If you want to save money, then you may wonder where the best place is to put your money. Although the interest rate has gone up a little bit recently this has not had a big impact on the interest rates on savings accounts and they can be frustratingly low. There are a few ways that you can find better rates though and so it is a good idea to think about whether these might be better options for you.
There are some savings accounts which have fixed rates. These are often bonds and you will have to leave your money in the account for a significant period of time, sometimes a year but often multiple years, to get paid. There might be a low interest rate and a bonus for not making withdrawals or you may not get interest at all if you withdraw any money. This can be a good way to make some extra money, but you need to be sure that you will not need to withdraw it. While it can be good to know that you will be able to get hold of the money if you need it, ideally you want to put money into the account that you know you will not need and therefore you will be able to keep it in there for the required time period and get the full amount of interest. You may have a choice of terms and you might want to opt for a shorter term, perhaps a year, if you are not sure if you will need the money after that, even if it pays lower interest, as you will guarantee that you will get it. You may also think interest rates might go up after a year and that there might be something more attractive after that time which you might want to use. Make sure that you have a full understanding of the terms and conditions of the account, before you put your money into it.
There are some savings accounts where you have to give notice of your withdrawals. This means that you might need to give 30-90 days’ notice before you can get your money out. These accounts are suitable for those people that will not need their money right away. You can usually make an instant withdrawal with an interest penalty but it will depend on the terms of the specific account. As you cannot get your money right away, you will be rewarded with a higher interest rate and you will need to decide whether it is worth it for you. If you have money to tuck away, but you think you may need it in the future but not for an emergency, then this could be a useful account for you. It can be a good idea to compare it with a fixed rate account to see whether it will be better or worse with regards to the interest rate as well as the withdrawal terms.
If you need to be able to get hold of your savings quickly, then you will need an instant access savings account. These allow you to take out as much money as you wish (often with the rule that you need £1 in the account to keep it open) without having to give any notice. This means that it can be a great place to keep money for an emergency. If you have lots of money to save, you may want to put some of it in this sort of account and some in an account that you cannot access immediately but that pays more interest. The instant access accounts will not pay much, but it is still good to compare them and see which is the best. You may find that with some accounts, if you have a current account with the place, they will give you a higher interest rate. It might be that the interest is higher if you have a certain amount in there as well. You could even find that some current accounts will pay interest that is higher than savings accounts, but they may have specific terms and conditions that you will need to be aware of. It can be worth doing some research to find out more about what is available as this will help you to make sure that you are getting a good deal. It is worth remembering that with online banking, transfers are immediate so you do not need to have a savings account with the same bank as your current account to ensure transfers are quick as this should no longer make a difference.
If you have money that you can afford to lose, then buying investments could be better than saving the money. Potentially an investment can give a much better return than a savings account but there are risks. As you are buying something with your money, you will need to be able to sell it again at a higher price, in order to make money. This means that you have to choose what you buy very carefully and there are no guarantees. Some investments do carry more risk than others, but there is still some risk with every investment and so you need to be sure you are happy to buy one and that you are prepared to lose the money, which could happen if the investment becomes worthless or cannot be sold.
It is always worth checking every year or so to make sure that you are getting the best interest that you can. If the base rate changes significantly, this can also be a good time to check if you can get a better deal as you could benefit from moving your savings. If you want to be flexible and be able to move your money, then beware of the terms of the accounts, especially fixed rate or notice accounts as you will not have so much flexibility compared with an instant access account.