Hot money deals, 07 March 2012Which? experts round up the best money deals

07 March 2012

Wedding insurance

Insurance can help to cover you against the unexpected

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 cut the cost of your wedding.

Best savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: Santander's eSaver Issue 4 account tops the best instant-access savings table 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 38%, so we advise caution.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: Allied Irish Bank and FirstSave offer the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings accounts at 3.4% on balances from £1,000.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Halifax and Saga offer the best three-year fixed-rate savings deals at 4%. The Saga account is available to people age over 50 only.
  • Five-year fixed-rate savings: Scottish Widows Bank currently leads our five-year fixed-rate savings account table paying 4.7% on initial balances of at least £10,000.

The market's best cash Isas

  • Instant access cash Isa: Santander's Direct Isa Issue 9 offers the best instant-access cash Isa deal paying 3.3%. The rate includes a 2.8% bonus payable for a year.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Santander offers the top one-year fixed-rate cash Isa account at 3.5%. This account can be operated via the internet only.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Halifax currently tops our three-year fixed-rate cash Isa table paying 4% on initial balances of at least £500.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Halifax's Fixed Rate Isa Saver account currently leads our five-year fixed-rate cash Isa table paying 4.5%.

Best credit cards for borrowing

A card with a low typical APR can come in useful if you only want to hold one card and not switch too often. Whether it's to spread the cost of a big purchase, enjoy Section 75 cover or simply for use in case of emergencies, our Best Rate everyday credit card deals offer great value:

  • Sainsbury's Finance Low Rate MasterCard - This card offers the lowest representative APR on the market of 6.9%. You will need to be a Nectar card holder to be eligible for the card.
  • Barclaycard Simplicity Visa - 7.9% representative APR. The card comes with the Freedom rewards scheme that allows you to earn cashback on purchases with participating retailers. To apply you need to be 21 or above and earn a minimum salary of £20,000.
  • Capital One Click MasterCard - 9.9% typical APR. This card also offers discounts at a range of retail groups for online purchases. For the first six months, you can get 30% off, 25% off, 20% off and free delivery with, and 50% off To apply you need to be 21 or above and earn a minimum salary of £20,000.
  • Co-operative Bank Platinum Fixed-Rate Visa - 9.9% typical APR (fixed for five years and reverting to a representative APR of 12.9%). To apply you need to be aged 25 or above and earn a minimum salary of £25,000.

Both Capital One and Co-operative Bank have very good customer scores of 71% and 79% respectively and are Which? Recommended Providers. Sainsbury's just misses out on being a Which? Recommended Provider but has an above-average customer score of 67%.

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 offers a market-leading rate of 6% APR.

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

If you are in the process of planning your wedding, it's worth paying for anything that costs more than £100 and up to £30,000 with a credit card so you can claim under section 75 if there is a breach of contract. For more money-saving tips read our guide on 10 ways to cut the cost of your wedding.