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; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
PROMOTED VIDEO
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

    Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    Market Risk & Control Manager

    Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

    £320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Head of Audit

    To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week