Hot money deals, 23 November 2011Which? experts round up the best money deals

24 November 2011

puppy dog

The hefty cost of vet fees makes pet insurance vital for many animal owners

This week, we track down the best savings accounts and cash Isas, as well as the leading credit card, loan and mortgage deals. We also help you find the best pet insurance policies on the market for you furry friend.

Best savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: Santander's eSaver Issue 4 account offers the best instant-access deal at 3.1%. The rate includes a 2.6% bonus payable for a year.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank offer the top-paying 1-year fixed rate accounts at 3.6% on balances of at least £2,000.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank offer the best 3-year fixed rate deals at 4.3%. Interest is paid monthly or yearly.
  • Five-year fixed rate savings: Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank offer the top-paying 5-year fixed rate accounts at 4.7%. Both accounts can be operated at a branch or via the internet.

The market's best cash Isas

  • Instant access cash Isa: AA's Internet Access Isa Issue 2 offers the best instant-access deal paying 3.05%. However, this account does not allow transfers in from other providers. If you want to transfer in previous years' funds, then Northern Rock and Principality's e-Isa accounts are the best options paying 2.80%.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Northern Rock offers the top 1-year fixed rate account at 3.35% on balances of at least £500.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Northern Rock and Post Office offer the best 3-year fixed rate accounts paying 4%. The Post Office account can be operated at a branch or by post.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Halifax's Isa Saver account currently leads our 5-year fixed rate table paying 4.4%. The minimum investment is £500

The best credit cards for use abroad

For the over-50s, Saga's Platinum Visa has no foreign loading fees for use abroad and charges a reasonable 11.9% APR on new purchases. The card also includes 55 days interest-free on cash withdrawals, but charges 2% (min £2) for each withdrawal.

For customers of all ages, the Halifax Clarity MasterCard is good value for use abroad as it too doesn't charge foreign loading fees or cash withdrawal fees. The card comes with a reasonable 12.9% APR on purchases and cash withdrawals. However, there is no interest-free period on cash withdrawals, so you'll pay interest from the moment you take out the cash.

If you are happy to pay an annual fee the Sainsbury's Finance Gold MasterCard could be worth considering. This card has some good perks, including family travel insurance, but comes with a £5 a month fee. The representative APR, including the fee, is 20.1%, but you are only charged 9.94% on purchases. No interest is charged on purchases and cash withdrawals so long as you pay your balance in full and on time each month. 

For a credit card that matches your needs, read our guide to finding the best credit card and check out the best credit card deals currently available by visiting our best rate credit card reviews.

The cheapest unsecured personal loans

In our best rate tables, we show the lowest rates available for loans that aren't exclusive to specific account holders or existing customers of banks or other institutions. 

  • For those borrowing £5,000 over three years: Sainsbury's offers a representative rate of 7.9% 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, Sainsbury's and Tesco all offer a rate of 6.4%. However, the best rate on the market - 6.1% - is offered by Nationwide. You need to have a Flex Account to qualify for it - but worth a look if you do.

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 moving house and looking for a tracker deal that lasts for 2 years, our best rates this week are:  

  • High loan-to-value: RBS and Natwest offer deal of 4.89% - tracking at 4.39% above the bank base rate. The booking fee is £999.
  • Low loan-to-value: Chelsea BS offers a deal of 2.49%, which cannot go below this rate. It comes with £500 cashback and is only available direct from the lender.

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 hot money tip

If you want to insure your pet, you'll find a huge variety of pet insurance products available - of varying degrees of quality. To reduce the headache of sifting through all of them, see our site for our newly updated online guide for a list of policies that meet our minimum criteria, along with plenty of hints and tips on what you should consider when shopping around.