Hot money deals, 18 January 2012Which? experts round up the best money deals

18 January 2012

Pile of money

Read our guide to see how you can earn yourself some extra cash online.

This week, we track down the best savings accounts and cash Isas, as well as the leading credit card and loan deals. We also provide helpful tips to make some extra cash online.

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. However, this provider has a very poor customer satisfaction rating of 35%, so we advise caution.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: AA, Clydesdale, Shawbrook Bank and Yorkshire Bank offer the top-paying one-year fixed rate accounts at 3.6%.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Shawbrook Bank offers the best three-year fixed rate deal at 4.45%. Interest is paid yearly on initial balances of at least £5,000.
  • Five-year fixed rate savings: Shawbrook Bank offers the top-paying five-year fixed rate accounts at 4.8%. This account can be operated at a branch or by post.

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 Virgin Money's Easy Access Isa or E-Isa accounts are the best options paying 2.85%.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Metro Bank offers the top one-year fixed rate account at 3.25% on balances of at least £1 and can be operated at a branch, by post or telephone.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Governor Money's Saffron BS Fixed Isa currently tops our three-year fixed rate table paying 4% from balances of £100.
  • 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

This type of deal provides an introductory period ranging from three months to currently 18 months interest free. Make sure you repay any debt by the end of the introductory period as the card will then revert to its headline rate.  

The best credit card for 0%-on-purchases is currently being offered by Which? Recommended Provider Nationwide with 0% for 18 months on the Select Visa with a representative APR of 12.9%. This card is only available to Nationwide FlexAccount current account holders and comes with some great additional features that include 0.5% unlimited cashback on all sterling transactions, as well as unlimited commission-free purchases abroad.   

Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Halifax currently offer the next best deals with 15 months interest-free, followed by representative APRs of 15.9%, 16.9% and 17.9% respectively thereafter. 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% standard 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 7.8% 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 offers a market-leading rate of 6% APR.

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

The internet is a great place to spend time and money, but with a bit of creative thinking there are plenty of ways to make pennies and pounds online. See our guide for the top 10 ways to make extra cash online, including getting paid for blogging, filling in surveys or taking photos.