The current economic crisis has led to rising unemployment and a collapse of the credit market. This sudden drawback in the amount of readily available credit has made saving all the rage. The UK national savings rate has gone from almost zero to 4%, and all studies indicate that this will continue to rise. In 1991, the savings rate was as high as 13%, with households purchasing even high ticket items like automobiles and refrigerators with cash.
So where are people in the UK looking to stash their money? Many simply keep cash around the house or deposit it in a checking account. Both of these methods are dangerous, and deny savers valuable opportunities to put their money to work. Money stuffed into a mattress or jammed in a box under the bed is easily stolen and will no doubt be destroyed in a flood or fire. Money kept in a checking account is accessible and protected by the government, but due to inflation it rapidly loses value. So how can the average man on the street keep his money safe while also ensuring it retains it's value?
The answer is, of course, the savings account. While savings accounts have rates of interest dependent on the amount of money being loaned out by the government in the form of bonds, they are generally near to the rate of interest. This allows a depositor to keep his money in a safe, insured bank while ensuring that it does not slowly rot away to inflation. Banks have always offered savings accounts, but the current credit crisis has left many banks with a dearth of actual money in their possession, as they are losing large amounts of it to loan defaults and other poor investments. As such, banks are now encouraging their account holders to save by offering particularly good savings accounts with very favourable rates of interest and excellent terms in regards to when they can make deposits and withdrawals.
Many banks now offer what are known as "instant access" savings accounts, which means that the depositor may access their money via tellers, ATMs or bank transfers the moment it is deposited. This generally necessitates that the depositor offer up real currency or an official check to prevent fraud, but trustworthy savers will find that these instant access savings accounts can work very similarly to a checking account, allowing them quick and easy access to their money the moment it is deposited.