From current accounts to savings or investing pots, it can be difficult to stay on top of the best place to keep your money. Some people will prefer to shop around and change their accounts regularly, while others may prefer to stick to one or two providers for the long-term. Which is right for you will likely come down to your personal circumstances, but here are some things to consider if you’re thinking about updating your accounts.
For many of us, the first financial account we’re likely to have is a current account. They’re used for our everyday banking, from keeping money for day-to-day spending via our debit cards, cash withdrawal from ATMs, and to setting up direct debits for recurring bills. Many banks and building societies will let parents and children open current accounts from the age of 11, but most will require you to be 16 to open one on your own.
That first current account could end up being a longer-term relationship than you might think. According to research from YouGov, most British adults will keep the same current account for decades – with 35% of people admitting they’ve had the same current account for over 20 years. This is despite initiatives such as the Current Account Switch Service, which was introduced to guarantee switching accounts would be simple, reliable and stress free.
Current accounts have also evolved over time – some may offer additional benefits and perks, such as travel or mobile phone insurance, or you may get a discounted or free rail card for example. So, sticking with your first current account may mean you miss out – this is often referred to as a loyalty penalty.
This may be why the same YouGov research found that one in eight (13%) of Brits have switched their current account in the last three years, and the same proportion, 13%, plan to switch or open a new account in the next 12 months.
At a time when the cost of living continues to rise, some of the benefits offered by current accounts could be more attractive to people thinking about where to keep their money. With some banks offering cashback on everyday purchases – such as our colleagues over at Chase – your current account could help your money go a little further.
Instant access savings accounts
Once you’ve decided on your current account – or current accounts as some people like to have more than one to split essential spending (such as rent, utilities and other bills) with discretionary spending (such as gym membership or holidays) – your next financial account to consider is probably going to be a savings account.
We would recommend that people have an emergency fund that is kept in a savings account that they can readily access. Exactly how big a financial buffer you want will depend on your personal circumstances, we would usually suggest a pot with between three and six months’ essential spending. If you have a number of dependents or you work in a field where it may be more challenging to secure a new job should you become unemployed, you may want slightly more.
To get the highest interest rates you will need to shop around. Chase bank is currently offering 1.5% interest on balances of up to £250,000.
Fixed rate savings accounts
Beyond your everyday spending and emergency fund, you’re likely to start thinking about saving for specific goals. If those goals are in the short term, say the next three years then you may want to consider fixed rate savings accounts. Fixed rate savings account will often offer you a better interest rate, in exchange for locking away your savings for an agreed period of time.
You may face a penalty if you decide you want the money sooner, so it’s important to consider carefully your timeframe, if you’ll need that money in the short term and to read any small print.
While having a buffer is reassuring, it’s important not to hoard too much of your money in cash – particularly in the current low interest rate high inflation environment. Last year, the Financial Conduct Authority launched a campaign to discourage people in the UK from holding excessive amount in cash, after it found that 8.6m Britons had more than £10,000 in cash.
Is it time to invest?
If you’re putting money away for a goal that’s three or more years in the future, then you may want to consider investing. A stocks and shares ISA could help you achieve your financial goals if your timeframe is three years or more and you’re comfortable with the idea that your investments may go down in the short-term. Investing for a longer time period can give you the potential of higher returns than you may get on your savings accounts and means your money has a better chance of keeping up with inflation.
Read more: New to investing guide
As with all investing, your capital is at risk. The value of your portfolio with Nutmeg can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest. Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.
Nutmeg is authorised and regulated by the FCA in relation to certain investment services and restricted advice only. Chase is a trading name of J.P. Morgan Europe Limited. Nutmeg and J.P. Morgan Europe Limited are J.P. Morgan companies. Products provided by Nutmeg are not guaranteed by Chase. Before applying, you should consider if a Nutmeg account and its features are suitable for you and your investment needs.