Best bank accounts

Top current accounts for savers compared

High street banks are paying current account customers as much as 2% credit interest – better than most savings accounts – and you can open a bank account online in a matter of minutes.

Our first table shows the best deals for credit balances of £1,000 (click ‘more info’ to find out how to qualify for interest on the accounts). The second table shows the top bank switching offers.

If you want to maximise returns, read our step-by-step guide to opening multiple high-interest bank accounts.

Virgin Money M Plus 2.02% on £1,000

The digital banking service known simply as ‘B’ from Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank has been rebranded as the Virgin Money Current Account, following the £1.7bn takeover in 2018.

The Virgin Money account pays the top rate of 2.02% AER (2% gross) on balances up to £1,000 and you can apply for a linked savings account paying 0.35% AER.

There are also no foreign transaction fees when you pay with your debit card or take out cash abroad – charges can be as high as 3.75% for withdrawals and purchases so this is a big saving for regular travellers.

Unlike most providers, Virgin Money doesn’t insist that you pay in a certain amount every month to earn interest and there’s no requirement to maintain a minimum number of direct debits.

Nationwide FlexDirect 2% on £1,500 fixed for a year

Nationwide’s FlexDirect account pays 2% AER on balances of up to £1,500, fixed for the first 12 months. Thereafter, the rate reverts to 0.25% AER on balances up to £1,500.

If you open a FlexDirect account, you won’t pay any interest on any arranged overdraft for the first 12 months, but after this you’ll be stung with a rate of 39.9% APR.

You can make payments with your debit card abroad without fees, but ATM withdrawals abroad incur a 2.99% fee.

Using multiple high-interest current accounts to boost savings

Given the poor rates of interest offered on savings accounts, many savers are opening multiple high-interest current accounts to maximise their returns.

The drawback with this type of account is that banks apply restrictions, such as minimum monthly payments.

However, we explain how you can work within these rules to beat the limits and make the most of your cash savings.

How to make the most of high-interest current accounts

Step 1: Find the highest current account interest rates

Our table above shows you the best rates available on current accounts, along with the number of accounts you can open.

Step 2: Check the high-interest account requirements

Banks often set specific account requirements – such as fees, minimum monthly deposits and direct debits – to qualify for interest or to avoid paying a monthly fee on the account.

Each account limits the balance on which you can earn interest but, in most cases, banks will allow you to open a second main or joint account, essentially doubling that amount.

Watch out for accounts with tiered interest (where you get a higher rate for having a higher balance) as you must have a balance within the top tier to earn the top rate of interest. At lower tiers, these accounts become less competitive.

Step 3: Earn instant cash for switching

Before you start moving savings about, there’s an easier way to save money.

Banks often offer cash incentives to attract new customers – in some cases more than £100 – and switching should only take seven working days.

Look out for conditions, such as depositing a certain amount, or using online banking services by a specific date.

Step 4: Open multiple high-interest current accounts

The number of accounts you’ll need to open depends on how much money you’re looking to save.

This is because accounts will only pay interest on balances up to a certain amount – see the notes on the table above. You want to make sure there’s no ‘excess’ money sitting in accounts, but not earning interest.

Step 5: Circulate money between other high-interest current accounts

Most banks also require you to pay a certain amount into accounts each month.

Take a sum from your savings, equal to highest minimum deposit of the accounts you hold. So if you have three accounts, with minimums of £500, £1,000 and £1,500, put aside £1,500.

This sum will be continually circulated between these accounts.

Step 6: Deposit the rest of your savings in the other accounts

Divide the rest of your money between all the accounts, starting with the highest-earning account.

Once you’ve deposited the maximum sum the account will pay interest on, deposit money into the next highest-paying account and so on.

Step 7: Repeat step 5 each month

The easiest way to do this is to set up standing orders (instructions to your bank to pay a set amount at regular intervals to another account) so that the transfers take place automatically every month.

This means you meet the requirements of all the accounts and earn the most interest possible on the whole sum.