The cash accounts that can beat inflation

Inflation has dropped to 2.7% so are there any savings products that can actually beat it?

Love Money
Last updated:20 March 2018 - 08.48pm

Official figures show that the rate of inflation dipped slightly to 2.7% in February.

Yet despite dropping to its lowest level since last summer, CPI still remains higher than even the top-paying fixed-rate account on the market.

So what should savers do?

[Read more: The surprising ways inflation costs us]

Savings accounts (with strings attached)

The good news is that's still possible to beat inflation with your cash savings. The bad news is you'll have jump through a few hoops to do so.

Regular savings accounts are a prime example, offering inflation-busting returns of up to 5%.

The catch? There are a few, actually.

First off, the rate is only available for one year, after which point the amount you earn will fall dramatically.

Second, they’re really designed to attract new savers as you can’t put in a lump sum, although existing savers can at least funnel up to £300 a month into them before the rate falls after one year.

Finally, the top-paying accounts – from Nationwide, First Direct, Santander and M&S – are only available to current account holders of each specific bank.

Current accounts (with strings attached)

Some current accounts still offer inflation-beating rates and allow a little more flexibility than regular savings accounts.

The Nationwide FlexDirect account offers a top rate of 5% on balances of up to £2,500. However, this will drop to a measly 1% after the first year, so you will need to move your money again. You’ll also need to deposit at least £1,000 a month to benefit from the top rate.

The Tesco Bank Current Account guarantees to pay 3% on balances up to £3,000 until April 1, 2019, but you'll need to pay in at least £750 a month and set up at least three Direct Debits to earn that rate.

Alternatively, there’s the TSB Classic Plus account, which pays 3% on balances of up to £1,500. Unlike the Nationwide deal, the rate doesn’t drop after a year, and you just need to deposit £500 a month and opt for paperless statements to qualify for interest each month.

Other options to consider

If you are saving for a house or your retirement and are under 40 years old, then you could benefit from the new Lifetime Isas.

These allow you to save up to £4,000 of your annual Isa allowance in cash or stocks and shares and, on top of the return, these offer the government promises to boost what you save by 25% each year.

Skipton Building Society is the only provider to offer a Cash Lifetime Isa at present. It pays a measly 0.5%, but that government – or taxpayer-funded – bonus means you'll get a markedly better rate overall.

It might be worth considering moving some of your cash into other places that have more risk but could offer greater rewards.

One option is peer-to-peer lending, where you lend your money to individual borrowers, businesses or investors.

[Read more: What is CPIH and how it will impact your money?]

This area currently isn't protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme but could offer far higher returns than a high-street account, plus since April 2016, you can hold some peer-to-peer investments in an Innovative Finance Isa, which means you can save up to £20,000 tax-free.

This article is regularly updated