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Average household holds £4,353 in ‘excess’ savings

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After a year of lockdowns, average savings have rocketed, but many savers may face penalties when it comes to removing their cash, warns Investec.

The UK savings ratio – the amount of money households save as a percentage of their pre-tax disposable income – soared to 16.3% last year, sharply up from 6.8% in 2019.

Investec calculates that the average UK household now retains around £4,353 in excess savings, or £2,309 per adult.

With life returning to normal and the economy opening up, many people might wish to access some of that money to spend over the coming months, but the bank warns that they may be bound by restrictions and penalties on their savings accounts.

Investec commissioned research earlier this year on the top 50 instant access savings accounts for balances of £5,000 which showed that only 26 of the top 50 instant access savings accounts carried no penalties or restrictions for withdrawing money or relied on short-term bonuses to inflate returns.

The research, carried out by Andrew Hagger of MoneyComms, revealed that 17 of the top 50 instant access savings accounts placed a limit on the number of withdrawals customers could make, and 11 charged interest penalties or reduced the interest rate paid to savers who make more withdrawals than their accounts allow.

Six of the accounts forbade further withdrawals for the year once the maximum permitted number had been reached, and three carried restrictions as to who can open them such as needing to have a current account with the provider.

Samantha Booysen, head of digital savings at Investec, said: “It is encouraging to see the savings ratio at such a high level, but with so much ‘excess savings’ we expect many people will want to go out and spend, and may face some obstacles when they try and access cash in their savings accounts. However, it is possible to find an attractive interest rate with instant access to your money with no restrictions.”


Investec’s Online Flexi Saver account is a simple and secure instant access savings account that is easy to use online.  It pays an interest rate of 0.4% AER on balances of between £5,000 and £250,000, provides access to savings, and allows unlimited deposits and withdrawals and can be opened in minutes.