Are my savings covered?

Yes, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme protects your savings and provides you with compensation if your savings provider is unable to pay out.

It covers up to 85,000 of any savings you hold in each official UK financial institution. If you have less than 85,000 anywhere, all of your savings will be returned to you in the event of a bank or building society collapse.

If you have more than 85,000 in a savings account or ISA, check where your money is held. Some of your funds may fall outside the jurisdiction of the scheme.

Higher levels of protection

Up to 1 million of your savings will also be protected for six months following new rules announced in July 2015. This is known as a temporary high balance.

This is to protect you after a house sale, inheritance or any other temporary high value deposit.

You won't have to wait more than 24 hours to withdraw your savings if your bank goes bust.

How to protect your savings

It's a good idea to spread your savings across a number of financial institutions, so that you don't hold any more than 85,000 with one.

The FSCS will only cover 85,000 per person, per FCA authorised institution. Accounts held in banks or building societies that operate under a shared FCA licence will only be covered once by the scheme.

For example, HSBC and First Direct are registered with the FCA under one licence. So, instead of savings in the banks being guaranteed separately, a combined total of 85,000 is protected by the compensation agreement.

This means if you were to have 85,000 in savings with HSBC and 85,000 in an account with First Direct, you would only be eligible for a maximum of 85,000 compensation if the group were to go bust.

What about joint accounts?

Accounts held in joint names receive double the cover (170,000 per separate institution), as each account holder is eligible for compensation up to the maximum FSCS limit.

What about ISAs?

If you lose ISA savings or investments as a result of an ISA provider failing, you can reinvest the money in an ISA with a different provider.

Your money will remain tax free, as long as you reinvest it as soon as it is returned to you.

Which banks count as one?

In the UK, a huge number of banks and building societies operate under FCA regulation:

  • Bank of Cyprus UK

  • Bank of Ireland UK, Post Office, AA (for accounts opened after 2 September 2015)

  • Bank of Scotland, Aviva, Halifax, Intelligent Finance, Birmingham Midshires (BM Savings), AA (for accounts opened before 2 September 2015), Saga, Capital Bank, St James's Place Bank

  • Barclays, Standard Life Cash Savings, The Woolwich

  • Citibank

  • Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank

  • The Co-operative Bank, Smile, Britannia

  • Coventry Building Society, Stroud & Swindon

  • HSBC, First Direct

  • Lloyds Bank, Lloyds Bank Private Banking

  • Nationwide, Cheshire Building Society, Derbyshire Building Society, Dunfermline Building Society

  • NatWest

  • Royal Bank of Scotland

  • Sainsbury's Bank

  • Santander (previously: Abbey), Cahoot

  • Skipton Building Society, Scarborough Investments Direct

  • Tesco Personal Finance PLC

  • TSB

  • Virgin Money

  • Yorkshire Building Society, Barnsley Building Society, Chelsea Building Society, Norwich & Peterborough Building Society

Do banks ever change their FCA status?

Banks and building societies merge frequently, so keep a regular check of whether your savings are fully protected.

How to check a bank's registration

The FCA website is the most up to date record of banks, building societies and other financial institutions in the UK.

Search by using the banking registration numbers of the banks you are interested in, to determine whether they count as joint or separate institutions.

You can check the full name of your bank or building society on their website, as most display their full name, registered address and FCA registration number in their 'Contact us' or 'Legal' section.

What about Abbey and A&L?

Alliance & Leicester was taken over by Spanish bank Santander who also own the now rebranded Abbey, Cahoot and ASDA banks.

The two banks have officially merged, so now only a combined total of 85,000 (170,000 for joint accounts) in both banks will be covered by the FSCS.

What about Barclays and ING Direct UK?

ING Direct UK has now been sold to Barclays and re-branded Barclays.

Previously customers with deposits with ING Direct UK were not protected by the FSCS. Following the sale, if you have savings with Barclays (the new name for ING Direct UK, previously Barclays Direct), you will share protection under the same umbrella as Barclays.

Deposits held with both are now protected up to 85,000 (170,000 for joint accounts) under the FSCS.

Alternative compensation schemes

The offshore subsidiaries of many UK banks are covered by other protection schemes and, although European banks can be FCA authorised, many will have their deposits covered elsewhere.

Here are some of the other main schemes, and how much they cover:

Scheme Per Person* Shared Accounts*
Dutch Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DDGS) €100,000 €200,000
Isle of Man Depositor's Compensation Scheme (IDCS) 50,000 100,000
Jersey Depositor Compensation Scheme (JDCS) 50,000 100,000
Guernsey Banking Depositor Compensation Scheme (GBDCS) 50,000 100,000
* Per financial institution

If you are unsure as to which scheme your money is protected by, contact your bank and building society to find out.