A guide to savings

Thinking of saving or investing, but don’t know where to start? This guide provides an introduction to the various options available.

Woman sat in a well-lit café, holding pen to her mouth while reading from a book for her studies

Post Office Cash ISAs are provided by OneFamily. Savings in Post Office cash ISAs are deposited with Bank of Ireland UK. All other Post Office savings accounts are provided by Bank of Ireland UK

Before you choose a savings account, ask yourself:

  1. How often will I need to make withdrawals?

    Do you want instant access to your savings or would you be prepared to lock your money away for a fixed period of time? This could be anywhere between 30 days and three years. Usually the longer you have to wait before you can access your cash, the better the rate of interest you’ll receive.

  2. How do I want to manage my savings?

    Savings accounts can be managed either exclusively online, or by phone, post or in branch. Usually accounts that can be managed exclusively online offer higher interest rates as savings made through reduced running costs are passed onto you.

  3. How much do I want to save?

    You can open some accounts with as little as £1. Some accounts allow you to save flexibly and regularly, others only allow you to deposit a lump sum upon account opening.

  4. Do I pay tax on the interest I receive?

    Since 6 April 2016, UK taxpayers have a Personal Savings Allowance. In addition to this, banks and building societies will no longer deduct Basic Rate Tax from savings interest. This means all interest is paid gross without the deduction of income tax. For more details visit: www.gov.uk/hmrc/savingsallowance

  5. Should I open a cash ISA?

    Each tax year you’re given a tax-free cash Individual Savings Account (ISA) allowance from the government to encourage you to save. All the interest is completely tax-free which means you keep all of the interest your savings earn. Because of this, a cash ISA could be a great place to start saving if you haven't already used your cash ISA allowance for the current tax year.

  6. Does income from ISAs count towards my Personal Savings Allowance?

    No, income from ISAs does not count towards your Personal Savings Allowance.

Compare accounts to find the right option for your savings goals

Which savings account is right for you?

There are lots of different options when it comes to savings accounts. Here are some of the most common ones:

Fixed rate bonds

These have a fixed interest rate over a set period of time. They often offer a higher interest rate but you have to be confident you won’t need access to your money during the set time period.

Instant access and easy access savings accounts

Ideal if you want to put some emergency funds away for example, but also want to be able to withdraw your cash whenever you need it, without paying a penalty.

Regular savings accounts

With these accounts you have to commit to saving a regular amount each month for a year. However, there is no restriction on frequency of deposit. In return you’ll get either a fixed or variable rate of interest and you’ll be able to access your money should you need to.

Individual Savings Accounts (ISA)

There are four types of adult ISA - cash ISAs (which can have a fixed or a variable interest rate), stocks and shares ISAs, innovative finance ISAs and lifetime ISAs. You can only subscribe to one of each type of ISA each tax year. The limit for the 2021/22 tax year is £20,000.

With a cash ISA, you won't pay tax on the interest you earn and your savings will stay tax-efficient as long as you keep the money in an ISA. Cash ISAs are available as variable rate accounts or fixed rate accounts.

The interest rate on a variable rate cash ISA can go up and down over time whilst fixed rate cash ISA interest rates are guaranteed not to change for a fixed period.

With a stocks and shares ISA you won’t pay UK Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax on any gains you may make. But it’s important to remember you may also not get all your money back, as you’ll be investing in stocks and shares and the value of these can go up or down.

With an innovative finance ISA you earn tax-free interest on peer-to-peer lending platforms. Although the growth potential could be higher than a cash ISA, the risks are also higher as the same protection does not apply.

The lifetime ISA is a tax-free savings or investments account to help 18 to 39 year olds buy their first home or save for retirement. Save up to £4,000 each year, and receive a government bonus of 25% – that’s a bonus of up to £1,000 a year. Conditions apply when withdrawing funds from a lifetime ISA.

Some providers also offer junior ISAs for children. These are long-term investments that can only be accessed by the child when they reach the age of 18. They can be funded by a lump sum, regular direct debit, or the transferring of an existing JISA or Child Trust Fund. You can invest up to £9,000 into a junior ISA in the 2021/22 tax year (6th April to 5th April).

The tax advantages of ISAs depend on your individual circumstances and you should remember that the tax treatment may change in the future.

Definitions

Fixed: A fixed rate of interest remains the same and doesn’t change for the duration of the term.

Gross: Gross rates do not take into account deductions of income tax.

Tax-free: Tax-free means the interest paid will be free from UK Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax. The tax advantages depend on your individual circumstances and the tax treatment of your ISA may change in the future.

Variable: A variable rate of interest can go up or down throughout the lifetime of a savings account.

Whatever you're saving for, find an account that works for you

Our savings range

ISAs

Individual Savings Accounts are a way to save tax-free. Choose from a variable rate, fixed rate or combination of both

Easy Access Accounts

The savings accounts provide you with a variable rate and the ability to make withdrawals whenever you like

Bonds

Get a fixed rate of interest on your savings over a set period of time with our Growth Bond and Online Bond

Junior ISAs

Tax-efficient savings for children under 18 years old. You can put in from as little as £10 per month