enough interest that would make a lower-paying easy access account better value. So, choose wisely to avoid a false economy.
If you have £5,000
It’s not the case that just because you have a certain deposit, you need to use it all to access the best rates.
For example, if you have £5,000 to put away, the best-paying easy access account is Nationwide’s My Save Online Plus (Issue 4) even though it only requires a minimum deposit of £1,000. Nevertheless, it stands to reason that if you can plough in £5,000 regardless, you will reap richer rewards.
Nationwide’s My Save Online Plus (Issue 4) pays a rate of 3.12% which includes a bonus of 1.58% for 12 months. Again, be sure to move your money after in advance of this date.
However, while the deal is categorised as easy access, you will only be permitted one free withdrawal per rolling year. If you make more than this, the rate will drop like a stone to 0.10% for the month in which the withdrawal was made.
If you are looking for more flexibility for your £5,000 savings, look at Leeds Building Society’s Postal Bonus Saver Issue 3. This allows access to your cash at any time and pays a rate of 3.01% which includes a 12-month 1.51% bonus.
If you have £1,000
If you are looking to invest £1,000, you will still qualify for Nationwide’s My Save Online Plus (Issue 4) offering a rate of 3.12% including an annual 1.58% bonus. So, providing you don’t object to the restricted withdrawal rules, this account will be your best bet.
Failing this, look at Santander’s eSaver Issue 4 offers a surprisingly attractive rate of 3.10% with a 2.6% 12-month bonus. This rate is especially surprising as you don’t actually need £1,000 to benefit. The account can be opened with just £1 making it accessible to every saver in the country. And there are no withdrawal restrictions either.
If you are starting out with £1
So long as you do some shopping around, the easy access savings world is still your oyster even if you only have £1 to invest. Santander’s eSaver Issue 4 account is the best option for your £1, as it would be if you were armed with £1,000. But – as ever – to get the best out of this account, you will need to move your money in 12 months’ time as the rate will plummet to 0.5%.
If you were looking for a competitive account that doesn’t pay a bonus, consider Virgin’s Easy Access E-Saver which pays a clean rate of 2.85% on savings of £1 or more. As with all easy access accounts, the rate variable but at least what you see is what you get.
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