Savvy Money: Ensure you make the most of your old and new ISAs
Sunday 03 March 2013
There is just over a month to go until the end of the tax year, which normally means: A) lots of ISA (individual savings accounts) adverts; and b) a bunfight by cash ISA providers for the top slot in the best-buy tables.
It's always worth getting the best rate on a new cash ISA, but you shouldn't forget about money you've already saved in old ISA accounts.
Existing ISA savings
If you'd saved the maximum since ISAs were launched in 1999 you could have around £50,000 by now. Even if you have rather less, it's still worth checking the rate and moving the money if you can do better elsewhere – you can transfer money in an existing ISA without it affecting your ISA allowance.
I get lots of emails about cash ISA transfer rules and, while they're not fiendishly complicated, they're not exactly simple either. If you get them wrong, you could find your savings lose their tax-free status. The most important thing to remember is that you mustn't close down your cash ISA account if you want to transfer it. Instead, you should contact the bank/building society that you want to switch your cash ISA to and ask them to do the transfer (you'll have to fill in a transfer form).
Your money should be switched to your new ISA provider within 15 working days, although some pay interest as soon as they've received your application.
The rules say that if you have money saved in cash ISAs from previous tax years, you can transfer some or all of it (plus interest), but if you're moving your cash ISA from the current tax year you have to transfer the lot. And you can transfer a cash ISA into a stocks and shares ISA but you can't do the transfer the other way. Did I say it wasn't fiendishly complicated?
Best buy rates
New cash ISAs are likely to be launched in coming weeks so keep an eye on rates. At the moment – annoyingly – some of the cash ISAs paying the highest rates won't accept transfers in. Of those that do, the Cheshire Building Society's easy access ISA Saver pays 2.5 per cent on balances of £1,000 or more (online or phone account). But there's a chunky bonus of 2 per cent until 31 July 2014 so you'd want to move it then.
Barclays has an easy access Instant Cash ISA paying 2.3 per cent on balances of £30,000 or more. There's a one-year bonus of 0.8 per cent and lower tiered interest rates on lower balances. You can access it in a branch, or by phone or online if you have a Barclays current account.
It's a fraction ahead of RBS/NatWest's e-ISAs which pay 2.25 per cent on balances of £30,000 or more (the rate reduced from 2.5 per cent on Friday). If you transfer in less than this, you'll get a lower rate.
Also paying 2.25 per cent is Harpenden Building Society's Simply ISA and Nationwide's Web ISA, although with Nationwide's you will need at least £10,000 to get this rate, and the rate falls to 0.5 per cent in August 2014.
This probably isn't the time to lock your money away, but if you need every penny of interest, you can earn 2.55 per cent with Nationwide's 30-month fixed rate ISA and 2.5 per cent with Halifax's two-year ISA.
It's well worth checking the interest rate on your existing ISAs and transferring to get a higher return. Cash ISA providers have a nasty habit of dropping interest rates dramatically on existing products after the first year or so, and some pay as little as 0.1 per cent.
Independent Partners: Get your free guide on Where to invest your ISA
The Microsoft mogul told fans a few home truths during his Reddit AMA
First full-length look is finally here
Simon Read: Frozen in time - the expat British pensioners who deserve a better deal
Weekly Money: Round-up of the personal finance stories you may have missed 26-30 January
Revealed: Amazon earns more through government grants than it pays in tax
City Watchdog to investigate banks' handling of PPI compensation claims
Pension firms must ask consumers more questions, says City Watchdog
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...
Day In a Page
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 deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
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
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion