Why your interest rate can go up and down
The interest rate on your savings account or ISA can sometimes go up or down. Find out why this happens, as well as what you can do if it changes.
What's on this page
Interest rates explained
An interest rate is the amount you get:
- charged if you borrow money – for example, on credit cards, a loan or a mortgage
- paid if you save money – for example, a savings account or an ISA
The 2 types of interest rate are:
- fixed rate
- variable rate
A fixed rate is where the rate stays the same for a set amount of time. So, whether you’re borrowing or saving, the interest rate you pay or get paid won’t change for the agreed term.
A variable rate is where your interest rate could go up or down. This could happen for a number of reasons. For example, when the Bank of England changes the base rate.
Bank of England base rate explained
The base rate – also known as the bank rate – is very important to all of us. It sets the amount of interest the Bank of England pays to banks and building societies.
The base rate also influences how much banks and building societies charge people who borrow money – and in turn, how much interest is paid to those who save money.
The base rate also helps regulate inflation. So, when the base rate goes up or down, it is generally in response to a change in the economy.
How we’re able to pay you interest
As a building society, we were set up to help people save money and buy homes. We work by lending the money that members save with us to members who borrow from us.
The interest we receive from our borrowers allows us to pay interest to our savers. We also use it to run our Society.
Why your interest rate can change
Because of the way we work, we need to balance the interest rates we give our savers with the rates we charge our borrowers. The costs of running the Society need to be covered too.
If there’s a change – for example, to the base rate
We may need to lower or increase the interest rates we charge our borrowers. If we do, we may also need to lower or increase the rates we pay our savers.
If other banks and building societies change their rates
We may need to make changes too, so we can still attract new savers and borrowers, as well as keep those already with us.
If the cost of running our Society goes up
We may need to pay our savers less interest or charge our borrowers more.
Our terms and conditions set out all the reasons why we could make changes to your savings interest rate
Accounts that could be affected
Accounts with a variable rate
Your interest rate could change. That’s because we regularly review all of our accounts with variable interest rates.
Accounts with a fixed rate
Your interest rate will not change for the agreed term.
What you can do
If your interest rate drops, you may be thinking about whether your account is still right for you.
Here are some options you have:
See if another Nationwide account suits you better
Check our range of savings accounts.
Keep your savings in the same account, at the lower rate
In which case, you don’t need to do anything.
Move your savings to another provider
If you choose this, we’ll support you through the move (though we’d be sad to see you go).
Check how to close your account with us.
Manage your money. Whenever, wherever
If you haven’t already, you might find it helps to register for Internet Banking.
Download the Banking app to check in on your savings safely and securely, whenever, wherever.
You could also sign up to our SavingsWatch service. Once signed up, you'll be one of the first to know about any improvements to your savings account’s features. We’ll also let you know if your interest rate is changing. And we’ll tell you about any new savings products we launch and any improvements to our savings range. This includes savings-related initiatives and services.