Hot money deals, 14 December 2011Which? experts round up the best money deals

14 December 2011

Debit cards If you are unhappy with your bank account, switch to a better provider
This week, we track down the best savings accounts and cash Isas, as well as the leading credit card and loan deals. We also help you to find the best bank accounts for customer satisfaction

Best savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: AA's Internet Saver Issue 5 account offers the best instant-access deal at 3.2%. The rate includes a 2.7% bonus payable for a year.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: AA, Clydesdale, Krbs and Yorkshire Bank offer the top-paying one-year fixed rate accounts at 3.6%.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank offer the best three-year fixed rate deals at 4.3%. Interest is paid monthly or yearly.
  • Five-year fixed rate savings: Clydesdale, Krbs and Yorkshire Bank offer the top-paying five-year fixed rate accounts at 4.7%. All 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 one-year fixed rate account at 3.35% on balances of at least £500.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Governor Money's Saffron BS Fixed Rate Isa and Northern Rock offer the best three-year fixed rate accounts paying 4%. Both accounts are operated via the internet only.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Governor Money's Bank of Ireland Fixed Rate Isa account currently leads our five-year fixed rate table paying 4.5%.

0%-on-purchases credit cards

If you're thinking of making a start on your Christmas shopping and want to spread the cost of your festive spending interest-free over the coming year, it's worth applying for a new credit card now so it arrives in time.

The best credit cards for 0%-on-purchases from Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Halifax currently offer 15 months interest-free with representative APRs of 15.9%, 16.9% and 17.9% respectively. Cards from both Tesco and Marks & Spencer also come with reward schemes. Barclaycard is not far behind, offering 14 months interest-free with a higher 18.9% representative APR, together with membership of its own Freedom reward scheme.

The cheapest unsecured personal loans

In our best rate personal loan 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 at 6.3% is offered by Nationwide but you need to have a FlexAccount to qualify for it. Tesco also offers a top rate - 6.3% to their existing customers.

And finally... this week's hot money tip

If you are not getting a decent service from your current account provider, check out our Which? Recommended Providers and our guide to Switching your bank account. First Direct came top in our latest customer satisfaction survey with an overall score of 92%.