Hot money deals, 12 July 2011Which? experts round up the best finance deals

12 July 2011

Cash for gold - old jewellery

Jewellers may offer you a better deal on your unwanted jewellery than a cash-for-gold company - see our money-saving tip for more

This week we look at the full range of savings accounts and cash Isas, and help you get the best price for any old or unwanted gold jewellery.

Savings accounts

  • Instant access: Bank of Ireland UK offers the best instant-access deal at 3.05% (including a 1.25% bonus payable for a year). However, if you are willing to give 90 days notice, consider Aldermore's 90 Day Notice Account instead as it pays a slightly higher 3.1% on balances from £1,000.
  • One-year fixed rate: Barnsley BS, FirstSave and Yorkshire BS offer a top-paying 1-year fixed rate account at 3.5% on balances of at least £1,000.
  • Two-year fixed rate: Bank of Ireland UK offer the top 2-year fixed rate deal at 4%. This is closely followed by the Post Office's Online Bond paying 3.96%.
  • Three-year fixed rate: krbs's branch or postal account offers the best 3-year fixed rate at 4.25% on balances of at least £500. Interest is paid monthly or yearly.
  • Four-year fixed rate: Melton Mowbray BS offers the best 4-year fixed rate account at 4.35%. This internet account pays interest monthly or yearly.
  • Five-year fixed rate: krbs currently tops our 5-year fixed rate table with its five-year fixed branch or postal account paying 5%. The minimum investment is £500 and interest is paid monthly or yearly.

Cash Isas

  • Instant access: AA's Internet Access Isa offers the best instant-access deal paying 3.35%. However, this account does not allow transfers-in from other providers. If you want to transfer in previous years' funds, then krbs's Easy Access Cash Isa is the best option paying 3.01% (including a 2.5% bonus payable for a year).
  • One-year fixed rate: Barnsley BS and Chelsea BS offer a top 1-year fixed rate account at 3.3% on balances of £100 upwards.
  • Two-year fixed rate: Chelsea BS tops the 2-year fixed rate table with their branch/postal or internet accounts paying 3.7%.
  • Three-year fixed rate: krbs, Nottingham BS and Saga offer the best 3-year fixed rate deals at 4%. The Saga account is available to people aged over 50 only.
  • Four-year fixed rate: Halifax are top with their 4-year fixed rate at 4.4%. The account can be operated at a branch, online, by post or by telephone
  • Five-year fixed rate: Birmingham Midshires currently leads our 5-year fixed rate table with its five-year postal account paying 4.65%. The minimum investment is £500 and interest is paid monthly or yearly.

Best credit cards for 0% balance transfers

If you have some debt on your credit card and need some breathing space to pay it off the following providers currently offer the longest 0% balance transfer deals: 

  • The Barclaycard Platinum with Extended Balance Transfer Visa has the longest 0% deal on the market of 20 months. However, the deal charges an above-average 3.2% handling fee and an APR on new purchases of 17.5%. Barclaycard also offers a shorter 19-month deal with a lower 2.9% transfer fee and 16.9% representative APR.
  • Virgin Money is currently offering one of the best deals on the market on its Credit Card MasterCard. The card has a 19-month 0% balance transfer period, a 16.8% APR on new purchases and one of the lowest balance transfer fees of 2.49%.
  • MBNA also offers a competitive deal on its Platinum 19 Month Visa with a 19-month 0% period, 16.7% representative APR and a low 2.5% handling fee.

None of the cards listed above score very well for customer service in our recent member survey though. If this is important to you, Which? Recommended Provider Capital One currently offers a 0% deal that expires in November 2012 with a 2.9% handling and 16.8% representative APR on new purchases. Take a look at our 0% balance transfer table for a round up of the best deals on the market each day. 

Unsecured personal loans

  • £5,000 over three years: Sainsbury's offers a representative rate of 8.1% APR for a £5,000 loan. Alternatively, at 8.6% - a rate that still competes with other lenders in our Best Rate tables - borrowers can instead opt for two years of doubled Nectar points and a £25 gift card.
  • £10,000 over five years: M&S Money ascends to the top of our Best Rate tables this week with a 6.70% rate. The only lender that can beat this deal is Nationwide Building Society, which offers a deal of 6.60%, but to existing customers only.

Mortgages: moving tracker, term deal

The best mortgage deal for you will depend on your own circumstances. Our unique mortgage finder tool takes account of all fees and charges to help you find a mortgage tailored to your needs.

If you're remortgaging and looking for a fixed-rate, 2-year deal, our best rates this week are:

  • High loan-to-value: HSBC offers a rate of 4.99% lasting until September 2013. It has a booking fee of £599.
  • Low loan-to-value: Skipton BS offers a fixed rate of 3.09% lasting until November 2013. This includes a booking fee of £195 but no valuation or legal fees and flexible repayment features.

For more details and also to see our full selection of fixed, discount and tracker deals, check out our mortgage Best Rate tables. 

And finally... this week's money-saving tip

If you've seen the advertisements on TV, you might be tempted to send your unwanted jewellery off to a cash for gold company. But Which? Money researchers were offered just £9.64 for a piece of gold jewellery with a retail price of £215, a fraction of the price you could get from a jeweller.

To find out how to get the best price for your old jewellery, read our revamped guide Cash for gold and gold selling, including our tips for selling old and unwanted gold.

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