ISA interest rates on the up as banks vie for your savings
Julian Knight looks at the best offers available as the deadline looms
Sunday 13 March 2011
After a slow start, the competition for your savings in advance of the deadline for investment in a cash Individual Savings Account this year is starting to hot up. Each tax year, Britons can put up to £5,100 in a cash ISA with all interest earned being free of tax. The deadline for this year ISA is a little over three weeks away.
A month ago, the best-buy instant-access cash ISA was paying just 2.9 per cent; now, it's 3.35 per cent from the AA. Likewise, a raft of fixed-term deals has come on to the market, including a four-year fixed rate ISA from Cheshire Building Society, paying 4.4 per cent, and a five-year fix from Skipton Building Society paying 5 per cent, nearly identical to the current rate of inflation.
"The variable rate ISA market has been competitive, but three of the top four accounts don't accept transfers in," warns Michelle Slade from financial information site Moneyfacts. "Barclays and Santander have battled it out to be top of the best buys, but have been overtaken last week by the AA. The fixed-rate ISA market has also seen a lot of movement, particularly for medium to long term fixed-rate ISAs. At present, the average ISA rate is at its highest level for the whole two-year period of base rate being at 0.5 per cent."
But with Bank of England interest rates almost certain to rise over the next few months and many City insiders predicting rates rising from 0.5 per cent to 1.5 or 2 per cent within the year, what seems like a good deal now may not prove to be the case later on.
"I'd be reluctant to fix for longer than two years .... The exception to this may be for those people looking to maximise their monthly interest to supplement their income," says Andrew Hagger, spokesman for comparison site Moneynet.
Kevin Mountford, of comparison service Moneysupermarket.com, has a different interpretation: "As far as fixed versus variable rates are concerned, you need to decide if you can lock your money away. If you can, then the best value is around five-year products ... and you can transfer-in your existing ISA portfolio. For shorter-term options the value isn't as great and I'd stick with the easy-access offers and look again in another year."
Loyalty is rewarded by two providers in the ISA market – the Halifax and Santander, who offer a 0.2 per cent bonus to current-account customers who also take out an ISA. With the bonus the accounts pay 3.2 per cent and 3.5 respectively. But more standard account bonuses can be a double-edged sword: "Once the bonus rate expires from the latest deals the new Santander Flexible ISA rate will drop by a massive 2.65 per cent, the AA by 1.65 per cent and the new Barclays deal by 1 per cent, so it's vital that you make a note in your diary or iPhone to switch your balance after the year is up," Mr Hagger warns.
And the run up to ISA deadline isn't just about where to put new savings, it should be about reviewing existing arrangements. "Just because the rate was a best buy when you took it out, doesn't mean you'll still be getting a good deal. In fact some old accounts are paying as little as 0.1 per cent."
And if you are transferring money between cash ISA providers be aware that new FSDA rules mean the transfer should be complete within 15 days. Halifax and Nationwide have, however, both promised to pay interest from the day the account opening application is received.
Will your credit card rewards be scrapped following new EU rules on charges?
Bargain Hunter: First Utility's Cosy deal lets you heat your home from anywhere
What would happen if you put a statistician in a casino with £1m?
Simon Read: 'The fight must go on over equality on expat pensions'
Pension freedoms: How to deal with cold calls from scammers
- 1 Top 20 misconceptions people believe are true
- 2 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 3 Black Mass trailer: Johnny Depp might have started making good films again
- 4 Jacob Lescenski and Anthony Martinez: Straight student asks gay friend to High School prom and makes a million Twitter friends
- 5 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
iJobs Money & Business
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...
£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
Day In a Page
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms