It's harder than ever to get a decent return on your savings, and with inflation rising it means our money has to be in a good place to outpace the cost of living.

It's well worth looking beyond high street savings accounts to the likes of current accounts, particularly since the introduction of the tax-free Personal Savings Allowance (PSA).

Let's look at all of these and more to see the top rates on offer right now.

Current accounts

Current accounts continue to trump all the top savings accounts at the moment, for smaller balances anyway.

Nationwide’s FlexDirect account pays 5% interest on balances up to £2,500 for the first 12 months. The only condition is you need to pay in at least £1,000 a month.

TSB's Classic Plus account pays 3% on balances of up to £1,500, providing you credit the account with £500 a month. There’s also cashback available on contactless payments.

The Tesco Bank Current Account also pays 3%, but this applies to balances of up to £3,000. To qualify, you'll need to pay in at least £750 a month and have at least three direct debits (not including Tesco Bank savings accounts). 

Bank of Scotland's Classic Account with Vantage pays 2% on balances between £1 and £5,000 if you pay in £1,000 a month and have two direct debits set up.

Lloyds Bank is offering the Club Lloyds account, which pays 2% on balances between £1 and £5,000, as long as you credit the account with £1,500 a month and set up two direct debits from it. 

If you don't want to spread your money around, Santander's 123 account pays 1.5% on balances of up to £20,000. You need to pay in £500 a month, and set up at least two direct debits. 

There's also a £5 a month fee on the account but you can earn cashback on some of your direct debits for household bills, which can help cover that.

Now let's look at how traditional savings accounts fare. None of these can currently beat inflation, but they do alow you to deposit far larger sums than current accounts.

Compare high-interest current accounts

Instant access savings accounts

The top rate of interest on an easy access account is currently 1.15% which you can get from Kent Reliance. You’ll need £1,000 to open an account.

Notice accounts

If you give up access to your cash for 120 days you can get a rate of 1.45% from Paragon Bank, which you can open with £500.

Cash Isas

While the PSA has effectively made all savings accounts tax-free you should still consider using your tax-free ISA allowance (currently £20,000 for 2017/18) to save.

That’s because any money you put into an Isa will stay tax-free long term, even if the interest you earn grows. With the PSA, any interest you earn beyond the £1,000/£500 limit is taxed at your marginal rate.

The best rate on an easy access Isa is available with Charter Savings Bank. It’s paying 1.06% on deposits from £1,000.

Lock your money up for a year with Charter Savings Bank and you’ll get a rate of 1.16%. You’ll need £1,000 to open an account.

What’s great about Charter Savings Bank is that you can ‘mix and match’ its easy access and fixed-rate Isa deals.

Savers are normally only allowed to open one cash Isa account per tax year, which means having to choose between the flexibility of an easy access deal and a better rate by locking into a fixed-rate deal.

But now those going for the Charter Savings Bank range can open a combination to benefit from the best of both worlds.

If you're not bothered about mixing and matching, the best cash Isa over two years is from Virgin Money, which is offering a rate of 1.30% on balances from £1.

Paragon Bank is the top place to stash your cash over three years, paying a rate of 1.41%. You'll need to deposit at least £500.

Paragon Bank also wins out over five years, offering 1.80% with a minimum deposit of £500.

Fixed-rate bonds

If you decide to lock your money away, you can get slightly higher returns.

The Bank of London & The Middle East (BLME) offers the highest rate on one-year (2%) two-year (2.10%), three-year (2.25%), five-year (2.5%) and seven-year (2.55%) fixed-rate accounts.

However, the hefty minimum deposit of £25,000 will rule out most savers. So let's focus on accounts with more manageable requirements.

Al Rayan Bank is the best option for savers looking to lock their money away for one year, paying 1.91% with a minimum deposit of £1,000.

Likewise, it's two-year rate of 2.02% on deposits starting at £1,000 is the best in this category.

Atom Bank is top over three years (2.20%) and five years (2.40%). The accounts can be opened with just £50.

Compare fixed-rate savings accounts