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Easy-access savings rate soar with 14 accounts offering more than 3%

Rate hike: First Direct raises the rate on its ordinary savings account to 7% while its parent bank, HSBC, increases its two-year fixed rate savings agreement from tomorrow

The easy-to-access savings rate skyrockets with 14 accounts offering over 3% (but watch the fine print)

Rates on Best Buy’s Easy Access Savings Accounts are skyrocketing. There are now 14 offering more than 3% interest as banks and building societies compete for cash.

But while the rates are attractive, wading through a host of tedious terms and conditions can be a nightmare.

Accounts come with a wide range of rules that you must obey to earn the overall rate.

Highest rates: There are now 14 offering over 3% interest as banks and building societies compete for money

Highest rates: There are now 14 offering over 3% interest as banks and building societies compete for money

Some offer a simple, easy-to-access account where you deposit money and then withdraw it whenever you want.

But others limit the number of withdrawals you can make, while some pay the maximum rate for only 12 months because they have added a short-term bonus.

Some accounts can only be opened online, others are offered in branches or by mail or telephone.

Others are only open to you if you have the correct postcode.

Simple savings accounts with the highest rates are from Secure Trust Access Issue 6 (3.1%), Shawbrook Bank Easy Access Issue 33 (3.06%), Charter Savings Bank Easy Access Issue 33 (3.05 %) and Ford Money Flexible Saver (3 percent). But these must all be opened online.

Ford Money is unusual in that it has no issue numbers. With other providers, your rate will often be different depending on the problem you are in. Instead, Ford Money guarantees to pay the same rate to all customers.

Zopa Bank pays 3.21% higher on its Smart Saver, but you have to open it through an app on a smartphone.

If you want a branch account, Swansea BS Instant Access Saver pays a better 3.25%. But you can only open one if you live in Wales – unless you are already a member of the society. You can also open the account by mail, but not online.

The Bath BS Instant Access account pays 3.09% and you can open it online, at a branch, over the phone or through the building society’s app.

But you can only do this if you live, work or study in Bath, or if you are already a customer who has had a mortgage or savings account with the company for at least 12 months.

Newbury BS pays 3.05% into its Senior Saver account which is only available to people aged 55 or over. You can open and manage the account through its branches and by mail if you reside in England or Wales.

Next are a host of easy-to-access accounts that limit the number of withdrawals you can make each year.

They can be managed side-by-side with a regular, easy-access account and used to hold money you probably won’t need, but would prefer to have access to, rather than tying it up for a year or more.

The highest rate comes from Yorkshire BS Rainy Day account number 2 at 3.35%. But you only earn this on the first £5,000 in the account. Above this level, the rate drops to 2.85%.

You are limited to making withdrawals – as many as you want – on just two days a year. You can open the account online, at a branch or by mail.

Coventry BS offers six best withdrawals a year on its Limited Access Saver Issue 8, but at a slightly lower rate of 3.1%. You can only open it online.

With two withdrawals per year, Principality BS Double Access pays 3.1% and Aldermore Double Access 3%. Both are only available online.

Harpenden BS Triple Access Saver at 3% allows you three withdrawals per year and you can open an account at its branches, by mail or online.

Tandem Bank pays 3.2% including a 0.35% bonus for 12 months on its app-based Instant Access Savings Account.

As an existing customer, you earn the underlying rate of 2.85% unless you instruct the bank to add the bonus to your account.

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