How to manage your savings

Whether you have a standard savings account or an ISA, you need to manage them correctly or you could lose out on interest. Here is how each account works and how they can help your money grow.

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There’s more to savings accounts than just plucking a bank or building society out of the financial pages and depositing a sum of cash with them. 

You need to think about how much you want to save and for what reasons. This could affect whether you need instance access or are happy to leave the money alone for some time.

How much access do you get?

Each savings account or ISA operates differently, this table gives you an overview of when you can pay in, withdraw or close your account:

Updated 20 April 2023
Type of accountPay inWithdraw or close
Instant accessAny timeAny time
NoticeAny timeAfter notice is given, or incur penalty
Fixed termNot allowedIncur penalty on whole amount*
Stocks and sharesAny timeAny time

* Excluding maturity

  • Instant access: You can withdraw money without any charge or penalty.

  • Notice: You have to give notice (for example, 60 days) before withdrawing your money. You can withdraw straight away but you will face an interest charge based on the length of the notice period.

  • Fixed term: The only way to withdraw is by closing the fixed term account. The exception is when you reach its maturity date (end of the term), and the account becomes instant access.

  • Stocks and shares: You can add or withdraw your money at any time, but you may need to pay a fee each time you do.

Make the most of your tax-free ISA allowance.

If you withdraw from an ISA, you can only pay in up to your maximum ISA allowance until the end of the current tax year. The allowance is currently £20,000. This means if you only deposited £5,000 you could still place up to £15,000 within the 2021/22 tax year. 

If you withdrew your £5,000 you could place the full £20,000 back into the account if your ISA is flexible. If it isn’t, you would not be able to put the initial £5,000 back in, although you could still deposit the remaining £15,000 of your allowance.

Read these guides to find out more about Cash ISA's and Stocks and Shares ISA's.

How to pay money in

You can pay money into your savings account by using:

  • Cash at a branch (the quickest way to get money into your account)

  • A bank transfer (depending on the account, it can take up to a couple of days)

  • A cheque (can take up to a week to clear in your account)

Some accounts let you earn interest immediately on any money deposited as a cheque, but usually you will need to wait until the cheque has cleared before you earn any interest on it.

You can add money to an instant access or notice account whenever you want, but a fixed term account only lets you pay in money at the time of opening.

Once your fixed term account has matured it will become instant access, meaning you can add more money again.

For example, if you invested in a three-year fixed term bond on the 1st January 2021, your maturity date will be three years later on the 1st January 2024.

Pay into your account in a branch

  • Pay in cash or a cheque at the cashiers' desk: You will need your account details if you do not have your account passbook, certificate or card.

If you do not have your account details either, the cashier can usually process your request by asking you some security questions.

  • Pay in through branch self-service: Some branches let you pay in money in using envelopes, which are deposited to be paid in later by members of staff.

To do this, you will need to write your account details down on the envelope, or fill out a paying in slip, so the provider knows which accounts your cash or cheques need to be paid into.

Pay into your account online

You can either transfer the funds from another account with the same provider, or transfer funds from another account held by you elsewhere.

If you pay a cheque into another account first, you have to wait for it to clear before you can transfer the money across.

Pay into your account through a bank transfer

You can send money to your savings account through a bank transfer by quoting your account details. This can be from the same provider or another.

Pay into your stocks and shares account

You may be charged for adding more money to your stocks and shares account, although fees are normally for share purchases and you can pay in cash for free until it’s allocated to a specific investment, so make sure you ask your provider before doing so.

You can pay money in by:

  • Sending a cheque to your stocks and shares provider, quoting your investment account number

  • Transferring the funds directly into an online managed investment platform (if you use one to view your stocks and shares account online) or bank account

If you are not sure what your investment account details are, check your stocks and shares paperwork or online account.

If you still cannot find your account details, contact your provider for help.

How to take money out

As with deposits there are a variety of options you can choose from when looking to make withdrawals. In most cases this’ll be a painless exercise, although if you’re considering taking money from a fixed term or stocks and shares account there could well be a charge or a notice period.

Withdraw from a branch

Go to your provider's cashier and ask to make a withdrawal.

You’ll need your account passbook or certificate if one was issued when you opened the account.

  • Cash withdrawal: You should be able to withdraw small amounts up to £500 without any problem

If you want to withdraw more than £500, some providers ask that you give a few days' notice and provide a form of identification, such as a passport or driving licence

  • Cheque withdrawal: You shouldn’t have a problem withdrawing a cheque up to the value of £10,000 from most providers. You may need to take some identification with you though, such as your passport or driving licence. If you’re not sure what you need to take with you when you withdraw, call ahead or check on the provider’s website to find out so you don’t make a wasted trip.

Withdraw online

If you run your savings account online, you can transfer money to another account with the same provider or to a nominated account elsewhere.

You can then withdraw the funds in a branch (or at an ATM if you transferred your money into a card account).

Withdraw from your stock and shares account

You need to contact your stocks and shares provider and ask to make a withdrawal.

You can do this at any time. However, you’ll need to give yourself enough time for the money to be transferred into your nominated account (up to 24 hours) before you can physically withdraw the money

You’ll have chosen a nominated account when you first made an investment into your stocks and shares account.

There shouldn’t be any charges to withdraw money from your stocks and shares account, but make sure you ask just in case.

Closing your account

You have to follow the same rules that apply to making a withdrawal from your savings account.

You have to follow the same rules that apply to making a withdrawal from your savings account.

Remember, if you put your money into a fixed-term deal you’ll be penalised for closing the account early.

The same applies to notice accounts. Don’t close your account before you have held it for at least the notice period, or you could lose the interest you’ve earnt.

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