Current Accounts that pay Interest

Beat low savings rates with up to 5% interest in a current account!

Many people rely on instant access savings accounts for their emergency funds – as a safe place to keep easily-accessible cash for a rainy day. However, with this year’s crop of easy access savings accounts currently hovering around the 1.5% mark, the returns on this kind of savings option could look less than tempting. Therefore, it may come as a surprise to find that you could get 5% interest from a current account. Use the table below to compare current account that pay interest, or click on the links to find out more and apply online:

Interest Paying Current Accounts
 AccountInterest (AER)Overdraft RateFunding Required*Fee pmFeaturesApply
5.0%*0% for 12 months£1,000 per monthN/A5.0% IN-CREDIT INTEREST on balances up to £2,500 for the first year.More Info >

Nationwide FlexDirect Current Account

  • *5.0% AER fixed (4.89% gross pa) in-credit interest on balances up to £2,500 for the first 12 months
  • No monthly account fee
  • Paperless statements 
  • Visa Debit card and option chequebook 
  • Manage your account online, by phone or in branch
  • Mobile app
  • No fees on arranged overdrafts for the first 12 months 
  • Must be 18 or older
  • Overdraft charge of 50p per day after the first 12 months
  • Must pay a minimum of £1,000 into the account each month, from an external source (i.e. not another Nationwide account)


3.0%*0% for first £250No minimum £133.0% INTEREST on balances up to £2,500More Info >

Nationwide FlexPlus Current Account

  • *3.0% AER fixed (2.96% gross pa) in-credit interest on balances up to £2,500 
  • £13 monthly account fee
  • No fees on arranged overdrafts up to £250  
  • UK & Europe Breakdown Cover
  • Worldwide family travel insurance  
  • Free mobile banking app, text alerts and secure online banking
  • Must be 18 or older
  • Overdraft charge of 50p per day after the first 3 months
  • 0% interest on balances over £2,500 


1.50%*Up to £3 per day£500 pm£5 pm*1.50% AER (variable) on your entire balance up to £20,000. Up to 3% cashback on household bills.More Info >

Santander 123 Current Account

  • *1.50% AER (variable) payable on your entire balance up to £20,000
  • Up to 3% cashback on household bills - 1% on water, council tax bills and Santander mortgage payments, 2% on gas and electricity bills, and 3% on mobile phone, home phone, broadband and paid-for TV packages
  • Visa Debit Card
  • Mobile app
  • Must be 18 or older and a UK resident
  • Interest and Cashback only available when you set up at least two eligible Direct Debits
  • Monthly fee of £5
  • Must pay a minimum of £500 into the account each month


Why choose a current account that pays interest?

While the traditional advice has been to move any spare cash into a savings account rather than letting it languish in a current account, in these times of record low interest rates it can actually make more sense to stash your emergency cash in a current account. Some accounts pay up to 5% interest – that’s more than double the interest rate you would receive from a traditional instant access savings account.


As an example, Nationwide's FlexDirect account offers 5% in-credit interest on balances up to £2,500 for the first year, which works out at 4.89% gross pa. Meanwhile, Santander’s 123 Current Account pays up to 3% interest on balances over £3,000. Both these rates are significantly better than current easy access savings rates and also beat several fixed rate accounts, with the added bonus of being able to access your money whenever you need to.


What are the conditions?


This method of saving may not be right for everyone, and there are several points you should take into account before opening a current account for this purpose:


  • You may need to have a set number of Direct Debits going out from the account each month in order to qualify for the interest rate deal.
  • You will need to make sure that you pay in any stipulated minimum amount each month. If you fail to do so you will not usually receive any interest for that month.
  • The money paid into the account will usually need to come from an external source – for example, from an account with a different bank, or in the form of a direct salary payment.
  • The preferential interest rate on offer may be fixed term – for example, you may only be eligible for in-credit interest for 12 months after account opening. Therefore you may wish to shop around for an alternative savings option when the deal comes to an end.


How to use a current account as a savings account


If you wanted to use one of these account as a savings account you could do so by transferring a set amount from your main bank account into the interest-paying current account at the beginning of each month. You can then transfer the majority of this money back to your main account, leaving the amount you want to save in the interest paying account.


For example, if you wanted to save £200 a month, you would transfer in the minimum amount required and then move £800 into your everyday current account. The remaining £200 will then sit in your interest-paying current account, earning you interest, for the rest of the month. Because you are not using the interest-paying current account as an everyday spending account, you won’t be tempted to spend money allocated as savings that could otherwise be earning you interest.


For people who are just starting to save, or who want a top-up emergency fund that’s easy to access and also pays a competitive rate of interest, current accounts that pay interest could provide an alternative to existing instant access savings accounts.