The Family Building Society is the baby of the building society sector, having launched in 2014.
It was created with the idea that families could help one another get mortgages and loans. For example, parents and grandparents could act as mortgage guarantors. This way they could help their younger relatives get on the housing ladder without directly giving their money away.
Here we look at the savings account options from the Family Building Society.
The Family Building Society instant access savings accounts
What savings accounts does it offer?
- Easy access
- Children’s savings
What is a building society?
A building society is a financial institution owned by its members. Building societies offer banking and related financial services including mortgages and savings.
Whereas banks are normally listed on the stock market and run for their shareholders, building societies aren’t. Because they don’t have shareholders to pay, building societies have historically claimed to offer better interest and cheaper mortgage rates than banks.
- Easy access, with up to 12 withdrawals available in a calendar year without charge
- Minimum withdrawal is £100
- Apply online, by post or at its Epsom branch
- Put in anywhere between £500 and £250,000. You’ll get interest tax-free up to your annual ISA limit
- Variable interest. Could go down or up
- Could also get the market tracker cash ISA. Essentially offers the same limits, but you do get unlimited withdrawals.
35-day notice cash ISA
- Easy access, flexible cash ISA. Give the building society 35 days’ notice and you can take money out of your account
- Interest paid annually on 30 September
- Minimum withdrawal is £100
- Interest rate is dependant on how much you put in. For smaller savers you’re better off with the market tracker. Bigger savers will do better with this ISA
- Save from £3,000 to £250,000: this account isn’t for anyone looking to squirrel away a few pennies every month
- You can add to your ISA whenever you like
Fixed rate cash ISA
- Fixed rate ISAs are only available to existing ISA customers who have had another ISA product with the building society for at least 2 months
- Interest paid annually on 30 September
- Only use these options if you’re happy locking your money away for a fixed term. There are no withdrawals prior to term maturity
- Interest rates are higher than with flexible accounts, though
- Save up to £250,000
- Apply for this type of account by post or head into its branch in Epsom
What is a cash ISA?
A cash ISA, or individual savings account, is a savings account where you don’t pay tax on the interest you earn. There’s a limit on the amount you can deposit into ISAs each year, which is set by the government.
35-day notice saver
You could also take a look at the regular 35-day notice saver. It’s similar to the 35-day ISA; however, it obviously doesn’t have the same tax benefits. However, it does have a lower minimum deposit amount of £1,000, compared to the ISA’s £3,000 minimum.
Easy access savings accounts
The building society offers 4 different easy saver accounts: the market tracker, the everyday saver, the branch saver and the online saver. Here are a few key factors you should consider when choosing between them:
- Different interest rates. Each of these savings accounts give varying rates of interest. The market tracker usually offers the highest return, but it comes with a higher minimum deposit than the others (£500).
- Variable interest. All the regular savers have variable interest rates, so they might change.
- Varying deposit limits. The regular savers have varying amounts you can save. The other savers are more inclusive, though. The branch saver even lets you put away between £1 and £1 million.
- Ease of access. The online saver allows you to withdraw a maximum of £25,000 per day, which should be more than enough for your average saver. The branch saver lets you take money out whenever you like and however many times you like, up to a limit of £50,000. The market tracker saver lets you take money out 20 times a year, while the everyday saver gives you 12 withdrawals every calendar year.
Fixed term bonds
The Family Building Society offers 5 fixed term bonds. Given the lack of access, these bonds are best for anyone looking to put away a lump sum to grow. They are the 1-year, 2-year, 3-year, and 5-year fixed rate bonds and the 2-year tracker rate bond.
- Save up to £250,000 with either of these choices
- No early withdrawals or closure
- No additions either. In effect you’re putting a lump sum of money in a vault, with no access
- Higher interest returns
You can also get two different junior saving options with the Family Building Society: either the no access ISA or the easy access Junior Saver.
- With the Junior Saver you get 12 withdrawals a year without charge
- With the Junior Saver account you can save between £1 and £25,000
- With the Junior ISA you can save up to £9,000 tax-free in the 2022-2023 tax year
- Better interest rates with the ISA too
- However, you can’t withdraw or close the account until the account holder turns 18
How safe is Family Building Society?
The Family Building Society is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. It’s also covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, so if the bank goes bust your savings are protected for up to £85,000.
However, it’s important to remember the FSCS compensation only covers an individual group. So, because the Family Building Society is part of the National Counties Building Society, you’d only be covered for a total of £85,000 for any savings you have split between the two.
You wouldn’t be protected for £170,000 just because your savings are spread across the two building societies.
What are the pros and cons of saving with Family Building Society?
- Online banking. Apply and manage your accounts online. Although there isn’t an app, you can check balances and transactions, make withdrawals to your nominated account and transfer money between your Family BS accounts online.
- Flexibility. Family Building Society has loads of different account options, whether you’re looking to save a few quid or larger amounts.
- Better rates elsewhere? Rates are average across the board. It might be worth looking at other savers.
- No high-street presence. Unless you live near Epsom you can’t visit a physical branch. If you still like a personal touch when banking, the Family Building Society might not be for you.
Frequently asked questions
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