Buyers' Guide - Savings accounts

Choosing a savings account should be easy. You find the highest rate and deposit your cash. But the reality is that oodles of small print and constantly changing rates means finding a decent deal takes a bit of effort. Let Moneywise help with our Buyers' Guide.

To get the right savings deal for you, first decide what you need from your account.

If you’ll need the money in hurry stick with instant access. If you have a lump sum and can tie your money up for a year or longer a fixed rate will pay more, but the downside is you can’t access your cash until the deal runs out.

Now it’s time to start shopping. Comparison websites let you search  based on your specifications. Check out our regular savings updates too.

Also ask your bank if it offers a higher-rate regular saver for existing customers.

You want to earn as much interest as possible - but don’t take headline rates at face value.

The most common catch is short-term bonus rates. These are great but only if you have the discipline to switch once they drop. Check the length too - some are shorter than others so decide if its worth the hassle.

Also check for withdrawal restrictions. You may even have to take another product with the bank - not something Moneywise would recommend.

Next find out how the account is run - don’t go for online-only, for example, if you’re broadband’s unreliable.

And if you pay tax make sure your account is an ISA to ensure the taxman doesn’t take his slice.

Finally don’t let your bank get away with dropping rates - make a note when any special rate ends or commit to reviewing your account in a year.