This week: act to make the most of allowances before the end of the tax year; pension freedoms warning – don’t rush in; current account complaints soar; money-saving deal of the week.
End of tax year on Sunday – act now to make most of the 2014-15 allowances
Changes introduced last July mean that consumers can now invest £15,000 tax free in a cash or stocks and shares Isa. Lock cash up for the best deals: the average rate on the top five fixed rate Isas is currently 2.2 per cent, 0.7 percentage points higher than the average rate on the top five easy access Isas.
But ensure you leave enough time for your application to be processed. If you want to make a branch-based application, because the end of the tax year falls on Easter Sunday, all banks and building societies will be closed. If you plan to pop in on Saturday, check opening hours.
Want to know how to make the most of Isas? Read this: How to make the most of ISAs
New pension freedoms come into effect next Monday –but people shouldn’t rush into a decision
From 6 April those aged 55 or over who have yet to touch their pension pots will be allowed to do what they want with their retirement savings. But last week the Pensions Minister Steve Webb advised: “We want to get away from the notion that 6 April is some sort of deadline and if you leave it till the 7th you are somehow going to miss out. Maybe come back in the summer or the autumn.”
The Government's pensions guidance service is now up and running. You can book an appointment to use the Pension Wise and receive face-to-face advice. Call 030 0330 1001 to make an appointment, but expect to wait two weeks or more as demand will be heavy.
But be wary of pension scammers trying to tempt you out of your retirement savings. More on that here: New pension allowances bring new freedoms and new dangers
Current account complaints soar by a fifth
The number of complaints made about current accounts soared by 22 per cent in the second half of the last year, according to the Financial Conduct Authority. People remain confused by charges and fees, especially when it comes to going into the red. But there’s a new online tool that can help them find a better deal. A comparison service from Gocompare.com, backed by the Treasury, looks at your personal banking history to work out which account will save or make you the most money. It’s free to use and all your details are kept anonymous to protect them.
Find out more at: Five questions on switching current accounts
Deal of the week: BT has re-entered the mobile market with a SIM-only deal at a fiver
BT returned to the mobile phone market this week with deals from as little as a fiver a month. The telecoms giant is offering SIM-only bundles of 4G data, call minutes and texts from £5 a month for its existing BT Broadband home users. The deal will be a tenner for non-customers.
For more deals and discounts go to: Bargain hunter BT improves its mobile receptionReuse content