How to earn high interest on bigger than usual current account savings limits
Since the Bank of England’s decision to cut the Base Rate to 0.25% in August, there have been a total of 878 interest rate cuts on savings products according to Moneyfacts.
While current accounts have tended to be a haven for beleaguered savers, as the top paying offered three times as much as leading easy access savings or ISAs earlier in the year, many providers have since scaled back on their rewards, cashback and interest rates.
However with some current accounts still paying an attractive up to 5% though on small saving limits, there is a way to earn these rates on higher savings amounts. Here’s how.
Multiple current accounts
A number of current accounts allow savers to earn between 1.5% and 5% on their savings. However, one of the problems with them is that the higher interest rates apply to fairly small amounts, typically in the region of £2,500 and £5,000.
One way around this is to open multiple current accounts with the same provider – they tend to allow you to open up to four, though most pay the interest rates on just three of these: two sole and one joint account.
This method of spreading your money can mean you access the top paying current account rates with reasonably large cash lump sums.
Some may require you to set up a minimum number of direct debits, but others have a minimum deposit amount, such as £1,000, to be paid in each month.
The good thing is this doesn’t have to be made up from your salary. It can be made up of ‘recycled money’ coming out of another account into the next, trickling and feeding the other accounts’ minimum monthly pay in requirement.
Susan Hannums, director at independent savings advisers Savingschampion.co.uk, said this method can be rewarding, but isn’t for those with a nervous disposition.
“If you’re a couple, in many cases you can open up to three accounts with each provider and save over £100,000 with just a handful of providers. This is not for the faint hearted as most of these accounts come with a lot of terms and conditions that if you fall foul of the rules you’ll miss out on valuable interest.
“In addition, some accounts come with monthly fees so it’s important that you make the most of the accounts features to mitigate the fees.”
Below are five of the top paying current accounts, including the maximum amounts and accounts you can hold:
As Hannums noted, it’s important to be aware of all the rules that come with the associated accounts.
Here’s a summary of what criteria you need to meet and what to watch out for:
Nationwide: To qualify, £1,000 of new money must be deposited into the account each month. The interest rate reverts to 1.00% after the first 12 months. A maximum of four accounts are allowed, though only one sole and one joint account will qualify for the 5% rate.
Tesco:. A maximum of two accounts is allowed: one sole and one joint. If you hold a Tesco Bank Clubcard Plus Account, you can only hold one current account.
Bank of Scotland: To qualify, £1,000 of new money must be deposited into the account each month. Customers can open the account without having an existing Bank of Scotland current account or can add it to an existing current account with Bank of Scotland. Interest rates are tiered: £1+ 1.50% AER, £1,000+ 2% AER, £3,000+ 3% AER, £5,000+ 0%. A maximum of three Vantage Current Accounts are allowed across Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank (currently closed to new business, but customers may still hold one).
Lloyds: To qualify, £1,500 of new money must be deposited into the account and customers need to set up two direct debits to be taken each month or a £5 fee will apply. Interest rates are tiered: £1+ 1% AER, £2,000+ 2% AER, £4,000+ 4% AER, £5,000+ 0%. On 8 January 2017, the interest rates will be reduced to: £1+ 2% AER, £5,000+ 0% AER. Customers can open the account without having an existing Lloyds Bank current account or can add it to an existing current account with Lloyds Bank. A maximum of two accounts are allowed, one sole and one joint.
Santander: There’s a monthly fee of £5. A minimum of £500 must be deposited each month and at least two direct debits must be set up. If you’re a couple you can have two sole and one joint account.