My golden rules for picking a regular savings account: SYLVIA MORRIS

Readers often ask me which is the best regular savings account.

These are accounts designed for savers who put money aside every month and reward them with a generous interest rate.

I wish there were a simple answer, and I could just recommend the account with the best rate. 

But what should be a straightforward account is usually wound up with reams of terms and conditions.

Most regular savings accounts run for a year. Then your money is moved into an account paying much less interest — so you must be ready to move it to a better home.

New offerings: Regular savings accounts are accounts designed for savers who put money aside every month and reward them with a generous interest rate

Some pay variable rates, others fixed. Some let you take money out whenever you want, some make you wait for a year, and others penalise you for making withdrawals. 

But a number of newer banks have started to launch regular savings accounts with simpler rules.

The latest, Step Up Saver from Ford Money, launched this week and pays 4.75 per cent, which is fixed for the year on up to £200 a month. 

The big plus is you can dip into your savings at any time without losing interest. After a year your money is moved from the Step Up Saver into its easy-access Flexible Saver. At 4.6 per cent, it’s not a bad rate.

Aldermore’s Regular Saver pays a higher 5.25 per cent on up to £300 a month, but the rate is variable so could drop during the year. Your money ends up in its Easy Access Account, currently paying 4.5 per cent.

But when picking one of these accounts, your first port of call should be your current account provider.

They keep their headline rates of up to 7 per cent for regular savers who have current accounts with them — as long as you obey their terms and conditions.

But with all providers — except for NatWest and RBS — you should make sure you move your money after a year. Otherwise you will end up in their lousy easy-access accounts which often pay less than 2 per cent.

Among the best is First Direct with a 7 per cent fixed rate on savings of £20 to £300 a month. But it doesn’t allow you to touch your money during the year. 

Co-op Bank’s 7 per cent lets you dip into your savings. But the rate is variable so can drop at any time.

Nationwide, at a variable 6.5 per cent, allows you only three withdrawals during the year.

NatWest Digital Saver pays 6.17 per cent and allows you to take money out at any time.

Marcus cuts its online saver rate

Unwelcome news from Marcus. Next Saturday, it is cutting the rate it pays on my Online Savings account.

Until now, easy access rates have been holding up well against the threat of lower interest rates ahead.

A few providers, including Paragon and Close Brothers, have withdrawn their top-paying accounts or replaced them with lower rates for new savers.

But the Marcus rate — including the 0.49 percentage point bonus which is paid for a year — is dropping from 4.75 per cent to 4.55 per cent.

Now, I know interest rates are expected to fall. But the Bank of England has yet to shift its base rate down from 5.25 per cent — and if it does lower its base rate, Marcus could cut my rate again. 

But as it is a competitive rate, I have left my money there — for now.

Check the best cash Isa rates in our savings tables