BANKS have come under fire for paying lousy interest rates or nothing at all to loyal savers.

A massive £256billion of savers’ cash is sitting in accounts that pay no interest, when it could be earning £10billion a year if moved to a top-paying account, according to Coventry Building Society’s analysis of Bank of England data.

How to boost your bank balance with £200 free cash and top-paying accounts

That’s enough to put £364 in the pockets of every household in the UK.

Andrew Hagger, founder of financial website MoneyComms, believes that savings rates might be nearing their peak.

He says: “You get no reward for loyalty, so leave your sub-standard deal and grab a best buy account with both hands.”

Leah Milner explains why this weekend should be ditch-your-bank holiday – and shares Sun Money’s pick of the best deals . . .

Best for £200 bonus

THREE major banks are paying bonuses of up to £200 if you are a new customer switching your current account to them.

Despite a recent surge in people moving banks, millions have stuck with the same account for more than a decade and could be missing out on a much better deal.

NatWest and HSBC are both offering a £200 bonus, while First Direct will pay £175.

With NatWest you can get the bonus by switching to its Select account which has no monthly fee.

You’ll need to open the account online and give NatWest details of the existing account you want to switch.

The bank will then move all your direct debits within seven working days.

You must pay in at least £1,250 and log into NatWest’s banking app within 60 days to get your bonus.

Alternatively, if you’re able to pay in at least £1,250 a month, you could get the £200 bonus, plus up to £36 a year in cashback by switching to the NatWest Reward account following the same process.

Royal Bank of Scotland (part of the same group as NatWest) has its own version of the Select and Reward accounts with the same perks and bonuses.

Meanwhile HSBC offers £200 if you switch to its

Advance account which has no monthly fee.

You don’t have to pay in a set amount every month, but you’ll need to deposit at least £1,500 within 60 days to get your bonus.

You can open the account online or in branches, so it’s the only bank offering free cash even if you don’t use the internet.

As with NatWest you’ll need to share details of an existing bank account with at least two direct debits that you want to switch across within 30 days.

First Direct pays £175 if you switch to its 1st Account.

You can only open it online or through its app and you’ll need to pay in £1,000 within three months.

You won’t get the bonus if you’ve previously had a First Direct or HSBC account.

If you sometimes go in the red it’s more important to look at the overdraft rates that banks charge rather than switching bonuses or other perks.

For those who qualify, First Direct offers an interest-free overdraft of £250.

Use the checker on the bank’s website to see if you’re likely to be granted its overdraft before applying so you don’t damage your credit score.

Best instant access saving

BARCLAYS current account customers can get a Rainy Day Saver account which pays 5.12 per cent interest on up to £5,000.

It’s the highest interest rate you can currently earn on this amount while still having instant access to your cash, but there are some hurdles.

You’ll need to sign up to its Blue Rewards scheme which costs £5 a month, but you get this back so long as you pay £800 a month into your current account, have two direct debits and log into the app monthly.

Then you’re able to open the savings account which would give you £250 in interest if you kept £5,000 in it for a year.

If you’re comfortable with apps, digital bank Chip has an instant access savings account which pays 3.55 per cent interest, so you’d get £35.50 if you saved £1,000 for a year.

And you only need to pay in £1 to open it . . .

For anyone who doesn’t use the internet, the highest paying easy access savings account from a major provider is NS&I’s Direct Saver account which can be opened by phone as well as online.

It pays 2.85 per cent a year so you could earn £28.50 on £1,000.

For regular savers

IF you’re trying to put money aside each month for a rainy day, it’s worth opening a regular-savings account with a top-paying interest rate.

These accounts won’t allow you to transfer in a big balance, but rather you drip feed in money each month.

First Direct customers with its 1st Account can earn seven per cent interest for a year by opening the bank’s linked Regular Saver account.

You’d need to pay in between £25 and £300 a month, so the maximum interest you could earn in a year is £136.

NatWest current account customers can open a regular saver account that pays 6.17 per cent.

Notice accounts

SAVERS who are happy locking some money away for a set period could earn more.

But it doesn’t have to be for years as app-based StreamBank is paying 3.85 per cent on balances of at least £1,000 if you can leave your cash untouched for nine months.

If you can leave it for 180 days, Oxbury bank will pay 4.05 per cent on £1,000 or more.

ISAs remain a good option if you’ve got a large sum of money as you won’t have to pay any tax on your savings interest.

But basic rate taxpayers can earn up to £1,000 a year in interest on their savings without paying tax, no matter what type of account they’re in.

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