From interest rates to access restrictions, there’s so much to consider when taking out a new savings account. Can I make withdrawals? Do I need to give notice on the account? Will I lose interest?
We've invited guest authors from the UK's most reputable savings providers to share their knowledge on the different types of savings accounts available in the UK. Each financial services provider has been asked to go back to basics and give a simple and unbiased overview of a particular type of account.
In this blog, Lawrence Holland, head of savings at Allica Bank, shares the key things you should know about notice savings accounts.
After a decade of low interest rates, recent increases by the Bank of England mean there may finally be an opportunity for consumers and businesses to start getting a decent return on their savings. But it’s important to choose the right kind of savings account for whatever your financial objectives might be, whether you’re saving for a house deposit, a holiday, or your business.
Often, to get the very best rates, you’ll need to lock your money away for a set period in a fixed-term account. But some people need a little more flexibility with their money. This is where a notice savings account might be more suitable.
What is a notice savings account?
A notice savings account blends the benefits of fixed-term and instant access (sometimes called ‘easy-access’) savings accounts.
As the name suggests, the key feature of a notice savings account is that you don’t need to keep your money in the account for a set period of time. However, you will need to inform your provider in advance about your intention to make a withdrawal.
The amount of notice you’re required to give to your provider will be agreed at the time you open the account. Usually, this will be between 30 and 120 days, but it is possible to find accounts with notice periods shorter and longer than that, too.
While there’s no set period of time you have to keep your money with the bank, the fact you need to give the bank an agreed amount of notice means you can often earn a higher interest rate compared to an instant access account.
How do you withdraw money?
To withdraw money from a notice account, you will need to give your provider the agreed amount of notice. This should have been made clear to you when you opened your account – it’s often in the name of the account itself, for example a '30-day notice savings account’ – but you will be able to find the length of time in the account terms & conditions.
How you give notice can depend on the provider, but you will usually be able to do so through their usual customer service channels, or through their online banking platform.
When the notice period is over, the money will be made available for withdrawal. You can often give instructions to your provider when you give them the required notice, telling them what you’d like to happen to your money when the notice period is over, such as transferring it to a specific bank account.
If this isn’t the case, you may need to set a reminder to withdraw the money when the notice period has ended. In some cases, you will continue to earn some interest on this cash until it is withdrawn.
Either way, it’s important to keep your notice savings account’s notice period in mind and plan ahead to make sure your money is available to you when you need it. Thankfully, there is a wide range of options available, meaning you can choose the best option for you.
How do interest rates on notice savings accounts differ from other savings accounts?
The interest rates offered on notice accounts are typically variable, meaning they can fluctuate over time. This is different to a fixed-term savings account, where you’ll earn a set amount for the duration of your fixed term.
Note that your interest rate does not necessarily rise and fall in line with the Base Rate set by the Bank of England.
If your interest rate changes, your savings provider will let you know.
What happens if the rate on my notice savings account goes down?
If the rate on your savings notice account decreases, you can choose to give notice to your provider that you’d like to withdraw to find a better rate. Sometimes, you may be given the option to withdraw before your notice period comes to an end. However, this can come with a penalty.
What are the pros and cons of a notice savings account?
- Your money is not locked away for the long-term: Unlike fixed-term accounts, savers can withdraw their money after fully serving the notice period, without being penalised
- Potentially higher interest rates: Notice savings accounts typically offer higher interest rates compared to instant or easy-access accounts. This provides a better return on your savings and allows your money to grow faster
- Ongoing deposits: In many notice savings accounts, you can deposit money into your account whenever you like, meaning you can keep adding to your savings over time
- Access to your money is still limited: you need to give notice before withdrawing your money, so it won’t be readily available for an emergency, and you’ll need to plan ahead if you need your savings for anything
- No set interest rate: your interest rate can go up, but it can also go down. This lack of certainty can make planning for your financial goals harder
Need a bit more guidance when searching for the right savings account? Why not read the reviews left by our Smart Money People community?