Savers want vanilla but they get tutti-frutti

Calling a savings account "easy access" when you have to pay a penalty to get your hands on your money sounds distinctly misleading. But of the 304 accounts currently described in that way, one in five either penalises you, or withholds bonuses, if you want to withdraw your savings, according to ING Direct savings bank.

And it warns that these restrictions are on the increase. There are 10 per cent more accounts branded as easy access, but which nevertheless impose penalties, than there were in 2003. "Plain vanilla easy access accounts are becoming rarer," said Sue Hannums from Chase de Vere, the independent financial adviser. "Providers are adopting new tactics to try to keep hold of your money."

Savers can be forgiven for thinking that the words "easy" and "instant" applied to a savings account mean that you can simply dip into it without any restrictions. But that's far from being the case: you need to look beyond the headline name and the rate to make sure you can.

Ms Hannums highlights two accounts marketed as either easy or instant access but which have conditions attached. Britannia building society's Easylife Guaranteed Account lets you make only two withdrawals in the first six months; and then only 12 for the rest of the year.

First Direct has a headline rate of 4.89 per cent on its e-Savings instant access account. But if customers make a withdrawal they're penalised by receiving no interest on the balance for the entire month. If the savings transfer account isn't another First Direct account, there may be delays.

Both providers say the terms and conditions are made clear on their respective websites. ING Direct urges savers to check the small print before opening any easy access or instant savings account. Its own research found that while two-thirds of people say the ability to make unlimited withdrawals is an important feature of a savings account, nearly a third have experienced subsequent restrictions.

The good news is that there are plenty of easy access accounts that don't levy a withdrawal fee. Ms Hannums likes ING Direct's own savings account (paying 4.75 per cent on balances of £1 and above). She also picks out the Anglo Irish Bank's Easy Access Deposit account (4.8 per cent on a minimum balance of £500) and Newcastle building society's Net Savings (issue 4; paying 4.9 per cent on £1 and above).

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most