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 to make a withdrawal? If so, how much notice is needed, and will I lose interest?
We've invited guest authors from some of 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, Suffolk Building Society's Head of Member Experience, Tracey Emsden, shares her knowledge on regular savings accounts.
Regular savings accounts can be suitable for those who want to save little and often (or even a sizeable amount each month). They can provide more interest than you can earn with a current account or instant access savings account. However, there are typically more restrictions involved, so it is important to fully understand how they work.
What is a regular savings account?
With a regular savings account, you commit to paying into it every month. There is usually a minimum and maximum amount you can save each month, and this may be different for each provider. Some accounts will allow you to vary the amount you pay as long as it's within the minimum and maximum limits. Some regular savings accounts run for a fixed amount of time, and some of them have a fixed rate of interest.
You can take out a regular savings account with a bank or building society. Some banks require that you also hold a current account with them.
Regular savings accounts are ideal for those who want to put aside some spare cash every month and benefit from watching their savings grow. They can also be helpful for getting into the habit of saving.
How do regular savings accounts work?
Regular savings accounts can be suitable for taking advantage of higher interest rates, but they usually come with some limits and restrictions. It's therefore important to be aware of these.
There’s usually a minimum amount you pay in each month, often from around £10 to values up to £250, depending on the provider.
There is also normally a cap on how much you can deposit in one go.
Some regular savings accounts are for a fixed term of one year. If the regular savings account you open has a fixed end date, then once this is up, your funds can then be transferred to a different account, or you can close your account.
Can you make withdrawals from a regular savings account?
Whether or not you can make withdrawals from a regular savings account will depend on the provider and the account itself. Some will allow you to take money out but as a result you may have a lower interest rate for the remainder of the month or term, whilst other accounts will not allow you to make withdrawals at all. Others offer more flexibility.
Remember to check the individual product terms and conditions before taking out a regular savings account if you think you might need access to your money.
How many regular savings accounts can I have?
If you find you want to save more than the maximum amount, you can have more than one regular savings account, although not usually with the same provider.
How is interest paid on a regular savings account?
When you add money to a regular savings account, you'll usually accrue interest daily. The example below demonstrates this with adding £250 each month to an account paying 5.0% AER. (This is the annual equivalent rate – the rate paid with no income tax deducted, if interest was paid and compounded once each year.)
Based on the fixed rate of interest of 5.0%, if you deposited £250.00 per month on the first of each month, after 12 months you would have £3,000.00 and earned interest of £81.00. So, a total of £3,081.00.
Is a regular savings account right/suitable for me?
Lots of people favour regular savings accounts, because they tend to pay a higher rate of interest among cash savings accounts. They’re ideal if you are able to reliably set aside money every month, and don’t want to invest a lump sum. If you have a lump sum to invest, then a regular saver account probably will not be suitable. This type of account might work for you if you want to save up for special occasions or events, such as a wedding or a holiday.
On the other hand, if you have a lump sum to save, you may find that a regular saver isn't the type of account to give you the best return. Also, a regular savings account might not be for you if you think you might need the money for emergencies as there are sometimes access restrictions. So, just make sure you understand the product before you sign on the dotted line.
Need a bit more guidance when searching for the right savings account? Why not read the reviews left by our Smart Money People community?