Find the best easy access savings account rates

Shopping around for the best savings account rates has been a joyless task in recent months. Interest rates are stagnant, and it can be tough to find a return that will even keep up with inflation. If you are unwilling to tie up your cash for long periods, interest rates can be minuscule.

Careful investigation of the deals on the market can yield rewards though. Use comparison websites like moneysupermarket.com and thisismoney.co.uk, which offer immediate updates on the latest offers and interest rates.

Be on the lookout for the common ploy whereby banks suck you in with an attractive-looking initial rate, only to reduce it sharply after the first 12 months. When you look at the small print you realise that a substantial proportion of the initial interest rate was in the form of a "bonus". The answer is to play them at their own game and move your cash immediately to another account at another bank, with an improved interest rate.

The Nationwide (nationwide.co.uk) offers an easy access saver account, with a minimum investment of £1000, and an interest rate of 3.12%. The downside is that you can only make one free withdrawal a year, so limited access might be a better description.

ING Direct (ingdirect.co.uk) offers an easy access saver account with an interest rate of 3.10%, with unlimited withdrawals. This rate includes a bonus element, so move your cash instantly after 12 months.

The temptation may be to plump for the best savings account rates available with a fixed term savings bond. The potential drawback here is that your money is tied up, so if interest rates rise, as experts suggest, in 2013, you may not be in a position to take advantage of the improved savings returns.

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