It's been a depressing ISA season so far, but there is a glimmer of competition among savings rates with the launch of Barclay's Golden ISA. It pays 3.55 per cent gross, marginally better than NatWest's deal at 3.51 per cent. The account is available to new and existing customers for investments of between £1 and £3,600, and can be opened online, over the phone or in branch.
But this market leading deal has a catch – it includes a bonus of 1 per cent for the first 12 months. Introductory bonus rates are becoming increasingly popular as banks bid for custom without having to fork out the extra interest long-term. It's not a problem in itself, but investors should be prepared to shift the cash when the better rate ends. They should also remember that these rates are variable, and could drop in future, particularly if the Bank of England base rate remains particularly low. Apart from that, with only a few weeks to go before the end of the tax year, this ISA could be a serious contender for your cash. For more information go to: www.barclays.co.uk/isa or call 0800 49 49 49.