Hot money deals, 02 August 2011Which? experts round up the best finance deals
02 August 2011
This week our experts take a look at the full range of savings accounts and cash Isas, and hunt out the best credit cards for use abroad. We also examine this week's best rate loans and mortgage deals.
This week's best savings accounts
- Instant access savings: Derbyshire BS offers the best instant-access deal at 3.11% (including a 2.11% bonus payable to 30 November 2012). However, you will need to review this account once the bonus period ends as the rate drops to just 1%.
- One-year fixed rate savings: FirstSave offers a top-paying 1-year fixed rate account at 3.5% on balances of at least £1,000.
- Two-year fixed rate savings: Bank of Ireland UK offers 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 savings: Post Office's Online Bond offers the best 3-year fixed rate at 4.21% on balances of at least £500. Interest is paid monthly or yearly.
- Four-year fixed rate savings: Aldermore offers the best 4-year fixed rate account at 4.25%. This account can be operated by internet, post or telephone.
- Five-year fixed rate savings: Birmingham Midshires and Saga offer top-paying 5-year fixed rate accounts paying 4.65%. The Saga account is available to those aged 50 and over.
The market's best cash Isas
- Instant access cash Isa: Santander's Flexible Isa Issue 3 offers the best instant-access deal paying 3.3%. 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 cash Isa: Chelsea BS offers a top 1-year fixed rate account at 3.3% on balances of £100 upwards.You can operate this account at a branch or by post.
- Two-year fixed rate cash Isa: The Post Office tops the 2-year fixed rate table with their branch-based or postal account paying 3.75%.
- Three-year fixed rate cash Isa: Northern Rock offers the best 3-year fixed rate account paying 4.01% on balances of at least £500.
- Four-year fixed rate cash Isa: Halifax are top with their 4-year fixed rate at 4.3%. The account can be operated at a branch, online, by post or by telephone.
- Five-year fixed rate cash Isa: 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.
Credit cards for 0% purchases
If you want to spread the cost of a large purchase over a longer period, it's worth getting a 0%-on-purchases credit card.
The Marks & Spencer Money MasterCard and the Tesco Bank Clubcard MasterCard have the longest 0% on purchase deals on the market at 15 months. Both cards offer a loyalty scheme and are Which? Recommended Providers, reflecting good customer service in our customer satisfaction survey.
The cheapest unsecured personal loans
In their advertising, lenders are required to show a 'representative' APR - meaning that 51% of accepted applicants will qualify for that rate. The rate you will actually be offered will vary depending on your credit rating. Currently only four lenders - Ulster Bank, Northern Bank, Bank of Ireland and the Post Office - advertise a rate that is not subject to risk-based pricing. The Post Office is the only one of these that makes our Best Rate tables, offering a rate of 8.40% APR to all accepted applicants for a £5,000 loan borrowed over 3 years.
- For those borrowing £5,000 over three years: Sainsbury's offers a top representative rate of 8.1% APR for a £5,000 loan. Alternatively, at 8.6% - still highly competitive - borrowers can instead opt for two years of doubled Nectar points and a £25 gift card.
- For those borrowing £10,000 over five years: M&S Money is at the top of our best rate tables with a rate of 6.70%. The only lender that can beat this deal is Nationwide Building Society, which offers a deal of 6.50%, but to existing customers only.
Today's top mortgage deals
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 tracker deal that will last the remaining term of your mortgage our best rate this week is:
- Low loan-to-value: ING Direct offers a deal which starts at 2.39%, and tracks at 1.89% above the base rate until the term of the mortgage. There is an arrangement fee of £750 and a booking fee of £195 to pay but free valuation and legal fees.
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 are considering a trip abroad, taking a good prepaid card could help you save money by avoiding fees when paying by card abroad and cash withdrawal charges. And because it's up to you to choose when to upload money to your card, you can pick a time when exchange-rates are most favourable.
Use our handy prepaid card guide to find out how the cards work and much you could save.
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