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People looking to save their money have many options available to them. Depending on their circumstances, certain savings plans may be more appropriate than others. Such circumstances include for how long they can tie up their money, if they have to pay taxes on any interest earned, and how quickly they'll need to access their money.
Instant Access Accounts
Instant access savings accounts are exactly what they seem – accounts that offer instant access to funds in the case of an emergency. Many of the best options are offered by Internet-only banks. This somewhat lessens the "instant" nature of the account since money transfers can take several business days to complete. Such banks offer the best interest rates, but one need balance that with the necessity of instant access. People can also choose such accounts with their local bank branches, though returns will be lower.
Notice accounts tie up one's money for a specified length of time, theoretically for a higher rate of return. Savers will be unable to access the money for the length of the term without incurring penalties. If these accounts had a higher interest rate than instant access accounts, they'd be attractive. But in today's market, many instant access rates equal or exceed notice rates, so they may not be worthwhile.
Cash Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are savings accounts wherein the interest earned is tax free. The rates of return are generally lower than other accounts, but after taxes are taken into account, the best cash ISAs handily outperform other savings accounts. Unfortunately the amount of money one can contribute to a cash ISA is limited – for the current year up to £3,600 (£5,100 if over age 50), though that will increase to £5,100 in April 2010.
Traditional Savings Accounts
Traditional savings accounts are good for those who want to save money every month. These accounts can have very high rates, but come with many conditions. They can limit the amount you contribute, require regular contributions, limit the number of withdrawals, and so on. Breaking these conditions can lead to loss of interest and other penalties.
National Savings Accounts
National savings accounts are run by the Government, so there are few safer places for one's money. All offerings are capital-secure; National Savings guarantees that investors will get their money back no matter what happens. It offers a full range of financial products, so research the available options to find the best fit.
There are a myriad of savings options available to those who seek them. Given today's uneasy economic climate, committing to saving more is a wise choice.