Financial investment is an obvious way to ensure you are prepared for the future. There are many ways to invest your money, but in order to do so wisely, you first have to be intelligent about the choices you make.
A savings account arguably offers one of the best ways of safely investing your finances. Obtaining one from either a bank or credit union is usually the most sensible option, since they offer you far more protection and stability – like interest or insurance – than keeping your money under a mattress, or investing in the stock market, for example.
And, in light of the current financial market, savings accounts are said to be experiencing something of an upturn in terms of interest rates, with some experts believing the days of low paying interest accounts are firmly in the past.
Because of the infinite reasons people have for saving up, or for needing money, there are a vast array of financial savings packages available, all offering a different set of features and benefits. These can include instant access to your money, on the spot transfers between different accounts of the same institution, or earning high interest rates.
Banks generally offer two types of savings account: a basic savings account and a money market account. Within these, there are a number of different packages, which have been tailored to fit specific needs. Although interest rates are lower on the basic savings account, it typically has a low minimum balance requirement, for example £1 and should allow you to withdraw money whenever you wish. Money market accounts have the advantage of offering higher interest rates, but as a rule, there typically has to be more money in the account. You could additionally be limited to the amount of withdrawals you can make each month and it is, therefore, preferable when you have a lump sum you want to save over a period of time.
Since 1999, which saw the advent of tax-free ISAs – individual savings accounts – customers are being offered even more competitive deals. Specifically, cash ISAs are an ideal way to earn interest on your savings, whilst avoiding tax charges. According to HM Revenue and Customs, these are suitable because you can readily access your money and, unlike stocks and shares ISAs where you invest money into the stock market, it is more stable and guarantees a return.
The appearance of online or internet banking in the 1980s, which grew rapidly over the ensuing decades to become firmly entrenched in today’s financial marketplace, has seen a rise in the number of e-savings accounts offered.
Convenience is a major advantage of managing your savings online. Not only can you access your details 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but transaction speeds are also increased, and you can manage all your accounts (if you have several with the same institution) on one secure site. In today’s marketplace, most large national and regional banks and even some smaller banks and credit unions offer customers some form of online banking.