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Find our best instant access savings accounts

Withdraw your money when you need it with easy access interest rates of up to 4.9%

Explore our best easy access savings accounts and find out how you can earn interest on your savings without locking your cash away

Compare our best instant access savings accounts

Get the freedom you need to start saving
AldermoreParagonMarcus by Goldman SachsRaisin UKPost Office MoneySagaChaseChipRCI BankInvestecAldermoreParagonMarcus by Goldman SachsRaisin UKPost Office MoneySagaChaseChipRCI BankInvestec
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Last updated
May 16th, 2024

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What is an instant access savings account?

An instant access or easy access savings account is one of the most flexible places to put money away. That’s because these accounts allow you to withdraw cash without facing any penalties. You’ll still earn interest on your savings, but you can also dip into them whenever you want to, whatever the reason.

These accounts are useful if you’re saving for an emergency fund or a short-term savings goal, such as buying a new home appliance or paying for a holiday. However, the flexibility offered by easy or instant access savings accounts means that interest rates are far lower than for other types of savings products.

Read more about whether it's worth getting a savings account.

What's the difference between an instant access savings account and easy access? 

As the name implies, with an instant access savings account you can withdraw your savings instantly. You can either transfer the money into your current account or withdraw it at a branch. There's no penalty for taking money out.

With easy access savings accounts, while you can withdraw your money easily, it might still take a few days to get your money. Sometimes you have to link your easy access account to another account into which your withdrawals will be paid.

Easy and instant are terms often used interchangeably, so make sure you know what you're getting before you sign up for an account. Top interest rates also remain above inflation (3.4%), so you earn interest while enjoying withdrawal flexibility.

How to choose an instant access savings account

Consider these features when you compare instant access savings accounts.

Interest rate

Interest is essentially the main reason we open a savings account. Many providers offer bonus interest rates to entice new customers, while others have regular deposit requirements to earn those high rates. So, it's important to understand all the elements of the deals on offer. Interest may be paid out annually, or monthly, so keep that in mind too when picking an account.

Access to your money

With instant or easy access accounts, you should have more access to your money than other accounts. Some providers allow you to withdraw as and when you need it. Others may limit the number of withdrawals you're allowed within a certain period or charge you an interest penalty after a certain number of withdrawals.

The terms and conditions

Before opening an account, always check the terms and conditions. Some providers require you to make a minimum deposit just to open an account. Others may require a regular monthly deposit to earn the advertised interest rate – although this is not usually the case with easy access accounts.

fscs-logo
Is my money safe?
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) guarantees that the first £85,000 you have saved with a UK-authorised bank or building society (or the first £170,000 for a joint account) will be safe even if the business goes bust.

Our best instant and easy access savings accounts

We picked these deals by weighing up factors such as the interest rate, withdrawal conditions, and minimum opening balance for this product.

Card
Clearbank - Chip Instant Access
£1
Minimum
4.84%
AER variable
FSCS
Protection
Instant access
Account
How we score our products
Expert verdict
4.8/5
Apply now
Lucinda O'Brien, our savings expert says..
"Chip's instant access account has a competitive interest rate at 4.84% AER variable and you'll get the interest paid monthly. If you need a savings account that's always accessible it ticks a lot of boxes. You can deposit and withdraw whenever you wish and you only need £1 to open it. Some easy access accounts have withdrawal conditions, so Chip's flexible features make it stand out in the market."
Pros and cons
Pros
  • Interest is paid monthly
  • Deposits start from just £1
  • No withdrawal restrictions
  • Cons
  • Interest rate is variable
  • Online only
  • Maximum balance is £250,000
  • Account details
    No notice, penalty, or charge applies.
    Eligibility
    Minimum Initial Deposit
    £1
    Maximum Initial Deposit
    £250,000
    Permanent UK Resident
    Card
    Yorkshire Building Society Easy Access Saver
    £1
    Minimum
    4.8%
    AER variable
    FSCS
    Protection
    Instant access
    Account
    How we score our products
    Expert verdict
    4.5/5
    Apply now
    Lucinda O'Brien, our savings expert says..
    "Are you keen to start building a rainy day fund? An easy access account can help. This type of savings account offers competitive interest rates but you can also withdraw the money when you need it. This offering from Yorkshire Building Society has an interest rate of 4.8% AER variable and there are unlimited withdrawals."
    Pros and cons
    Pros
  • Open from £1
  • Unlimited instant withdrawals
  • Cons
  • Interest is paid annually
  • Online only
  • Account details
    No notice, penalty, or charge applies.
    Eligibility
    Minimum Initial Deposit
    £1
    Maximum Initial Deposit
    £500,000
    Permanent UK Resident
    Card
    Post Office Money Online Saver Issue 73
    £1
    Minimum
    4.75%
    AER variable inc. 3.2% fixed bonus for 12 months
    FSCS
    Protection
    Instant access
    Account
    How we score our products
    Expert verdict
    4/5
    Apply now
    Lucinda O'Brien, our savings expert says..
    "This online saver from the Post Office allows easy access to your savings with an interest rate of 4.75% AER variable inc. 3.2% fixed bonus for 12 months. It's worth noting that this includes a fixed bonus rate of 3.35% for 12 months. The market is always changing and there are rumours that interest rates will fall in the summer, so this fixed-rate is a nice bonus for an easy access account. This gives savers assurance of a solid interest rate for the next year, while also having access to their money when they need it."
    Pros and cons
    Pros
  • Opening deposit £1
  • Maximum balance £2million
  • Interest can be paid monthly or yearly
  • Cons
  • Online only
  • Unable to access the money for the first eight days of opening the account
  • Account details
    No notice, penalty, or charge applies.
    Eligibility
    Minimum Initial Deposit
    £1
    Maximum Initial Deposit
    £2,000,000
    Permanent UK Resident
    Interest earned on £1,000 over one year with different savings accounts
    Type of accountInterest earned over one year (basic taxpayer before tax - remember ISAs are tax-free up to £20,000)
    Instant access savings account (5.10%)£51.00
    One-year fixed-rate cash ISA (5.25%)£52.50
    One-year fixed-rate account (5.27%)£52.70

    Source: Derived from data from Defaqto and updated on March 19, 2024. Interest rates are used as an example of how much interest could be earned.

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    Pros and cons

    Pros

    Withdraw your money whenever you like penalty-free
    Open an account with as little as 1p
    Deposit as much money as you like, whenever you want

    Cons

    Lower interest rates compared to other savings accounts
    Some easy access accounts take a few days to process withdrawals
    Your money could lose value if the interest rate is below the inflation rate

    How do I open an instant access savings account?

    To open a savings account for yourself, the basic eligibility criteria are:

    • Being 16 or older

    • Being a UK resident

    Once you've chosen the instant access savings account you want using the steps mentioned above, getting set up is simple. All you need to do is:

    • Fill out an application form with the bank or provider. Typically, you can do this online, but you may also be able to open an account in a bank branch.

    • Provide proof of ID and address documents. Usually, a driver's licence and utility bill should suffice. Just make sure the utility bill has your current address.

    • Make the minimum deposit. Some instant access savings accounts can be opened with as little as 1p, but typically, most require £1 or more.

    What are the alternatives to an instant access savings account?

    Easy access ISAs

    Easy access cash ISAs are just like easy access savings accounts, but all the interest you make is free from income tax. This tax break is less attractive to many since the introduction of the personal savings allowance, which means basic rate taxpayers can earn up to £1,000 in interest a year without paying tax and should generally should only consider an easy access ISA if it’s offering a better rate than a traditional savings account. However, higher rate payers only get a £500 savings interest allowance, while additional rate payers don’t get any allowance at all.

    Learn more about cash ISAs

    High interest current account

    high interest current account could be a good alternative to an easy access account as there are some accounts on the market offering very competitive interest rates. If you have money sitting in a current account with 0% interest and you can meet the terms and conditions to have an account with a higher rate of interest, then this is also an option worth exploring. 

    Learn more about current accounts

    Fixed rate bonds

    If you know you won’t need your money for a while, you may want to consider a fixed-rate savings account. These lock your money away for a set period, typically between one and five years. In return, you benefit from a higher interest rate than you can get with an instant access account. However, if you need to access your cash early, you’ll usually face interest penalties and/or exit fees.

    Learn more about fixed rate bonds

    Regular savings accounts

    With a regular savings account, you promise to save a certain amount of cash, say between £25 and £250, every month for the next year. Making this commitment generally allows you to access better interest rates than with an easy access account and is also a good way to get into a regular saving habit. Withdrawals are usually not allowed. However, some accounts will let you make one cash withdrawal per year, so check for this if you think you might need to access your savings.

    Notice savings accounts

    These accounts allow you to make withdrawals but only after giving notice. The amount of notice you have to give will be pre-agreed and could be anything from seven to 180 days. So, think carefully about whether you might need your money in an emergency, and how quickly you might need to access it if so. The longer the money is locked away, the better the interest rate you’re likely to receive.

    Learn more about notice accounts

    Investment accounts

    One problem with savings accounts is that they typically pay less than inflation, which means the purchasing power of your savings is eroded over time. So, if you’re saving for the long term (more than five years), you might want to consider investing your money. A well-diversified portfolio can generate returns that beat inflation over time. However, there are risks, and volatility means that your balance will fluctuate, and you could even end up with less than you saved. If you are going to invest, consider a stocks and shares ISA so the returns are tax-free. 

    Learn more about stocks and shares ISAs

    FAQs

    Can you earn interest monthly with an instant access savings account?

    Yes, but you need to shop around. While most instant access savings accounts only offer interest paid out annually, some pay out monthly interest instead.

    Can I manage my instant access savings account online?

    Not always, so make sure you check before you open the account.

    Is my instant access savings account protected?

    Most banks are backed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) which protects your money up to £85,000 in a single institution.

    What is your best interest rate for an easy access account?

    Currently, our best interest rate for an easy access account is 4.9%.

    Should you choose an account with or without a bonus?

    Some instant access accounts come with an introductory bonus that lasts for a set period. Choosing an account with a bonus can therefore increase your interest payments in the short term. However, when the bonus period ends, you will probably have to switch to another account to keep earning one of the best instant access savings account rates.

    Learn more about savings accounts

    From how to choose the right savings account to understanding the tax-free benefits of ISAs, we've got you covered.
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    Are cash ISAs still worth it?
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    About the author

    Lucinda O'Brien
    Lucinda O'Brien has spent the past 10 years writing and editing content for regional and national titles. She applies her industry knowledge to ensure readers can make confident financial decisions.

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