Top 5 easy-access savings accounts

Pound coinsThe AA is tops of the pops when it comes to easy-access savings accounts at the moment. The fifth issue of its Internet Extra account pays a headline interest rate of 3.20% on £1 or more.

It's massive 2.70% bonus, which disappears after the first 12 months, may prove off-putting, though. We check out the competition.

1. The AA Internet Extra account
As described above, the headline rate on the new AA account is 3.20% (including a 12-month introductory bonus of 2.70%).

The market-leading account is also highly flexible, allowing you to pay money in or take it out at any time without penalty.

Once the introductory bonus comes to an end, however, the rate will plunge to a much less competitive 0.50%. To avoid losing out, you will therefore need to move your money to a different provider at that time.

It is also worth noting that this account is only available to individuals; joint applications are not allowed.

2. Nationwide MySave Online Plus account
This account from Britain's biggest building society, Nationwide, has a headline rate of 3.12% (including a 1.58%, 12-month bonus) on balances of at least £1,000.

It is therefore unlikely to prove a better choice than the AA account - especially as it allows just one penalty-free withdrawal per year - unless, of course, the size of the AA account bonus is an issue.

3. ING Direct Savings Account
This popular savings account, which was so heavily marketed a few years ago, pays a headline rate of 3.10% on £1 and above - this time including a 12-month introductory bonus of 2.56%.

However, while the interest you will receive on your money is slightly lower, it could prove the right choice for you if you would prefer to manage your savings by telephone rather than over the internet.

Both the accounts described above can only be set up and managed online. And like the AA account, this option allows unlimited penalty-free deposits and withdrawals.

4. Santander eSaver
This Santander account also pays a headline rate of 3.10% (including a 2.60%, 12-month bonus) on £1 and above.

Apart from the slightly higher bonus, its terms and conditions are pretty much identical to those of the ING Direct account.

It may prove a better bet if you already bank with or are planning to switch your current account to Santander, though.

5. West Bromwich WeBSave Plus
This building society account is the market-leading option for anyone who would prefer not to have to worry about an introductory bonus of any kind.

It pays a bonus-free 2.81% on £1,000 or more and is therefore most suitable for longer-term savers with some level of nest egg already built up - as long as you are happy to manage your money online.
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