Savings: smart ways to beat inflation

Current accounts and NISAs can boost your returns

Close up of British pound coin and currency Inflation climbed to 1.9% in June, up from 1.5% the previous month, according to the latest figures.

So with many savings accounts still paying well under that - the best easy access account is currently at just 1.35% - how can savers boost returns?

Compare savings accounts: earn up to 6.4%
Difficult times
With the Bank of England base rate at just 0.5%, savers have had a tough time of it over recent years.

And now their other enemy, inflation, appears to be on the rise again.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the Consumer Prices Index, which monitors how much prices for a basket of goods such as bread and wine have gone up year on year, jumped to 1.9% in June.

That's a sharp increase on the 1.5% rate reported in May and means savers need to get even savvier if they want the value of the nest eggs to go up rather than down.

Fortunately, standard savings accounts are not the only option for hard-pressed savers keen to boost their returns.

Read more about banking and savings

New ISAs, or NISAs, launched at the beginning of this month, allow you to shelter a massive £15,000 from tax - either in a cash account or by investing in stocks and shares.

Cash NISAs, which are offered by banks and building societies, work in exactly the same way as standard savings accounts.

However, while that interest paid on standard accounts is generally taxed at the basic rate at source, you will not pay any income tax on the interest you earn in a NISA.

And that makes it easier to beat inflation, even if the headline rate on the account is relatively low.

The best easy access cash ISA, or NISA, on the market at the moment is from BM Savings and pays 1.55% (including a 1.05%, 12-month bonus). Halifax is also offering a fixed-rate account paying 1.55% for one year.

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High interest current accounts
It may seem unlikely, but the interest rates paid on some current accounts now far outstrip those available on savings accounts.

You can, for example, earn 5% on balances of between £1 and £2,500 held in the Nationwide FlexDirect account, while the Club Lloyds current account pays a generous 4% on between £4,000 and £5,000.

And if you are looking for a high interest home for a larger amount, the Santander 123 Current Account pays 3% on between £3,000 and £20,000.

Just remember that these accounts come with certain conditions. With Nationwide, for example, you must pay in at least £1,000 a month, while the impressive 5% return falls to 1% after the first 12 months.

Lloyds will charge you £5 a month if you fail to pay in at least £1,500 a month, and Santander has a monthly funding requirement of £500 and a fee of £2 a month.

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